Monday, January 31, 2011

On Baby Brunch Cupcakes and Noses

Last Friday I had lunch with my girlfriend, Jess, and before we hugged goodbye I was convinced that I needed to re-pierce my nose. Jess has one of those tiny little diamond studs about which I raved last week so after receiving positive confirmation from B and other friends, my mind resolved itself quickly. A hole in my nose there would be before the weekend was out. (My imagery makes you want to run out and get one for yourself, right? Holes in the nose for everyone!)

Jess also assisted greatly in my decision on what kind of cupcakes to make for Cade's dedication brunch after she surprised me with the best little cupcake cookbook. I am horrendous when it comes to decision making, and were it my goal to choose a cookbook, I would spend over an hour in Hastings trying to commit myself whole-heartedly to just one, and I would exit with either 3 or none. Thank you, Jess, for being such a great friend and nipping my indecision in the bud!
You can find one here
I love the book because it offers traditional cupcake recipes but throws in plenty of unconventional ideas as well, and the instructions are so simple. Anyone can master a couture cupcake using this book. I made lemon cornmeal cupcakes topped with mascarpone frosting and a lemon peel garnish. Ridiculously good! We consumed them all before I even thought to take a picture.

But back to holes in the nose. At 3:16pm last Friday, the following text correspondence between Juliana and me occurred:

Me: I wanna get my nose pierced tonight.
Juliana: I'm gonna do it too.
Me: Want to tonight?!
Juliana: Yes!!!

By 11pm B and I had arrived in Denton, and Juliana and I were in her car headed to Ace's Tattoos. I did my research before leaving work that day, and this spot was in close proximity to our house and had the best reviews in Denton.

The girl with the large stabby needle was very nice and calming and made me feel much better about said large stabby needle.
And there you have it. Juliana and I stuck to our guns and allowed each of our right nostrils to be impaled. We had to start of with an 18 gauge diamond stud for now, as anything smaller can inhibit proper healing. In about 6 weeks or so, though, I'll try going down a notch to a 20 gauge (bigger the number, smaller the gauge). I like it, though!

We told Cade that he would have to wait until he's six months before attemtping this look. They grow up so fast nowadays!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fashion Forum Friday: How to Look Good Baking

Just when I thought my frequent road trips to DFW would decrease, my newest nephew, Caden, decided to interrupt my weekend schedule...AGAIN!. This 7-week-old grows increasingly demanding, and his parents do nothing to hinder it...honestly, I'm kind of worried about his social development.

For example, you can be holding Cade one minute, and he's perfectly content. Then the next thing you know, he's bawling because you failed to keep his plug in his mouth. "Keep your own plug in your own mouth!" I firmly demand. Okay, so I don't actually say that...I gently place the plug back in his mouth and get up and walk around with him in my arms until he falls back asleep. You see, if his parents weren't so complacent, I wouldn't be either.

Oh, and he's totally maniacal and ungrateful. Caden refuses to utilize the facilities like a normal person, and then takes aim at your face and pees on you when you try to assist him. Why are we putting up with this troubling behavior?

And everyone, including myself, tells him how cute, sweet, and handsome he is. I mean, no one even has the gumption to point out that he is, in fact, bald and has no muscle tone whatsoever.

So now Baldy McToneless requires me to travel, once again, to Denton for his baby dedication at New Life Church this weekend. Oh! AND he would like cupcakes for his baby brunch after the church service. Really, Caden? How about I whip up some steak tar tar for you while I'm at it?

If you've managed to read this far without sensing my joking/sarcastic tone, what's wrong with you?!? You think I would talk like this about a baby? A baby, who is my nephew? Maybe you should just stop reading my blog....Gotcha again!

Anyways, I shall relocate to Denton tonight and plan on making cupcakes the following evening. I haven't decided on what kind, yet, but I'll try to remember to document it. Otherwise, the entire blogging community may never know how to properly make a cupcake (You see, that was my self-effacing method of pointing out the fact that I do not know why it is a good idea for me to chronicle my cupcake journey by way of photojournalism, but I like it. In using this hyperbolic surmise, I allow an opportunity for readers, who may also be wondering why I feel the need to chronicle my cupcake adventures, to realize that I am not attempting ego-inflation.)

