Monday, November 26, 2012

Can I be honest here?

Because who isn't mourning the loss of a vacation week right?

When the alarm on Ryan's phone went off this morning, I have never wanted more than to be a four year old at that moment. To hang around all day, be fed my sammiches in little triangles and to watch Rugrats all day. 
 It chimed it's cruel it's-Monday-back-to-the-grind tune, and all I wanted was pie. 
Ok, not literally pie (but really), rather everything pie represented to me this past week. 
Pie for breakfast, pie for lunch, pie for dinner. Pie meant no term papers, no answering e-mails at the office, no being forced to put on make-up and walk out into the cold world. 
It meant the smell of my home. My own home; the one I grew up in, and my own bed. The smell of oil paint and floral incense that lingers in the walls of my bedroom. It meant no dishes screaming at me to be done; no feeling of money being sucked from my wallet every time we turn on the heat in a meager attempt to make our apartment a house rather than a necessity. Depression and pie do not co-exist. Pie meant the fridge was full. I could eat cheese, and as much as I wanted, because I wasn't paying for it. I could sleep in and not feel rushed by any responsibilities scratching on the window to be done.
 I could write, and do my nails, and take naps. 
I love naps. 
I got home cooked meals without the pressure of preparing them; wondering if they are even edible or worthy of serving at all. And somehow, the dishes got done after I ate. I didn't have to touch a single sponge. The house was bright, a candle was always lit, and the decorations found their way on the walls. 
There was a Christmas tree, not a blaring space in the living room that represented $100 in your pocket or a tree to fill the gap, but an actual tree dotted with the ornaments of my childhood.

Yep. I really miss pie. Needless to say, motivation for school these next few weeks are slim to none.

I need a big motivation pill to swallow with a tall glass of sparkling gratitude. That is all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sweet little prince.

My friend Shelley went and adopted the puppy! Ya know, that angel we fell in love with at the pound (pre-stalking experience). He is perhaps the sweetest, most gentle dog I've ever seen in my life. I have yet to hear a peep out of him. It's a shame really, because I know if I ever get a dog, he will seem like Satan next to what I am now accustomed to. Here's some glamour shots of this sweet little guy!


Here's the proud momma with her boy. Proof that owners get dogs that match them perfectly!

I'm sexy and I know it...

Such a tired little guy. It's hard to be loved on so much.
I think I need a puppy. Yup, It's official.

Speaking of puppies, I've been able to spend my Thanksgiving break drawing, (greatest vacation ever)! 
My subject matter you ask? It is none other than our ever-so-handsome bachelor Ernie, the puppy extraordinaire over at Chronicles of Ruthie Hart

Did you really think I would give away the surprise so easily?!
But seriously, probably one of my favorite portraits I've ever done, and my first animal drawing! 

I'd say I've got a bad case of puppy fever as of NOW! Who's with me?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And so the Stalking Begins

So one of my dearest friends had a birthday this last week, which naturally warrants some girl time, lunch out on the town, visiting the pound to gawk over the sweet doggies, and being stalked in Walmart.
Yes, you heard right. Legitimately stalked.
There I am in the shampoo aisle looking at hairsprays when Ellie comes over and whispers "Val... I really think we are being followed." I totally thought she was being a lil cray-cray considering we live in basically the safest town in America. (Seriously, last weeks police report noted the bandit who left the store with two gallons of milk without paying, and the smoke detector set off at an apartment complex from burnt bacon...)

Ellie proceeded to tell me that she'd noticed the same older guy pass our aisle from both ends mutiple times and looking at us as if he were circling. I was like oookay Shells, until I saw it too! I went to the end of the aisle, turned the corner, and this peeping Tom was staring around the corner a few aisles down, slowly pulled back when I saw him.
I totally felt just like this kept happening:

But really... Creepiest thing ever?!

We thought maybe we were just being paranoid, so we went to the other end of the store to the Christmas decorations and low and behold, he followed us and was peeking over some girls clothes racks across the way. By that point it was getting really weird. We kept moving back through the store and like a magnet, he moved with us now lurking in the baby supplies. BABY SUPPLIES?! How about you just put a sign across your face that says "I'm a child molester!?"

He held a phone to his ear the whole time but wasn't talking on it and looked maybe 35-40 years old. We were so freaked out. We wandered the store for a while until we lost him and thought it was safe to go buy our stuff and go out to the car, but before we did, we decided to see if he was still lurking around just to make sure we knew where he was. Lo and behold, Creeper McCreeperson was back circling the shampoo aisle where we originally spotted him. We began towards the register trying to maneuver as far from him as possible and not 3 seconds after we saw him straight ahead in the shampoo section and turned left to walk away from him, did we cross paths with him coming from the left side, towards us! THE MAN APPARATED THERE! I have NO clue how he moved so blasted fast! Concerned for our dog-gone lives, we called Ellie's husband and his brother to come get us. When they got there, we got the male confirmation that something was seriously up with that dude.

