TQFTMDMCCIC: Ding Ding Ding, We Have A Winner!

One of my best friends came to visit about a month ago, and on a trip into San Francisco we were set on hitting up the Ben&Jerry’s store along the waterfront. Until we came across this signage:

Norman's | Thin Mint

 

I took the bait, and boy am I glad I did! I’ve found a five-star flavor!Norman's | Thin Mint

THE SCOOP: Thin Mint by Mitchell’s Ice Cream. A  fresh, natural-tasting peppermint ice cream with dark chocolate shavings.

PROS: EVERYTHING. Light, fresh peppermint flavor that isn’t dyed green and doesn’t taste fake. With the most amazing texture. And high quality chocolate chips, that are the perfect texture to melt in your mouth!! Oh my. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Loved every last second of this cone.

CONS: I can’t purchase it just anywhere. The closest grocery store that carries it in the freezer section is Draeger’s in San Mateo! And if I ever move away from the Bay I’m straight outta luck.

OVERALL RATING: 5/5
And now my palate has been tainted, because I’ve finally tasted something that qualifies for five whole stars. My apologies for any further ice cream reviews – I promise I’ll try not to let my judgment be altered but I figured it’s only fair to let you know that it might be 😉

Since this was such a special find, I have a couple bonus categories/photos to share with you!

 

Norman's | Thin Mint

THE FELLOW TASTE TESTERS: This was the first time my darling daughter actually enjoyed ice cream! Before she’s just made nasty faces because it’s cold. Or maybe because it just wasn’t as delicious as this stuff. My BFF Maye was also here and taste-tested too!! But for some reason the only photographic evidence I have of our trip into the city together is the fact that you can see her shoes in the photo I took of the ice cream cone.

Norman's | Thin Mint

THE SHOP: Norman’s Ice Cream and Freezes. It’s adorable! Hidden in a little corner of a courtyard (in the Cannery), with that fantastic signage. I’m pretty sure the owner, Norman, is the one who served us, and he is a gem. “It’s a lovely day, huh? But not as lovely as you ladies or my beautiful wife!” Totally tipped him. You *can* purchase Mitchell’s ice cream at other locations, but I love this little place so much.

All in all, I’d say this day was one of the best days ever. It was enough to get both the “Best Day Ever” and “Everything Is Awesome” songs (a la Spongebob and The Lego Movie) both running through my head, because I am so mature and grown up when it comes to my mental my-life-is-awesome soundtrack.

love, rach
disclosure, again: ain’t nobody paying me to write this bidness.

[previous ice cream reviews can be viewed here!]

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life off the grid.

It’s been nearly three weeks since I nearly eliminated my online presence.
And you know what??

I am absolutely loving it.

I did go through withdrawals, and have periods of time when I would pick up my phone and stare blankly at it for a moment when I realized I had nothing to “do”.
But now? I don’t even miss Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest. I don’t think I ever want to go back. I set up a Chrome extension to block the websites just in case I caved and tried to log in, but after a test run to make sure it was working, I haven’t even thought to visit any of the sites.

Well, okay, I did re-activate my Pinterest account for all of five minutes to look at my boards again and see if there was anything I’d pinned that I was interested in purchasing for my birthday. There wasn’t. I then remembered that I had survived my entire life without Pinterest, and realized I did not need to “curate boards” in order to know what my personal style is or to keep track of recipes. And I promptly deactivated my account again.

Now, I am still just as good at wasting time as I was before falling off the grid. I still check Bloglovin a couple times a day, and should probably weed through the blogs I follow. I’ve found good books that while away the hours nearly as well as checking Instagram. I have friends that actually talk to me (gasp!) and spent about 3 hours of today chatting on the phone and texting them. But overall, it is an improvement, and I am content!

