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Everyone’s a Fan of the Raihn Train


A little fan art from a fan :>

Supreme Chef Salad


Last night I decided to break out of the usual and make a monster salad for dinner. The greens consist of a roughly chopped head of romaine lettuce. I sliced up 1 cucumber and 3 roma tomatoes.

For the meats, I usually just shred up some deli meats, but I had a lot more free time last night, so why not spend the extra time?  I marinated 3 drumsticks in the Trader Joe’s Teriyaki sauce, steamed them, then deboned them, and cut them into bite sizes like the roma tomatoes. I went with drumsticks because they were pretty cheap (consider us college kids) and I enjoy dark meat because I find it to be moister and more tender than strips of chicken breast. But white meat will work great as well. We also had leftover strips of turkey meat so I tossed some of that in there as well.

For the eggs, I boiled a small pot of water (enough for 4 eggs). As soon as it reaches boiling point, turn off the fire, put the eggs inside, taking care not to crack them. Then leave the cover on an let it sit for about 15 minutes. I found that this gives it a good “chef-salad” texture. I’m horrible at just boiling eggs because I have a tendency to overcook them, so this way worked best for me. By the way, I kept two of the egg yolks and tossed the other two after they were cooked to limit the cholesterol.

Chill all the ingredients before dinner time. Don’t forget to add cheese or croutons if you’re a fan of those. This summery dish is surprisingly filling and can serve about 4 people.  Enjoy with a chilled glass of white wine of your choice!

Click here to download this recipe for your meal-plan note cards.

Inspiration, Simply Shabby Chic


I’ve always loved soft homely things, but recently I’ve been warming up to the fresh vintage designs that let you create a modern country/cottage-like atmosphere. So while I was wandering through a local Target today, I gravitated towards Simply Shabby Chic as soon as I laid eyes on the bed linens. Lately, I’ve been on this path of finding the right kind of aesthetics. Kind of hard to describe, but here goes: it’s trying to define home for the first time through colors, warmth, comfort, softened light, and maybe in a word, love. I think what brought all this on is Joshua building a home for us, so maybe it’s the womanly nesting instincts kickin in (something cooler than video games… strange, but nice!). Anyway, Rachel Ashwell, founder of Shabby Chic, just got it right. I am absolutely loving her designs.

However, I was sad to find out that Ashwell filed for Chapter 11 earlier this year. While the stores have closed down, Ashwell said that some products will continue to sell through Target and that she’ll return when she’s ready again. I hope things work out for her and wish her the best of luck. Read more…

Organizing Your Workstation & Equipment


It’s nice to have a dedicated work place for all your painting needs—a place to store your tools, supplies, and figurines, all ready to go as soon as you step into the room. However, that’s a luxury I just don’t have, and that probably goes for many others out there as well. I have one desk where almost all my tasks are done, from studying to paying the bills. As you can imagine, it is just too much to rearrange everything sometimes so that I can get set up to paint. At times I just prefer to work in a different room. So having a working system is all about convenience and clearing the clutter so you’d feel free to do what you want, where you want.

Today I wanna share a system that I’m currently using, a system that addresses the issues of space, organization, consolidating your tools and supplies, and still be mobile. It consists of two different storage units:

1) a carrying case that holds all the equipment and supplies for immediate use and

2) a stationary storage unit with drawers.

What’s nice about this system is that I can go wherever to work and still have all the things I need. I can always return to the Sterilite container to replenish whatever supplies I’ve used up, to switch out some paints, and do it all with convenience. As a side note, I’m a newbie at this hobby, so I don’t have a sizeable amount of stuff. This is sufficient storage for my needs at the moment. Obviously if you have a lot more stuff (you’re probably a veteran and already have a system down), you may have to purchase more than one stationary storage container, or may need a larger one.

1737 3-Tray from Classic Tray Series

This is a medium Flambeau Outdoors tackle box I purchased at Wal-mart for under $15. It’s much cheaper than buying a similar item from, say, Art Bin. What I like about this type of case is that it has several levels of trays, ensuring that you’ll have plenty of room to hold your main tools in one place. The trays are divided into smaller compartments, allowing you to organize your brushes, filers, loose pieces from minis, what have you.

I store all the supplies I’ll be immediately using in this toolbox, so wherever I decide to work I can just grab this thing and go. Or if I’ll be transitioning to another work area while I’m in the middle of a project, I can do so with ease.

