Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#TakeMeHomeTuesday - you know you want to adopt a kitty!

Hi Everyone, I'm back with more available kitties from Itty Bitty Kitty. If you are interested in adopting, donating, or volunteering, click on the link above!

Cinnamon and Pumpkin were adopted and returned to our care because they were too playful. Look at these guys, they're fun! They're young! They're kitties!
Cats with this coloration are lovely and very friendly. These guys need love and toys! They are goofballs and enjoy being companions. The adoption fee for each individual cat would be $50, but if you adopt them together, it's only $75! Consider taking them home together! They'll be a great addition to your home.

The next cat is Scout.

He's a floofy tuxedo kitty. He's likey a Maine Coon,  which is a very cuddly and loving breed, but they need to be brushed daily so they don't get matted. This guy was rescued from a kill shelter and he needs your love! He's regal and friendly!

Let me know if you have any questions!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Drowning in Books with Krystal Lake Vol. 1

Welcome to the very first installment of Drowning in Books with Krystal Lake! I know, catchy, ain’t it!?!! Anyways, I since I am an avid reader, I thought I would start making posts sharing what I have read and my opinions on said books. You know, since my opinions are all that matter. Just kidding. Sort of. I am going to make a post once a month where I talk about three books I have read and because I like things to be wrapped up in a neat little package, there will be a theme. Not all books will be brand spanking new, but I will try to pick ones that are still in print or available as an eBook. You’ve been warned.

This month, I have decided to pick three books that make me remember what it is like to be scared, confused, different, and just a girl. Yeah, sorry guys, these are chick reads that are coming of age tales. They are all easy reads which is perfect for anyone looking for a good beach read while they are on vacation. However, these aren’t sappy tales where the girl gets the guy and he hurts her and true love something something the end. No. I don’t like those… typically. On today’s chopping block I have College Girl, How to Build a Girl, and I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone. 

College Girl by Patricia Weitz is kind of what it sounds like, it is about a girl in college. Natalie Bloom is a beautiful, smart, and highly insecure college student. She is 20 years old and has never had a boyfriend and is also a virgin. While her friends spend weekends at parties and going on dates, she stays in the library. This is where she meets her perfect fellow… or so she thought. Patrick is her exact fantasy of a charming, sweet, cultured, intelligent dream bloke. Yeah, think again. This guy brings out her worst insecurities and she ends up losing her virginity before she is ready. Cue the downward spiral and you’re halfway through this gem. Not only does she lose her virginity, but she also loses herself. She has no direction and he organized life takes a self-destructive turn. Natalie has to get her shit together and take some extreme measures to rebuild her self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. 

This book made me smile, laugh, sigh, and get a little angry. I don’t know anyone who made it out of college without a few ups and downs in their personal lives. Heck! I am 30 and I am still learning new things about myself everyday. I found Natalie to be very relatable just because I have always been an indecisive person, especially when I was in my early 20s. Part of that was due to me being insecure and the other part was because I really just didn’t know what I wanted. I always wanted to go with the flow and not cause ripples because I was worried that I would lose something by speaking my mind or saying how I really felt. The reality is not being honest shielded who I really was, and not just from people I dated and friends, but from myself as well. I always say it took me a long time, longer than I had realized, to be comfortable in my own skin. Which is totally true, but it took me a long time to be comfortable with who I was. It may not have seemed that way with friends, but when it came to dating, that was almost always the case. That being said, if I had read this when I was the age the main character was, I don’t know that I would have liked it because of how close to home some of the content is. None the less, it is beautifully written and I enjoyed reading it. 

Next we have How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. This is Caitlin’s first work of fiction. It is about a 14 year old girl who had something terribly mortifying happen to her on national television.Throw in her failed rock musician father, clinically depressed mum, and younger siblings she has to take care of and you have Johanna’s life. Ohh yeah, and she is a virgin with body image issues. She wants something more. But how does one build a girl ?That is the real question. It starts with a name change. Say hello to Dolly Wilde! She is a punk rock loving chick who will tear your band a new one. By 16 she is writing regularly for a magazine, has dropped out of school, and is sleeping with rock gods. Oh, to be young and coming of age in 1990s London! The only thing about building a girl like Dolly is that what do you do when you realize being weird is not enough?

I really liked this book. It was weird, it was raw, it was vulgar at times, and it felt like a teenager was voicing the story the entire time. This book is not for everyone. If you are looking for some cookie cutter, coming of age tale that ends with true love conquering all or some Disney-esque crap like that… steer clear! The fact that Lena Dunham wrote a raving review for this book should probably raise a red flag if you don’t like her style of writing. Just saying. None the less, I was so pleased with this book, I went and bought Moran’s non-fiction book, How to Be a Woman. I can’t wait to dig into this one! But first, I should finish the other five books that I am in the middle of reading. I wish that was a joke. #bookwormforlife

Last, but not least, I want to share my love for I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert. That’s right! Not just a killer Sleater-Kinney song! This book is about a girl who was born into a family with a dark secret surrounded by self made soundtrack. Emily Black is a punk rocker with a Daddy who has a heart of gold. When her mother disappeared, Emily’s father set his music aside to take care of his daughter. Emily was a well rounded girl with a knack for nabbing “rock gods”, but soon, her and her partner in crime go from sleeping with rock gods to being them. As Emily’s music career grows bigger and bigger, her personal life begins to suffer. She finally realizes what she needs, answers.. answers that only her mother can give her, but what happens if she never finds her? 

This books was beautiful. Maybe it hit me at the right time, but I couldn’t put it down. It tugged at my heart strings, made me happy, made me mad, and even had me reflecting on decisions I have made in my own love life. I liked that this not only had a female perspective on love, but also as a woman trying to make it in the music industry. One message that i got from this book is that sometimes confronting your person demons form your past or even stepping on stage in front of a room full of people isn’t nearly has difficult has letting your guard down and falling in love. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Drowing in Books with Krystal Lake. There will be many more to come in the near future. Let me know what coming of age tales you would recommend in the comments below. 

Stay Sweet and Twisted,

-Krystal Lake

Monday, September 7, 2015

Skinny Chickpea Salad Recipe

Skinny Chickpea Salad

Image result for skinny chickpea summer salad

  I absolutely am in love with this salad!!!    Not only is this salad healthy but also is so simple to make and will keep in your fridge for up to 1 week after its prepared. For best results make sure the salad chills in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed + drained
  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed + drained
  • 15 oz can yellow sweet corn, rinsed + drained
  • 1 English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 small pint red cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves
  • ½ yellow sweet onion, finely diced (you may also use red onion or green onion)
  • Dressing:
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro paste or use finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  1. For salad, add all ingredients to a large bowl and cover mixture evenly with dressing. Toss salad mixture gently to mix ingredients with dressing together.
  2. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
  3. Dressing:
  4. For dressing, add all ingredients into a medium size bowl and whisk until all ingredients are well mixed. Place dressing in refrigerator

Friday, September 4, 2015

Hampden Fest 2015

What do you get when you put live music, a pie eating contest, a toilet bowl race, and a singing contest on a street in Baltimore? You get Hampden Fest, Hon! That's right! Next month, Hampden Fest will be back for its one day of glory that comes at the end of every Summer! An area of Baltimore called Hampden, hosts the festival and it is jammed with locals having a killler time in a way only Baltimore can.

Every year, the city of Baltimore blocks off 36th Street aka The Avenue for Hampden Fest. This street has everything you could ever want on a normal day. It has antique shops, places to buy cute clothes, buy records, hit up a John Waters signing, eat a vegan sandwich, get a hair cut, buy some taxidermy, and then grab some ice cream on the way out. Now imagine this street with three stages for live music and contests. Now throw in tents filled with Baltimore themed merchandise and handmade items. Okay, now add some food trucks. The street is kinda packed now, huh. Well, lets just fill up the side walk to be on the safe side. Can't have too much of a good thing, now can we?

Much like any festival, there is no shortage of food. You will find food trucks and local restaurants dishing out yummy food, and yes, this includes crab cakes! Duh! You will also find amazing beers from Baltimore's own The Brewer's Art and Union Craft Brewing. I never knew the true meaning of having a great tasting beer until I had Resurrection by Brewer's Art. You'll thank me later. Now, because my husband always asks, yes, there is funnel cake and freaking lemonade! However, if you are like me, you're not going for the food; you're going for the vendors!

Hampden Fest is one of my favorite festivals to shop at. Looking for some fun pop art of the city? Got it. Want some new Ravens gear that is one of a kind? You're covered. Looking for some Utz and Boh stickers for the car? Look no further. Handmade jewelry by locals? Consider it done. I vend at this festival every year and I have force myself not to spend every dollar I freaking make right there at the damn festival! Don't laugh. The struggle is real! Awesome shopping aside, there is one thing that sets this festival apart from all others, and that my friends is the The Toilet Bowl Race!

The Gas Man in The Toilet Race
The Toilet Bowl Race is a tradition and is really a sight to be seen! This race has become insanely competitive amongst the locals and the rules that come along are anything but a laughing matter. However, when the first rule states that "All racers must include at least one clean human defecation device" how serious an this really be? The answer is more serious that Donald Trump at a presidential debate... oh wait... that was a joke as well. Shoot! I'm bad at analogies. Anyways... if toilet bowl racing is in the can for you, there is plenty of other stuff to entertain you.

Once again, there will be live music. This includes local acts and a special guest to be announced. Last year it was the band Future Islands and yes, I pretty much freaked the eff out!!!!! On top of this, there is also Hampden Idol. It is what it sounds like. I'm not explaining that one.

That's all the info I have at this time. The Hampden Fest 2015 page is constantly being updated. Right now, you can still apply to vend and compete in the toilet bowl race. This year I will be vending in front of Kiss N Make-Up, as always, so please stop by and say hi!

September 19th! Mark your calendars!


Krystal Lake

Saikucon is really an "awesome con"!

Hey there wonderful readers! So last weekend I attended a local (to the Lehigh Valley) anime convention called Saikoucon. Saikoucon, when translated, actually means "awesome con"! While I’ve been attending conventions for about 20 or so years, this was actually my first true anime-only convention! Amazing, I know. To be clear, I enjoy anime, but I’m not familiar with EVERYTHING, so this was a learning experience! I figured a small convention was a good way to start. In a few weeks, you will see some video interviews with people (creators and cosplayers) I met at the convention. Exciting, right?

Let me first talk a bit about the cosplayers. I always enjoy chatting with anyone who decides to dress up as their favorite whatever (and I say whatever since it is an animated genre and anything goes). A cosplay can be as simple as a tee-shirt or as complex as a fully animated robot. Anything goes! Personally, I think the way you wear it (and it should be worn with pride) is more important than anything else!

I’d say that the majority of attendees were pre-teen through twenty something, so this convention definitely attracted a younger group. There were of course a few senior attendees rocking an awesome costume (and more power to them) but the majority were millennials. There were only 3 events that were actually 18 or 21+, which I thought was actually great, since they did keep their audience in mind. To that point, much of the items being sold definitely catered to their whims and price point.

Approximately 1000 people attended over the course of the weekend. I know that sounds small, but based on the venue and location, I think it was a pretty good turnout. The organizers graciously gave me a press pass and full access, which meant that I was able to meet the special guests (more on that later) with the VIP and all access attendees. I also had access to the organizers and sponsors, which let me get a good feel for their interest in making the convention successful!

I spoke to many vendors over the course of the 3-days (and yes, I did actually attend each day). I will actually have another post with vendors and contact information because there is so much to talk about! What I can say is that the artists love their genre and clients. Many people commissioned work (I’ll post my commissioned piece when I receive it) and examples were posted at each booth. You could get anything from cat ears and kimonos to jewelry, art and carnivorous plants (seriously). Again, they really do know what the kids want and cater to that!

Most of the costumes I saw were from the anime genre. I could count the comic book cosplayers on one hand because honestly, they aren’t anime, they’re comic book characters. On that note, there is still quite a bit of hate between some comic and anime fans. You’ll find attendees at some comic cons making fun of anime cosplayers because of their silly attitude. What I learned from this weekend is that normally, they’re just “acting” and are really normal people. They just stay in character for the entire time or else they’re just goofy. Stop the hate and appreciate the skill and tenacity it takes to wear a costume!

Please check out my instagram feed for photos of the awesome cosplayers. Keep checking back for interviews with the artists, cosplayers, and vendors from the event!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wedding 101: Brides Against Breast Cancer Bridal Show

Charity Wedding Gown Sale & Bridal Show – Brides Against Breast Cancer

Friday, September 11, 2015
6:00 PM - 9:30 PM;
Saturday, September 12, 2015
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM;
Price: VIP EVENT: $20 Each General Admission : $5 Each
Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey
23 South 2nd Street Harrisburg, PA 17101
This amazing bridal show not only showcases a large variety of wedding dress designers, vendors, and other big day essentials, but also gives proceeds to the breast cancer foundation and  a variety of treatment facilities for women and children. I am planning on attending this bridal show in hopes of possibly scoring a cheap designer gown for my upcoming wedding with the added bonus of being able to help women and children who are suffering with cancer. Be sure to check it out if you are planning your own wedding or know a friend or family member who is!
  • Brides Against Breast Cancer sells all brands of new designer and “gently worn” wedding gowns in all shapes and styles. 
  • Education, nutrition, exercise, support and therapy are  just some of the many programs and services that they support, all designed to help cancer patients, their families and caregivers.
  • Brides Against Breast Cancer will distribute over 10,000 breast “self-exam” cards this year.
  • The average gown price is $600.
  • Gowns are available in sizes 4 - 18.
  • They have a dress to fit any bridal budget, and offer a convenient, interest free layaway plan.

  • To register for a show, or for more information about brides against breast cancer  visit here or call 1.877.721.HOPE.