Taylor J's Holiday Break in 5 Pictures


Christmas Light Display in LaGrange, Illinois

Happy New Year! I hope you had a nice, relaxing break and spent a little time with those closest to you. Despite the fact that we wanted to spend a holiday with all the people we've missed seeing this year, it just wasn't a good idea to do that. I did go see my mom and step father for Christmas in the suburbs of Chicago. The last thing I did before I left to see them was take a rapid results COVID-19 test in West Des Moines. It was negative, so it felt safe to go see them and I had limited contact with anyone before I left for my trip. They took a test soon after I arrived, too, and were negative.

The day after Christmas, I asked if we could drive around and look at some of the Christmas lights. We looked at some of the light displays in LaGrange, Illinois, about 20 miles west of Chicago. I loved this one!!! The neighbors had an "everything but the kitchen sink" display in their yard complete with music and a donations box (you know the display is a lot when you ask for donations for the light bill!!!). This family didn't have much they had to to do because the neighbors took care of it for them! LOL!!!!

Birthday Margarita

I had a birthday on December 28th. I had a perfect celebration with just a few family members at my favorite restaurant. My favorite food it Mexican, it always has been, because as a child, we ate at Pepe's, a Mexican restaurant chain in Chicagoland. My mom lives near a Pepe's, so we went and celebrated. Of course, I had to have a signature margarita and the server gave me a free shot for my birthday! Best birthday present - 1800 silver tequila! :-) I think I used to have fried ice cream for my birthday as a child.... 1800 tequila is my adult birthday dessert. After dinner, I did the pandemic thing, and had a virtual party with a few friends on FaceTime. Ahhhhh 2020.

Brenda Barrett DMs Taylor J.

I talk about celebs, but I Fangirl, too! One of my favorite actresses is Vanessa Marcil. She may not be an A-List, household name, but she's awesome! I've been a lifelong "General Hospital" fan. My mom watched Luke & Laura when she was young and I watched the epic love affair between Sonny & Brenda in the 90s and 2000s. Ok, if you don't watch soaps, this means absolutely nothing to you. You may know Vanessa Marcil from "90210," she played Gina Kincaid or you may know her as Sam Marquez on "Las Vegas." Coincidentally, E! ran a "Las Vegas" marathon all weekend! Anyway, Vanessa is super cool. Her baby daddy is Brian Austin Green and she recently defended Megan Fox for leaving him. (It was on TMZ). Vanessa is a cool chick raising a cool son and she's very open with her life on social media. She posted something about Sonny & Brenda from "General Hospital" last week and I was excited and commented. She sent me an emoji back! I was stoked!!!!! She's done this before. I think it's awesome when celebrities interact with their fans. I had a moment, excuse me.... :-)

Trader Joe's Roses

I think i'm most excited about the fact that I finally went back to Trader Joe's after a nearly year long absence! One of the reasons I agreed to move to Des Moines was because I knew they had a Trader Joe's. It's my favorite grocery store. When the pandemic hit, I stopped going because I didn't have the patience to wait in life. They are really good at keeping us COVID-free, so I don't fault them. It's just a small store and there was always a line. Despite the fact that I have trouble living without the Hot & Sweet Jalapenos and Tomato-less Corn salsa, I didn't go during the pandemic. I've missed it terribly. Saturday night, there was no line and I stocked up! I stocked up on filet mignon (the best filet you can find that's not at a high end steak house), my jalapenos and salsa and ROSES! Word to the wise, if you want to buy someone roses, look no further than Trader Joe's. There roses are so beautiful (better than i've seen at any other grocer) and they are CHEAP!!! I bought these pink and white spray roses for $8 total!!!!!! Can't beat this deal! And my world feels better when I have these flowers in my home! I'm so happy to be reunited with Trader Joe's!!!

Black Bean Hummus With Sour Cream and Smoked Oysters

Basically, for Christmas, i've received all the tools I need to become a master chef. Well, not really. I love cooking so much. I'm so ADD that cooking helps me focus. I'm the type of person that needs to have several things going on at once to get anything done and that's cooking in a nutshell. While one thing is boiling, you can mix up something else. While somethings setting in the fridge, you can chop up something else. While somethings baking in the oven, you can fold your laundry and do your dishes. It gives me much needed structure. And it's gratifying to start with a counter full of ingredients and create something that can be shared and enjoyed with friends.

Anyway, I received pots & pans, a hand mixer and some cookbooks for Christmas. My dad shares my loved of cooking and his favorite chef is Jacques Pepin. He bought me Jacques' cookbook with fancy recipes that can be made simply. Case in point, I made the above hummus last night. It was made with Trader Joe's ingredients: a can of black beans, tabasco, oil, red wine vinegar, sour cream, smoked oysters, and melba toast. Basically, I mixed it all up in the blender and ate on Melba Toast. I know, smoked oysters seem gross, but they were very good (and cheap at Trader Joe's!).

I've already spent my stimulus on a Ninaj Foodi! Oopsie, but it's the most amazing appliance i've ever owned!

How were your holidays? I hope great! I'm glad to be back on the radio talking to you!!!! Thanks for listening!!!!!


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