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comfort can come in a lot of forms. for me, it's usually food. of course we all have our beloved food memories--certain dishes or smells that bring us back to a memory or to childhood. although i recreate my favorite meals often, this past week i had two particular dinners that stood out in my mind. last sunday, i agreed to help stella run lines each night for a showcase presentation she was doing in her acting class. the night before the performance, we were both exhausted and hungry. stella offered to bring down some pasta and i told her i'd throw together a salad. although the idea of cooking isn't extremely appealing when you're tired and would settle for cereal, but once i got started--the rachael ray in me took over.

because my mom has a sensitivity to wheat, pasta at our house is always brown rice noodles. i was a little skeptical the first time i ever saw my dad pull the discolored spirals out of the bag, but the flavor and texture is actually really great. stella and my mom happen to share the anti-wheat diet, so i knew that these brown rice noodles would be making an appearance in my belly.
another common dinner theme at the slater house is a big salad. no matter what the main dish is, you can always count on there being a big bowl of leafy greens to go along with it. if my parents were having a big salad for dinner, they would have a small salad on the side. because i'm only cooking for myself, i tend to have meals that are somewhat incomplete. instead of having pizza and a salad, i'll have pizza one night and a salad the other. as i looked down at my plate of those familiar brown noodles and big pile of salad, my heart felt like it was 2,500 miles away.

as for nostalgic meal #2, it was breakfast for dinner. i know what you're thinking. who doesn't love breakfast for dinner. this is true. but the reason this plate of food felt special to me was because it had all the elements of a meal my dad used to make me. i've told and re-told the story of the silver foil surprise, but that was always a to-go breakfast. this particular breakfast is something that was always enjoyed during a lazy morning in front of the tv or while sitting at the kitchen table. scrambled eggs and some form of toast is probably the most common, most un-extraordinary breakfast that you could imagine. for me, there are three very distinct ingredients that always made this meal special: cheddar cheese, sage, and peanut butter. sounds like an odd combination, but the sharp cheese and woodsy fresh herbs bring me right back to that kitchen table--swinging my legs in my chair and searching for the comics sections of my dad's paper. as for the peanut butter, we all know that this item falls onto my list of things i'd take on a deserted island; however, a toasted english muffin with peanut butter just happens to be the final addition to what makes this meal touch my heart. the food itself may be simple, but it's the smells, the tastes, and the memories it brings back that make this such a comfort dish for me.

as for the new job...

occasionally the traffic can be a little...

but for the most part, i have no problem getting back and forth. i don't technically have my own office, but i do have a space heater and a desk in a room full of sofas and love seats. so far my tasks have ranged from taking fabric inventory, to learning about the company, to being in charge of the store's live chat. my title is somewhere between office assistant, warehouse clerk, and customer service rep--but for now, you can just call me futon fanny (credit goes to sara mclamb for that fantastic nickname).

in other exciting news, the off broadway shoe warehouse let me return my ridiculous all black sketchers shape-ups (moon shoes) and exchange them for something else! it's not that they were completely hideous to look at, but i'm not really an all black sneaker kind of girl and they were bulkier than a hippopotamus.
and nobody wants a hippo on their feet.
not only did i find a much more lightweight version of these that supposedly also tone your lower body and help you burn more calories, but i found them in carolina blue! ladies and gentleman, i give you...sketchers tone-ups.
also known as the shape-up's more attractive cousin. 

...and then whole foods made my day.

happy weekend (and easter) everybody!
don't forget to check out tuesdays with olive for an update!


sunday funday.

to most people, "sunday funday" is the designated term for spending the last day of your weekend at either a bottomless mimosa brunch or a nearby happy hour. for me, sunday funday means three things:

