Raspberry and Chocolate Bars. YUM.

Rah Rah Raspberry Chocolate Layered Oat Bars
raspberrychocbar4Tugboat man and I stopped at a Boudin Bakery located in South Coast Plaza ‘cos he was famished — he doesn’t have the same kind of stamina that I’m blessed with — to keep going until that holy grail has been attained.

Of course I’m speaking of shopping.

We took a five minute break so the whingy one could have some sustenance  – a little snack, a boost of energy — just enough to walk around the mall one more time.

Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Hermes, Chanel.

(Poor guy. He’s so sweet, He suffers for me, he really does.)

We shared a Raspberry Chocolate Bar that was SO unexpectedly mouthwatering I couldn’t wait to attempt a recreation.

It’s in the oven now. Tugboat man and I’ll have a taste comparison to see if it measures up.

OK, we patiently waited and enjoyed a square of my version of their Raspberry Chocolate Bar along with a cup of ginger tea.

The verdict? DELICIOUS, but not EXACTLY the same, yet so good, it doesn’t really matter.

In every bite there’s creamy rich chocolate along with the crunch of oats and zesty raspberry. SO GOOD. 

Try it!

(Next time I’ll use fresh raspberries or pure unsweetened jam to control the amount of sugar.  We felt this recipe was a bit TOO sweet but that only meant we couldn’t have as large a piece as we wanted.)


After firmly pressing bottom dough, spread with jam.

raspberrychocbarsAdd the chocolate chips, yum!
rasberrychocbars1Carefully press top dough over jam.
raspberrychocbar2Golden brown, it takes a long time to cool and firm up before cutting and eating. Be patient! Tip: Refrigerate to hasten setting up.raspberrychoc3

Chocolate Raspberry Layered Oat Bars

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 375°

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, butter, oil. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add flour, oats, salt, baking powder and stir until well blended (mixture will be slightly crumbly.).

Remove 3/4 cup of dough; toss with chocolate chips. Set aside.

Press the remaining dough firmly into an 8-inch square baking pan, and spread evenly with jam. Sprinkle with chocolate chip mixture and again press firmly.

Bake at 375° for thirty minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

 

Gallimaufry. What’s That? Today’s Confused Hodgepodge.

Gal·li·mau·fry  [gal-uhmaw-free]
…a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.

That’s today’s title and a great descriptor…a little bit of everything ‘cos, well, just because.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Update on my son...

Staples removed (20+ of them!!) thanks to my good friend’s doctor hub whom we’ve known since our boys were in first grade and we used to go to aerobics classes together…he’s a topnotch internist at North County Internal Medicine.

A while back they added something special to his practice, NCIM Aesthetics — specializing in state-of-the-art laser skin laser technology PLUS my personal favorites: Botox, Juvederm, and Radiesse. Give ’em a call @ 760-726-2302 or email NCIMaesthetics@gmail.com

So far, the only hitch in Angel Boy’s recovery was a by-product of taking Augmentin for an infection he got in the hospital…another really awful stomach bacteria called c. difficile, but with a switch to Flagyl and some high quality probiotics, his fever and the infection disappeared. He’s finishing up his recovery in SF with DIL. Alll he needs to do now is build up his strength and gain back the nearly twenty pounds he lost over the last month.

Me (‘cos it’s always about me, right? I mean, even when it doesn’t seem to be all about me, it’s really ALL ABOUT ME.)

Suffering from writer’s block again, so I’m watching back to back episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, Real Housewives of Orange County (or New York), and Sherlock —  all very successfully helping me NOT create a post — or writing — of any value. There’s no real writing inspiration, just escapism.

Honestly, I don’t know who I’m crushing on more: Randy Fenoli from SYTTD (I’d kill for his eyebrows) or Benedict Cumberbatch as the ultimate Sherlock. I love them both! But not nearly as much as I’m lady boning for Richard Roxburgh as criminal lawyer Cleaver Greene in Rake, (the original Aussie one), not the US version, on Netflix.

Watching SYTTD and Housewives is something I can ONLY do when my tugboat man is out to sea; it’s one of those pesky non-negotiables when he’s home.

He literally REFUSES — says, “Im outta here” as he leaves the room, so I save them as my guilty pleasures when he’s thousands of miles away.

A successful marriage is all about compromises, right? Do I want to have a fight about a stupid TV show? Nope, not this Princess.

With my very empty nest, it was time to put on my comfortable shoes and flex my weakened shopping muscles. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent the day as a little retail butterfly, flitting from one store to the next, checking out the offerings and laying down the “plastique”; I’m a bit rusty and needed a warm-up before attempting one of the big malls or my own personal mecca, South Coast Plaza.