Because I will be making Baby Dedication Brunch cupcakes, I look forward to wearing my vintage inspired apron from World Market.
Find it here
Whenever I get to wear it, I always kind of wish I had an excuse to wear it in public forums. Maybe I'll go grocery shopping with it still on sometime...or is that a bit psycho? Maybe I'll wear it to Cade's dedication and affect an exhausted countenance through the entire service.

Does anyone have any exciting wardrobe plans this weekend?

P.S. I love all of my nieces and nephews dearly and will make cupcakes for them whenever they want.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The second time's a charm?

Often I get an idea stuck in my head, and the more I try to banish it, the more it nags me and leads to an unfortunate increase in my inner dialogue/debate requisite. Here is one example of many.

When I was 20, I had my nostril pierced. It was a teeny tiny, itty bitty, little bit of diamond glitter on my nostril. I loved it. There was nothing punky or hard-looking about it. Unfortunately, my impatience got the best of me and I changed the jewelry out before it was completely healed, thus leading to swelling and convincing me that I needed to remove the stud in order to avoid scarring.

Nearly seven years later, the notion to try again has rapidly increased from a "perhaps" to a "I think I might really really really want to."

Although I currently have a few girlfriends with petite, adorable little nostril piercings, my interest was really piqued when I finally discovered my hairdresser, Marci Cutler, several months ago. I have always wondered how I would feel about a nose piercing after having children. Not only does Marci have four daughters, but she also has several grandsons, and she is so cute and put together. More to the point, she has a teeny tiny little nostril piercing.

Marci's little stud in no way detracts from her soft, classic appearance. On the other hand, it serves as a small enhancement. I have to say...I really like the idea. I just find the look very femine and pretty.

What are your thoughts?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tattoo Tuesday: Cupcakes and Surprises

I've decided that cupcakes are really really really good things. 1. They often taste good. 2. They serve as one's own little cake that needn't be shared. 3. Again, the good tastiness is appealing. 4. They've transformed into a very visually appealing design/art form.

Today, we celebrate the cupcake tattoo because....why not?
Another reason why is the appropriate segue into my photojournalistic portrayal of last weekend. My girlfriends, Katy, Carolyn and I decided to throw together a surprise party for our friend Kara last Saturday night. Thus ensued my own personal Cupcake War the Friday night before, as I used The Joy of Baking's recipe for chocolate cupcakes. The opportunity to work with lots and lots of chocolate on a scale which I've never before attempted (yes, I realize how diminutive my personal scale is) left me intrigued and elated. Thanks so much, Kara, for being a lover of all things chocolate!
First I added cocoa powder to boiling water and stirred until smooth. Looks like yummy hot chocolate...does NOT taste like it.

I used Splenda instead of sugar for the batter, and while the consistency started out a bit grainy, it smoothed out and tasted great!

Adding boiled cocoa to the batter.
Boiled cocoa incorporated...does anyone else remember that old Disney show Kids, Incorporated?

Ready to bake!

I pounded 12oz of unsweetened chocolate into course chunks...

....and melted it down by boiling water beneath it.

After whipping up butter and powdered sugar as a base for the frosting, I mixed in the 12oz of melted chocolate.

Tah dah! I used a Wilton 1M star icing tip and reusable frosting bag along with metallic silver sprinkles. This cupcake caddy, which I received from my parents for Christmas, is possibly the best thing ever.

Surprise! flash :-/

We managed to surprise Kara with over 25 unexpected guests at Olive Garden. Doug, her husband and the guy sitting next to her, had to fib to get out of their house early and also had to change clothes in his car. Thanks for the secrecy and solidarity, Doug!

I got to use my new cakestand, which was also a gift from my parents. Doesn't B look cool in his H&M shirt? Thank you, H&M, for coming to Dallas!

Cupcakes are fun, but nothing beats such awesome friends! Especially ones that keep me on my fashion-seeking toes. Aren't they all adorable!?!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fashion Forum Friday: Interior Design Edition

After nearly 18 months of marriage, B and I recently decided that we were tired of sleeping side by side. Literally, that is.

Literally one person's side crammed up against the other's side.

The close quarters of our full size bed seemed to only shrink, especially after our family of three (B+Me+Bella Bawk Ba Gawk) increased to four upon adopting the Poodle this past summer. Our efforts in keeping Bella and Tallulah off the bed at night were immediately thwarted by pouty, heart-rending puppy-dog faces accompanied by bemoaned cries of the banished. As a result, they were exiled for less than five minutes.

Cut to two weeks ago, and B and I are purchasing a Tempur-Pedic California king mattress. Huzzah!