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the feedback I’ve gotten for this decision. If anyone thinks I’m nuts, they certainly haven’t told me so! I’ve had quite a few good face-to-face conversations with people about “unplugging”. A surprising number of dear friends got in touch with me right when I announced my decision, and have made an effort to keep up with the haps. I have picked up a fair number of pen pals as well, which is a lot of fun! And people even remembered my birthday yesterday without Facebook to remind them 😉

I feel very fortunate that I am able to take this leap. I completely understand that social networking is entirely necessary these days – it’s practically essential to any modern business or livelihood. I am so blessed to be able to care for my daughter and our home each day. I am blessed with a rich network of friends and family nearby that keep me sane on a daily basis, a well as friends and family who are further away but excellent at keeping up correspondences. My life is so, so good  and I thank the Lord for it every day 🙂

TILLAMOOK

My husband is a complete turophile.

So, naturally, when we traveled up to Northern Oregon for Thanksgiving…a trip to the Tillamook cheese factory was in order.

I’ve been here a number of times throughout my life, and it’s always a delightful experience! The self-guided tour is awesome, it’s fun to watch the cheese being made and processed, they give you free cheese samples, and the gift shop is chock-full of every kind of Tillamook cheese ever made (including “squeaky cheese”!) and lots of entertaining cheese-themed silliness. But the best part???? THE ICE CREAM COUNTER. It’s the only place in the world where you will find every single flavor of Tillamook creamery ice cream under the same roof (did you know they make sorbet?!), available for you to devour in freshly-made waffle cones!!! oh. so. good.

Needless to say, I’m a little bit in love with the place. Pretty sure the hubs’ fell in love too.

Here are a couple random photos I remembered to take:

Brother the [blur of a] cow + cousin the farmer

Hubs the cow + Tiptoeing cousin the farmer

Sister the cow + Myself as the crankypants farmer

Crazy kids waiting for lunch! Which is delicious, btw. I LOVED the Centennial Grilled Cheese.

Favorite piece of cheese paraphernalia found on the tour

We grabbed a block of smoked cheddar and vintage extra-sharp cheddar to enjoy at home. SO GOOD. Highly recommended!

And my tiny little cookbook addiction problem led me to purchase the Tillamook Cheese Cookbook as well…but I mean, who wouldn’t want a cookbook where every single recipe is doused in cheesy goodness?! Plus, they have an entire chapter dedicated to Macaroni and Cheese. I think that speaks for itself right there.

Basically, if you’re ever in Oregon, go to Tillamook. If you fancy a beautiful drive, take the scenic route along highway 101 – coming up through Newport and Lincoln City is my absolute favorite 🙂

 

 

And if you’ve never been to Oregon….get there. You’re missing out.

love, Rach

Recollections of Babyhood

I was just talking to my Momma dearest. As was giving me words of motherly wisdom and encouragement she added, “I KNOW you will be able to do anything you set your mind on doing! You are determined and you DO things! No matter what it is! You came out that way!!”

She then recounted the story of how, as a baby, I couldn’t quite get the hang of how to crawl at first. But I didn’t let that stop me from going where I wanted to go, all by myself….I taught myself how to roll instead. I was a steamrollin’ machine!

crazy-haired, steamrollin’ child

My Mom would take me to playgroups with other ladies and their babies, and they’d have the Mommy talks, “Oh, how is she eating, how are her naps, and is she crawling yet??”

My Mom would always reply, “Oh, no, she doesn’t crawl….but she is DEFINITELY mobile,”

And the ladies would just smile and give a rousing, “Oh that’s nice.”

Until they’d been distracted for a while and suddenly couldn’t find me, and I turned up all the way across the living room and halfway down the hall.

Then they were giving a rousing, “HOW THE HECK DID SHE GET THERE?! You said she doesn’t even crawl!!”

“Well, I told you she was mobile.” was my Momma’s tongue-in-cheek reply…

mobility is for makin’ messes and eatin’ onions. YUM.

This story is pretty funny to me. But what’s even funnier, is that it speaks volumes about who I still am as an individual.

Even though this happened when I was less than a year old, the same basic personality traits can apply to my twenty-something self.

Impressive, ain’t it?!

I am so grateful to have parents around to remind us who we are, with simple silly stories like this.

