11/16/12

“there are no mistakes, just happy accidents.” – bob ross

i wish that all of my sporadic blog posts were as jazzy as a holiday parade; as explosive as a fireworks display; or, at the very least, informative.

but, alas, this is not always possible.

rather, this sporadic post is about a project gone ok; not totally wrong but not 100% right either. some would call it a mistake. bob ross, on the other hand,  would call it a “happy accident.” {and, if i’m going to be honest, it’s always in one’s best interest to heed bob ross’s timeless adages.} so, happy accident it is!

the project: turn a gold mirror into a white, distressed mirror.

tools: primer spray paint; spray paint in the shades of darker gold and white; sand paper.

backstory: said gold mirror for project was being proudly displayed in my mother’s family room until one day, i thought to myself: “hey, i need something to put next to my record player…maybe a mirror…maybe that mirror my mom has in her family room. she doesn’t need it.”

::ring, ring:: {that’s me calling my mom. just in case.}

me: hey mom. i was thinking you don’t need that gold mirror, right? i can have it? i mean if you really want to keep it, i won’t take it…but if you don’t mind, i’ll just pick it up next time i come over. fantastic! i’ll talk to you later.

{you were probably expecting my mom’s response to be part of that mini-dialogue i just re-created. but, to be perfectly honest, i’m not even sure what she said. all i know is sometime soon after that, the gold mirror…she was mine. :)}

the before -

process: i primed the whole decorative area with primer spray paint. for whatever reason, i decided that i wanted to spray paint the next layer with a darker golden/bronze-ish color to give it…a multi-dimensional look? once that coat was semi-dry {clearly i have no patience for the waiting that inevitably comes with spray painting}, i did another layer of white; a big, thick layer of white. of course, this was not intentional, but rather a “happy accident.” because the final white layer was kind of thick, i did my best to sand it down real good to get that aged, distressed look i was going for.

verdict: at the end of the day, i was happy with the outcome despite the heavy white spray paint and the over-sanding that inevitably came with it. the only time i really started questioning my project’s success was when i went on to pinterest and saw that chalk paint would have been a better tool. ::sigh:: so, i guess this post was informative after all: research before starting a project.

the after

there you have it, my recent “happy accident.” :)

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. don’t you hate when you somehow press publish before your post is done? argh. just another happy accident i guess. ;)

what kind of “happy accidents” have you made recently?

09/26/12

a shameless plug.

in case there was ever any question about it, i just wanted to clarify some things for my super avid readers. yeah, that’s right: super avid readers.

to make this as simple + painless as possible, i’ll set this clarification up in a “q + a” type format. here goes:

q: why the big gaps in blog posts, revampsessionista?

a: you must be new here. :) in that case, welcome! you see, i’m kind of a notorious quitter, new girl/guy –  so big time lapses between productivity is what i’ve always been good at. sometimes i’ll randomly remember that i have a blog and make the effort to write for it, and then sometimes i’ll be thinking about dinosaurs + glitter + galaxies instead. oddly enough, in a colossal effort to try and end my quitting notoriety, i started this blog. so far, as you have clearly noticed, it hasn’t really resolved my nasty procrastination/quitting habits. but have no fear, i have not yet given up complete hope on my revamping revolution – and neither should you.

q: are you sure you’re using all of those semicolons correctly?

a: that one’s easy: absolutely not. in fact, i’m never 100% sure that any of my chosen punctuation is being used in a way that wouldn’t embarrass my former english teachers; the same applies to grammar.

i hope that answers all of your most pressing questions. if not, feel free to send any of your questions my way!

speaking of questions, you might also be asking a. what have i been up to since my last visit? and b. what’s today’s post really about?

since i’ve made those crab cakes, i have gone on a few adventures that would have made my blog proud. i went: delaware river tubing {exactly what it sounds like, and totally worth it for anyone who has about 4-5 hours to lazily float along a river on a beautiful summer day}; to a jason mraz concert; held a yard sale; and went cabining in central new york. unfortunately, i didn’t take any pictures of most of those adventures – but do have some of my recent cabining trip to wellness:te lodge in taberg, ny, which was super lovely.

now that i’ve briefly touched on that, let’s get to what this blog post is kind of, really about: a small printing company that could. luso printing.

