Friday, November 26, 2010

I Turned 31!

Yup that's right this little pain in the butt turned 31, boy do I know how to party check out the guest list above.

First birthday order of business is the official birthday cupcake:

1986 Cupcake

2010 Cupcake! (Yes the frosting is made to look like grass with sugar flowers and a ladybug. Oh yeah and it is on a paper doillie & comes with a tiny spork. Pure class.)

It was a mellow yet fantastic birthday just my fav. Lazy sleep in, wake up & feed the felines, drive to my doctors in Pacifica (= amazing beach time), cupcake hang out with Jackpot Ferrari, Scrumptious tofu to die for and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World movie watching with the Shahinator. Thanks again to everyone who called, sent cards, gave shout outs or sent presents I loved it all and it made my grinchy heart grow 3 sizes.

I also did one of my favorite birthday activities which is to make a goal list for my 31st year. Here are just a few of the many I hope to tackle:

Run a 10k
Create Handmade Cards for all Birthdays
Make a Monthly Mix Tape with Handmade Cover
Ride a Segway!
Volunteer for the Humane Society
Have a Waterballoon fight
Do something for the 1st time all the time (at least once a month)

Here is a clip of my cat's enjoying the greatest Birthday card ever, thanks Bonnie!

"What is life for? It is for you" ~ Abraham Maslow


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone is having a delicious and delightful day!

PS - Thanks to everyone for the wonderful birthday calls, wishes, shout outs and gifts.
I feel spoiled and embarrassed in all the best ways! Birthday details to come.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

31 Good Things in 13 Days

Well I did it! Whew! It was really a close call for a while since I caught a heavy cold last weekend but I finished the last one today and it was totally worth it.
Turns out once you get started it's hard to stop and I actually did more than 31, I think it was closer to 40-45.
The picture above is of my "Leave 31 Sunny surprises in the world". I left one of these "You are Amazing" bubbles on 31 doorsteps in my town.
Just as a reminder here are the 31 completed:

Buy a month’s supply of Half & Half for the entire office to share (Everyone at work was in heaven!)
Wash my roommates dishes
Give my cats a full hour of uninterrupted play time everyday
Pay 31 strangers compliments
Make someone laugh
Send out 13 e-cards

Bake cookies for each of my neighbors
Make someone smile
Dance a silly Dance
Sing a silly song
Send 13 postcards
Re-Start Saturday Kitty Soul Train

Leave 31 Sunny surprises in the world (You are Amazing bubbles)
Donate things to Goodwill or a Charity (Donated to Human Society of Silicon Valley!)
Call a friend just to say hi
Give spare change to someone who needs it
Forgive everyone
Send someone a mystery Handmade card

Scatter 10 lucky pennies
Leave 13 nice blog comments
Make lunch for a friend (Yay for green smoothies!)
Hijack a friend for an impromptu adventure (Bowling on a Monday at 9pm)
Give away a Handmade surprise to a lucky blog reader (Greeting Cards Hooray)
Pet a dog

Share 3 recipes
Help someone cloud watch
Mail a just because package (Mailed 3!)
Ask 13 strangers about their day
Leave 13 silly voice messages for friends
Do 31 random acts of kindness (Too many to count!)
Do every good thing that presents itself each of the 13 days

Turns out it happened to be at least 2 people's birthday on the day I left this surprise and I had no idea and it made their day. So many amazing things happened through out this crazy ride.

The only cautionary note I would give is 13 days is a really short time I'd say give yourself a month if your going to try this so you can go at your own pace.
I wouldn't change a thing but it was intense.

Now I am totally ready for some birthday ZZZ's tomorrow...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe Romp ~ Dandy Lion Cake

Continuing on the birthday theme I'm sharing a vintage Dandy Lion Cake recipe from a 1967 tiny pamphlet titled "Baker's Coconut & Chocolate Party Cut-Up Cakes". Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is.....

Yes my roommate Fahd has picked a winner and that winner is STACEY!!
Congrats Stace the package is in the mail tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or sent me an e-mail requesting to participate.
Giveaways are fun I think I may do them more often!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cat of the Week

Here is this week's cat. His name is Lorenzo.