Are there any stories from your childhood that you love/are hilarious/mean something to you?! I love hearing baby stories : ) and seeing others’ baby photos. It’s one of my hobbies. Not that I sneak into parents’ homes and look through family photo albums…that would be creepy. But if it happens to come up somehow, I secretly love it. So feel free to share 🙂

love, rach

PS – I’ve noticed I’ve gotten quite a few new followers recently…and I don’t know any of you! Please say hello! I’d love to meet you 🙂

the latest from embroidery land…

I will give you exactly 30 seconds to get the reference here.

If you don’t get it by then, we are officially no longer friends.

……….

OKAY JUST KIDDING I STILL LOVE YOU! Please watch this clip from Nacho Libre and be enlightened:

And now go find a way to watch the rest of the film right now. I promise your life will be better for it.

So anyways, back to the embroidery business…

hug hug, kiss kiss, hug hug, BIG KISS, little hug, kiss kiss, little kiss!

I made this for my hubs! I wanted to make something for him that said “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH”, but in a less cheesetastic way, so that he might actually want to display it to the general public. And also because I’m just not a cheesy, lovey-dovey person like that.

One of our favorite movies is Nacho Libre. It gets quoted in our home at least five times a day, minimum. And I have always loved this sentiment! Thus the idea to recreate it with a needle and thread was born.

I’m super happy with the way it turned out. I love how simple it is, and the unique dimensions just tickle my fancy! I was so happy to find this frame that fit it perfectly.

AND, my husband is even going to take it to work to decorate his office. SCORE.

Anyway! I’m still working on a piece that’s superbly awesome, it’s just taking me a while because I’ve been neglecting it a little bit…but I will have it ready to show you shortly! Maybe stating that in writing will give me more motivation to finish 😉 thanks for checking this out!

Love, Rach

ps – see my previous embroidery post here [yes, sadly, there is only one other one at the moment] 

pps – I know my version doesn’t exactly match what Nacho wrote in the movie, BUT it goes with the verbal description of how he read the x’s and o’s. 🙂

Book Review: Evertaster

It’s not very often that I come across a book so delightfully delicious that I want to sing its’ praises from the roof tops…but this summer, it happened. Feast your eyes:

While you can’t literally see the whole novel in such cinematographic beauty, the writing is so masterfully done that I felt as if I was constructing a film in my imagination. Those are the best kinds of books, I think.

Evertaster is a middle-grade (young adult/middle school level) novel about Guster Johnsonville and his extremely picky palette. The quote in the trailer is one of my favorites from the book:

image courtesy the Evertaster Facebook page [click through]

In short, Guster’s palate is so refined that he does not simply taste “food”. He can discern each and every ingredient and it’s origin – what the cows that produced the butter were fed on, the type of breeze that tickled the skin of the lemon that was zested, and more. These tastebuds, although quite impressive, are somewhat of a curse for Guster. Most of what passes as edible in our supermarkets today creates a purely putrid eating experience for him! On a quest to cure this horrible ailment, the poor child inadvertently throws his entire family in the path of danger and a formidable adventure ensues…

Evertaster is a fast-paced adventure mystery, with just the right amount of comedy and heartwarming family moments [the ending is my favorite, I may have shed a tear]. Not to mention  there are countless mouth-watering food descriptions that will really whet your appetite! Word to the wise: keep some snacks handy. All in all, this book is the perfect recipe for a classic family favorite – a fun read for kids and adults alike! I give it two enthusiastic fist pumps way, way up – and I can’t wait to read more.

AND! What makes it even better?? The author, Adam Glendon Sidwell, is one rad dude.

Author Adam and his wife Michelle

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him (and his family) in real life. And let me tell you, he is a friendly, amiable, and hysterical guy! He used to work in the animation industry – building monsters and dinosaurs and giant robots for movies such as Peter Jackson’s King Kong, Transformers, and Tron. His wife Michelle is a gem, one of my favorite people that I’ve ever met. And their little less-that-a-year-old daughter is completely precious! Moral of the story: awesome things come from awesome people.