We can now check "Stalked at Walmart" off our bucket lists.

[x] Almost kidnapped (age 17)
[x] Goosed at a concert (age 18)
[x] Stalked in a Walmart (age 21)

We met the sweetest puppy at the pound and attracted a legitimate creeper, I'd say we had a fairly productive day.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Hormone Guide

There is no secret within my family that I am the most emotional person know to man kind. If milk is spilled, I will cry for hours over it (and have...). Secret's out. I'll be the first to testify that my Husband is Superman for putting up with all he does.

My friend Laura posted this funny little thing on Facebook today:

It was sort of the most brilliant thing I have seen all day.  So, I decided to make one of my own:

I'm thinking this may find its lil tush on our fridge. I hope my hubby finds it as funny as I do :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

This girl is featured in some giveaways!

Hey all! Who doesn't love a giveaway?!

Check out my prize plus many more at the giveaway over at The Chronicles of Ruthie Hart, and enter like it's going out of style! 
What have I offered up to the blogger goddesses you ask?

I'm offering a hand drawn original portrait (a $50+ value) (wait... this girl draws? Why yes, yes I do... or try to at least!). Plus there are so many awesome ladies offering up some goodies as well!

I'm also being featured over at Aunie Sauce:

Why yes, Thanksgiving just got a whole lot better :)

Friday, November 16, 2012


College keeps me busy. 
Then there are certain days where, hypothetically, I may be sitting in a postmodern literature class discussing the literary techniques found in the pages of Cormac McCarthy's post apocalyptic, dystopian novel "The Road", when I begin to get a little depressed by the subject matter and the cannibalistic state of living therein (weird right?). This is when my mind may be subject to wander to a little Utopia of my own... I invented it in seventh grade and am proud to offer you a round trip pass to a little place I like to call Valerieville :) I swear, I wasn't one of those kids whose only friends were imaginary... I think. haha

In fact, here I am at the awkward prime age of 14 when I came up with this imaginary utopia.
If I could go back in time, I'd introduce myself to a pair of tweezers and a treadmill...

Valerieville goes a little something like this: 
(You have to read ALL of this in a british accent... because that is how I narrate things in my noggin :)

In Valerieville, I own a bakery where I get to decorate cakes all day. I'll eat whatever I want and never gain a pound because I have been "blessed" with good genes.

I  also have adorable perfect babies that never cry or poop, whom I  blog about from time to time. In these blogs I take flawless pictures with my expensive camera, fine tuned with my grade-A photoshop skills. 

I also take pictures of the disgustingly fashionable outfits I wear and have a wardrobe so large and up-to-date that I never wear the same outfit twice. 

I wear high heels when I go grocery shopping and others think that I am so suave. 

I am funny (to people other than me and my mom. haha) 

Money literally grows on trees. 
I own a Sephora store and get everything I want for free (la duh!)

I am given an unlimited allowance from the hubby solely (pun totally intended) for shopping for shoes online. 

And the laundry folds itself. 

Did I forget I'm a wizard. Yea... I'm a wizard. 

The snow is warm, everyone drives with the top down, and Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper is our water. It's sort of the greatest place ever.

Just as I was getting really deep into my day dreams, class ended and I was snapped back into reality. Now I'm blogging, wearing the same sweats I've had since I was 14 and exposing how much of a nerd I truly am. 

My mom probably should have enrolled me in more sports when I was younger :) haha

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Love is Spoken Here

So, lately I've become a bit more obsessed with aware about coupons. Thanks to a coupon for a free collage print from Walgreens sent straight to my inbox, this is the newest addition to our living room.
It's framed, next to our $20 used leather couch and on top of our cardboard box end table, and makes me feel nice inside every time I see it :)

And. I. LOVE. it.

Though I typically do not support crime (ya know... because I totally didn't steal this photo off Pinterest and just ad words to it or anything...), I recommend stealing it from my page and drooling over it in your own living room. I'm just not sure your keyboard is that water-proof ;)

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Home made tortillas

Funny thing about this post: I wrote it basically a million years ago. I went in to change the lable and suddenly its coming up new, so here it is again for all the newcomers! 