After a great hour-long boot camp class at 24 Hour Fitness, I checked my watch, 10:00 a.m. and I was off! First to Target for essentials, then Trader Joe’s and a vacuum store for a new powerhead belt, on to Marshalls to test my shoe-spotting and ability to browse both-sides-of-the-aisle-at-the-same-time skills.

After the one hour mark, I was a bit tired and thirsty so I stopped to eat an apple and grab a bottle of water — it’s imperative to stay well-hydrated and nourished whilst shopping.

Revived, I meandered downtown to get my glasses adjusted and stopped at my favorite consignment shop where I’ve previously discovered Valentino and Missoni treasures –not so lucky on this day, but I didn’t leave empty handed; there was a sweet and comfy chartreuse bathing suit coverup  that called out to me.

This practice shopping excursion ended with a visit to Lowe’s for vegetable seeds, a pomegranate tree, and mesh to cover an apple tree that’s being eaten by nasty ground squirrels, presumably cousins of the elusive Spirit Squirrel™.
Click here to read all about it.

Still all about me, but on a serious note…

I was just diagnosed with vitreous detachment in my left eye which is sad because I thought the sparkles I was seeing was once-and-for-all proof positive of my Princess-ness.

However, I was wrong. Here’s the info from NIH (National Institutes of Health) in case you ever see sparkles and it’s not the optical or silent migraine type of lights.

It’s definitely NOT something to ignore…

What is vitreous detachment?
Most of the eye’s interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that helps the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina, the eye’s light-sensitive tissue. As we age, the vitreous slowly shrinks, and these fine fibers pull on the retinal surface. Usually the fibers break, allowing the vitreous to separate and shrink from the retina.

In most cases, a vitreous detachment, also known as a posterior vitreous detachment, is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment.

Who is at risk for vitreous detachment?
A vitreous detachment is a common condition that usually affects people over age 50, and is very common after age 80. People who are nearsighted are also at increased risk. Those who have a vitreous detachment in one eye are likely to have one in the other, although it may not happen until years later.

Symptoms and Detection
As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina that you may notice as floaters, which appear as little “cobwebs” or specks that seem to float about in your field of vision. If you try to look at these shadows they appear to quickly dart out of the way.

One symptom of a vitreous detachment is a small but sudden increase in the number of new floaters. This increase in floaters may be accompanied by flashes of light (lightning streaks) in your peripheral, or side, vision. In most cases, either you will not notice a vitreous detachment, or you will find it merely annoying because of the increase in floaters.

Treatment
How does vitreous detachment affect vision?

Although a vitreous detachment does not threaten sight, once in a while some of the vitreous fibers pull so hard on the retina that they create a macular hole or lead to a retinal detachment.

Both of these conditions are sight-threatening and should be treated immediately.

If left untreated, a macular hole or detached retina can lead to permanent vision loss in the affected eye. Those who experience a sudden increase in floaters or an increase in flashes of light in peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine their eyes as soon as possible.

But enough of THAT stuff, right?

On that happy note, I’ll wrap up this Wednesday gallimaufry and try to focus on a submission for Erma Bombeck Workshop all because I opened my big mouth on Twitter and kinda sorta got dared to do it. SCARED! Wish me luck, y’all!

ermabombeck

 

 

Dripping Caves: Hiking Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park @Orange County, California

alisosignA few days before Christmas, we picked up Angel Boy (my son– and yes, we still call him Angel Boy even though he’s thirty-two-years old!) from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

We drove RIGHT BY South Coast Plaza but my mind was too excited to see my baby to care about stopping at Chanel or Valentino or Cartier or Gucci or Harry Winston….HARRY WINSTON!!

Crap, did I just miss an opportunity to check out Chanel???

Sigh, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

Aliso hike

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is a jewel of solitude and natural beauty in hectic Orange County.

It comprises approximately 4,500 acres of wilderness and natural open space land. Originally, part of the Juaneno or Acajchemem tribal land, it later was owned by Don Juan Avila, Louis Moulton, the Mission Viejo Company, and now is under the jurisdiction of OC Parks.

Within the park lands are mature oaks, sycamores, and elderberry trees, two year-round streams, and over thirty miles of official trails. Many rare and endangered plants and animals make this park their home. This park is designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

To get to the main trailhead for Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, exit the 5 freeway at Alicia Parkway and head towards the ocean.

Of course it was imperative that we feed the child. Whether they’re four or thirty-two, the first thing they think about is FOOD! I had prepared a huge amount of food for the hungry traveler and we ate it at a picnic table near the entrance to the trailhead, under a canopy of old shade trees. He ate a couple of his favorite sandwiches: tuna with celery, apples, nuts, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce — along with Lentil Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Veggie Chips, Persimmon Bread, and an apple and an orange. We never fail to marvel at the AMOUNT of food Angel Boy can pack away…and that doesn’t include the nuts and raisins for the hike.