Anyway. Enough from me. Go read Evertaster already!!

It’s available on Amazon, the paperback copy is a mere $10 and the Kindle version is $2.99.

Recommended for ages 9+, or grade 4+.

Happy reading, everyone! What was your favorite book that you read this summer??

love, Rach

An introduction of sorts…

My husband has a pretty cool job. It also happens that he loves it, is great at what he does, AND it pays our bills! How lucky is that?! I truly do feel blessed to be stuck with such a winner : )

Before meeting the hubs, I had only met one other person in real life that had a similar career. So I thought it might be fun to share snippets of what it’s actually like to have his job! Or rather, my perspective on what it’s like to be the spouse of someone in his line of work….

So now to answer the big question:

What exactly does he DO??

although his cartwheels are mighty impressive, he is not a gymnast or male cheerleader…

To keep it simple: He worked for  Pixar when I first met him (his name is in the credits for Brave), and will be working for Dreamworks in the near future.

To be more specific, in simpler terms: He is in the field of 3D animation.

To be even more specific: He is an FX Animator/Effects TD

FX/Effects = Special effects (smoke, fire, explosions, giant robot fights, etc).
TD = “Technical director”. It’s a fancy name for 3D artist. 
Fun fact = In the industry, people who are referred to as “Animators” are typically only the people that create the “performance” (make the characters move, create facial expressions, etc). People who specialize in other areas often have a qualifier for the type of animation they do (Effects Animator, Crowds Animator, etc).

DISCLAIMER: All of these terms and definitions are subject to change depending on which animation studio you are working with. There are no standardized job titles. Just FYI.

I could go on…
But that little segment right there will tell you everything you need to know about what the animation industry is really like.

Let’s just say the industry is like a simple, small, quintessential American “white picket fence” home. It looks beautiful, simple, and quite pleasant from the outside! Then you walk in the front door, turn down the hallway, pull book on a shelf which then swings out from the wall and reveals a stone staircase leading 200 feet underground. Once you reach the bottom, you enter a room full of revolving doors like unto the one in the Department of Mysteries*. All of the doors have solid brick walls behind them, with the exception of one that leads you into another room exactly like the first. Repeat this scenario two more times. Eventually you reach a room filled with a tropical rainforest, and you spend 274 days fighting your way through said rainforest (wild animals, quicksand, tropical storms and all) until you find a small tunnel at the back of a cave. This tunnel is directly vertical, with no ladder rungs or a rope or anything to help you climb, yet somehow you reach the top and find yourself in the backyard of the initially described nondescript house. Turns out, the backyard is also a mine field, and all entrances to the house and exits from the yard are heavily guarded, and you can’t really escape and you have no idea how you got there in the first place , but isn’t it a pretty-looking house from the front?!

AKA….it’s a lot more complicated than it looks.

Most of the time when my hubs says he can’t tell me what he did at work today, it isn’t because it’s top-secret. It’s simply because what he does is so esoteric that I wouldn’t get it. (I’m kind of starting to understand more though!) (and he might know some secrets after all…but I can’t tell you or I’d have to kill you….)

But it’s still totally, 100%, a career worth having.

I mean, how many people can say that every day they walked into work they were greeted by larger-than-life Lego models of Woody and Buzz Lightyear to one side and a case chock-full of Academy Awards on the other? Or that they had unrestricted access to the world’s greatest cereal bar in existence?? Or that they ran into JL in the bathroom a couple of times?!?!?

Not very many, I can tell you that.

I haven’t seen the Dreamworks campus yet, but I bet it’s full of awesomeness too. I’ll be sure to let you know : )

Love — Rach

have any questions about my hubs’ job or the animation industry in general?? let me know and I’ll answer as best I can! and of course I’ll solicit his help for things I don’t know much about! comment or email wafflesandcereal@gmail.com

*If you are not familiar with this Harry Potter reference, go read the books again right this minute

**image courtesy of my awesome sister, Sarah!

This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me!

okay, so that MIGHT be a slight exaggeration. but it ain’t far from the truth.

you guys, I feel like I’m in a real-life Agatha Christie novel!

