Facebook, friends, and scallops—oh my!

I had a major kitchen crisis (nothing fits anywhere and I was losing my mind) and jokingly asked on Facebook if anyone wanted to come help me figure it out…

And Jami volunteered! And then was serious! (She lives about 1:30 away so it wasn’t completely insane.)

She’s an amaaaaazing cook and has bragged about her perfect scallops so, since I LOVE SCALLOPS, she brought them to teach me how to do it! So I learned how to make perfect scallops with a saffron wine sauce on fresh spinach Fettuccini. It was divine!! Of course, she also brought snacks and wine…and a cast iron pan and avocado cooking oil and cream because my kitchen isn’t up to par yet.

They were so beautiful they really deserve a full-size shot:

She had brought cookies to Owen and Katie. When she handed them out, age called them by name. Katie asked how she knew her name and I said she knew her from the day she was born. (I had told the kids previously that Jami was from the same group of friends as Uncle Eddy, Aunt Sheryl, Miss Nancy, and the whole group of people that came to our house a few times). 

Owen waited on his cookie, but Katie was all in. 

Owen being silly after tasting other desserts.

Then we played with makeup a bit, did an unplanned Facebook Live video, she bought two new lip colors and a blush, and we drank wine.

I had to get creative since we forgot to keep it chilled. Yes, that plastic ice cube is from a boo-boo bunny. 

Oh yes, we did also get some kitchen stuff figured out (also with Linda’s help).

Adulting with Jami.

Since we planned on drinking, we took a Lyft to the restaurant, and since it was a chocolate restaurant (The Chocolate Sanctuary), I obviously had to start with the German Chocolate Cake martini…Vodka, Amaretto, cream of coconut, chocolate, caramel, and toasted coconut. 

Then Jami took over on the pictures.

  • Chicken and Goat Cheese Wrapped in Cocoa-Candied Bacon with Cocoa-cranberry sauce. 
  • Cocoa Pan-Seared Scallops with Zucchini chips, truffle mash potatoes, miso beurre blanc
  • The Sanctuary Chopped Salad: Romaine, field greens, sweet corn, avocado, cocoa-candied bacon, tomatoes, hearts of palm, cheddar cheese, herb-parmesan croutons, chocolate vinaigrette

Elderflower Aperitif: Sparkling Moscato D’Asti, St. Germain, and fresh raspberry

Beignets! Light and airy chocolate filled doughnuts served with mixed berry compote and crème anglaise

We will definitely visit again and bring out of town guests…

Partisan Pig Feast + More!

A Tivo-peep/Michigan friend, Therese, was in town for a conference, so we threw together a last-minute dinner downtown at The Partisan (I was thrilled to go there because that’s a dinner we recently missed when Tom had to be in Chicago for work).

The menu changes daily (and I forgot to take a picture of it—I’m slacking in my old age) so I checked their website hoping for tonight’s selection…but it wasn’t meant to be. That said, most of the items were still listed. I’m fairly sure you will be able to tell which descriptions are from the actual menu I found. (I also didn’t take pictures of the dishes like I normally would—so all the food pictures below (minus one) are all from TCF peep friend Jonathon.) As is usual practice, we all ordered a bunch of stuff then shared everything.

Three of us ordered this (which means everyone got to try it all). Unfortunately, none of the courses were listed so I’m going by memory:

– Lamb Koobideh Kebab, Doner Spice, Sumac Onions, Coriander Yogurt, Mint

– Beef Fat Fries, Roasted Garlic, Rosemary, Ranch Aioli
– “Head shoulders knees and toes” taquitos (Pig Feast course #1)

– Seared Scallops, & Morcilla [blood] Sausage, Adobo Cream, Lardo, Agave (ordered off menu but it was also Pig Feast course #3 so we had double portions!)
– Dan Dan Noodles with Beef Cheek

– Prosciutto and asparagus (Pig Feast course #2)

– Pasta with pig face ragout (Pig Feast course #4)

– Pork tenderloin with fava beans, polenta, and arugula (Pig Feast course #5)

It was at this point that Tom said “Well, I think that’s it!” And then the waiter brought out two more dishes! :)

– Rotissi-fried Chicken, Honey Hot Sauce

– Chocolate Cake Donut Holes, Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Crunch Pearls

And the only food pic I took myself—my share of the dessert plate:

Goodbye selfie:

A great day and night with great friends!