Hey Kids,
Print out this drawing of Lorenzo and color the daylights out of him.
Make him pink,blue or chartreuse. Just have fun!

Love Barbasauras Rex

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recipe Romp ~ Spot the Fox Terrier Cake

Continuing on the birthday theme I'm sharing a vintage Spot the Fox Terrier Cake recipe from a 1967 tiny pamphlet titled "Baker's Coconut & Chocolate Party Cut-Up Cakes". Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's Giveaway Time!

Hello Everyone,

As part of my 31 good things I am giving away a set of 5 handmade greeting cards and a set of US forever stamps.
These 5 cards shown below are original illustrations not copies.

If you would like to have this special one of a kind set of 5 greeting cards to call your own please leave a comment and I will randomly pick a winner Sunday evening (Sunday, November 21st, pacific time) This contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Good Luck!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swannie River - Coloring Book Page

Hey Kids,

Print out this Swan drawing and color it swimmingly. No Rules, just have fun!

Love Barbasauras Rex

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cat of the Week

As a new feature to this blog I plan to draw at least one cat a week wittily titled "Cat of the Week".
Here is this week's cat. His name is Boris.

Hey Kids,
Print out this drawing of Boris and color the daylights out of him. Make him pink,blue or chartreuse!

Love Barbasauras Rex

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Barbie & Jackie's Italian Adventure

OK Folks here we go. You want it you got it! Be forewarned however this post is extremely LONG and supremely picture heavy.
If you like that sort of thing start ta scrollin, if not click on one of my previous posts linked on the side like Recipe Romp perhaps.

Still Here? Alright onward we go.
One of my best friends Jackie and I recently went to Italy for roughly 8 glorious days. Afterward we had an evening layover in Amsterdam which I won't really go into since it mostly involved strolling, french fry eating and sleeping.(There were Swans however which was nice, the fact that they were swimming directly next to the red light district was interesting shall we say)

Ok so we took off from SFO at 6am on a Monday to a connecting flight in JFK. That flight went great. The flight from JFK to Rome was notta so good. First we were given miss directions by multiple airport employee's as to where our gate was and a 2 hour layover was barely enough time for us to get to the correct gate which was in fact right where we STARTED! But I digress. So we got onto the plane and once on we waited an hour for the rain to let up. Then a woman on the plane became very ill and the EMT's had to come aboard and take her off. The down side is when someone is taken off a plane for any reason their luggage must be taken off as well. So we ended up waiting 3 hours on the plane before it finally took off. The flight itself was ok except for the crying baby. It wasn't' the baby's fault. It's hard to be a baby. snif.

Finally we arrived in Rome.
Exhausted,sleep deprived and looking like roadkill but we made it!
The baggage downer was the one of Jackie's bags got! But we pressed on claiming the rest of our luggage and exchanging the cash we had on hand to Euro's.
That was my first Rome reality check. The US dollar to Euro exchange was way less than I expected. Good to know, now where is Ed McMahon when I need him.
Then we stopped at the airport cafe for coffee needing sustenance to revive us for the next leg of the journey.
Turns out getting a coffee "To Go" is unheard of! So is a normal size cup of coffee. That was check #2. So we quickly chugged our tiny hot as blazes espresso and went looking for a taxi to our apt.
Right outside the airport we found one. It was a nice mid size car and a pretty cushy drive on the freeway but once we got into the city it was a whole different story. Thus enters Rome reality check #3. Italian driving, at least in Rome, is INSANE, let me repeat that INSANE!!!
I would never EVER want to drive any sort of vehicle even a bike in the heart of Rome. All vehicles drive at breakneck speeds weaving in and out of traffic getting right on each others bumper and doing this often through teeny tiny cobblestone pedestrian filled streets. What do the pedestrians do you wonder? Why they flatten themselves against the wall or jump into a nearby doorway. Pedestrians are second class citizens. It ranks - Cars/Mopeds tied for 1st, then service vehicles and buses, then bicycles and finally lowly pedestrians. Cars just assume you will get out of there way and I can't even fathom what the accident rate is there but it must be dang high.
Anyway by the time our driver wound his way around the avenues finding our apt. we were more than ready to get out of the car and never get back in one!
Our apartment on Via Santa Maria In Monticelli was phenomenal. Jackie totally outdid herself in finding this gem of magnificence. Rudolfo was the owner but didn't speak a drop of English so he had a guy named Emmanuel show up and translate. He walked us through the In's and outs and then after we paid for the apt. they hit the road. Although we were exhausted we took a quick walk around the neighborhood getting water and other sundries before coming back to the apt. and passing out. It was roughly 2:30pm when we did said passing out.
Below you will find a walk thru video I made on our last day there:

Did you enjoy that? If yes great! If not too bad, life's tough huh.
So the next day we were all messed up timewise and woke up really early in my case roughly 4:30am. At this point I believe it was Wednesday in Rome. So both of us ended up being dressed and ready to greet the day around 6:40am but we waited to leave the apt. until 7am figuring people would be up by then. Boy were we wrong! What we learned later is that in Rome they party(and I mean late night PARTY) Wed Night-Sunday and rest on Monday and Tuesday. But that is at night, during the day people aren't really out and about in force until roughly 9:30am and shops usually open around 10am. Jackie and I found one corner store open that sold espresso so we thankfully went in. The espresso was tiny and on the counter was an open bowl of what looked like a heavy butter cream. We were both curious about it and watched as a business man(the only other people there were) took a scoop from it and put it in his tiny espresso. I took a chance and did the same. It was good but weird. It was like the heaviest thick whip cream of all time. After we chugged our tiny coffee's we went wandering outside. In retrospect I'm glad we saw Rome when it was actually quiet so we could take a good long steamy gawk at whatever we wanted. Jackie and I instantly learned the most important lesson any Rome traveller should be aware of. Take time to look up constantly. Not only is the architecture mind blowingly amazing but there are secret surprises around ever corner and in every window. We also decided early on to "Let ourselves in" whenever there was an open doorway or courtyard. That is when being a foreigner really helps out. The few times we were caught we just pretended to be oblivious Americans. Clever disguise no? Here are some pic's of us enjoying our early morning walk about:

There was a beautiful courtyard garden through those bars!!
After an hour or so of walking around we found another open coffee shop this time a "Hip" one where the barista's looked like Male runway models. (I could spend 4 blog posts talking about how well dressed and handsome the men are there but I'll save that for those of you I tell stories to in person.)This time we both ordered lattes thus beginning our 2 latte a day Italy habit. Why 2? Because the lattes although delicious were tiny and Rome does not offer a normal American coffee. As mentioned before they also do not offer To Go.
Below is a pic from one day where my latte foam looked like an eagle. Rad I know.

After lattes we resumed wandering. By then people were awake and we began to realize how dangerous the street's, even the tiny ones, are for pedestrians! Jackie was not impressed at how few electric cars Rome had to offer. I however was ecstatic that Rome had little to none since the loud motor sound was the only warning we had that a car or crazy moped was about to run us over! Anyway we soon wandered to a magical place that would become our daily staple and routine namely ~ Piazza Campo Dei Fiori. It is a good sized square were everyday from roughly 10am - 2pm a fresh market is set up with the most delicious wares. Then at night it is a hoppin Square with a great band "Quartet Gypsy" plays every night. We shopped there every day for the fruits and veggies we had for breakfast. Moments after the pictures below were taken we learned a very important rule. DON'T TOUCH THE FOOD!! Under no circumstances are you allowed to touch the fruit, veggies etc. until after you have purchased them. It is one serious fo'pa and luckily we learned it by watching someone else get busted. You have to eyeball what you want which we learned how to do deftly.
This was one of the spoils and trust me it was even more delicious than it looks. You are looking at breakfast pretty much everyday. Oh papa how I miss you.
Below are more wandering shots. See what I mean about looking up!