[minus the murder/death/sadness of human nature parts and keeping the intrigue/whodunit/mind-bending parts, of course]

this is pretty darn awesome.

Agatha Christie is my all-time favorite novelist and I am in love with every single book of hers that I’ve read. especially the Miss Marple ones. oh, that Miss Marple. I wish I was as clever as you…

I guess I should explain.

it all has to do with this little lady:

the rad sweater, of course, not myself. haha.

how cool is that sweatshirt?! I love it. muchas gracias to my dear friend Maye for introducing me to it!

after she posted this on Facebook, I perused the original site and ended up pinning it.

about ten people I don’t know then liked and re-pinned it. I felt pretty cool.

a few weeks later, I get an email from the company that manufactures these babies (Cat vs Human and the Spreadshirt Team). it was a confirmation email, thanking me for my order and informing me that they would make my shirt and ship it shortly.

the only catch?

I WAS NO WHERE NEAR A COMPUTER WHEN THE ORDER WAS PLACED AND MOST DEFINITELY DID NOT ORDER THIS MYSELF.

so I sent a quick email to my hubs, at work, thanking him for the surprise. His response?

“Umm, that’s weird, I didn’t order that for you…”

that was when things started to get crazy.

———————————————————

the order was addressed to be shipped to a temporary address that I hadn’t given out to many people. this temporary address was also listed as the billing address. the order used my married name and new email address, which are fairly recent developments. AND, the order was for an item that I had discussed on two forms of social media, so the anonymous party followed my online networking at least somewhat.

it HAD to be someone I knew fairly well, I thought.

[actually, I thought for a moment that it was this online stalker I had dealt with recently, but I have convinced myself that is not the case…still hoping it isn’t the creepo stalker. haha.]

I texted/emailed/called all of my family and good friends. none of them fessed up. so…I emailed the company to be sure my credit card wasn’t the one actually paying for the order [my billing address had been listed, so I wanted to be sure].

“Thank you for your questions regarding order # blahblahblah. Your name does not match the name used on the card given for payment. If you would like to discuss the matter further please call phone number during business hours. Thank you for your time. blahblahblah.”

okay. so I am not financially responsible. cool beans.

my big question now was not so much WHO had sent me an anonymous gift, as WHY they were sending it. it’s nowhere near my birthday, it’s kind of a weird thing to give for a late wedding gift, I haven’t done any favors that necessitate a return lately…I was puzzled.

WELL. the shirt finally arrived a few weeks ago, and it answered that worry! the enclosure card read “Merry Unbirthday, Rachel Ann!”

so, it was an Unbirthday gift. how delightful! I have 364 of those a year, and it was fabulous to finally celebrate one of them!

after receiving the gift, my detective-sleuthing instincts kicked in. here is how I dissected the message:

01 – “Merry”. obviously this salutation in addition to the punctuation at the end of the enclosure is wishing me well. the packaging also did not appear to be tampered with, it looked as if it had come straight from the distributor. I will proceed as if I am meant no harm and there is no hidden anthrax/bombs/anything else harmful contained in this package.

02 – “Unbirthday”. I sent a card to a dear friend recently-ish, wishing her a Merry Unbirthday. this same friend had denied any knowledge of these suspicious activities [and continues to do so], so I will take her word for it. I will therefore simply assume that the sender is rad and loves Alice in Wonderland. this is a good thing.

03 – “Rachel”. they know my first name. that is good. they also did not use any of the nicknames popular among my close friends, so it either was not sent by one [or more] of them or they are covering their tracks. very sneaky.