1. diet cream soda

2. birthday hats

3. takeout

to celebrate olive's very first birthday, we had a long relaxing day of laziness and lifetime movies. when dinnertime rolled around, it occured to me that i had chinese food on the brain.
my first thought was, "oh right. it's sunday!"
although the oaks gourmet's pizza night ended up swaying me in a different direction with their lamb and feta special, i couldn't get spicy orange chicken out of my head. this is where the story comes in.
in the two and a half years that sara and i spent as roomies, there was one tradition that never failed to end our weekends. sunday night was always chinese food scary movie night. there was nothing better than spreading our endless boxes and containers out on the living room floor and watching horror flicks all night long. we would eat enough food for six people, play our fortune cookie game, and then wait for the other one to inevitably say,
"okay i'm getting my ice cream. do you want yours?"
those sundays were always extra special when sara had been back in south carolina for the weekend because it seemed like we had so much to catch up on. as we'd both drag our oversized bags of clean laundry up the three flights of stairs and exchange stories of homecooked meals, it was such a comfort to know that crab wontons and blockbuster were in our future. i can't tell you exactly which sunday started this tradition--what we ordered or which movies were watched--but it made sunday claim a very special place in my heart and in my stomach. almost one year later and two thousand miles apart, that craving for noodles and hot and sour soup still finds its way into the end of my week and never fails to make me miss my best friend.

tonight i may have ended up with a pizza on my lap, but spring rolls were in my heart.

in other news...i went to the beach on friday!

the full time job starts tomorrow and i decided that i should take advantage of being able to hit the beach on a weekday while i still can. i couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous day.

i had beautiful weather, a good book, and increasing tan lines. 
and just when i thought my day could get any better... 
i saw a lady carrying fruit on her head.

as delicious as her pineapples and mangos looked, i was saving my appetite for my favorite santa monica lunch spot. although the bergamot cafe may seem like just another place to grab a sandwich or a salad--their food is healthy and fresh and their drinks are perfect for a hot day. my favorite is their mint lemonade, but since they were out of it i went with the blackberry iced green tea instead.

on my first trip to the bergamot cafe a few months ago, i posted about their delicious roast beef and avocado sandwich. i was in a veggie mood today so i decided to try out their "sassy garden avocado sandwich." i was proud of myself for trying something new, but i knew it would just be ridiculous if i passed up their amazing coleslaw that i had the last time i was there. i've had a lot of coleslaw in my life...and this one is in my top three.
things got a little messy as i sat in traffic picking avocado off of my bathing suit and watching chipolte aioli run down my fingers--but it was worth every bite.

speaking of avocados...

i decided my contribution to a friend's birthday potluck cookout would be my famous guacamole. people have asked me what makes it so special and to be honest, i think it's just the right blend of a few simple ingredients. guacamole isn't rocket science and it certainly doesn't require a lot of fancy touches. it's just the perfect integration of avocados, diced tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos, hot sauce, lime juice, lime zest, salt, and pepper. the trick is not adding too much of any one ingredient. you taste as you go until you have the perfect salty, citrusy, creamy blend of chip-dipping goodness.

it also helps to have a kitchen assistant.

to see a few other yummy things i cooked this week,


a very special story about fish tacos...

4 jobs down.
123 more to go.


yes it's true. i've officially been through four jobs in my six months here in los angeles.

1. chiropractor's assistant
2. personal assistant
3. thrift shop employee
4. waitress

i know you're all wondering what happened to these last two jobs (numbers 3 and 4 on the above list) seeing as how i was only employed at both for about a month. to start off--let me say this: i was lucky to have been hired for not one, but two jobs. in this difficult economy in this gigantic city where i spent months and months unsuccessfully applying for jobs, it was great to have been offered these two opportunites. however, there was one thing i was missing from both of these jobs: security. as an employee at the thrift shop, the pay was painfully low and the position was very part-time. at the restaurant, i was only needed one day a week. if the point of a job is to bring in money, these two weren't really cutting it. of course i wasn't planning on leaving either place until a new opportunity presented itself, and last week--the unexpected finally happened.

an interview.

for a full time,
better paying,

so i prepared myself in the only way i know how.