There are Obelisks like this one all over Rome. Boy they were busy stealing from the Egyptians back in the day. For a while the church thought the hieroglyphs should be covered up, for shame Popa! Luckily the plaster has started to chip away on this one showing the original hieroglyphs underneath.(The one below is placed before the Italian parliament building. There were 2 guards with machine guns in front of the building just like Rambo, No Joke!)
This is later in the day. We are near the center of Rome right next to the Capitoline Museums and blocks away from the Colosseum. Jackie is a fan and seriously at home in her motherland.
And at this point we have ponied up the bucks and entered the Capitoline Museums and saw these remaining pieces of a huge statue of Constantine and a whole lot more.

The museums were amazing and we were in heaven. We were not however in heaven with a tiny protest going on outside blocking us from getting a closer view of the ruins. It was one guy honking this loud toy horn and a couple deadbeats with him.We made do with this one:
Riddle me this reader. How am I frowning and smiling at the same time? I am a weirdo.
We spent the rest of the night wandering around the main capital. This structure is lovingly and sarcastically referred to as "The wedding cake" by locals:
And Capitol Hill:
We went to a ton of places and famous sites around the Capital including the Trevi Fountain which was amazing but MOBBED with tourists. And not only tourists but the obnoxious kind we were trying so hard to avoid and NOT be.
Ahh and now we come to dinner time. I had been planning not to have Gelatto until the end of the trip as a reward. HA! Fat chance! Everywhere we went all day long we saw people not only eating Gelato but acting as if they were tasting heaven sheer blissful heaven. The breakdown didn't occur until the very end of the night when I walked by an overweight blonde american dad with a fanny pack giving spoonfuls out of one small cup of gelato to his 3 kids one by one. They were not broke, the dad was just insanely cheap. The overweight 12yr old blonde boy after receiving his bite uttered "OH PAPA! Its a so delicious". That did it. I'm only human. When something that hilarious happens I will get a Gelato dang it! So I did and it was like heaven. I believe I heard myself utter the words "Oh Papa...". After that day I had a gelato pretty much everyday. My favourite combo was Green Apple Sorbet/Orange Sorbet as pictured below:
Here is a shot of Jackie's Glorious dinner at a restaurant in Campo Dei Fiori called "The Mozzarella Bar". According to Jackie this meal was sheer heaven. I was too busy eating a Gelato to notice.
Another restaurant we fell in love with was Pizza Arte. They had THE BEST PIZZA! We tried multiple places around Rome but Pizza Arte was the best. Light fluffy fresh and delicious. The toppings, oh papa, the vegetable toppings! FYI Italian's make pizza with very little sauce, that's just how they roll.
And below we have one of my most favorite parts of the trip the Cat Sanctuary!! Before we knew it was a cat sanctuary I titled it "The lost city of Catlantis". It is a huge archaeological site with the ruins of where Caesar was killed and it is also a cat sanctuary home to roughly 20-30 cats. All of them have been fixed, vaccinated and fed since all of them were fat and happy even the little 3 legged ones! There were signs everywhere begging people not to pet or feed them so they won't get used to humans and get run over by the insane cars.

I fell in love with one cat in particular and named him Chauncy. Jackie commented that it was good we didn't live in Rome or else I would adopt all the 3 legged cats and Chauncy. She is correct. Look at little Chauncy below! It was soooo hard not to pet him but I resisted for the good of all cat kind. We came by here almost every night after sight seeing and it made me happy.
Here is info on the Cat Sanctuary -

The day after we hung out at the Piazza Navona most all day. The 3 fountains were gorgeous. The pizza however was disgusting. We also met a random dude who said he was Colby Bryant's cousin and forcibly made us italy friendship bracelets. He was random but I am still wearing my bracelet so it was worth it!