Nancy was helping me with a Jamberry manicure and Ken decided he wanted a few nails done as well.

Nancy and I tried to recruit two friends to the wonderful LipSense world today…and I introduced them to my infamous (?!) stairwell shooting location. 😊

Tammy and Amy helping me roll bread balls for garlic bread bites.

The whole group!

Uncle Eddy!

We need a bigger table!

The dessert table! Eddy helped me make a cheese flan (with a caramelized top) in the instant pot (far right) and it turned out great! And Amy brought three cakes from Juniors Cheesecakes!

This is why we need better outdoor space! This is where everyone always wants to congregate and we only have eight chairs with barely enough space to hold them!

The party mostly died out by about 11 and just a handful of us stayed talking to about midnight. It was a great night with great friends…

Lunch and Pokemon in Occoquan with friends!

Trying out each other’s lipsticks before heading out to lunch! Neither of us liked the colors on us but liked the colors on the other!

In Occoquan! Nancy and Eddy gave us grief over the name and called it something different every time they said it which was hilarious. I think Khakakan was our favorite.

Our lunch that took forever and a day. Excellent food, awful timing.

Uncle Eddy showing off the awesome portrait camera setting on the iPhone 7+ (blurred background). I want it badly but the phone is just TOO big.


My friends made me happy cry!

I was hosting an online Facebook party for this cool new lipstick and had included people from all times of my life…and the consultant was posting fun games for them to earn raffle entries. This one she did was so sweet and the responses made me happy cry. :) I’m posting it so I can look back on it when I’m having a bad day. 


Happy New Year 2017!

In probably the most unexpected detail ever in the history of this blog…I did not take ONE. SINGLE. PICTURE. ALL. NIGHT. 8O

So, we were the surprise guests for this party. Meaning, obviously, no one knew we were coming (except the host and one other friend). We’ve had surprise guests at other Tivo events before and it’s always fun, so when it worked out that we could do it for this party (due to our White House tour) we were excited. And it was cool—we’re so glad to have surprised our old (and new) crazy ax murderer internet friends and spent the evening with them!

This was taken by Jay, who I haven’t seen in real life…

…since 2009.

You know you’re old when you have two glasses of sangria and think it’s got to be getting close to midnight…and it’s not even 9! There was lots of good food and games, and we all managed to make it to midnight (waiting for the ball to drop, below), but the party broke up shortly thereafter. I really knew I was old when I wasn’t drunk heading back to the hotel. :lol:

I slept in until 10 (!) the next morning, and then it was off to brunch with friends before the wave of goodbyes (again, I did not take one single picture).

That’s about 140# of coconut oil!

Or what I’ve lost thanks to Naturally Slim! (Thanks to friend and fellow NatSlimmer Brad for helping!)

I originally wanted to do this with tubs of Crisco but just never got around to it at home. Then I told Marcia about it and we were going to stop by Sam’s Club but we just never seemed to have enough time!! So after lunch at Ida Claire, I asked my Brad Uber if there was a Costco between the restaurant and the airport and if we had time…and he said yes! We did get a few strange looks while we were unloading and rearranging the buckets, but not one single person said one word!

Lunch with some Texas peeps at Ida Claire!

Ida Claire. Say it. Now say it with a southern accent. Listen. Bingo! I missed it the first few times, too. :)

This is Brad. He’s a Tivo peep I’ve known forever and met once almost 10 years ago. He’s lost 90# on Naturally Slim.

This is a delicious Bloody Mary. I learned I liked pickled okra. :)

This is Brad, me, and Smeek (Jeff). I’ve met him a few times before over the years but it’s always good to see him. He’s one of our resident foodies so he picked the place. I also got to try two of his fancy drinks. :)

And here’s a pic of me and Smeek from 2007 (that last guy is not Brad, unfortunately—it’s Peter):

Here’s Brad from that same weekend, just to complete the group flashback:

And my super delicious lunch. [Thinking about it now, days later, still makes my mouth water.]