to those of you wondering what the hell this is--
for as long as i can remember, for every important morning i was faced with (a big test, the first day of school, a job intervew, etc.) i would calm myself down with one of these. as you've probably read in previous blogs, the silver foil surprise was a big part of my childhood. every morning, my dad would take my sister and i to school. although the drive was less than ten minues, he never let us get in the car without a good breakfast in our laps. my hair was usually unbrushed, my jeans were ripped, and my socks were on inside out--but to my dad, the most important pre-school ritual was the silver foil surprise. oddly enough it was never a "surprise" because inside the neatly folded package was always some form of an egg and cheese english muffin sandwich, but the name "silver foil surprise" stuck with us nonetheless.

as an adult (did i just call myself that?) i still continue the silver foil tradition for myself. on the days of my high school and college graduation, my dad was conveniently at the bottom of the stairs asking about breakfast. however, now that i live up the stairs and about two thousand miles to the west--i'm responsible for my own english muffins.
so, on the day of a potentially very important interview, it's no surprise that this found its way into my lap for the twenty five minute drive.

needless to say,
i got the job!
i know it appears as if i've been skipping from one job to the next, but a steady paycheck is the one thing i've been missing these past six months in hollywood. i realize that many of you are wondering "how are you planning on pursuing acting with a full time job?" but the truth is that i've been on ONE audition since i've been here. that doesn't mean that it wasn't one of the greatest days of my life, but let me put it to you this way: most people say that "making it" in the entertainment business in hollywood is like waiting in a ten year line at the post office.
what that means, is that you don't just step off of the plane and become an overnight success. you have to work at it and it takes time. i'm not--by any means--putting off the hard work, but when you're fresh off of the boat from north carolina, you need a few things to back up your talent.
in this big city, in one of the most competitive industries of the world, that means you need qualifications like classes, training, excellent headshots...
guess what all of these things require?


without a steady paycheck, i could hardly put money towards rent, so how was i supposed to pay for all of these other things that i need to get started? let me  break it down:

you can't get decent auditions without an agent.
you can't get an agent without experience.
you can't get experience without classes--which help build your social network and open up more doors and opportunities.

get it?

so for me, step one has always been "get enough money to turn these dreams into a reality." well, i've been through four jobs here, none of which even covered my bills. having a full time job may only allow me enough free time to begin taking classes for now, but hey...everybody has to start somewhere.
the funny part is, when i talk to friends in the entertainment industry who have lived here for years--most of them claim that there isn't a job here that they HAVEN'T had. in this city, it's extremely normal to skip around to different jobs trying to make ends meet.

which for me, means:
today, thrift shop employee...
tomorrow, sofa company office assistant.

i realize that "office assistant" at a place called the sofa company--in a place called commerce, california--doesn't sound all that glamorous, but who said i was in this for the glamour? the truth is that there was a little piece of my life i didn't exactly divulge to my readers this past month. i may have tiptoed around the issue of having some back pain at work, but i didn't really get into all the details. in short, the eight hour retail shifts that required me to stand in one place had caused me so many lower back issues that i had to see a chiropractor. i found out that a pinched nerve, some neck issues, and a few out-of-line discs in my back were caused by the prolonged amount of standing.

other than that, i won't comment too much on what it's like to work in clothing retail, because those of you who have done it before--already catch my drift here.
what i will say, is that the "fashion world" just isn't for me. maybe it was the moment when the rest of the employees were drooling over a one piece, v-neck, zebra striped tanktop/unitard that i would have only put on...had i been playing dress up--that i realized i was in the wrong place.
i'm an east coast girl and i like my jeans and cotton tees.
so sue me.

i will say, had there been no physical health issues at this job, i would have stuck it out and hoped for more full time hours. however, the combination of the back pain and eight painful, underpaid hours a day basically threw me back into the arms of craigslist searching for something new. not only does this new job give me a steady schedule, nights and weekends free, and a better paycheck--but i'll get to be SITTING all day long! that may not seem exciting to you, but it's music to my back's ears.


who knows how many more occupations i'll go through on my journey here. all i know is that if the rate of being on my 5th job in six months is any sign--

then i have a lot more english muffins to go through.