Overhead view

Overhead view

Side view

Side view

It all fits in a box :]

It all fits in a box :>

Easy to label compartments 3

Easy to label compartments. I'm in organize heaven ❤

The second item is a medium-sized Sterilite container with three drawers. This is the stationary storage unit, and it can be whatever container that’s most convenient for you. Here is where I keep the rest of my equipment— things that I don’t need to use at the moment, and extra tools and supplies. You can store this unit wherever you like, preferably somewhere that you can access easily.

Well, that’s it!  I hope this helped you out a bit. If you have any organization methods you use, feel free to share. I’d love to hear them.

Chinese Brocolli, Delish!


I’m a meateater at heart, but recently I’ve been learning how to cook various kinds of veggies and I gotta say, I don’t think I could do dinner without em. Incidentally, these are Fiancee’s favorite greens ever since he started eating more Chinese, so yeah, I’m goin in for every brownie point I can get!

I don’t know if you can get these in American supermarkets, not that I’ve seen anyway. But you can buy a bag of these at Chinese markets, which feeds about 3-4 people. You’ll have to chop the heads off the stem. One way you can check if the stems are too old (therefore too chewy and fibery) is by looking at the bottoms of the stems. If you see a lot of dryness and white, rather than of greenish clear, then cut that part out and toss it.  If you find some withering, yellow, and even mushy looking leaves, trash those also.We want the good stuff. Oh, and if you want to pinch off the flowers at the top, feel free. Personally I like to munch on em (after they’ve been cooked), but they are a tiny bit bitter.

Wash the chopped veggies 2-3 times to get all the dirt (and sometimes bugs, aka extra protein) out. Meanwhile, you can get ready for the next step by boiling some water in a pot or wok on a medium to high fire. Pour in a generous amount of cooking oil into the water, which will give the veggies a nice coat when they’re cooking.

Once that’s bubbling hot, toss in the veggies. Be sure to keep stirring them around the pot to let all of them cook. These veggies will cook very fast, so keep stirring for 35-50 seconds, depending on how crunchy you prefer them to be. If you see some of them start to turn yellow, turn off the fire and take them out of the water because they’ll be overcooked!

Aren’t they pretty? Now for the finishing touch… a little sauce…

Fish Sauce! If you haven’t tried this before, it’s a Vietnamese sauce that’s very salty. Because of that, just put a splash over the veggies, and you are good to go! Fast, healthy, and tasty. My kind of meal.

Click here to download the recipe card for your meal plans.



Situated snuggly in the Silverlake hills, the coffee boutique sits beside a busy street. As I walked through the back door, my first impression is designer coffee. We saw this place on TV the night before and this is definitely a place you come for the experience (unless you got a particular palate and a fat pocketbook to support the lifestyle). I was pretty surprised by the amount of people there, given the kind of economy we’re in. Nonetheless, the setting is shabby chic, light and airy, if not a bit cramped. The staff was also very sweet.

We ordered the Siphon Coffee (the main reason we went), 4 slices of Not Quite French Toasts, 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, 2 BLTs,  each came with a side of plantain chips. Last but not least, we ordered a dessert coffee, the doughnut infused espresso drink with jelly. We tried to go on the cheap by sharing the one shot of coffee among 4 people  lol. All in all, our bill came up to around $90 including tax. We left feeling hungry, but we expected as much. It was a mostly satisfying experience for sure, and one that I’d recommend if you don’t mind shelling out. For that reason, it’s likely a place that I won’t visit again for a long time, otherwise I’d love to try out their dessert coffees. Read more…

Nachos! for the Quick and Breezy


Craving something salty and cheesy, but don’t want to spend too much time preparing? Here’s a quick and easy way to create a yummy snack to satisfy those late night cravings!

First, you’ll need to rummage through those cabinets for some tortilla chips and cheese. I prefer using those scoopy Tostitos chips. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I order nachos and only a few actually has cheese melted all over. So the scoopy chips ensures that you have a mouthful of ooegy gooey goodness in every bite.  I mean, isn’t that the point of having nachos? Use whatever kinds of cheeses you enjoy. Here’s what I grabbed from our pantry:

Scoopy chips and 8 cheeses

Pepper Jack cheese actually works very well for this since it brings a bit of spice. Lay out the nachos on a plate and generously sprinkle your cheese of choice onto each one. I tossed in some Six Cheese Blend and shredded some pepper jack and asiago slices into each scoop. Yummy! After that’s done to your satisfaction, nuke the thing for 40-60 seconds.

Dont be afraid to top em off with lots of cheese. The microwave will melt them down quite a bit!

Don't be afraid to top em off with lots of cheese. The microwave will melt them down quite a bit!

Our Eight Cheese Nachos... perfect for movies night!

Our Eight Cheese Nachos... perfect for movies night!

Click here to get the recipe card for your meal plans.