Saturday, February 23, 2008

adventures in crafting part III

Today I spent hours with my mother at the mall. She wanted to have her eye makeup done at Bobbi Brown "just to see what it looks like" and the chick did a complete make-over, i.e. took off all the foundation and bronzer my mom had on and re-applied it (even though my mom only asked to have her eyes done). So what I THOUGHT would take 20 minutes max took over an hour. Le sigh. I did find some cute shoes while I was waiting (put them on hold) and saw a friend from high school which sucked since I didn't bother looking attractive today. Oh & I also made an awkward comment about my mom's boobs being huge in front of said friend's parents. Oops. The friend has a boob job though, so who cares if I mentioned boobs?

Other than that, I bought some ingredients for some Oscar-inspired cupcakes I'm making tomorrow (stay tuned for the recipe!) and, most importantly, worked on my quilt!! I sewed all of my blocks together and added my borders...which means the next pictures I post will be of the completed quilt. Isn't that sew exciting? My last class is this upcoming Tuesday and then I'm going to send the quilt off to get machine quilted, which basically is a computer that stitches an elaborate design on the quilt top, like this teddy bear machine stitch I found on the internet:

See the teddy bear design that has been stitched on? It's easiest to see in the yellow portion of the quilt. That's what I want done to my quilt, only something more fabulous than teddy bears.

Here is my almost completed quilt:

Friday, February 22, 2008

banana caramel cupcakes

I really wanted to eat something sweet and bad for me today, but I'm trying to eat healthy since I'm going to be in a swim suit for 7 days straight in March. So, I did what I always do when I want to eat something sweet but know I shouldn't: I baked! It's strange, not only do I have no desire to eat what I'm baking, but it also makes me not want to eat anything sweet or dessert-like at all. We had two pretty ripe bananas so I wanted to use them before they ended up in the trash. I didn't want to bake something I've already baked before (like my super yummy banana bread) so I looked through a few cookbooks and found the cutest recipe for Banana Caramel Cupcakes. I made a few changes to it as I went along, so here's my take on the recipe:

Banana Caramel Cupcakes

For cupcakes:
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
6 tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp allspice
1 medium mashed overripe banana
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tbsp milk

For topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped until thick
Jar of caramel sauce
A bar of dark chocolate
1 or 2 medium banana(s), thinly sliced
OPTIONAL: Peanut butter, chunky or smooth

1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Line a standard muffin pan with paper baking cups.

2. Beat butter, sugar, and eggs in a blender until light and fluffy.

3. Stir in sifted dry ingredients, banana, sour cream, and milk. Divide mixture among baking cups.

4. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

5. Remove baking cups from cakes.

6. Fold 3 tbsp caramel sauce into the whipped cream.

7. Cut cupcakes horizontally into two slices. Spread caramel sauce and banana slices and re-assemble cupcakes. Top with caramel-flavored whipped cream.

8. Using a vegetable peeler, grate chocolate and spread over cupcakes.

OPTIONAL: Substitute peanut butter for the spread caramel sauce on the cupcake, this is a fun variation and tastes great with the caramel whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

This recipe is awesome. The cupcakes are SOOO delicious (two thumbs up from my parents) AND a great way to use those overripe bananas you've been avoiding for a week. These cupcakes are amazingly simple to make but they look like they took forever, love it!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

superficial hair question

In two weeks I'm going to be relaxing on the beach in Cabo San Lucas with my BFF and I feel the need for a little hair pizazz. I currently have an inch and a half panel of blond on the left side of my head underneath a layer of hair so you can't see it right away (unless my hair is in a ponytail). I want to have my cousin (who I have yet to ask) dye it a fun, crazy color and I'm looking for suggestions! To submit your recommendation, click on one of the options in my poll in the right-hand column. I've had a pink strip before, and I REALLY liked it, but I dunno, I'm thinking I might want to try something new.

I couldn't find a picture on this computer of the pink in my hair, other than this one which isn't that good. If you look closely, you can see it. Anyway, just to give you an idea. Oh, and we're making a "Delta Gamma" if you can't tell.

oh, english majors

I just spent the last hour and a half revising and editing the short stories I wrote for a Creative Writing course I took a year ago, just for the heck of it. English majors are so weird.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

they say dogs and their owners look alike

Tater Tot does this ADORABLE thing where he sits around with his tongue sticking out of his mouth slightly. It is seriously so cute. Anyway, this past weekend I was home watching TV with BF when I looked over at Tater sleeping on the couch and he was in the most squished position I've ever seen. Surprisingly, he didn't wake up when I went paparazzi on him and took a dozen pictures of his smooshed sleeping position.