Over the past two weeks, I have scoured the mall, T.J. Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond, Pier One,,,, etc. for the perfect bedding. Turns out that California king fitted sheets are difficult to come by in Texas. We went with the 72" by 84" measurements, as we felt the Eastern king's 76" by 80" would look a bit too wide in our room. It's not the largest master suite in the world.

Unusual measurements and the desire to coordinate the colors of our room with a vintage Vogue print my parents gave me for Christmas kept me in an obsessed state of perpetual interior designing.

Alas, my work is complete...well almost...and my Fashion Forum Friday item this week is my bed because I CAN'T WAIT to sleep in tomorrow morning!

Tea Green French Tile quilt and
Tuscan Giorgetta Bird duvet-Pottery Barn
Brown sateen sheets-Target (I've slept on brands as nice as Ralph Lauren and the like. If you want to save some money, go to Target...they're awesome!)
Ivory Eyelet bedskirt-Also Target

A view from the other side. Our bay windows really allow for more space.

I found these great shabby chic bedside tables on Ebay.

A closer look at the Vogue print and the colors we were trying to pull.

Bella and Tallulah approved. Bella is also "overjoyed" to share space with Tallulah.

"Get off."

"Seriously. GET OFF!"
B and I are designing a headboard, which he will be constructing. Hopefully work will begin this weekend! I'd show the other end of our room...but it's not picture worthy just I said, I'm almost done. Still a bit more to obsess about.
Anyone excited about wearing anything or sleeping in anything this weekend? Or just excited about sleeping in?

Bon Weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Did I mention I like vintage things?

Get it here. You'll like it!
Joshilyn Jackson prevails as my favorite contemporary author. My literary journey through her books started with Between, Georgia, which also premiered as my first post-adolescence book-on-tape experience.

Back in the summer of 2009, I still resided in Denton so B and I alternated weekends between DFW and B/CS, as we prepared for our impending August wedding. He would come stay with my family one weekend, and I would turn around and travel to our good friend's house in Bryan the following Friday. It was exhausting...but necessary.

Enter: Joshilyn Jackson and her second of three published books at the time. Between, Georgia kept me awake on one of my weekend road trips and won my affection with its sarcastic southern wit and sincere storyline.

I've since laughed and cried my way through Gods in Alabama, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, and her latest release from last summer, Backseat Saints. Oh, and I actually read those.

Here's my point: I need that red dress! I am obsessed with her book cover, and it appears to be literally timeless. The story takes place in the here and now, but the photo could easily originate from the 60s.

I heart...deeply deeply profoundly heart...vintage things.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fashionably Inked: Musically Themed

 Oh, how boring the world of music and man fashion would be without Brandon Flowers.

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His ineffable genius surmounted any previous expectations I held when he decided to record a track with Jenny Lewis. The song "Hard Enough" marries two of my favorite male and female singer/songwriters, and I can hardly stand how cool they look together.
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As of late, "Only the Young" perpetually plays in the back of my mind; therefore, I've added it to my playlist.

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Anyhoo, I needed a connection to this pocket watch tattoo because I think it's really cool. Brandon Flowers seems like the kind of guy, who would appreciate a pocket watch tattoo. He's from Nevada and often sports
a 'stache and a you know...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fashion Forum Friday: When weather cramps your style

I could easily live in boots; consequently my boots don't last more than a couple of years. Over Christmas vacation, I found the perfect replacement for my derelict brown suede Carlos boots:
Miss Sixty pleated suede boot
While I could potentially live in boots year round, I could not live in suede boots in B/CS year round....because it rains. All. The. Time. And when it's not might as well be, as the oppressive humidity can be likened to a steam bath.

The only time it's not hot, humid, and/or rainy is when it is freezing....and by freezing, I mean the Texas concept of freezing which is approximately 40 degrees. So the past week has been freezing, and I've so looked forward to my new boots this weekend. Oh wait....rain has penciled itself in. Never mind.

What are you, or were you, excited about wearing this weekend?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mornings listening to Arcade Fire are betther than those not.

Beaucoups of Mercis to my husband for burning me a disk of The Suburbs by Arcade Fire; I bought him the LP for Christmas. My transit to work this morning seemed much more serene with this proper musical accompaniment.

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I think this band is super important, and I'm thrilled to see its increased notoriety. That, and I'm also developing major talent envy and style admiration for the lead duo's female half, RĂ©gine Chassagne.