Ok the next day or the one after we went to an amazing place that Jackie fell in LOVE with namely the "Pantheon". Here is a shot she took of the front:
Here is the inside of the famous dome. If you stand under this hole and look up you can see the clouds racing by. It is like looking through the eye of god. Go Pagans!
Below Jackie and I are admiring some of the ridiculously amazing statuary and marble floors. To die for!
And after we needed a latte to soak in all the amazing sites we just saw. Here is us doing just that. The light building in the background is the back outter structure of the Pantheon.
Check out Italy's clouds! They were beautiful and raced by so fast. We both stopped to cloud watch as often as we could.
That was the view from the top of the Spanish Steps which we walked to and up on a REALLY hot day. Notta so good Al. Below is the view of the Spanish steps. Not the best choice but still a cool view. We were both hot and cranky by the end but it was worth it since I ended up finding the coolest Italian book store which I spent almost 2hours in looking at there children's book section. I spent some of my precious Euros on Italian picture books I will never understand. Pure book bliss.
One important thing about Rome is to wear comfortable shoes. At the end of each day our feet were DYING!! Walking on ancient cobblestones is no joke, trust me. But a very good workout.

Another thing we did as often as we could was break into ancient churches. If the door was open we went in. If it was locked we came back another day to try and get in. I think we hit every church in our general perimiter which was A LOT! Here is a typical amazing front of a Roman church:
Here is a typical beautiful ceiling you would find:
Here is one that was a personal favorite. It was imposible to capture on film the 3D effect the painter created. It felt like you were looking through layers of clouds and sky at heaven.
This Painting of Mary was Fantastic! It was so beautifully rendered. The art in Italy took my breath away.
Another sight I was happy to see is what looks to be Pee Wee's bike from Pee Wee's Big Adventure! ok so it's not the actual bike but it really reminded me of it so I was happy to see it. (If you know me at all you know Pee Wee's Big Adventure is one of my top 3 movies of all time hence my hand drawn Pee Wee Tattoo)
Another Amazing Obelisk. I loved the Elephant at the base. It represented the elephants that were used during ancient roman times to transport the stolen Egyptian artifacts from Egypt.
This was the coolest coffee shop! I LOVEd the vibe and lettering from the 1930s. I didn't get any coffee since the line was insane and it was crazy expensive but I love that it is there.

Ahhh I believe this was day 3 or something like that. Jackie and I went to the big Kahuna aka the Colosseum. While we were walking up to the structure we witnessed a crazy street protest happen with hundreds of people, cars, signs and mega phones. We have no idea what they were protesting, Gay rights perhaps?..who knows but it was amazing to see. Anyhoo, Jackie had the amazing good sense for us to join a tour group for the colosseum and Palantine hill. It turned out to be perfect since both our tour guides were awesome and helped us understand all kinds of cool stuff about the history of Rome, the second guide did it with sarcasm a personal fav!
Here is where it all used to happen. Thumbs up and Thumbs down.
This Door is one of the earliest still functioning locks in History. Supposedly once a year someone still puts the original key in the lock and opens it to keep it working.
Ok so I am showing this lone pinky toe give you an idea of how few statues there were in the original Palantine Hill where civilization was supposedly started and where most of them used to be. All that was really left was this pinky toe and a few headless ones. Jackie and I wondered what happened to them all. We found out when we went to the Vatican.
Palantine Hill..aka ..Motherwolf Territory..
Ok this came later. Most doors in Rome were wonderful huge acient looking things. Many had fantasic door knockers. This one shown below was the best: (notice said bracelet?)
Yet another reason to break and enter. I was walking down a side street and the door to someones courtyard was slightly adjar. I went in and this is what I found. Just hanging out. So beautiful.
This is what it looked like all day everyday walking around Rome. Even the tiny views were magnificent.
Ok. So the day before we were scheduled to go to the Vatican we crossed the Trastevere bridge and went to the Castel Sant' Angelo. Here is the bridge which had AMAZING statues all along it:
Here are some hilarious ad's that were placed on said bridge:
Here I am in heaven. I really loved this Castel. We had a connection. Behind me is the back of the castel and Jackie leaving me in the dust, what else is new.
Here is the front:
At the top of the Castel is a statue of Arch Angel Michael. Not to shabby. Actually it was a phenominally detailed statue. Me likey.
Here is just a tiny taste of all the amazing art on the castle walls. Hooray for Pagans and unicorns.
Here I am with my new boyfriend Hadrian. Were thinking of a spring wedding.
Here is Jackie with her new boyfriend aka a statue head that looks exactly like Voldemort from the Harry Potter movies. She has a bit of a goth side so don't mess with her.
Go ahead click to enlarge the picture, I double dog dare you.
On the second to top layer of the Castel there is an amazing little cafe with LARGE lattes! Thats right I said large! This was the view, it was a perfect day. Jackie could have done without the pigeon comin right for her but what are you gonna do.
The white building in the center of the above photo is the Vatican. When they built it they created the wall to the right linking the Castle St. Angelo to the Vatacin to get the pope out if war broke out. Anyhoo the next day after the wonderful relaxing castel romp was a day that will live in infamy and has become pure legend. What happened you ask?
Well we went to the Mother Flippin Vatican Y'all.
In all the guide books Jackie read and I lazily eyeballed from the couch they only mention the Sistine Chapel. On and on about the Sistine Chapel which I get it, its cool.
But, what they don't tell you is that there are at least 20-30 Art filled Halls BEFORE you get to the sistine chapel so that by the time you actually get to the Sistine Chapel it is kind of a let down.
Jackie and I had our artistic minds blown out aka ART OVERLOAD. To the point that when we got to what I call the golden "Willy Wonka Hallway" she had to sit down to take it all in. I didn't think she could go on but somehow she rallied, I belive she thought "What would Walker Texas Ranger do?".
Pictured below is just the first of roughly 10-15 hallways of sculptured everything and anything. We had wondered what happened to the sculptures of Rome, well the Vatican took it all and they aint givin it back!!
Every hallway was insanely long and full to the bursting point. There was too much to look at.
These are some truly beautiful ceiling paintings I couldn't stop starting at. The colors are SOOO vibrant.
This is a pagan mosaic that the church of course stole from somewhere else. This blew my mind clean off. Still haven't found all of it.
Ok folks here it is. Imagine seeing this hallway after you have just looked at roughly 30 hallways of every kind of Before-Christ art you can think of. I mean rooms on maps, tapestries, mosaics, furniture, Egyptian stuff, sculptured everything, paintings, too much to name. And you see this endless Golden Willy Wonka Hallway with insanely beautiful art worked into every little crevasse. All I could Say was "oh papa" all Jackie could do was sit down.
After this endless and I do mean ENDLESS hallway we were squeezed slowly through a small door (again like Willy Wonka) into the Sistine Chapel room. Where the nightmare began. It was hot and stuffy as hades in there. Way to many people in a tiny space. A weird angry guard non-stop yelling "No Pictures No Talking!". People having religious freak outs. And Finally after Jackie got into a mini fight with one crazy lady another woman who was there with like 7 of her realtives fainted. Jackie and I saw her go down and that is when Jackie moved faster than a Kenyan Olympian. Seriously we both heard her family say "Uh oh looks like Mabel's going down", we turn our heads still standing next to each other, watch her start to faint and her family catch her, I turn my head back and Jackie is across the room at the exit. I still don't know how she did it but it was hilarious. The Italian guard had no interest in helping the woman so I took a minute to forcibly persuade (yell at) him until he finally leapt into action grudgingly at the speed of a snail. He seriously sized me up, realized I could take him and the helped her grumbling the whole while. At that point Jackie and I were on the same page of wanting to get the hell out of dodge. If you want to see what the Sistine Chapel looks like without all the drama click this link:

Here is the fabulous staircase you climb down at the end of the chaos. See if you can find Jackie!
This is a rad dragon fountain right outside the Vatacin. For those of you concerned I saw the fainting woman later being wheeled out of the Vatican and she was fine. The guard pushing her was still extremely cranky.
Ok so a ton more stuff happened but those are pretty much the big items and I am too tired to do every tiny little thing we did no matter how rad it was.
If I see you in person I can tell you some tales.
Needless to say Jackie and I had a Marvelous time and can't wait to go back
In conclusion I leave you with this picture of Jackie in a cool teacup chair at the Amsterdam airport. There was also a Teapot with a little tv playing winnie the pooh movies for kids to watch.