It may be 81° outside, but my calendar says it’s fall. Time for football, sweaters, comfort foods, and chestnuts!
Lucky for me, my aunt’s front yard contains a very large and fruitful chestnut tree. I know it’s a giant pain in the ass for her (the tree stinks, and it drops spiny little pods all over her yard), but it’s great for me!
Yesterday, O and I went over to her house and gathered a grocery bag full of the tasty little nuggets.
Once we got home, I dumped them into a basket. These little guys are way perishable and will mold quickly, so it’s best to use them immediately. I planned to roast them today, so they hung out in this basket over night. As long as air can get to them, they should be ok for a couple of days.
This morning, I parked O in his high chair for breakfast, brewed a pot of coffee, and got to work. Chestnuts can be a bit of a pain to deal with, so I thought it best to get started early.
It’s a good thing, because I didn’t finish until 1:00 and I kind of never want to look at a chestnut again.
If you’re lucky enough to find chestnuts and you want to try your hand at roasting them, here’s how I do it:
Chestnuts, in the shell. As many as you want, just remember that you’ll have to peel them. By hand.
Preheat oven to 400°
Rinse any dirt off of your chestnuts and look them over thoroughly. Discard any that are cracked or have holes.
With a paring knife, CAREFULLY (please don’t cut yohr finger off) cut an X into each nut. Make sure you get all the way through the shell… this will allow steam to escape so they don’t explode in your oven.
Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, cut side facing up. Roast for 25 minutes. If you hear a loud pop toward the end of the baking time, don’t worry. They generally don’t make a huge mess when they explode.
When they’re done, let them sit until cool enough to handle…they do tend to peel easier when warm, so try to keep an eye on them. Then comes the fun part! Peel the hard shell and papery layer off of each one. Yes, by hand.
This will wreck your thumbs.
This is what they look like after you’ve peeled them. If you try one now, you might just find yourself eating them as yoh peel them. Fair warning.
It isn’t a super quick process, so you might want to sit at a table. Invite a friend over to help…Just make it sound like it’s super fun. Also, convince your friend that chestnuts are gross so you don’t have to share.
Once they’re all peeled and your fingers are permanently disfigured, you can store them in an airtight container, either in the fridge (only for a couple of days!) or in the freezer (for up to a year). I stuck mine in the freezer so I can use them in a recipe sometime this week.
If they last that long…
If you are thinking that you might like to take the plunge into parenthood, I want you to sit down an really think about something.
How do you feel about poop? More specifically, someone else’s poop. In your hand.
Because that’s the kind of thing you get to deal with when you become a parent.
If you just said, “Oh Hell no.” in response…
Maybe just get a house plant for now.
Yesterday was my beautiful Mama’s birthday. She’s recently started drinking a glass of wine every night (purely for the health benefits…Wink, wink) and lately she’s been trying to branch out a little.
Since buying wine in the store can be kind of difficult (selecting the bottle with the prettiest label doesn’t always work out well), my SIL and I schemed up a plan to take mom to a local winery.
Coal Creek Winery is so pretty, and they make some really great wine. We had a (free!) tasting, and then we all had a glass of our favorite.
The owner was lovely, and she answered all of our questions and chatted with us like we were all old pals. She had food set out, cheeses and crackers, some chips and dips, and an assortment of little desserts.
After our tasting, we took our glasses out to the deck, where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying our wine and each other’s company.
We got mom a couple of bottles to take home, then we said goodbye to our lovely host and promised we’d be back.
After dropping mom and SIL off, I met up with my aunt and we headed to Brownsburg for the video premier and CD release party for John Stevens Jr.’s new CD.
It was a really fun evening, and the video looks great! I haven’t had a chance to look for myself yet, but pay attention to the crowd scenes because you might see me! Of course, I’m only five foot one, so there’s a good chance you might not be able to see me.
Hashtag, short people problems.
Either way, I had a blast doing it. I got to meet so many fun people, and he’s partnering with Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, so it was for a damn good cause.
Check the video out here, and please consider downloading “She Loves Peyton Manning More Than Me”, either as a single or along with John’s new Brown’s Wonder Album. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St.Vincent. You really can’t beat that!
It’s no secret that I love football, and I’m a Colts fan through and through. When we lost Peyton Manning, I was sad but hopeful that this new QB, Andrew Luck (maybe you’ve heard of him by now?), would be what our team needed.
A lot of people in Indy just didn’t seem to want to let go of Manning…Lots of diehard fans even still wore his jersey, as if he would miraculously come back. I often jokingly questioned their sanity.
When I first heard John Stevens Jr. singing, “She loves Peyton Manning more than me!”, I cracked up. It’s a really catchy tune about a girlfriend’s (or wife’s?) obsession with Manning. I think that’s probability what The BF thinks about my love of football in general.
Apparently, a lot of other people agreed. The YouTube video has over 60, 000 hits and John has been interviewed for newspapers and on TV news stations…Check out his website for all of the specifics. It’s a pretty great story!
I’m telling you all about this for a reason. John is from my hometown, and I recently got the chance to participate in the filming of the official music video for the song She Loves Peyton Manning More Than Me.
We had such a fun time, and I was glad I got the chance to be a part of it.
Tomorrow (Saturday, September 20th) is the official CD release and video premier party, so if you are in the area make sure to stop by! John is partnering with Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital (St. Vincent, Indianapolis), so not only will it be a great time, but it’s for a wonderful cause.
Need details? click here!
I’ll be sure to share the video with you all as soon as it’s officially released, along with any good stories from the party.
As long as I don’t look like a big ol’ dingleberry.
Ok, fine, even if I do look like a big ‘ol dingleberry.
After such a great week, I knew it would be hard to leave Los Angeles. Oh sure, I missed my boy and all of my family and friends, but I really didn’t understand why they couldn’t just pack up and come to California. I tried talking everyone into it, but they all declined. I’m guessing it’s because they just don’t know how great it is there.
My alarm went off around 5:45 am on that last morning, and it sounded more annoying than usual. I took one final shower, using the fancy little hotel soaps since my stuff was all packed up. After drying off, I put that super amazing robe on and refused to get dressed until the last possible second. Wearing it down to the lobby to check out crossed my mind, but I decided it would be best to part ways in my room so we could say goodbye in private.
That’s a headband on the bed, by the way. I know it looks like underwear but nope!
My driver arrived ten minutes early, just as I was checking out. He loaded my suitcase while I climbed into the back of his swanky SUV, saying goodbye to the valet guys one last time.
On the way to LAX we talked about the semester he spent in South Korea, and (as conversations with me usually go), we ended up on the topic of food. At some point he told me about some of the celebrities he’s met, including one of the guys from the Hangover movies and the show Community. Turns out, Community films next door to where The Doctors tapes, and he sees this guy whenever he has to pick someone up at the Paramount lot.
I told everyone before I left that I don’t watch enough tv to really know who some of these celebrities are, and that I could be sitting right next to one and not know it. I guess I might have been right, because I remember seeing a couple of vaguely familiar-looking people when I left the studio.
Traffic wasn’t horrible that early in the morning, so we got to the airport with plenty of time. I checked my bag (which was 47 pounds when I left Indiana, but was somehow 52 pounds when it got weighed at LAX…oops) and found my gate with ease. Since I had about an hour before my flight began boarding, I decided to wander around.
I had a middle seat on my non-stop flight home, of course. It wasn’t horrible, though. The guy at the window even leaned back so I could take a look at the west coast as we flew over.
Nothing exciting really happened on the flight. I did some reading, then had lunch, then read some more.
I eventually started having trouble keeping my eyes open, so I took a short nap…Which is a first, because I’ve never been able to sleep on a plane.
When I woke up, the flight attendant was offering drinks again. I ended up with a shot glass of coffee, but it didn’t help much.
We were pretty close to Indy by that point, so I packed up my book and pulled out the SkyMall.
The BF was waiting for me at baggage claim, and he seemed pretty excited to see me. We stopped for a bite to eat and I was suddenly starving, so I ordered a BLT and fried pickles. And then I stuffed myself.
We stopped to pick up the boy at my mom and dad’s, and I gave everyone their presents. Mom and the boy got shirts, dad got a hat, and the BF got a sweet 11×14 Star Wars movie poster reprint.
By the time we got home I was exhausted, so I put the boy to bed (I had really missed our bedtime routine) and then found myself doing the same thing.
I was glad to be home.
***If anyone from the Roosevelt is reading this, feel free to send me a robe. Consider it a late birthday gift…But does it come in a smaller size?
Are you on Instagram? Do you like pretty things? Do you like to buy stuff? If so, go check out my profile (theoriginalashleemae) to see the two scarves I’ve added.
When I’m not working on a custom order or a gift, I like to keep busy making lots of random things. Now that fall is (sort of) here, and with winter rapidly approaching (dammit), I tend to make a lot of scarves. Like, a lot. Anyway, last year I made so many that I ran out of places to put them. This year, I’ve decided to sell them.
It was suggested that I try using Instagram instead of Etsy or Ebay, so I’m giving it a shot. Check it out, and if you see something you like, let me know!
If you’ve been following along with my California posts wondering when I’d get to the television show, today is the day you’ve been waiting for!
I can’t really go into a ton of detail about the actual episode, but I can show you what led up to the taping!
A driver picked me up at 7:10 am on Thursday morning. I was showered, with a light layer of foundation and straightened hair as instructed by a producer. I hadn’t had a chance to drink nearly enough coffee, unfortunately.
We arrived at Paramount and I was lead to my dressing room, which I shared with the gal that also shared a segment with me. She was really sweet and fun, and I was glad for the company. Someone brought me a coffee, and I had to resist the urge to hug her. We were then told that someone would come for us when it was hair and makeup time.
They also left bagels and muffins, so I made sure to inhale a little of both. Hey, I didn’t want to be rude!
I eventually got whisked away to have my hair done, and I had a nice chat with my hair lady about our kids.
Once my hair was done, I went back to the dressing room to wait a little more.
There’s a lot of waiting in this television business.
My makeup guy was so much fun…He used to do Pam Anderson’s makeup for Baywatch, and he was from Ohio but had family from Indiana. We talked about all sorts of things while he worked
So once all of that was done, I headed back to my dressing room to meet with wardrobe.
The outfit I brought was deemed worthy, so I got dressed while they went to find some jewelry. I ended up wearing my grandma’s necklace and ring, and a pair of the wardrobe department’s earrings (which I need to mail back because, oops).
A producer came in and went over my segment with me, then we waited some more before being taken to the soundstage. I got mic’d, then I waited some more before being led out. I won’t go into any detail about what happened during taping, because I’m not sure what I’m legally allowed to talk about. I guess you’ll just have to wait and see the episode!
So that was my big, exciting morning at the studio! A driver took me back to the Roosevelt, where I changed and went on my normal afternoon walk.
After my walk, I had a snack by the pool and returned to my room to pack. That night, I had dinner at Katana to celebrate taping the show. It was incredible, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the LA area. Tamala Jones was a few tables away, and right next to me was some guy from Lionsgate (I think).
I was so into how amazing the food was, Bugs Bunny could’ve sat down next to me and I wouldn’t have noticed.
Would it be weird to fly to LA just to eat there again?
Are you sick of hearing about my trip yet? Well too bad!
Just kidding. Or not, really…
So here are more pictures!
Ok, so I’m sure you’re over hearing about how much I loved my hotel…Not to worry, I think that was the last of the hotel pictures. Maybe.
The cool thing about staying on Hollywood Boulevard is that all you have to do is walk outside to find something interesting. I took walks every day, heading in different directions, to check stuff out. One day I accidentally wandered a little too far… The stripper clothing stores and dirty pawn shops made me think I should turn around, and the homeless guy kicking trash cans and screaming, “I want to die” definitely made me move a little faster.
My routine in LA was pretty awesome, really. I did the back story shoot right when I arrived, so I had a lot of free time until the show taped on Thursday morning. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I woke up around 7:00 and had a pot of coffee sent up. I would turn the local news on and fire up my laptop to work until around 9:00. Then it was time to change and go down to the pool, where I would read my book until at least noon. Both days, I showered and changed to head out for my walk, fully intending to grab a snack. Both days, I totally forgot about the snack because there were just way too many other things to see and do.
Eventually it would be time to go back for dinner. Tuesday night I ordered room service, and Wednesday night I ate at Public Kitchen. The staff was so friendly that I ended up going back down to have a bloody Mary at the bar.
Thursday was The Big Day, and I will talk about that in more detail tomorrow.
Oh, look, I snuck some more hotel pics in there!
Ok, last one.
I made it back to Indiana safe and sound last night. Three things:
A. 50° feels freezing cold
B. The time change is kicking my ass
C. I had to make my own coffee AND drive myself somewhere today
So rather than give you a play-by-play of my trip, I thought I could just do pictures. I took lots, so the next few posts will probably be more LA stuff. Ok? Ok! Here we go:
Fun fact: The staircase in the bottom right was the one Shirley Temple used to tap dance on.
Stay tuned for more photos!
I can’t talk about my trip to LA without mentioning my very cool hotel…The Hollywood Roosevelt. It’s located on Hollywood Boulevard, across from the Chinese Theater and down the block from Madame Tussauds wax museum.
My room is awesome, and I’m really considering stealing the bed linens because they’re wonderful.
I worked all morning yesterday, then early in the afternoon I did some exploring and made my way to the pool…
I took a walk yesterday evening, just around my hotel, and had a lot of fun discovering things. I got a couple of pics with some celebrity impersonators (Samuel L. Jackson, Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper) to send to The BF, and I made a quick stop at CVS to pick up some drinks.
I mean, I’m not paying 4.00 for a glass of iced tea. Nope.
A lot of people have mentioned the fact that my hotel is thought to be haunted. I did a lot of Googling…Turns out, a handful of ghosts are supposed to be hanging around. Marilyn Monroe practically lived here for a while, as did Montgomery Clift. Apparently, you’re supposed to be able to encounter ol’ Montgomery on the 9th floor, and Miss Marilyn occasionally appears in a mirror. I haven’t found the mirror yet, but I will keep hunting. I may have already had a visitor, as I mentioned yesterday, but last night was ghost-free.
Something else I found pretty interesting: The hotel opened in 1927, and was the site of the first Academy Awards. Cool, huh?
Today, I look forward to spending some time at the pool once it opens, and possibly taking another walk this afternoon. Tomorrow is THE BIG DAY, then I fly home Friday.
I feel like it’s all going by so fast! I don’t want it to end, but I really miss my sweet boy and everyone else at home.
And I still don’t quite believe that it’s real.