Shrimp & Grits @ Ida Claire

The Naturally Slim Dinner

So we had our Naturally Slim Dinner at Venezia Pizza Cafe—there were 10 of us including Marcia, one of her daughters, me, Bryan and his wife, and then Brad (another Tivo NS person), Jannie and Rich (a married Tivo NS couple), someone from Bryan’s church, and—SURPRISE!—Andrea! I’ve been online friends with her for years now and when I knew I’d be coming to Texas and she lives in Texas AND IS A NATSLIM MEMBER, I told her she HAD to come to the dinner. She has a lot of stuff going on, but she said she’d try to make it. Then she said she likely couldn’t. So I was thrilled to see her when I walked into the restaurant!! YAY!

And Tivo friends Jannie and Rich who I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years!

The most interesting thing we got to hear was some of the backstory about how Naturally Slim came to be. NatSlim as we know it really only came to be in the last 10 years or so. We knew her mom came up with the TrueThin philosophy 30 years ago and she taught classes in person and then Marcia taught classes in person (and still does), but the online video part didn’t really start until 2003 or so. And back then it was like “We really need to put these videos online, but there’s really no good way…” (For a data point, YouTube started in 2005.) There’s more to the story that I actually heard during some of our drive times over the weekend, but of course my mind didn’t retain all the details.

Recording my Naturally Slim testimonial!

First and foremost, I finally got to meet Bryan! I’ve “known” him online for about 10 years on the Tivo forums but we’ve never actually met. Come to find out last year—long story short—he lost 140 pounds on Naturally Slim and has kept it off for three years now. He was one of the two people who were initially responsible for me joining NS. :)

Bryan befire and after Naturally Slim

He is a videographer/producer by trade (617 Production Group) and had been doing the videos for the program and after many years he had an AHA moment and never looked back. His company no longer does the official program videos but Marcia does call him in for stuff like this. And especially for my testimonial since I know him!

We were recording it at Bryan’s church because it was the most convenient place. The sun was in my eyes…

…so this is apparently my look as I’m figuring out if this new spot will work.

Getting ready to start!

A pic Bryan snapped during the filming.


The whole thing was just…odd. And surreal.

First, even though Marcia was asking me questions, you won’t ever hear her asking them…so you have to rephrase/include the question in your answer. So if she asks “What was the easiest thing about Naturally Slim?” you’d have to start your response with “The easiest thing about Naturally Slim…” Of course, not every question led to a response that was that easy to formulate and I often had to take a moment to think how I was going to respond to get the question in. The good thing (which took some getting used to) is knowing that it will all be cut and edited for the best sound bite, so even though everything was recording, it won’t all be used. That was also helpful when I was answering a question, yakking on and on, and then suddenly losing my train of thought or realizing I had veered violently away from where I’d been headed with my answer and I would just stop and say “Yeah, that’s it. I lost it.” Marcia had told me to just pretend I was having a conversation with her, but honestly, it’s a lot harder to answer questions when you know someone is counting on you to give sound bite answers. That said, every so often as I answered a question, I’d see Marcia do a mini fist pump showing she loved my response. After one (which I don’t even remember what I was talking about), she said she really wanted to use it at the end of week one! So who knows, maybe I’ll actually be in the official videos!!

Second—and I touched on this above—is that I often veered totally off course as I was answering a question. I remember a time or two when I’d be talking and talking and then suddenly I was also thinking “Wait, that is NOT anything related to what they asked.” I would ask if they wanted me to start again or try another take and the answer was generally no, because even if I didn’t answer the specific question, there was still usable sections or they liked the direction I went. I did have to retell a story once because I mentioned IKEA and they said I couldn’t say that just in case a competitor ever used the program. So then I worried about telling the story again and hoping I got all the same excitement and inflections…and who knows if I did or not. Time will tell.