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Seriously, could she be cuter? One of my favorite songs, Sprawl II, is featured on my playlist at the bottom of my blog page. Go check 'em out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tattoo Tuesday: How to tie in Oprah and Tattoos at the same time.

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Learning that Oprah had acquired her very own network, creatively entitled "own", didn't bowl me over. In fact, I assumed she already owned her own planet, and I lived in frustrated wonderment as to why she didn't simply rocket herself off to this far away galaxy and claim martial law governed by the Church of Me. Sounds like a win/win scenario.

I was, on the other hand, presently surprised to learn that the film Happy-Go-Lucky managed to receive Oprah's "own" endorsement this past Saturday. The British film features a hysterical Sally Hawkins as the character Poppy, who's sugary sweet outlook on life perseveres regardless of how craptastic (thanks for the new word, Rachel!) the atmosphere. Sounds annoying, right? It's not; I love it, in fact.

And now, my point. Poppy parades around in ensembles that approach absurd throughout the entire film, and this is a prime example of a strong personality owning her look. I actually loved almost everything she wore; good on ya', Happy-Go-Lucky costume designer!

Black lace tights paired with boots can often be viewed on Poppy's bottom half. Hence, my Tattoo Tuesday image above. Besides the artfully detailed ink, the image made me happy thanks to Happy-Go-Lucky.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Overwhelmed and Uninspired (Yay for Monday!)

A three week respite from advising proved refreshing...and depressing upon its conclusion. It's never easy for me to get back into the weekly grind, althoug I imagine I'll survive. My schedule also allows for new activities about which I'm combelling such as our Monday night small church group and Thursday night jazz dance classes with Kara, Katy, Christy, and Charity. (It would seem I've developed a few phonetic name requirements when acquiring girlfriends.)

I am also relieved to be writing again for the blog as well as for Maroon Weekly. My first deadline is this Friday, though, and I have no idea what I'm going to write about. Any thoughts?

Pondering potential "Fashion Sense" subjects has completely sapped my blogging creativity for Monday. Therefore, I'll leave you with images that make me happy, as that's all my feeble mind is good for today. Enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fashion Forum Friday: Audience Participation Day

Last week while in Dallas a ghastly task befell me; I had to enter Louis Vuitton in order to purchase 2011 filler for my agenda. Filler did I well as this...
 The Louis Vuitton Speedy 30. For those of you not familiar with the style, it was originally created in the 1930's, and the smallest version, the Speedy 25, was designed specifically at the request of Audrey Hepburn. She was too petite for the 30.
The Speedy 25 in this picture is actually a bit larger than the current 25...more like a 28.
Well, I was desperate for a crossbody bag so you can see how I had no other choice...right? Also, the LV strap shown in my picture was just currently released. If you ever consider picking up a purse strap at LV, check it out as opposed to the normal tan leather. Both are a lovely choice, though.

I'd like to think that my small collection of handbags and shoes will prove to be a vintage gold mine for a future daughter or granddaughter. Until then, this bag shall serve as my fashion forum Friday item of the week for many weeks to come.

Tallulah, on the other hand, will be sporting her new black velvet and pearl dog collar....

She prefers more unorthodox doggy fashion.

Time to use the comment space below to tell us all what you are excited to wear this weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

dancin'. dancin'. DANCIN'! in the Svedka Vodka commercial...

I'm back in BCS after a lengthy sojourn in DFW, and what better way to celebrate my homecoming than with dancing! My friends, Katy and Charity, basically held me at gunpoint until I tearfully agreed to take a 10 week jazz class with them. Okay, by "gunpoint" I mean "they made it sound like a really fun idea." And it starts tonight! Ominous or exciting? You be the judge...

Here's the rub; my feet have not entered a proper dance studio since I was 17. Gasp! That's over 9 years and 11 months ago!!! Rarely have a I heard dance technique likened to riding a bike. In fact, I wouldn't advise anyone to put money on me even remembering how to ride a bike. It may not be pretty.

I'll tell you what else won't be pretty in the realm of decade old jazz shoes that I insist on recycling. I reckon newer, more cutting edge models are enhancing much younger dancers' technique, but I'll be sporting these beauties...
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I risked life and limb hoisting myself up into a darkened attic, which I've never entered, on top of a drink cooler which was supported by a less than stable end table-type-thingy in a desperate effort to save money and find my once "top of the line" jazz shoes. I'm wearin' 'em!