Tater Tot as Tater Tot:

Nicolle as Tater Tot:

If I'm this annoying about my dog, imagine how I'm going to act when/if I have children. But seriously, how could Tater even be comfortable? His head is totally smashed by those couch cushions. He's a constant source of entertainment (for me).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

parker posey on black eyeliner

A few months ago I read a great interview with Parker Posey on the back cover of Vanity Fair. Posey is known for being the queen of dark liner, so I definitely take her as an authority on the topic (and I also love her as an actress). I WISH I still had the magazine, it was one of those articles I knew would be great to hold on to...but didn't.

Posey made a great statement about black eyeliner, something along the lines of it making a woman look mysterious and intriguing and that it's the perfect solution to a "day after" face. Well, I've had the same tube of black eyeliner for probably two years and I've used it about 4 times. For every day, I prefer a more muted, coppery brown liner, but I've kept Posey's words of wisdom in the back of my head since I read her interview. I woke up this morning with the desire to look intriguing, so I searched through my makeup bag, found the tube of liner and applied the liquid magic.

It's silly, but it really had an affect on my self-image and I did feel mysterious and alluring. I even had a male acquittance who I've spoken to probably three times ever ("Hey, what's up" "Nothing, you?" "Same.") tell me, "You look good." completely out of the blue. I'm going to stick to my regular coppery brown daily routine, but it's nice knowing I have a secret weapon in my makeup bag.

photographic memory

Sometimes there are those moments in life that just stand out for some reason and they make me wish any instance, glance, or brief encounter could be captured with a photograph.

Like last night when I left my room to get some water wearing only a T-shirt. The look on my face must have been priceless when I turned the corner and saw my roommate standing there.

Or a few weekends ago in San Diego when me and BF kissed and there was literally a spark between our lips. It was probably just the static electricity in the air, but it felt amazing, and I wonder if it looked the same.

Also, it would be wonderful to have a tangible memento of the time in Nice where I was mistaken for a Frenchwoman and asked directions to the nearest bakery…and the woman understood me.

Then there was the moment I realized I wanted to be an English major. It was an earth-shattering revelation at the time, and I am sure my expression reflected it.

And what about the time I sat front row at Dave Matthews? I could swear he was looking into my eyes the whole time and it felt like a concert made just for me. I would love to have a photograph of that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

college phenomenon

It was strange when I entered college. Suddenly everyone around me was Family Guy's number one fan and I had never even seen an episode. For the first four years of my college career (yes, I'm taking my time), I felt completely out of place with all the Family Guy references and quotes from particularly funny episodes. I hated that everyone seemed to be in some sort of secret Family Guy club and no one bothered to invite me. Well, last semester I decided to stop complaining and actually do something about it, i.e. start watching Family Guy. Not the most ambitious thing in the world, I know, but the show is actually very good and has all kinds of film and literature references that I bet go unnoticed by most viewers. Oh, and now I can be one of those annoying people who say, "Oh yeah! It's kind of that the Family Guy episode where..."

along the walking trail

There's a walking trail behind my house that I absolutely love. On warm days the trail is packed with people walking their dogs, bike riding, skateboarding, running, and playing frisbee golf. Yesterday we passed a couple walking their black lab and chihuahua. The chihuahua resembled a squirrel, barely visible over the long grass. It made me laugh, the same way it makes people laugh when Tater Tot barks ferociously at dogs 10 times his size. You can actually see the walking trail from my back yard, making it the ultimate place to secretly people watch.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

dogs and sunny days

This weekend was so beautiful! When it's cool and sunny outside there's nothing I enjoy more than a long walk with Tater Tot. Tater totally associates my tennis shoes with going on a walk because as soon as he sees me putting them on (I'm a flip flop girl at heart) he starts barking because he knows he gets to frolic along the walking trail and bark at other dogs when I wear sneakers.

Tater Tot also got a stylish hair cut on Friday. Poor thing, he hates the groomers, but he looks so friggin' cute when he comes home with a new 'do! Usually they put a cute little bandanna on him, but for some reason they didn't this time and I didn't even notice until 20 minutes after we got home because his hair is so fluffy.

Scooby wanted to get in on the photo shoot action, but he wasn't as patient as Tater Tot in front of the camera, which is surprising considering he's a million years old and can barely move. But seriously, he's a pretty old dog, and he's also really fat and a he doesn't move very quickly. BF was over a few weekends ago and wanted to bring Scooby along on our walk "to be fair" since Tater was going. We got about half a block before Scooby sat down and refused to move because he was too tired; I had to carry him home.

roses roses roses

BF surprised me with wonderful roses for Valentine's Day!! They meant even more because he didn't just rely on my parent's flower shop, but picked them out all by himself. Awww. He also bought me Spongebob Season One (don't pretend you don't watch Spongebob every day on Nick) AND a Spongebob pop-up Valentine's Day book.