04 – “Ann”. they also know my middle name, but not well enough to have spelled it correctly. this is very understandable, I myself was mistaken about how my middle name was spelled until I was twelve years old. I could never for the life of me remember if there was or was not an “e” at the end (there is). I never use my middle name in public places, so it is quite possible that a friend who has heard the name, never would have seen it and would have been left to guess at the spelling.

so….where does this dissection leave me?

nowhere, really. it’s all inconclusive. [what a letdown, right? this is why I don’t write novels. hahaha]

all I’m left with is a sweater that I LOVE to wear and a WHOLE HEAPING LOT of gratitude for whoever the mysterious giver is!

so, mysterious giver, I’ve inferred that you follow my online presence and I am assuming that you will read this. which is why I have decided to recount the story in its’ entirety and say a big, fat, “THANKS A MILLION!” not only for the wonderful gift, but for the marvelous adventure you’ve sent my way. I’ve enjoyed it SO MUCH. you are the best and I love you forever.

I’m sure the answer to this riddle will turn up eventually, somewhere down the road.

but until then, I’m quite content to have the thrill of an unsolved mystery in my life!

[in addition to the thrill I get seeing the looks on people’s faces as I walk by while wearing this shirt. they are pretty awesome.]

Love — Rach

Disneyland!

I think I have a love/hate relationship with Disneyland.

I know, I KNOW, it’s the happiest place on Earth! how could I even THINK of having hateful feelings toward the epitome of childhood and smiles and all things good?!?

well.

I do love that place. I love it a lot. the rides are great, the people are nice, the shows are awesome, the souvenir shopping is fun, the food is yummy, the background music is lovely and catchy, and you get to meet real live princesses and other awesome cartoon characters that have been brought to life!!

I guess the only part I don’t really like is the “Disney hangover” that comes from walking around a theme park for fifteen hours in the heat and consuming copious amounts of MSG. and also the times when I forget to bring a sweater because it was 70 degrees that morning and suddenly it is night time and 50 degrees and I am freezing my booty off.

that’s about it, really.

our family vacation was truly wonderful 🙂 I’m so happy I got to hang out with my awesome family!

photographic evidence of awesomeness:

just chillin, ridin coasters, doing the YMCA….nbd.

Love — Rach

LOST.

Are any of you familiar with the American television phenomenon Lost? It originally aired from 2004-2010, an award-winning drama series that was famous for its’ intricate story line and being the most expensive program on television at the time [due to the large cast and the cost of filming on location in Oahu].

I heard of it while it was on the air, but never watched a single episode.

The hubs and I started watching it on Netflix a few weeks ago.

Folks, let me tell you, this show is addicting…especially when you have immediate access to the next episode and don’t have to wait an entire week for the cliffhanger ending to be resolved. One day, we watched it for seven hours straight.

During a break between episodes on that seven-hour-marathon day, I went to go empty the dryer. We hadn’t been able to find the lint trap in this particular dryer in this particular apartment since we moved in…something that semi-concerned us but we didn’t worry about too much. But this day, after watching five hours of Lost, I found it. I kind of felt like I was IN the show though, so I started hearing the background music playing in my head and the suspense was building as I announced this secret thing I had suddenly uncovered….

“HEY! I finally found the lint trap in the dryer! “

“Really?! Let me see!”

“Oh my gosh, it’s really full…..”

“….that’s not good. That could start a fire.”

“I know!!!!!!”

The background music playing in my head became even more intense. I snatched that lint trap and cleaned it as fast as humanly possible, fumbling and dropping it as I went to put it back in the dryer. I was so nervous! This was a matter of life and death, people! That dryer was going to EXPLODE!!!

Okay, so not really. But it sure felt like it. My husband laughed when I told him what had just happened.

But that music really is intense. The whole show is actually. Here is a small sample:

Anyway. After that escapade, we decided to cut back to watching one episode every night. Which we did for a while…but it was still too engrossing and we felt like our brains were being numbed by watching that much television daily. We never really felt ‘good’ after watching it.

So, this week, we looked up all of the articles we could possibly find on the interwebs [most from here and here]and read our way through the rest of the series.

It was thoroughly enjoyable [and kind of confusing].

And now I can empty the lint trap without subconsciously creating a fight-or-flight response within myself.

Which reminds me, I need to rotate my laundry! Please excuse me.

Love — Rach

all images courtesy of the world wide web [and a Google image search]