What’s up with that kind of metabolism?

He eats so much and burns it all and needs to eat again every couple of hours or so. This is just his normal — I once took him to an endocrinologist to make sure his levels were OK, and we learned that he’s just an extremely efficient food user. All I can say is that he didn’t get that from me.

After almost eight miles, we drove home — exhausted –but in a good way, and restored by the fragrance of Southern California buckwheat and sage.

Of course it was time for dinner and another feast of epic proportions: the stuff of mom-joy, that’s for sure.

Shadow and light, me and my tugboat man.

alisoparkhike

Great blue heron.

aliisobirdA hidden pocket of water.

Aliso1

More water, rushing over rocks.

Aliso2

A gorgeous meadow and hills, but look at the houses on the hill.
So close to civilization!

aliso4Fairy-like foot bridge.
alisobridge

alisodrippingcave

alisocave

Another cool cave.

alisocave1

Some leaves DO change color in SoCal!alisotree

A happy mom ‘cos my Angel Boy was home,
even if only for a few days.

alisome

A Project-Based Life

peace-sign-flowersNope, this isn’t an inspirational life lesson about blessings or another sanctimonious diatribe about the rules of living harmoniously with peace signs and luv and future conditional acts of kindness that’ll result in good karma (although those are wonderful ideals.)

Nor is this a guide or doctrine or manual advising you about how to live a VALUE-based life or PLANT-based life (although those are great ideas, too)

In a way, you could say I live a PURPOSE-driven life because I’m on a MISSION.

I’m OBSESSED with buying the perfect wedge. That’s my purpose in life for right now.

As Paula Deen so eloquently waxed, “I izz what I izzz”.PaulaDeen

Butter, I mean but, I truly do live a project-based life.

I do a lot of projects. How’s that? Better?

Tee hee.

I mean, what else can I do to wile away the endless days and hours until my tugboat man comes home? And don’t judge me if you haven’t walked a block or two in my Louboutins.

It’s not like I can have a full-time job ‘cos then we’d never get to spend any time together and I haven’t found the right fit in a part-time position that would allow me enough shopping time. Oh, and project time. Cos I live a project-based life, remember?

Here’s my project du jour: Princess Rosebud shoe embellishment

I’ve been obsessively scouring the shops for the perfect wedge.

espadrillesI found these delightful slides but that just whetted my appetite for another pair. I’ve been everywhere in San Diego County. I went to Fashion Valley-nothing. I went to Saks Fifth Avenue-nothing. I stopped at University Towne Center in La Jolla-nothing. DSW, two locations — nothing.

Finally, I found the perfect lightweight wedge at Barneys Outlet in Carlsbad but they didn’t have my size. The sales associate informed me that they could have the right size sent to the store but I’d have to pay an extra $12.00 and the shoes were already a pricey $155.00. I thought that was totally ridiculous—I mean, it’s like I was being penalized for wanting to buy their stupid shoes. I told her to forget it and walked away dejectedly.

Life is SO tough for me.

Sigh.

Never one to admit defeat, I went to Famous Footwear mostly ‘cos I thought I’d get another pair of Nike cross trainers. I didn’t find anything I liked – yes, I’m THAT picky, in case you haven’t figured that out by now….but I did find these espadrilles for only $20.00, originally $50.00.

OK. You might think these are cute just the way they are, but I see a blank canvas that needs some sparkle, a little dressing up, a little beautification. It’s not that I’m never happy with the way things are; I believe almost everything can be made just a bit better with a little creativity and effort. Maybe that IS a life lesson…

espadrilleswhiteI went to Michael’s Crafts with a single shoe in hand, wandering up and down each aisle waiting for the muse to strike. Nothing seemed right until I found these flowery things (on sale). I couldn’t wait to get home and get started on this project.
espadrilleshowflowers

I embellished the embellishment, and added a sparkle in the middle.
Glue guns RULE!

espadrilleswhiteflowers2

espadrillescloseup

Cute, right? It seems to be the perfect finishing touch for a casual shoe.
Can’t wait to pin these on Pinterest.

espadrilleswhitefinal

BUT I still NEED that elusive perfect wedge. Maybe these Louboutins?
Now THAT’S such an awesome shoe that doesn’t need me to do a thing do it.
It’s so perfect I could kiss it. MWAH.
Louboutin
Since it appears that I’ll be a single woman for another week or so, I’ll be heading north to the holy grail — the the only place on earth that’ll fulfill my desires —
South Coast Plaza.  If I can’t find the perfect wedge there, I can’t find it anywhere.

And that’ll be my purpose for next week. Now I have to think of another project or two; seashells perhaps?

Hiking the Magnificent Crystal Cove State Park With Princess Rosebud

My Birthday Hike

Crystal Cove State Park is in the OC.

That’s Orange County for those of you who didn’t watch The Hills or Real Housewives of Orange County.

It’s about an hour up the road from our little beachy town, near the home of my favorite shopping mecca, South Coast Plaza.

As much as I enjoy playing dress up in diamonds and designer fashion, I LOVE getting dusty and dirty on a trail surrounded by nature.

A couple years ago my son attended a seminar at University of California at Irvine and we hiked Crystal Cove together, but my tugboat man had been out to sea and wasn’t able to join us.

It’s so beautiful that I wanted to share it with him and chose it for my birthday activity.

On my birthday, I get to do anything I want — my mom said so — and who am I to argue when she substantiated my belief that the world revolves around me?

It was a wonderful, happy, magical day!

How to get there

Crystal Cove Directions

The bridge at the beginning of the trail.
The trail we took was about five miles; we couldn’t take the longer one ‘cos of our time constraints.  It starts off heading east up into the hills —
when you’re at the top, you’re facing west —
with an amazingly beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.

crystalcovebridge

crystalcoveflowers

A little wild rabbit, maybe a cousin of my garden bunny.

crystalcovebunny

The view from the top of the trail. It’s  breathtaking.

crystalcoveview

Beautiful Orange County.
I wonder who lives in those homes overlooking the cove?

crystalcoveview2

Where we ate lunch…can you spot the quail who came to join us?

crystalcovelunchquail

Princess Rosebud in a new Yale shirt, a Mother’s Day gift from Angel Boy.

Lunch Crystal Cove Me and J

Happy Memorial Day to all of our veterans!

crystalcoveplaque

We walked across the street to see the vintage cottages built in the 1930s.
They’re on the beach and available to rent through the
Crystal Cove Alliance. Click here for all the deets.

Located in the heart of Crystal Cove State Park’s 3.5 miles of pristine coastline, the Historic District was first developed as a South Seas movie set due to its seclusion and tropical aura.

The community thrived and became popular for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere and picturesque landscape. In 1979, the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built as a seaside colony in the 1930s and 40s, Crystal Cove endures as a magical escape for visitors who appreciate the opportunity to experience California’s natural and architectural beauty, untouched by time.

crystalcovecottages

Touring the Visitor’s Center, we took a step back to the 1930s to see what the cottage kitchens used to look like.

crystalcovekitchen

How could anyone not jump in that inviting ocean?

crystalcovecoast

Not big enough for surfboards, but my two guys had a refreshing swim.

crystalcoveswim

crystalcovebeach1

The outdoor restaurant was full of people enjoying the amazing weather;
check out the nautical flags!

crystalcovenauticalflag

Oopsie…chemtrails. These are NOT contrails…
Our sunny day turned milky white right before our eyes.

crystalcovechemtrails

Next time: My Hello Kitty Birthday Party

A Grateful Monday

As part of my 2013 resolution to release my inner beeyotch, Helen Reddy‘s inspiredI am Woman helps me stay on track!

I would like to thank three awesome women for their creativity and imagination, especially since it’s all about ME!

1. Rarasaur’s delightful interpretation of ME! Check out her incredible blog and just try to figure out how her mind works! She’s another SoCal girl and she loves cats! And she’s only 60 inches tall just like me! I love her a lot and you will too. Rarasaur doodle enchanted seashells

2. IB DesignsUSA banner in nautical flags, because sometimes the best answer is “Meow”.  Kathy loves all things nautical and is a lovely lady with a great business. International maritime navy signal flags are a colorful way to spell names, messages, or to decorate your home. Give a personalized signal flag banner or wall hanging as a nautical wedding decoration, an unusual boating Christmas gift, or just for the plain fun of it!

Meow banner

3. In response to a tweet of mine bemoaning my lack of mail–no packages, no invitations to a ball, no requests to attend a movie premiere with Tina Fey–wonderful, awesome Red Dirt Kelly sent me a t-shirt!! I was so excited to return home (from my all day torture of my tugboat man as I dragged him from store to store at South Coast Plaza in the OC until he was so exhausted that he was at my mercy and he begged me to buy something, anything from Chanel so he could go home) and find a package to open and it was this t-shirt! Everyone needs to read the Red Dirt Chronicles!

reddirtkelly

Don’t miss Tuesday’s exciting blog! I’ll share an in-depth reportage of our day at South Coast Plaza, a day of torture and retaliation, culminating in a new Chanel acquisition!
Beeyotches RULE!