It's confession time. I understand the title of my blog is awfully misleading in the sense that it would be a great title for a cooking blog! ... Which this primarily is not. I apologize for this miscommunication, misleading word choice and dare I say, Betrayal! haha The truth is, I don't mind cooking, but I just don't do it often. I am STOKED to be able to cook for two, and until that day my cooking endeavors are far and few between. However, recently the planets aligned, hell froze over, and I, Valerie Braun Stratford, made something FROM SCRATCH!
Albertsons had a meat sale with pre-seasoned and prepared meals (holla holla awesome!), so naturally I couldn't pass it up, after all, I have a man to keep happy!

I bought a super delicious fajita mix and wanted to surprise my man with my fake ultra-home maker skills!

BUT THEN, I found I had no tortillas! In sweet desperation, (and feeling pretty proud of myself for even remembering you could combine that stuff called ingredients to make food...), I tapped into June Cleaver mode, whipped my apron out and went to town. 
 Home-made tortillas: prepare to meet your maker!


  • 3 cups Organic, Unbleached Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ⅓ cups Canola Oil
  • 1 cup Hot Water

  Preparation Instructions  
  • Mix the flour, salt, and baking powder with a whisk. Add the canola oil and mix with your fingers until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add 1 cup of hot water and mix until a ball is formed. (I have also refrigerated it overnight). Divide the dough into 12 balls, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes. Roll out one at a time on a floured surface. Brush off excess flour. Cook on a hot, ungreased griddle over medium-high heat. Turn the tortilla when brown blisters form on the first side. Stack the totillas and serve warm.

    I will admit, they didn't knock my socks off but they were just tortillas, what can you expect? I did think they were pretty tasty! I recommend making them THIN. In my personal preference, the thinner the better, and I like them a little undercooked, otherwise they end up more bread like, and if I wanted manna, I would have been born in Moses's time!

    So there you are you home-maker, tortilla-less, go-getters!
     Fast, easy, and tasty. 
    My favorite combination :)
    Good luck!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nana Bread, Coconut Style.

Entertaining isn't it? Keep watching... I will stir for-ev-er. haha

You know what I think? Some nights just warrant warm moist banana bread, a wine glass of cherry diet Dr Pepper, grandpa-esque pajamas and a cool fall breeze.

Here's the recipe I used, and it was SO good. Probably my favorite banana bread um-ever.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups self rising flour (use all purpose and increase baking soda to 1 tsp)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 cup vanilla Silk almond milk, or better, light coconut milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut (or shredded coconut)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
*I used 4 mini loaf pans, as you can see.
In the bowl using a wooden spoon mix the oil and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the mashed banana and the coconut milk.
Gradually mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the wet ingredients. Start and end with the dry mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the flaked coconut.
Pour the batter to the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes, when a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
*Adjust time if you use mini loaf pans. Mine took about 45 minutes.

If you wanna sit back, relax, and welcome November with warm banana bread, follow the prescribed routine above mentioned. You can thank me later.

Christmas list Part 2

Christmas Part 2

1. Canvas backpack. 2. Oil paints. 3. Kitchen aid (aqua) 4. Brown labels. 5. Mint capris (or white! Goes with everything.)

Throw some super cute washi tape in there and I am one happy camper!
Oh yea... It's on.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bad A.

I hope that this hidden gem found on my practice test is a prediction of how well I am going to do on the Praxis exam tomorrow...

You witty test writers, you. Don't pretend like that was an accident... haha

A few crushes I cannot get off my mind.

Warning: This is my girly I-wish-I-had-all-the-monies-in-the-world post. Christmas is less than two months away! Don't tell me you aren't thinking about little pretties in your stockings as well.

I've had to keep a close eye on my debit card as it seems whenever I am bored I go through the same routine that goes something like this: Go to, look at acrylic nail kits, put way more than I should in my shopping cart, order, and then cancel my order because mature you-don't-neeeeed-this Valerie takes over. But I really just won't learn, or stop until I get it, lets be honest. I often just manicure my own nails because I'm a cheap-o and at the risk of sounding conceited, have pretty spectacular nail beds. haha, They don't turn out to shabby as seen in the photo here:
(This was when I was newly engaged..)

But who wouldn't want to do acrylic nails from home?! I knew I wasn't alone.

Secondly, these beauties:

It's confession time: I'm a little embarrassed to expose this outlandish thought, but about 2 years ago I remember being at a thrift store looking at jewelry and seeing some gaudy-as-I'll-get-out gold necklaces. I thought to myself, "Gold will NEVER come back into style." (GASP!) I was so wrong.
I have a little crush on simple gold styles nowadays. With that being said, I wouldn't be devastated if subconsciously in my sleep I were to unknowingly order any of these babies. (I've heard of people eating in their sleep... ordering fabulous jewelry in your sleep could happen, right?!)

Surely I'm not the only one with this issue. A girl can dream right?!