my boyfriend, al, he’s a nice guy and he’s starting up a printing company called luso printing. since i’m around + a keeper, i’ve become a bit of a designated helper. sometimes businesses-that-could need a shameless plug here and there, which is what this is, technically. luso printing is still working on their website, but are certainly ready, willing + able to get whatever printing job you need done now. if you fit the bill of someone who needs a baby shower invitation, an updated business card, a save the date, a business postcard – or anything in-between – then you should totally check out luso printing’s facebook page. while the website is “under construction,” luso printing welcomes the opportunity to answer any of your inquiries via their facebook page or eMail at general@lusoprinting.com. albeit a very biased suggestion, i would also highly recommend you like them on facebook. i’m kind-of, sort-of in the know and there might be giveaways and such down the line. just wanted to give you that premature heads up. ;)

end shameless plug. {at least, for now}. :)

stay tuned because i have a few things in store: a 30-day photo challenge, more weight-loss + gain battles and overall good times. until next time! :)

<3 always,

ana patricia

feel free to use the comments section to provide your own shameless plug! :)

 

08/16/12

crabby patty cakes.

i did it again – i got in the kitchen and i made something i never, ever made before: crab cakes.

true story, kids.

brief backstory {because all stories need a backstory}: al is a fan of crab cakes and i’ve been wanting to make him some crab cakes for a while.

end of backstory.

i am the subscriber and recipient of a ridiculous amount of random eMails, one of them being from food + wine. one day the people at food + wine automatically {or perhaps, personally?} eMailed me a few crab cake recipes, one of which that i printed and planned on making in the near future. of course, it was ana’s version of the “near future,” which turned out to be a few months later. but, the wait is finally over!

the recipe –

{the original recipe can be found here.}

Ingredients – 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
20 saltine crackers, finely crushed
1/4 cup canola oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

here is a picture of my chosen ingredients:

there wasn’t much work involved in making this recipe, aside from going out and getting the ingredients and doing a little mixing. luckily for me, however, all of the ingredients were already here. with ingredients all readily available, all i had to do was mix the ingredients and smash some crackers. for visual purposes, here is how it kind of went. and by kind of went, i mean the final product of the smashed crackers.

i chilled the whole mash up for an hour, per the recipe’s instructions – and once the 50 minutes were up {you didn’t actually think i was patient enough to wait a full hour, did you? ;)}, i got to putting them in the canola oil like a boss. {note to self and others: don’t leave lettuce soaking in the kitchen sink if you’re going to be making a mess in the kitchen and geting your hands all dirty. it turns out, it makes things slightly more complicated than necessary.}

ok, ok – the recipe is already posted and let’s just get to the final product already.

ta da –

final verdict: i got two thumbs up from al and i was excited to have yet another recipe under my belt. literally, under my belt, guys. {fyi: in case you were wondering, i was able to make about 8-9ish fairly huge crab cakes with this recipe.}

let me know if you’ve tried this recipe, plan on trying it or have another crab cake recipe i should definitely try in the next 5 years. :)

<3 always,

ana patricia

have you tried any new recipes recently? 

 

08/13/12

forecast: partly cloudy.

once in a while, you find out about a hidden pocket of wonder in our massive world and it suddenly becomes absolutely mandatory that you find and witness it for yourself.

and sometimes, you’re lucky enough to find out that this magical place  is just a 5.5 hour car trip away from you.

such is the case of a “little” place called: cherry springs state park in pennsylvania.

upon skimming one of my many random magazine subscriptions, i found a brief description of a park i had never heard of. the article spoke of this magical place having the darkest night skies on the east coast and boasted of a dreamy, clear night sky full of stars and all sorts of astronomical wonders. three words came to mind: sign me up. {ok – in reality, it was probably more like 5 words; exciting things tend to warrant an expletive or two. ;)}

and so, after some online research, a reliable dog sitter {thanks mom!} and a good reason to finally go – perseids meteor shower, we set track this past weekend on a 5.5 hour voyage to see, well, the universe.

the 5.5 hour trip there wasn’t as excruciating as i thought it would be – at least not as the passenger. :) the last hour or so was, hands down, the most interesting of our voyage. in this hour, we lost all cell phone coverage, were on a very isolated, tree-lined road with little sign of civilization and were greeted by a pretty awesome black bear crossing the road. we finally arrived at our destination around 7pm-ish and were excited to see that we weren’t the only ones there after a lonely hour on the road. at this point, we were unsure what to expect of our adventure, but were super excited nonetheless. after watching a short and long film about astronomy in the pitch dark of the park, we heard the last thing we wanted to hear: the clouds were being relentless and we wouldn’t be able to see much of anything that night. i would be lying if i didn’t say that i was slightly disappointed; i was looking for a clear glimpse of universe magic, and all i got was a sky full of clouds.