Overall they said it went very well—even though I felt I was completely ridiculous and out of my element—and we talked for about 30-40 minutes. I know Bryan’s company can work magic, but I am still crossing my fingers that I come off natural.

Afterwards, I asked Marcia and Bryan who wanted to get in my pants. :) Seriously—I had brought my FAT PANTS and had thought it would be fun to get two people into the one pair of pants. (This did not surprise them—they had both been forewarned.) Marcia is SUCH a good sport and agreed to do it. First, though, Bryan recorded a snippet of me trying on the pants, so hopefully I’ll get to see that in the end. And then this happened…they were stretched out a bit more than when I actually wore them, but STILL. Two of us in one pair of pants. Good times. Again, SUCH a good sport.


I have no idea when I will see a finished product, but you know I will let everyone know as soon as I see something. And don’t get your hopes up that it will be a 20-minute piece. It is likely to be a 20-second snippet here or there in a compilation of other testimonials. Fingers crossed!!

What’s a birthday celebration without a burnt cake, sloppy joes on the ceiling, and a toddler tantrum/early bedtime?

For a special treat, I decided to make a Tres Leches cake for Tom’s cake—I’d never made one before but it didn’t seem too hard and it was a Pioneer Woman recipe so you know it’s fairly easy and should be delicious. I’m talking from scratch here, people. Like whipping egg whites and making my own whipped cream. I set the cake timer for the minimum stated time…and it was obviously too long and the edges were burnt. GRRR. I always set the timer for 10 minutes EARLIER than the minimum just in case but not today. I trimmed them off and hoped for the best.

One of Tom’s favorite meals is sloppy joes so that was an easy dinner as well—and they were delicious. After dinner I got out the cake and poor Tom lit his own candle. :)


And then I excitedly tried the cake and MEH—it was nothing special. I think the cake was just too dry from being overcooked and I had only put the suggested two cups of liquid into the cake when I should have tried for more because of it being overcooked. Oh well. Tom liked it and the kids loved it but now I want to make it again and try for better!

So then we were clearing off the table and loading the dishwasher…when suddenly Tom trips and I see something flying through the air. WHAT THE…?! Turns out, it was sloppy joes. Yes, sloppy joe meat was all over the place. Tom’s flip flop caught on the edge of the gel floor mat and he tripped. The dishwasher door was fully open so he was violently trying not to fall into that so while trying to catch himself, he slammed his hand down on the kitchen island/stove…RIGHT on the spoon that was still in the sloppy joes on the stove…which sent sloppy joes catapulting across the kitchen and then, as Owen noticed minutes later…on the ceiling as well! Keep in mind we have like 10′ ceilings in the kitchen.


Maggie cleaned up all the chunks off the floor and I wiped up after her while Tom got out the ladder and wiped down the ceiling. Then it was a matter of looking around and discovering all the tomato sauce speckles all over the place…on the cake, on the stove, on the refrigerator, on the wall… Hoo boy. I’m sure we’ll be discovering them for days to come.

Of course, I posted about it on Facebook…and I love our friends:


So we got that cleaned up and then it was time for the kids to Skype with Uncle Rob (which had been temporarily postponed to clean up the mess). Well, Owen asked if they could put on their Halloween costumes to show Uncle Rob. GRRR. A simple request, right? Except they’d both been asking me ALL DAMN DAY to wear their costumes and I had already told them at least four times that I’d let them wear them before Halloween…just not today. So of course I was annoyed but agreed. Well, Katie had taken hers off like a kid does so it was completely inside out. She knows how to fix it, but she didn’t want to. I was still busy in the kitchen so was talking her through it—but it wasn’t good enough for her. She actually had it about 95% of the way fixed when she started stomping her feet at me. That’s never the answer, so she got a warning that she would be going to bed if she continued. She continued. So she got taken up to bed and she was a HOT MESS. (She really needed an early night—she hadn’t caught up from the late night when we had friends over for dinner plus being at the pool for three hours…)

So…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOM! Burnt and dry cake, a kitchen mess, and a tantrumy toddler. What better way to celebrate, right? :heart: