Neglected Blog

My poor neglected blog. I wish I had good excuses to come up with, but I don’t. The good news is that, despite OperationRachel not getting much love recently, I’ve been kickin’ ass over at Pinstrosity. I think I’m up to four posts now. Two more are in the works. 

My friend who co-founded the blog is outstanding and I really can’t thank her enough for getting me involved. I have deadlines to meet with that blog. OperationRachel doesn’t require me to put in nearly as much effort. This has been great. It’s forcing me to document projects that I try, and it encourages me to pay close attention and analyze any failures or successes. So far, so good.

Work has been keeping me busy and exhausts me by the end of the day. I am in a comfortable limbo, for the moment. I exist in between two phases of my job. The first that I have started to understand quite well and the second that I know nothing about. Report Integrity– doesn’t that sound fancy and impressive? Mayhaps it will be. I don’t know. I’ve been continuing to find documents to make for resume/portfolio fodder. You know, being an adult and what not.

Hopefully, I’ll have something new and fabulous to post here soon.



Happy New Year: Pinstrosity


2014. Can you believe it? Were you ready? There’s already been some big changes in my life for the new year: new job, new hobbies, and new writing projects. What type of projects, you ask?

Pinstrosity. BAM!

Have you heard of Pinstrosity before? If so, go check it out now! If not, I’m here to fill you in. It’s a blog about what happens to Pinterest projects in real life. Think…something like this:

Now, of course, the blog actually encompasses all sorts of Pinterest projects; from the good and the bad, to the downright hilarious. I can’t wait to get my hands on some projects to kick off the new year. Oh boy, oh boy, whatever shall I start with? Have any ideas?

Want to know more good news?

Part 1: This means you have another blog to stalk me on. As a matter of fact, if you want to check out my first Pinstrosity entry, you can click HERE.

This is the photo I used for the introduction post.

Part 2: Pinstrosity is a submission-based website. Do you have Pinstrosities to share? If so, what are you waiting for?! We need you!

Joining of the Pinstrosity family also means big adjustments to my writing style. That the fairly gritty language and humor that you’re used to reading here? That’s gonna come to a screeching halt for Pinstrosity readers. C’mon, kids read that blog. I don’t want to scare the family friendly crowd away. While I practice cleaning up my language over there, I’ll do my best to keep it real here. It’s going to be good for me, I think.

Bottom line: Happy New Year! Let’s all make the best of 2014. Cross your fingers (’cause I sure am) that all this change is for the best!

Rob and I wore crazy head pieces of New Years!

Rob and I wore crazy head pieces of New Years!


The Upcycled Cat Hut

We have an adorable, part-time, outdoor cat here at the Nest. His name is Johnny. Here’s a low quality GIF of his fuzzy face:

This cat is seriously so cute. Sometimes I can’t take it.

Rob and I would love nothing more than to have Johnny as a permanent feline resident here at the Nest. But, unfortunately, our two mostly-inside cats, Carly and Stella, have different plans. Despite Johnny’s even temperament and lack o’man parts, our two possessive ladies refuse to accept him. As a result, if the weather is bad, we must confine Johnny to the man cave when we bring him inside (with Carly and Stella always sulking on the other side of the door).

Don’t feel too bad for Johnny, though:

  1. We’ve collected some necessities for Johnny’s occasional sleepovers. A towel and mango box to sleep in (he LOVES it), several toys, food and water dishes, and his own litter box. We put them away when he leaves and bring them back out for his nights in.
  2. In an effort to make Johnny seem “owned”, we have attempted to put collars on him, but they disappear within days (either at Johnny’s own paw or someone else removes them). Update, as of this evening, he has “lost” his third collar — and smells like he’s been in someone else’s home.
  3. Rob and I happen to know that we are two of six (SIX!) residents in our complex who feed and love this cat. But, we’re pretty sure Johnny likes us best.
Fast asleep in his mango box.

Look at our boy, fast asleep in his mango box.

In the past couple of weeks, night temperatures have dropped here in the valley of the sun. Arizona natives know that, in some places, temperatures that dip into the 30s aren’t considered that cold. But listen here, this isn’t Minnesota. When it drops under 70 degrees, we start breaking out coats and boots. Get any lower, and it’s gloves and snow hats for us. But, when the temperatures are low enough to warrant plant blankets (seriously, we don’t want our plants to freeze), outdoor kitties should come inside.

But what about the nights that we can’t find Johnny? Or, worse, the nights that he refuses to stay inside all night? Sometimes, Johnny will come in for a snack and a nap, but at two in the morning, wakes with a start like he’s late for work. He will then cry at the door non-stop, while reaching for the doorknob. If we do not promptly take this hint, Johnny will find the closest place to spritz. That’s right, I said spritz. The other night, when we decided to wait for a commercial break to take him out, he crouched in our DVD drawer and took a tiny little piss. What gives, cat?!  Out you go.

This dilemma leads us to the real reason for this post: The Upcycled Cat Hut. We gotta know that Johnny isn’t going to freeze to death when we have to put him outside to prevent an onslaught o’urine.

I'm trying my hand at fonts and editing. What do you think?

I’m trying my hand at fonts and editing. What do you think?

Since I’m still unemployed, and it’s the holidays, I unfortunately don’t have money to spend on a nice bed for Johnny. But, even if I did, I worry that the series of stray cats in our neighborhood would come by to spray it, rendering it useless for Johnny to sleep in. So I figured, based on Johnny’s love of his mango box, a cardboard box hut was the way to go as a cheap free alternative.

That is where Costco boxes come in.The two lovely boxes for the structure of this box are Costco grocery leftovers; just the right size for what I needed. Once I had the structure picked out, the rest of the process took me about fifteen minutes, a few snips of the scissors, and cost me nothing. You ready?

Here is a list of materials that I used for the UCH (shut up, I love acronyms):

  • Two boxes (one for the top, one for the bottom)
  • Two styrofoam inserts (saved from the packaging a toolbox)
  • Two old blankets (approved for kitty use/ to go outside)
  • Scissors/exacto knife

That’s it! Seriously!

Step 1: Acquire boxes.


Step 2: Cut down the styrofoam inserts to fit in the base.

Notice the gap on the right-hand side of the box. I later wedged a couple pieces of the styrofoam in there for additional insulation.

Styrofoam leftovers

Styrofoam leftovers

Step 3: Create a nice little nest in the middle with blanket #1.

See the styrofoam, there on the side?

See the styrofoam, there on the side?

Step 4: Cram the top box onto the base. I had to raise the front up higher than the back so Johnny could fit into the box.


Step 5: Allow your jealous indoor cat to inspect the box. (This step is optional)

This isn't for me, is it? You bitch.

This isn’t for me, is it? You bitch.

Step 6: Move the box to your desired location.

Step 7: Wrap the box in blanket #2, as indoor cat #2 stares at you through the window. (Also, I let the blanket hang over the entrance for extra warmth)

Step 8: Wait to see if your little furry actually uses the box. I have yet to see Johnny climb into it, but I like to thing he snuggles down at night.

See! I told you it was going to be easy! If you make your own Cat Hut, let me know! I want to see it!



PS:  Bless you Costco, my cat can sleep warm at night (inside or outside) because of your free boxes.

CVS Winter Clearance!

Are you familiar with the CVS Clearance sales? If not, head over to Nouveau Cheap for complete details! Basically, select items receive 50% or 75% off stickers. What does this mean for you? Stock up or try something new– because the items with stickers are cheaaaaaaaaaap! I happened upon this at my local CVS this evening (a fortunate accident). Tomorrow, I am going to be running around the valley, visiting as many CVS stores as possible. I showed some restrain today and only picked up four items. Though, I’m sure on my quest for other items, I will multiply that.

Here’s what came home with me this evening:

All 75% off! Wee!

All 75% off! Wee!

Nail Polish (because I am addicted):

  • Nicole by OPI – Luke of the Draw (from the Modern Family Collection)
  • NYC In a New York Color Minute – Bowery Black
  • Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips – Misbehaved (I have been pining for this FOREVER)

Lip Liner

  • Sally Hansen – Invisible Lip Liner (39194)

Want to see the receipt? I know the answer is yes! Seriously, check out the savings. I really love that CVS shows how much you saved AND a trip summary near the bottom. So fulfilling as a bargainer!

Look at the savings! (and, yes, I do love Peanut M&Ms)

Look at the savings! (and, yes, I do love Peanut M&Ms)

I can’t wait to let you know what else I come home with and how everything works out. Hustle on over to your closest few CVS stores for some holiday bargains!

Soooooo excited,


Product Review: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blackberry

After my awesome Big Lots Haul this week– I decided to write a couple of reviews for the goodies I purchased! Hang in there as I try  on my reviewer cap.

Today’s Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous “Blackberry” (640) in Creme.

Revlon's Blackberry is incredibly difficult to photograph. Daresay, this photo doesn't come close to capturing the 'real life' color. In person, it's a rich red/brown color.

Revlon’s Blackberry is incredibly difficult to photograph. Daresay, this photo doesn’t come close to capturing the ‘real life’ color. In person, it’s a rich red/brown color.

Color Expectation: This struck me as a particularly classic color for fall. It seemed warm; the red and brown tones were really, or so I thought, represented in the color of the lipstick itself (visible through the top of packaging).

Seriously. Bless this packaging.

The closest comparison that I can come up with for Blackberry is red wine. A la Cabernet Sauvignon; or, more specifically, according to the folks over at Wine Folly, the color of an “Old Cabernet Sauvignon” (que fancy!).

Thanks Wine Folly, this is exactly the type of visual I needed to describe this lipstick!!

However, Revlon threw a wrench in my expectations for this color. Here’s why:

  1. It is name is “Blackberry”, which makes me think of purple tones. Yet, this color isn’t purple at all. Not even a smidgen.
  2. The sticker on the bottom of the tube isn’t representative of the lipstick’s name, the color of the lipstick, or the color of the lipstick on my face. Thank goodness for Revlon’s see-through packaging on this one!
They call it "Blackberry". Pfffft.

They call it “Blackberry”. Pfffft.

Despite my uncertain expectations, I spent the mere two dollars on this lipstick. Also despite my uncertain expectations, I couldn’t wait to get Blackberry on my face…

Color Reality: I was most unprepared for what happened when I applied this little beauty to my lips! Take a look! This is a true red, ladies and gents; not a brown hue in sight. Mind you, the flash, not surprisingly, makes the red look brighter than it is in real life. Perhaps a few daylight photos are in order.

These photos are taken with flash. But here, have my goofy face!

But, fear not, I found a supremely accurate color descriptor for this on my face: Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. No contest. You may as well have painted it on. Perhaps Revlon wasn’t so far off with the berry idea. Maybe Cranberry instead of Blackberry??

Cranberry Juice

This is the real color on my face. I promise.

Lipstick Texture: Blackberry is particularly creamy (as “creme” would imply). It’s a delight to wear. I did find that if I had any semblance of dry skin on my lips, that the color would build up and look gross. I tried wearing a chapstick under Blackberry and that seemed to help with the dry skin issue, but it did make the color slide. After a blot, it was fine. Also, if you plan on using a make up brush, apply the lipstick first, and just do detail work with the brush. This made a huge difference for me.

Lipstick Smell: Nothing to offend your nostrils here. Ah, viva unscented lipstick.

Lipstick Longevity: I haven’t worn this one out, yet, so I’m not sure how long it will last. I can say for sure that it will come off on your food (a burrito, to be exact) or in your gum, if you blow bubbles (don’t judge me).

So what, I don’t particularly love the name of this color and am slightly annoyed that it doesn’t wear the exact same as the lipstick. BUT– Blackberry is a gorgeous color on my face and apparently, I unknowingly bought a MAC Dubonnet dupe (see the Sunshine Sarah’s Comparison post). Woohoo!

You made it through my first review! What did you think? How can I improve?

Xo, Rachel

PS: Check out my new phone! Weeeeeee!

New phone! New phone! Magical new phone!

New phone! New phone! Magical new phone!

Black Friday 2013: Samsung Galaxy S4

Hi friends,

All of the internet is all a-twitter right now about Black Friday deals. But I wanted to let you know about the deal that I took advantage of at Costco yesterday (but it goes through the end of the day today, 11/30/13!). They have $100 mail in rebate on Samsung phones. Check out the details here: Costco Wireless Black Friday Sale.

Costco Sale.png

I paid $146 and change, but qualified for the $100 mail in rebate on my upgrade. Samsung Galaxy S4 for less than $50?! No way! Also, remember that Costco Wireless waives your activation fee and provides you with a free accessory pack (which includes: a car charger, screen protectors, and a cell phone case).

Couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Photos to come!


Thanksgiving 2013 Post

I’ve fought the urge to write a Thanksgiving post for the past couple of days; I try to practice appreciation as many days of the year as possible. But, I was also being a hipster about it, not wanting to post my thankful list on the same day as plenty of other bloggers. Perhaps I will post my “Thanksgiving Post” on another day, you know, to be original.

What changed my mind was something Rob read me from his Facebook. One of his friends posted: “I used to sleep outside and now I don’t. For that I am grateful.” I’m not gonna lie, I cried a litte.

I’d loosely contemplated an elaborate and goofy gratitude list, in typical Operation Rachel fashion, but today, I am focusing on my basic needs as a human being. I am lucky enough to have air to breathe, clean water to drink, food to eat, and even a warm, safe place to sleep. In some places and by some standards, I’m not just having my needs met; I’m living a luxurious and charmed life.

I’d be a fool not to acknowledge how fortunate I am. I plan on going above and beyond to appreciate that today.


Big Lots Haul!

There’s nothing like drowning out the “job interview” woes like taking a trip to Big Lots. I have a favorite Big Lots in Mesa, Arizona– but fortunately, this particular location is not on Google Maps yet! Its lack of internet presence makes me love it even more.

Anyway, after reading a few posts (and by a few, I mean about 30 pages of them) on Nouveau Cheap about cosmetic deals, I got a huge bargain boner and knew that a trip to Big Lots was in my imminent future. Of course, I ended up there today after the interview. I found several goodies I have to share with you:

1. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick “Blackberry” (640) in Creme. $2.00. IMG_20131127_110401_333

2. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick “Wine Not” (010) in Matte. $2.00.


3. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick “Demure” (683) in Creme. $2.00.


4. L’Oreal Paris Lip Brush. $2.00. I gotta tell you, I love this thing. It’s a really nice size, and no has fancy gadgetry. May have to buy more.


5. Tweezeman Nail Files. $.30. That’s right. THIRTY CENTS EACH! How can you go wrong? They are not full sized files, but, into the purse they go. I haven’t been able to find my multitude of files lately. This is probably indicative of my need to clean instead of shop. Hmm… never the less, I’m quite proud of these wee finds.


6. Physician’s Formula Organic Mineral Powder in “Beige Organics”. $4.50. I love PF minerals… even more than bareMinerals — if we are being honest. My only small complaint is that the color of the minerals can be difficult to judge inside of the containers.

[Photo to be uploaded ASAP]

Sorry that the minerals photo is missing. I wanted to get this post up ASAP in the event that you’re heading over to Big Lots in search of some deals too. Reviews of these products to come!



Wholesome Spiced Carrot Pulp Muffins

The third recipe that I used for my juice pulp was found here: Wholesome Spiced Carrot Muffins.

These muffins ranked about a….eh….C in my book. Now, with all due respect to the baker, I take full responsibility for this recipe’s low grade. Why you ask? Well, the original recipe calls for chia seeds. I didn’t have any, so I omitted them from mine. However, it is noted in the original recipe’s instructions that the chia seeds should be soaked in 1/4 cup of water. Moronically, I forgot to add the 1/4 cup of water to my recipe, despite the lack of chia seeds. As a result, the muffins were dry and, for the lack of a better word, “blah”.

The recipe and photos on Jellibean Journals looked moist and delicious, so I am eager to attempt this recipe again. I encourage you to check out Jelli’s post, because I doubt that my version does the recipe justice. I also discovered the original recipe that inspired Jelli’s recipe, and that can be found at Kitchen Treaty.

Ingredients (makes approximately 12 muffins)

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats (rolled or quick)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (I used low sodium baking powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used NoSalt Salt Alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg (As usual, Better’n Eggs for me)
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups carrot pulp
  • 1/4 cup water (this isn’t on the original ingredient list, but Jelli adds it to the recipe later in her instructions. I think that mine would have greatly improved if I’d had the water)


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Add the wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix them together.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients. Then, mix mix mix.
  • Lightly grease the muffin pans or use muffin liners. Divide the batter into 12.
  • Bake the muffins until they pass the toothpick test (insert a toothpick into the middle and it comes out of the muffin clean). For me, baking them took just over 20 minutes.
  • Allow the muffins to cool. Then, commence with nom-ing.

Here’s what I ended up with:


My sad muffin mishap. Sorry for the poor photo quality.

Not adorable. But I’m optimistic for next time. Rob coined the name “fossilized poo muffins”– which we will re-name when I make the recipe CORRECTLY. Muffins with oats is a combination that I am eager to tackle. I’ll keep you updated as soon as I am ready to take it on again.