after a little pouting, nap in the warm car, and a glimpse of the moon, i realized that: despite there not being a sky full of stars and visions of meteor showers, i had done something on my bucket list, which is pretty damn magical and astronomical in and of itself. :)

so, next time, because there will be a next time {aurora borealis: i’m coming for you!}, i will check the weather and make sure the forecast is: clear skies all damn day. and until then, i will just make the most of the random partly cloudy skies that the universe throws our way.

and here are some pics for your viewing pleasure:

this is what i expected to see –

 picture from the cherry springs state park dark sky fund website, which can be found here.

what i actually got to see -

picture courtesy al’s picture-taking of the moon, while i napped.  :)

finally here!

one of two fields.

one of three astronomy domes on the other field.

and, on that note, hope your weekend was out of this world. ;)

<3 always,

ana patricia

 have you recently done something on your bucket list?

 

07/18/12

and if you order now, you’ll receive an additional…

i’m just going to put it out there for all of the universe to know {because, yes – the whole universe is reading my blog ;)} –

i’m a sucker for infomercials. 

even when that snippet loops for the millionth time, i’m there sitting on my couch still faithfully watching. i don’t know what it is about some of those infomercials – they just make me stop and watch. it’s like those magazines you randomly get with the most far-fetched products. you know, the ones with a singing toilet paper dispenser and inflatable christmas lawn decor on the same page? i will look through every single mesmerizing page because, really, i’m in the market for a $4,500 inflatable human bowling ball game {which you can see for yourself here}.

so, yeah -infomercials. i succumbed to my second ever infomercial-inspired purchase this past weekend. my first being power90, better known as the infamous p90x now. i bought it when i was still using a VCR and well, never really got around to using it all that much. but i knew, based on that infomercial, that power90 was going to be an amazing thing. i mean it had to be! there were before and after pictures, and trips to hawaii for those that lost the most weight, tony horton,  and most importantly, there were tears. you know it’s all true when there are tears being shed in an infomercial. ;) i’m only being slightly sarcastic because i totally fell for those tears. {speaking of power90/p90x, i’m hoping to incorporate some of my available 24 hours a day to that in the next few days. will keep you posted!}

my second – and recent – infomercial-inspired purchase was none other than the nutribullet. like the magic bullet, but much cooler. hello – it emulsifies! just like our blender, i guess, but far more compact and easier to clean up. al, le beau, had recently watched the movie “fat, sick and nearly dead,” which promotes a juicing diet, and had been wanting a juicer to give that diet a whirl. the nutribullet was my idea of a compact solution to a juicer. i figured the easy clean-up would inspire me to use it more than our blender, which has proven to be an accurate assumption thusfar. drinks made with blender: 0. drinks made with nutribullet: 1.

if you’re wondering what was in this morning’s drink: 2 smallish handfuls of rinsed spinach, a good handful of strawberries, a few blueberries, half of a banana and a sprinkling of some flax seed.

the final result –

so far, so good. i kept it pretty “plain” today, but am looking forward to experimenting with mangos, seedless watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple in the next few days. if i come up with an amazing concoction, i’ll be sure to post it. :)

well, that’s my tale of infomercials and emulsification for now. until next time, revampers!

<3 always,

ana patricia

have you made any infomercial-inspired purchases?

 

07/17/12

“either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.” – christopher reeve

yes, i opted so originally to give this post a quote as it’s title. yes, i have been on some sort of inexplicable month-long hiatus from the blog, which i will refrain from trying so helplessly to defend. and yes, i still am one of the coolest people i know. ;)

now that we’ve got that all established/re-established, let’s move on, shall we? :)

so, this may be news to some of you, but one of my very first roles in life was that of a “little sister” – and an awesome one at that. despite our 6 year age difference, my older brother and i somehow managed to be best buddies. i guess you could even say that growing up we were like a mini version of donny + marie osmond, with the exception of us being significantly cooler. {ok, i kid – we were nothing like donny + marie osmond. but, if we were – he’d totally be a little bit country and i’d be a little bit rock ‘n roll.}

ANYWAY –

my brother and i, we were an awesome duo. we played games; we made up games; we played radio talk show hosts {vanilla ice and paula abdul, to be exact}; we fought; he managed to pull out my two front teeth in a game of tug-of-war; we fought some more; we laughed harder; he had my back + i had his.

we still are an awesome duo.

will forever be.

the only difference now is that he is battling a mental illness.

this is not my story to tell in full detail, and it’s one that i share very vaguely with both hesitation and the utmost protection –  just as any other overprotective little sister would. so, here goes: my brother went from being the amazing older brother who went on countless adventures to the amazing older brother who now struggles to leave his very own house. there are only a handful of places my brother will now go to, and all of them still go far beyond his comfort level.

the reason i am sharing this is because on monday, july 9th, after many, many years of not partaking in any “adventure,” my brother decided that he wanted us all – him included – to bring skipper, the family dog, to the doggy beach. to most people, this is not a big deal –  but, for us, it was a bit of a miracle and a major step in a positive direction.

here is a picture of skipper and of skipper + my brother, paul at the doggy beach:

 

at the end of the day, not only did my brother face one of his debilitating anxieties – but he had fun in the process of it. was it his idea of the most ideal situation? no. i’m sure he would have much preferred an isolated beach in his backyard. but, he tried. he tried for himself and for the experience of seeing skipper at the beach for the very first time. hopefully, it’s just the beginning of many more adventures with my brother.  and hopefully, this little story of triumph will help someone out there who has been holding back from his or her own personal adventures and victories. :)

wishing you all a mini miracle of your own and tons of adventures!

<3 always,

ana patricia

p.s. here is  one of my favorite pictures of me and my brother on, what i can only imagine is, one of our annual car rides to wildwood, nj. :)

 

06/19/12

if this could be our last summer, then why should we care?

i’m jumping the gun, but those are actually part of the lyrics to the song i used in my first ever photoshop video. seeing as though summer officially begins tomorrow and that they say we will soon face the apocalypse – i thought it was actually an interesting choice of lyrics. no? yes. :)

anyway, i got off track…

so – for the past few days, i have been playing + learning a lot with photoshop cs6 and it’s been…interesting. interesting in the good way of course. most of the time i really don’t have a damn clue as to what i’m doing or trying to do, but that’s where the fun lies. it’s fun to just take a random mediocre picture and then learn how to manipulate the hell out of it until it becomes well, fun.

here are some of the random things i have “created” in photoshop recently, in case you were interested of course:

giraffes from the philadelphia zoo – which also made an appearance in this post.

tanner being both philosophical and literal. for literal interpretation, refer to video in this post.

just a random picture from my last visit to nyc.

umm. remember how i mentioned that i’m a fan of dinosaurs {see: here}? i also happen to be a fan {thanks to my friend, dema} of this song called “foux du fafa” by flight of the conchords. so, what’s more natural then bringing a dinosaur and a french song together, right?

this nugget goes by the name of “skipper,” and he happens to be my mother’s most treasured living creature. he’s a cocker spaniel with a bad attitude. despite having broken through some of my skin in the past, he’s a tubby little guy with a good heart.

and, so there it is. nothing mind-blowing; just pure, unadulterated fun via photoshop. the best part is that in the process of having fun, i’m actually learning something. so, here’s to learning more about photoshop – and other things that are actually fun. after all, isn’t that part of what this revamping is all about? :)

ok, and to finish 0ff – here is that tiny, ridiculously amateur video i mentioned earlier that was “put together” in photoshop.

here’s to all of us feeling the summer wind in our face! :)

<3 always,

ana patricia

what kind of “self-taught” things are you learning these days?

06/18/12

all salmon die after spawning.

or so i just read on the internet.

anyway, for a lack of anything better to post – i figured i would share with you a new recipe i tried out today, which involved none other than salmon.

here is the recipe, which can also be found here in it’s original glory:

Ingredients – 

  • 1 side fresh salmon, boned but skin on (about 3 pounds)

For the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons good soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions

Light charcoal briquettes in a grill and brush the grilling rack with oil to keep the salmon from sticking.

While the grill is heating, lay the salmon skin side down on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Whisktogether the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle half of the marinade onto the salmon and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Place the salmon skin side down on the hot grill; discard the marinade the fish was sitting in. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Turn carefully with a wide spatula andgrill for another 4 to 5 minutes. The salmon will be slightly raw in the center, but don’t worry; it will keep cooking as it sits.

Transfer the fish to a flat plate, skin side down, and spoon the reserved marinade on top. Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the skin and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

here are the ingredients that i used to make the marinade/sauce:

 in life, sometimes we need to take some shortcuts, even if they make no sense. {i.e. using minced garlic versus fresh garlic}. kindly refrain from judging me. :)

the above picture is not meant to be informative. i just wanted to include it because mini whisks are absolutely adorable.

the final product!

overall, it was yums. BUT, as some of the previous reviewers of this recipe mentioned – it was slightly on the salty side. for next time, i think i’ll add something sweet, like honey, or use low sodium soy sauce to subdue the saltiness. and trust me, there will be a next time. :)

that’s my mini kitchen adventure for today. looking forward to many more – and to hearing all of the new recipes that you have been trying {or even how this one came out for you!}. :)

<3 always,

ana patricia

what kind of new recipes have you tried out lately?

06/10/12

3×3 box of goodies.

you read right – two posts, one night. talk about trying to make up for lost time. :)

so, in one of my previous posts {here}, i listed a bunch of random things that i wanted to do. one of them being: “have and tend to my own little garden with a little table where we can sit and have breakfast.” guess who finally crossed that one of her list? that’s right, this girl. {this girl obviously being me, in case that wasn’t completely clear. :)}

ok, i confess. i already have a patio table in my backyard and a bistro table on my front porch. the previous owners of 215 also planted an array of unfortunate flower beds in our backyard that i am not a big fan of. so, what the hell did i do, you ask? oh, i’ll tell you! i happen to have planted a little 3×3 vegetable garden. oh yeah! in no time, i’ll be slicing up my very own home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers and eating them on that patio + bistro table. yums galore.

now i suppose all of this premature bragging of a bountiful harvest is where i am jinxing it all – or perhaps, it was already doomed to begin with? it was just this morning, in fact, that my own mother called me a “catastrophe” because somehow the pot of flowers she bought me took an unhealthy turn; some people would even go as far as saying that they died. in my defense, i thought mother nature and all of this recent rain was taking care of them for me. needless to say, i’m hoping for some sort of miracle with those. but, my veggies {3 types of tomatoes, cucumbers, green bell peppers and an array of herbs – sweet basil, parsley, oregano + mint} will be my ultimate comeback. {fingers crossed.}

luckily for me, al was prepared with his iphone and took the following pictures of the whole vegetable garden adventure:

we were planning on building our own little flower bed box BUT happened to find this one at christmas tree shops for $9.98, and opted for the easier quicker option.

against al’s wishes, we planted our vegetable garden on the side of our house. it’s a trial vegetable garden and to be perfectly honest, it really wouldn’t have a chance in our backyard with our little hooligan of a dog. :) hopefully i picked a good spot because i’m not looking forward to an i-told-you-so.

we cleaned out the random grass growing to the left of the raised vegetable garden, which totally created a fun muddy mess. we need to do the same around the recently planted wisteria and other viney plant. a little bit of mulch will hopefully give it all a cleaner look. i’m sure our overachiever of a neighbor will love looking at this mess in the meantime. since she mows her lawn almost every day, she will certainly be seeing lots of it. :)

what it looks like now! ok, it’s not that impressive. but it has potential to be awesome! and you know how i know? because it was planted with love. :)

looking forward to updating you on the progress of my little vegetable garden!

<3 always,

ana patricia

have you crossed off anything on your to-do list this weekend?

06/10/12

the results are in.

it took a good few weeks to finally get the results from the national geographic’s genographic project, previously mentioned here, but they are finally in.

this is the first of 9 pages of results, displaying the migration routes of my ancestors out of africa:

i would be lying if i didn’t say that i was slightly confused {maybe even disappointed?} that the migration route did not end up in portugal, or at least some part of western europe. although some of my family has recently dispersed, primarily to the united states and a handful to brazil, the majority of them were originally from portugal. i participated in this project knowing very well that it was not going to provide me with my specific genealogical history, but rather an overall picture of my ancestors’ migration out of africa. albeit very interesting to learn about, i found my results to be slightly vague + generic as it is still a work in progress. and, although national geographic does reiterate that it is an “ongoing research effort” and that this is just the beginning {“Although the arrow of your haplogroup currently ends across Western Eurasia, this isn’t the end of the journey for haplogroup T. This is where the genetic clues get murky and your DNA trail goes cold. Your initial results shown here are based upon the best information available today but this is just the beginning.”}, it would have been more of a confirmation to have seen that final dot somewhere in western europe or ideally, portugal. :) with all of that being said, i do not want to take away from the experience of this whole thing: i got to swab my mouth like a boss; i learned about the very beginning traces of my maternal ancestry and it gave me a window to those women who once-upon-a-time shared some of the same DNA as me. and that, my friends, is pretty damn awesome.

once again, if you want to learn more about this project, you can visit https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/index.html.

<3 always,

ana patricia

what interesting things have you learned about your ancestry?