...and then i walked the red carpet.

okay, not really.
well technically i did--however, it was more of a long purple rug and the papparazi were only slightly intrigued by me. let me explain:
last thursday night, i got a call from my friend jake who asked if i'd like to tag along to a hollywood event that was being thrown for some vodka and some reality stars. this was my understanding of the invite: random party. random vodka company. potential of seeing someone i may or may not recognize.
i was a little off.
turns out that this "random party" was on hollywood boulevard (spotlights and all) and was for the very well-known svedka vodka. my understanding of the dynamic of this party completely changed when the the following things happened:

1. i turned around in line and saw that lo bosworth from the hills was standing behind me.
2. i walked down the "red carpet" lined up with papparazi who all lifted the cameras to their eyes and then realized i was NOT, in fact, jennifer aniston.
3. we walked up to the bar and i discovered that the drinks and appetizers were free.

as if that wasn't enough to have my fingers moving at light speed sending texts to sara in all capital letters about the faces i was seeing around me...
joan rivers walked up to the DJ booth and made an announcement.

yes, joan rivers.

instead of listing off names, here are the faces i was surrounded by on this awesome night:

lo bosworth--laguna beach and the hills.

joan nightmares?
yes. she really looks like this in person.

christopher knight--peter brady from the brady bunch and his wife adrienne curry--from america's next top model.

ali and roberto--last season's bachelorette.

trishelle--the real world las vegas.
(this is the THIRD time i've run into her in hollywood--this party made twice in one week--and i'm about to have to tell her to stop stalking me.)

theo--the real world chicago.

kasey--a contestant from last season's bachelorette who is most well-known for his spontaneous break outs into song and his constant desire to "guard and protect" ali's heart.

still don't remember him?

we shared a few moments...
this second picture was his idea.

and then i took a picture with his girlfriend.
even if you didn't recognize him, you most likely DEFINITELY know who this is.
vienna was the winning contestant on jake's season of the bachelor. not long after he chose her, they were on different talk shows arguing and throwing insults back and forth. vienna and casey are now a couple. i guess she decided to keep her dating circle within the bachelor/bachelorette reality world.

hey...i'm not judging. he may be a weirdo, but he's pretty hot.

they also had a lovely chris harrison (the bachelor host) cut-out which casey decided to play with later on into the night.

all in all, it was a super fun night. probably most people in hollywood would judge me for even being excited about a party with reality stars--better known here as "D-list celebrities." but it's not that i was ooing and ahhing over these people because i thought that they were spectacular--i mean, they're famous for being themselves--but it's the idea that you just don't see things like this every day when you live in north carolina. i've experienced the nightlife here and seen a few familar faces, but this was my first hollywood "event", and it was definitely exciting! also, when you watch as much TV as i do, being surrounded by people that you see all the time in a box in your living room just doesn't happen every day.

i was a little bummed that i didn't run into snooki or pauly d, but at least this made up for it.
thanks for keeping it classy svedka.


okay, okay...
i know i suck at updating my blog recently.

so i know it's been a good few days--possibly a week--since i've posted something new. the day after my return to the left coast i was thrown right back into work and it's been a little busy in fannywood. but enough of the excuses, let's get right into the good stuff. since my last post was on the wordy side--and since i need to be preparing for bedtime soon--i'll keep this update more on the visual level.

part one is a rewind to my last few wonderful days on the "right" side:

there are only so many meals you can fit in a few days, but i managed to squeeze most of my favorites in there.
i even got to be the crabcake helper and prep and assemble these myself!

my dad also made the most homecooked, most delicious, most makes-me-feel-happy-inside meal i could possibly dream of. it's kind of his signature dish...and one i had been dreaming about since my last visit home.
i mean, is there anything more comforting than roast chicken and potatoes?


okay so the roast chicken is comforting on a homecooked level, but on an entirely different level of food-related happiness--there is bojangles.
welcome to my dream come true.
(also known as a cajun filet biscuit combo with extra seasoning on the fries and a side of honey mustard)
and for those of you who were wondering if my obsessive cholula hot sauce use had converted me....think again.
there are some things that just go together.

picture this:
a meteor has hit north raleigh. it's lunch time. i have only fifteen minutes to find myself one last meal.
this is it.

