Saturday, July 30, 2011

Just a Minute

 Photos from my trip to the lovely Carolina coast.....sigh....

Reading...the book of James:
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." -ch.1:17
Also The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. Intense.


Making...sour cream coffee cake with chocolate cinnamon swirl. Diiiivine. The recipe makes one 9x13 inch cake or divides perfectly into two 9 inch loaf pans. One for home & one for sharing....magnifique! From the Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook, 2008 edition. Which I mistakenly purchased full-price from B&N, when you can get it half-price practically anywhere on the Internet. Oops.

Watching...what was supposed to be a gorgeous ranunculus blossom sprout into....tomatoes. I kid you not, tiny green tomatoes have appeared in the pot next to the zinnias, the pot labeled "Ranunculus". I guess that's what I get for buying my bulbs and seeds at the end of the season from the bargain bin: severely mislabeled packaging. Oh well, when life hands you tomatoes, make...salsa?

Loving...eos organic lip balm in "summer fruit", strappy metallic wedges, pocket-sized notebooks, sales on my favorite brand of paint at Michaels, having a new phone that actually works refrain from buying kitchen tools/dishes/etc even though they're on sale/really adorable/etc because I don't actually have a kitchen to put these things in. Someday, little bear, someday...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Five

I'm back from my glorious vacation and will tell you all about it but first: Friday Five.
This week's questions brought to you by Janet, one my friends from high school.

Yes, one of the rare ones who has managed to remain in my life though we went to separate universities and now live in separate states. What makes Janet so special you ask? Well, I could tell you about all the times we didn't get anything out of Sociology or AP Government because we were too busy laughing. Or I could mention hers was the only graduation party I attended. I could go on and on about our mutually excellent taste in music and our similar ties to a small town in New Hampshire. 

But what it really boils down to is Janet is the only person who has ever convinced me to go in costume to a midnight release party. Yes, I was Moaning Myrtle (complete with a plastic toilet seat) drinking butterbeer at the library at midnight when the last Harry Potter novel came out. Yes, there are photos. No, you can't see them. 

And that kind of friendship, well, it just lasts. 

(1) What was your favorite make-believe scenario when you were a child? 
I must confess my sister takes the cake when it comes to imagination. She would come up with the most fantastic adventures that would last for days, all inspired by our favorite books. There was a small patch of trees behind our house in Tennessee and for those three and a half years, it was a magical combination of Narnia, Terabithia, and ancient Egypt.
But my favorite scenario was one we played over and over again even before the mystical forest.

Armed with only a bountiful collection of old-fashioned nightgowns, a very used olive green carpet bag, and a small patchwork quilt, Eva, Sam, and I were poor orphan children from the 1900s, forced to wander the streets in search of work and lodging.  We couldn't sleep until we'd earned enough to buy our bedding. "Please, sir, can you spare a tuppence?" We knew we were on the road to wealth when we had each earned enough to have our own pillows. Then when the privilege of rest was finally upon us, we'd lay on the floor under the old quilt and argue over who got to say "ding ding" (signifying it was morning and time to wake up). 

When it was my turn, I always waited an extra long time to say "ding ding" because it was my favorite part of the game to lay on the floor doing nothing. Already at such a young age, I was a motivational force to be reckoned with.

That or the grocery store. My mom would save all empty cans, jars, boxes, and cartons until we had quite the stock of pretend foodstuffs. And then we would set up our grocery store with our plastic cash register and charge exorbitant, ever-changing prices. "356.98 for Cap'n Crunch? But yesterday it was only 17.99! Preposterous!" Well, when you're the only pretend store in town, you can charge whatever you want.  We were savvy to the rules of the free market, even then.
(2) Is flossing overrated? Why? 
As any dentist worth his salt will tell you, no. It's important for the health of your enamel and gums, blah blah. Well I hear you but I'm just too lazy to do it every single morning and night. I do it often enough to make it plain that I'm not storing away for the winter everything I've ever eaten between my teeth but I don't worship at the altar of dental floss. Gross, I know. But sometimes the truth is hard to hear. 

(3) Assuming you stay 100% safe and healthy throughout, where would you prefer to travel: India or China?
India. Hello, the food is amazing. And it's gorgeous.  And since you promised near-invulnerability, I may even bathe in the Ganges.

(4) What would you miss most about the internet if you woke up tomorrow and it did not exist?
The ease of communicating. Because let's be honest, I do not have the phone numbers and personal addresses of every single one of my contacts. And even for the ones I do, do you know the time and money it takes to reach Switzerland? Yeah, thanks Internet for taking care of that.

(5) E-reader or book?
I could be a snob and pretend I don't see a use for e-readers. While I will staunchly defend the printed and bound written word based on smell and feel alone, I do recognize the value of an e-reader. But only when traveling or living in another country where English books are hard to come by. Other than that, you will always find me book in hand.

Thanks Janet! As for the rest of you, answer these in the comments and submit your own questions so I may grace them with my answers. 
Happy Friday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Postcards from Vacation

I'm here in scenic Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. 
Just me and 11 of my relatives for the whole glorious week. The sun is out and the water is warm. There's laughter in the living room and bread in the oven.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Until next week, go get some sun my dears!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Five

This week's questions brought to you by TWO people. You're doing your homework. I'm so proud! We have Jami, my dear cousin whose love for words is only matched by her love for her two darling children. And then there's Anita, a far-flung friend who leaves the nicest comments and spends most of her time in the Ukraine. Hope to see her on her upcoming visit home, however.
Don't worry ladies, your unused questions are filed away to be featured in a future edition of Friday Five.

What is the most luggage you ever took on a flight? (Anita)
If anybody knows a thing or two about packing light, it's Anita. I'm ashamed to admit it, but three enormous suitcases and a backpack. It was my return trip from Switzerland. I can't believe I packed that much for less than a year away from home! Be assured, a few baggage fees and sore arms later, I learned my lesson.

Which reality TV show would you audition for (Bachelorette, Survivor, Amazing Race, or Hell's Kitchen)? (Jami)
Bachelorette? never. I have too much self-respect.
Survivor? also never. I wouldn't last a day.
Hell's Kitchen? oh I do love to cook but I also love the illusion that I'm amazing at it, which would surely be shattered by the judges. I'd also like to not be on national television, weeping into a saucepot.
I'd have to go with Amazing Race, just for the chance to see all those places.

How many things do you have with rechargeable batteries? (Anita)
Four: Cell phone, Flip camera, iPod, and my car (that counts...right?)

Your favorite last line of a book. (Anita)
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 
sigh...I so dearly love that book. And the dust jacket:

Is your dream man more of a Mr. Darcy or a Mr. Bingley (brooding opinionated intellect or bashful gentle fool-in-love type)? (Jami)
In a perfect world, he's a combination of both. But only because Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy needs to take the occasional chill pill.

That's it for this week. Thanks again for your questions, gals. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Painting the States

I have a mild addiction to Pinterest. In case you have a life outside of the internet didn't know, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board, where you can 'pin' things you find all over the internet: recipes, photos, tutorials, shopping finds, etc. Your pins are organized however you like and are a great source of inspiration for style/cooking/photography/weddings/future projects. 

Well, something finally came of my Pinterest obsession. Last week, I came across this:

Which led me to this:

WHAT. I'm all for cute art bits on Etsy. But there's a tutorial on how to make this it myself? It looked so easy, even for someone who the last time she picked up a paintbrush was to help her Dad paint the front of the garage. 

Now normally I express myself through baked goods, but after nearly three months of kitchen experimentation, my hips have sent me a cease and desist letter. Also, my bridesmaid dress recently arrived in the mail and while I love it, I had a conference with my abs and we agreed we'd like to see a little more of each other before the wedding in December.

Henceforth, I am in need of a new pastime. 

So the Pinterest find was kismet. I got myself to the nearest craft store and found a ridiculous bargain on canvases and some of those 2 oz bottles of acrylic paint. 59 cents a bottle. Not joking.  Obviously it was meant to be.

Thus armed, I began my foray into the art world.

My first attempt: our dearly beloved Indiana

Why just do one? Another of my favorite states: Massachusetts

close your mouth, stupid.

And then, because I'm having so much fun, I did an 8x10 of the whole U.S. with a heart over Indiana.

For obvious reasons, I put the 'hot' in 'hot mess'.

After all this, a normal person would pat themselves on the back and move on with their lives.  But I'm insane I have too much time on my hands to do that. And also I have a lot of favorite states. So I went back to the craft store and went a little nuts.

If anyone needs me, I'll be painting myself into kitschy, state-shaped oblivion.

At least until I go on vacation. In two days.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy 4th Weekend

Ellie's Independence Day cupcakes, 2011 edition: dark chocolate cake with a buttercream frosting.

Just popping in for a quick hello to all and apologies in advance...not much posting to be found around here for the next few days. It's a busy time with family in town and the holiday weekend. To all my fellow Americans, I hope you have a really wonderful weekend celebrating our independence with family, fireworks, and excessive amounts of red, white, and blue. Nothing has made me love our country and all it stands for like spending some time away from it! Truly thankful for all the freedoms we have and don't want to take them for granted. 

Until next time!


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