Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

My parents are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary today.  Here's a peek into the past 50 years...

mom with my sister, Desiree
wasn't she fabulous?
my love of boatnecks comes natural, peeps

dad, same sister. man, she's such a camera hog.
she's like, in all of these.

mom, dad
my sister desiree and brother gary
again with the fashionable dress...

Ahhh...there I am.
I'm missing a shoe.
It might be in my mom's beehive.
damn I'm cute.
me again
oh. and those other people.
center parts and shroom shirts for the win!
(and sideburns)
if you don't have a
picture of your 70s gunne sax
it didn't happen.
this happened.
(seriously tho...cute dress.)
(and...PANT SUIT)

oh man...i forgot to send myself the 80s photos.
i've been saved from the humiliation of too-large glasses,
polo collars
Farrah hair.
more siblings happened.
and a nephew.
we legit have three different family photos
in this very corner outside this restaurant
i'm wearing floral. who's surprised?

the one without my sister.
my folks, mom & dad.

We're having a big shindig this weekend.  Wish you all could come and party down with us like it's 1999!  (Or, like January 25, 1963, the day these two got hitched.)

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Week in Review

I seem to have disappeared for a week, huh?  Sorry!

The short story is, my brain is mush.  The long story is... somewhere on about December 14, I read a book that gutted me. Seriously. It was such a whining, ranting couple of days for me afterwards, that Kristine posted this pin in my honor.

Granted, she was ridiculing me publicly, but my legs are still longer, so I still win. If anyone's keeping score. (She is. The legs ALWAYS win. Booyah!)


Dec. 14: I read a book, was gutted and scarred for life, and in some really insane twist of fate I was struck silly by the most brilliant fiction idea ever.

Ok, so it probably wasn't brilliant.  It was totally self-serving and simple. It was still niggling in my head, poking at me to Just outline it, baby.  You know you want to. One little outline never hurt anyone...

You may or may not know this, but I've been working on a novel for the better part of six years.  (Technically, I've been working on twelve novels for the better part of twelve years, but who's counting).

Last year I refused to allow myself to work on ANYTHING ELSE until Novel A's first draft was finished.  The Stephen King rules of writing or whatever.  ANYTHING ELSE are known as evil plot bunnies in fiction-writing vernacular.  Personally, I call them book sluts. 

Dec. 15: I caved and started writing the simple, sweet story to patch up my heart, broken over the piece of emotionally manipulative trash I read the day before. (If you're still following my logic, yes. I'm a slut.)

The Past 3 Weeks : I wrote almost every day. It was easy. It was freeing.  It consumed most of my waking hours at home and some of my dreaming hours too.  What was intended to be a 10-15K word short story blossomed into a novella by two weeks time.  And I wasn't nearly done yet.

The Past 3 Days:  People. I have written a novel-length piece of fiction. I wrote 25,000 words in the past nine days. I have honestly lost my mind, because this puppy is never intended for publication anywhere. For one thing, it's too personal and for another, it's not that great, and for the most important other, it's a little scandalous.

(No I'm not giving you any juicy details.  Bite me, Kristine.)

I always thought this type of writing was a waste of time. 

I've had the biggest smile on my face for the past week because it has SO NOT BEEN A WASTE OF MY TIME.

Other tidbits from my life...

* I walked 5 miles this weekend but I skipped my hike today because of The Importance of Napping On Holidays.
* I ate four Chips Ahoy cookies this afternoon. They weren't as good as I remember.
* I forgot to have supper three days this week because WRITING.
* I haven't turned my sewing machine on in over a month. Mojo, why hath thou forsaken me?
* My sister is getting married next month and I need a dress.  Pattern suggestions? (afternoon wedding, conservatory, I don't think I'm in it. If I am no one's told me, so just a "guest" dress. I may have to play photographer. Bah.)
* I interviewed with a charity this weekend for a volunteer position, and it went really well. I was not nearly as dorky as my previous interviews. This is going in the "c'est la vie" column of my life, because I literally can't be anything other than what I was. Hopefully they get that.

I hope you all are hanging out in sewing blog land, having a bang up time and making loads of beautiful garments for me to peruse and slobber over.  I'm hopeful in another week I'll be back in the swing of things and maybe sewing, or blogging, or doing something that's not totally absorbed in this piece of fiction that totally stole my heart.

But, of course, then comes EDITING. (Not really. I'm not going to spend a buttload of time editing something that isn't going to be submitted anywhere.)

(famous last words)
PS...DOWNTON ABBEY.  PEOPLE. DOWNTON ABBEY IS BACK!!!  Shhhh. I'm still an episode behind. Don't spoil me.  But definitely expect fashion recaps later this week. Probs.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Image is Powerful: Cameron Russell

One of the most powerful TedTalks I've seen in a while.  If you have girls, they should watch this:

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

For Elvis: Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I come by my celebrity boyfriend fetish naturally.
My mom called dibs on this handsome devil a LONG time ago.

Today is Elvis' birthday. AND...this weekend I was playing around with a cupcake recipe and realized my final creation was perfect for the occasion.

Behold the Banana Cupcake with Peanut Butter Frosting:

Pretty.  It's also really tasty, more of a "muffiny" cake than a "cake" cake, but still pretty nummy.  The recipe follows, a combination of my Super Special Vanilla to End All Vanilla Cupcakes cupcake recipe and a Banana Cupcake recipe I found online.  (Well, technically, the banana was the only thing I really took from that recipe.  The rest I ad-libbed.  I fly by the seat of my pants like that. When I wear pants.)

This is what Elvis would look like eating this cupcake.
Banana Cupcakes
  • 1 3/4 cup flour 
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 T vanilla 
  • 1/3 cup sour cream 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (approx 3 bananas)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Combine sugars, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add stick of butter and mix on medium speed.  (I use a hand mixer).  The texture will be "crumbly".
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla.
  5. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Don't overmix!
  6.  Add the mashed banana and stir to combine (you could mix again, but be careful not to overmix. You'll just create air pockets!)
  7. Fill cupcake liners just over 1/2 full.
  8. Bake in 350 F oven.  Test at 14 minutes with a toothpick (they are done when the toothpick comes out clean).  Don't overbake!  They should not be a golden brown on top. They'll be too dry (unless you like a dry cupcake).  If the toothpick still has wet batter, test again in 2 minutes.
  9. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. 

Peanut  Butter Frosting
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1-1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups  powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl and mix on medium until creamy.   Add in the heavy cream and beat on high until light and fluffy.

My mom wishes that mirror was her face. Just sayin.
I used a 1M tip to pipe the frosting in a pretty swirl, and sprinkled a little clear sugar glitter over the tops because I like swag, even on my cupcakes.

Keep these babies in the fridge, the icing is butter and cream-laden.  And also totally lickable.

Just like Elvis.

My mom wishes she was on the receiving end of this smolder.

Happy Birthday to the King!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Blouse Envy

In that frustrating way the internet has, I ran across a teeny tiny thumbnail photo of a freakishly adorable top.  Appeared to be red polkadots, neck tie or ruffly jabot, short sleeves with armband.  It appeared to be a screenshot from a tv show or movie.

Did you know you know you can copy the URL of a photo and paste it in the google search box, and it will search the internets for THAT image? 

You can.

Behold the magnificence of red (not polkadot) necktie/ruffly jabot short sleeve blouse:

Swoon.  It has a bit of a 40s vibe, don't you think?

And it's not polkadots, oh no.  It's LIPS.  

Now I must have a red LIP printed ruffly jabot short sleeve blouse. Pattern suggestions?  Seems like there's a Burda Style or HP out there similar.

(By the way, my uber detective googling discovered that the tv show was "Friends with Benefits", a very, VERY short lived series that ran a couple of years ago?  I have never heard of it, and I'm a tv-aholoic.) Alas, I'm not interested enough to finagle the (rather tasteless) screencaps for the other 9 or 10 episodes to look for more gems like this blouse.  Based on this episode, the title actually does indicate the premise of the series.

I had to wade through a ton of screencaps to bring you these pretties (oh, the depths I go for you, dear readers), and on my way I also found a series of scary photos of the above actress in a different scene:

Holy Botox, Batman. 

WHY would such a lovely woman, who is clearly still quite young (early 30s?) do this?

Oh Hollywood, yet again you disappointment with your shallowness. 

If you haven't made a New Year's Resolution yet, might I suggest embracing your wrinkles?  Hopefully you got them from things like SHOWING EMOTION and SMILING and LAUGHING and LIVING LIFE. So they're nothing to be ashamed of. 

Also, more cute feminine blouses.  Yup.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A Letter from China

This article popped up on my twitter feed tonight.  It is both heartbreaking and helplessness-inducing.

In synopsis, a woman, Julie Keith, was unpacking Halloween decorations and found a letter inside; a letter from the Chinese worker who packaged it.


Please, go read the full articel (linked above) for the letter's full contents.  Here is a brief snip...

Sir, if you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persecution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.

What is the true cost of low prices?  Human suffering?  How much must you "save"?  What is your bottom dollar, your lowest price?

What price?

What price.

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2013.
I'm so happy to make your acquaintance.