there is something about boondini's that i can't really explain. you just have to know it and love it to understand. is it the homemade ranch that stands out from every other homemade ranch i've ever had? is it the sunflower bread that always gets so perfectly toasted? is it the chicken salad with those sneaky black olives in there that somehow turned me into an olive lover? (omg. i think i just realized where i got my cat's name from.)
i think it's the simple combination of all of those things that puts boondini's on my top five list of happy places. the order is the same every time. good luck trying to get me to pick something else on the menu besides this:
half a chicken salad sandwich on toasted sunflower with lettuce, tomato, light mayo and mustard, salt and vinegar chips, a side of ranch, and extra pickles.
i know that order as backwards and forwards as i can recite the intro to 30 minute meals.
and so do the people that work there.

wait. i thought i said this post wasn't going to be wordy?

the half chicken salad sandwich will always be my go-to, but on special occasions i'll get half of a grilled pimento cheese sandwich to nibble at on the ride home. i mean, i'm only in raleigh once every few months.
...when in rome, right?
(this is the part where i send out a thank you prayer for my fast metabolism)

sadly i didn't get to visit my favorite mexican restaurant, but thanks to it's location down the street from boondini's, at least i got to see it!

the night before i left i also lucked out on the location of my dad's dinner meeting and scored a takeout order of my favorite pad thai. if you live in raleigh and have a thai food craving...go to shaba shabu on wake forest road.
and then send me a thank you card.
...which will be taped to a box of pad thai with chicken.

my last homemade meal was one i made myself a few hours before taking off to the airport. this was the first breakfast my dad made me after i arrived home, so i decided to do a little repeat on my last day.
i always like when things come full circle.

speaking of things that are shaped like circles, mango was a little under the weather with an eye infection while i was home. i was upset to see him in pain, but at least we got some quality time together on the way to his vet check-up.

and then we had some ketchup.

before i knew it, it was time to get my suitcase together...

grab my traveling companion--
the bi-coastal furry friend who sara and i stuffed, bought together, and named tula who travels back and forth from california to south carolina...

kick my feet up, and head back for the other side.
no really, i got to put my feet up! somehow i snagged a front row (not first class, but front row) seat on my southwest flight and had quite the comfy ride back.
sorry the picture is a little blurry--our wheels were just leaving the ground.

meanwhile, back in california...

...hey! what are you doing here?!
that's right.
a piece of bojangles made it back to los angeles with me, and every time i look at it--it feels like a giant cajun seasoned hug.

i even FINALLY had room in my suitcase to bring back my favorite soy candle from home. hazelnut coffee. mmm.

on a completely random and pointless note, someone invented a new fruit.

and on another random note...

don't worry, coors light still makes my heart flutter--but i have started branching out and trying new beers recently.
my new fav:'re beautiful.

well, i guess i'm not allowed to make fun of skechers shape-ups anymore.
although...i bought them for back support at work so technically i don't feel like i "gave into the craze" or anything. but to tell you the truth, they're not as ridiculous looking as i thought they'd be.
and they put me at a whopping 5'3.
high five?

the other night when i had every intention of blogging after dinner, instead i made this elaborate meal and then fell asleep on the couch.
pan seared tilapia with roasted tomatoes and basil with a side of oven roasted herb potatoes.

what's better than a nice dinner?
homemade chicken salad for lunch!

smoked chicken, celery, chives, basil, tarragon, lemon, mustard, mayo, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, and shallots.
what's better than homemade chicken salad?
homemade chicken salad in a WRAP.

what's NOT better than a homemade chicken salad wrap?
homemade banana walnut muffins that tasted more like scones, needed more sugar, and failed completely as a present.
the point was to thank stella with these muffins for taking care of olive--while sticking to her dietary needs: no dairy or wheat.
can anyone answer the question of why i did not realize that wheat?

i can't.

on the plus side, i used lots of delicious ingredients like vanilla coconut yogurt, brown sugar, and cinnamon applesauce--but that still doesn't make up for the fact that i'm the only one who's going to eat them. at least i learned a valuable lesson about baking...

leave that up to this girl: