Thank god.
Only one problem remains. How does one go to the bathroom in an efficient and simple way when wearing a feather bustle.
A guy would not have this problem.
::envisions man standing at urinal with feather bustle::
I even practiced the whole Dita Von Teese makeup thing, but the brows are screaming old school Madonna. Also I can not pull off grays/silvers around the eye. It makes me look exhausted. Despite the fact that I've got the same eye color and pale skin as Miss Teese, I just can't swing it. I do rather like the beauty mark next to the eye. I've got a tiny, barely visible one there. If only it were more prominent, I would look atleast 90% more glamorous, I do believe.
This is the most elaborate costume I've ever put together. Definitely not the most comfortable thing I've ever worn, but I'm rather content with it :) Halloween is going to be good.

Irish Carbomb Cupcakes by candle light.

I've done it! Irish Carbomb cupcakes.
I encountered many obstacles throughout making these. Here's a timeline:
7 pm - Arrive home with all the ingredients after long cold shopping excursion in typhoon type weather.
7:06 pm- The baking process begins. I open the cabinet to retrieve a saucepan and BAM the power goes out due to an accident at the end of my street. Great.
7:06-8:10 pm- Feeling slightly defeated with lack of electricity but succeed in measuring out all of the ingredients by candle light while drinking the unused portion of Guinness. This upgrades the situation from bleak to bearable.
8:10 pm- Power returns, commence baking. Complete the cake, ganache, move on to the frosting when:
9:20 pm- Our hand mixer from the '70's breaks. Really? Now? After 40 years you break in a rainstorm when I'm 75% through an already delayed recipe?
9:30 pm- Rush to Target before it closes to find replacement mixer. Had to go the long way due to road blocked off as a result of accident. The toolbag driver was probably speeding along like the driving rain wasn't shit. Little did they know their actions would put my cupcakes in peril not once but TWICE. Selfish, reckless bastard.
10:05 pm- Arrive home with new, powerful mixer. Sounds like a vaccum cleaner. Does the job.
11:00 pm- Cupcakes are FINALLY baked, filled and frosted!!!!

Tonight I've got to tie up the loose ends of my costume, but first I need to tend to the room situation. It's a frightful mess.
Recipe for the cupcakes was found HERE! BAKE THESE! FIVE STARS!
As if these delicious cupcakes weren't enough, the recipe leaves you with a glass of guiness and a bit of Jameson to enjoy while you're toiling in the kitchen. If only every recipe called for whiskey and guiness....


Things I Loved Today:

1 & 2: Baking at work on a slow day.
Granted slow days are not a good thing, but when I can do my baking work in my little corner uninterrupted and at my own pace, It's relaxing for me. Having the time to admire my work and appreciate all that Elliot has taught me is nice. The pictured wonders are cheese danishes (cherry, apple and lemon respectively, pre-oven). Excellent except I forgot the apricot glaze after I baked them. Also, brownies with caramel, ganache, and white chocolate stripes. These were mighty pretty. Though I prefer my brownies straight up, raw-ish in the middle and with a dusting of sea salt as it turns out. I have mixed feelings about caramel lately. I'm opposed to eating things that stick all up in my teeth.

3: The Office Stationary: Or notepads rather. I was thinking of creating a "That's what she said" themed card for Policecop. That's when I found this at Target. It's not like I don't have enough stationary already, but I really have fun mixing it up and finding new things to suprise him. Also, blame the stationary addiction on Japan.
And while on the topic of "that's what she said", while I was explaining the joke to my mother tonight, she reminded me that my Grandfather frequently employed that phrase to mock and enrage my Grandmother. It all came back to me in a split second and I was blown away...my Grampa was the pioneer of that's-what-she-said before Michael Scott ever existed. Woaaaahhhh....

4 & 5: Rhinestone studded whip: I bought this riding crop a while back for my costume. (Go here to read about the awkward incident at the tack shop...)
Tonight I finally got around to burlesque-izing it tonight. I used rhinestone sticker sheets I got at Michael's in the ribbon department, and a cut of rhinestone string found at Joanne's. A little bit of red ribbon and voila! Still needs a bit of work, but it looks mighty fancy. Especially the handle, which you can't see well in these pictures, I'll take better ones later this week when it's completely done.


Blood, tears, sweat and feathers.

Quick post tonight because I am honestly ready to hit the shower and crawl into bed and watch internet episodes of 48 Hours. So ready...
I had to share my toil-full heavy-effort project, which I miraculously completed in one night:
The feather bustle for my costume.
I had ordered a bulk shipment of 12 princess boas a while back and put it off because I got distracted by other projects/was a bit burnt out on constantly working on the costume. Tonight I got down to it and it was no small effort. I now understand why you can not find these things for sale online...seeing as there is probably a relatively low level of demand, it would take one crazy bitch to make these for a living. TEDIOUS.
First off, I wasn't pleased to find that my boas had tinsel sewn in when they arrived, but had to make due. I found it incredibly difficult to find a sewing needle in a sea of feathers laden with shiny tinsel...
It looked like a crow...a family of crows exploded in my room. At one point I pulled a feather out of my mouth. Found one in my glass of water too.
All in all, it took me about 3.5 hours And ten out of the twelve boas.
Thankfully, I'm happy with the final product. I was going to try it on with the corset and all, but honestly, I had no effort left to spend. So pj shorts it was.
The intensity level of this project has rendered me loopy.
Time for murder mysteries, hot tea and soft blankets.


Lovely Saturday and Parmesan the Frog.

Today was a perfect Saturday aside from the weather, and having to drive in said weather. I really have a hard time seeing anything at night, never mind through blinding rain. Not to mention the wind blows my '97 corolla around the road like a beat up rag doll, leaving me white knuckled and leaning forward in the drivers seat, anticipating death. Part of the fear comes from driving around all last year on bald tires. They've been replaced since, but I am still in a constant state of panic whenever it rains.

Anyway, today:

Woke up at 9:30, had two cups of coffee. Showered, painted face, mailed off cookies to Policecop. The Postmistress at our little vintage/retro post office usually has a rather grumpy disposition, but she seems to have taken a liking to me. She asked if my package was a gift, I said yes. At which point she put a glittery halloween bat sticker next to the address. This made me smile. I think that maybe she had a boyfriend in bootcamp at one point too. This is probably what made her grumpy in the first place. I understand.
Made a quick trip to Target for groceries, came back and got down to some much needed room cleaning. With a lack of closet, things get messy really quick. Not to mention since I broke out my feather boa this week, it looked like a crow exploded in my room. Also having some extra time to spare, I spent it recording tried and trusted recipes into my cookbook.

After this I went to Policecop's house for a much belated tea session with his lovely mother. At first I got a little bit teary eyed, seeing the wicker furniture out on the front porch with two cups of coffee left from the morning...and then when I saw his ACU portrait on the fireplace...
It was very nice visiting her, she really is one of the sweetest women I have ever met. She even brought out childhood pictures of him. I was quite amused to see his bleached hair high school graduation. This is only fair since my mother has tons of fat childhood pictures of me framed in every corner of our house. You could play dominoes with them. You could probably compile them and make an animated flip-book of my rollercoaster weight gain and loss...
While talking with her time flew by and before I knew it, it was time to head down to Easton for dinner with my father. Which was also extremely belated.
We went to the 99 where I got that chicken caesar salad and pinot grigio that I was so excited about. Even after giving a box to Policecops parents, I still had cookies left over to give to my Dad. He said that his girlfriend's kids would devour them, but I think that he's secretly chowing down on them right now.

After braving the dark rainy roads and finally arriving at the homefront, I changed into my pajamas and was all set and primed to chill out and just revel in the goodness of the day. At which point an anomaly occured. A strange small shape moving in foreign, unexpected ways, over yonder by the bed stand. Animated ways in which a stray feather from my boa could not possiby move. I've found that the things you catch in your peripheral vision are usually the things worth looking at, as was the case this time.
Oh hi, frog in my room.
Why are you here?
How did you get here?
I was a bit freaked out initially and fetched a glass from the kitchen to trap him in. At which point I realized how cute the thing was, with a hair wrapped around his bitty little leg, trapped inside of a glass not understanding what in the world was happening to him. As it is with all animals, he refused to face the camera while I was taking pictures.

Eventually I let him back out into the wild. I'm assuming that this type of weather is just his thing. I'm extremely curious as to how he ended up hanging out between my yoga mat and KnitKnit book. I may never know, but for now I'm blaming it on one of the cats. Most likely Rudy.
If I could have kept frog buddy, I would have named him Parmesan.


A Tale of Twenty Thousand Cookies...

This week was a blur of baking. Tons of gluten free baking for the buffet at the cafe on Tuesday, followed up by a series of failed cookie attempts. I tried this terrible, awful recipe for baby ruth cookies. The first time due to a personal typographical error, I put in 3x the amount of butter called for. This happened Wednesday. They were less like cookies and more like fatty mush blobs with caramel that stuck to the pan like napalm. My bad.
So tonight I set out to do it right, and I did. Only they SUCKED OUT LOUD. The candy pieces melted before the cookies baked, the taste was like that of a crap store bought generic brand, just bad all around. To the extent where I found myself thinking of the person who bothered posting such a recipe was rather devious and developed a personal grudge. Whoever you are, you are wrong about everything in my book. Three packages of baby ruth bars later, you owe me a refund of time, money, flour, sugar, a ton of butter, and the pleasureless calories I wasted on tasting this stuff.

Anyway, I finally abandoned that lost cause of a crap recipe and resorted to a classic soft chocolate chip cookie one that I found a while back here.
Upon noticing that the recipe didn't call for any salt, I used salted butter and added a few pinches at the end. It made me uncomfortable not adding any, usually it's the salt that gives sweets the kick that makes them stand out (in my opinion). I also added a bit more vanilla than was called for, I have a habit of doing this. Also being anal about chocolate, I used Ghiradelli semi-sweets. It's expensive, but it's worth it.
The result: gorgeous cookies. They were a bit of a project to make, but this is mainly because the recipe yields an impressive 30 lbs of cookie dough. Not really, I'm too lazy to do the math but there was a ton of it.
And that concludes this weeks baking streak. I'm entirely done with ovens, taste testing and sweets in general. All I want out of this weekend is some sleeping in, good tea, a huge chicken caesar salad, and possibly some pinot grigio. I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. Especially the caesar salad.


P.S.- Sneak Preview...

Sneak preview of my almost finished Halloween getup. I think I may have a future in designing burlesque costumes...
Also, I am going to freeze my arse off. And if anyone knows the secret to breathing whilst wearing a corset, please give me a call. Thanks.

Random Camera Practice and Whatnot.

Today I basically went around taking pictures of anything and everything. I'm still working on getting used to the manual iso, and how the different settings react to different situations. What an amazing feeling to be able to take pictures that actually come out, and not having the battery run out after five shots...LOVE.
So, random pictures of things I fancied today:
1- Plymouth center in the morning. My ride to work is always rather pretty.
2-Shopping at BJ's. Which I hate. But I love rice.
3- ELLIOT'S AUTUMN BISQUE SOUP. In caps and bold, because it's that good. I had it for breakfast and lunch today. I asked him if I could take some home for dinner, and I caught him giving me a slight are-you-for-real-type side eye, so I digressed. I kind of wish I hadn't. This soup makes my soul sparkle. Pumpkin, summer squash, granny smith apples and fresh ginger. AND it's not a cream base so it's healthy. I'm already excited about having it for breakfast again tomorrow. Officially obsessed.
4- Scene down the street from my house. Carver can be pretty in the fall.
5 and 6- The welcome home committee. Rudy, who has no fear of moving vehicles and jumps on my car every day when I pull in the driveway. Albany kitty who is a cuddle fiend.
7- Those $6.99 heels I got last week. I'm calling them my catwoman shoes. I wore them to target to get floss and soap. So what?
8 and 9 - Bare Naturale Mascara. I bought my first tube of this over the summer, loved it and then experimented with a few others that only disappointed. It's 97% natural and works miracles. Win-win.


The things you find while you're looking for something else...

Lately I've been finding everything except for what I'm looking for.
Tonight, the search was for a camera strap that I bought in Japan, for my NEW CAMERA!!!!
I've been slacking on posting lately for a few reasons, one of the main ones being the crap quality of the photos my camera was kicking out. It was taking me way too much time and effort to get decent shots to put up. And after Friday night when it broke, I was almost relieved to have a legitimate need for a new one. Being the smart consumer that I am, I searched relentlessly for days on websites for customer reviews, visited at least ten stores to test demo models and price compare. Today I finally found one worth more than I payed (I'm convinced of this).
It has the most consistently high ratings everywhere I checked, and when I tried it out...instant love. Things are going to be a bit tight for a week, but I could actually afford the Fujifilm Finepix J38. 12.2 megapixels, all kinds of fancy features, and IT SHOOTS WELL IN POOR LIGHTING!
After all of the deliberation, Best Buy in Kingston was sold out. They called around and I had to go all the way to Taunton, as they had 3 in stock. It took me about an hour to get there with traffic, and they had one left. I'm calling it my little buddy. J38, we were meant to be.
It's not exactly the DSLR of my dreams, but great things take time. I am so overly excited about this. I'll stop gushing now.

Anyway, things I've found accidentally this week...

Instead of letter from Policecop in the mailbox: Harriet Carter '09 catalogue. Entirely entertaining. Personalized toothpick holder, transport container for deviled eggs, a book titled "Why are there no Cats in the Bible?"...I read myself asleep with this catalogue last night.

Instead of basic green tea: Chai Green Tea. FIVE STARS. Found this at Shaws.

Instead of camera strap: Tons of random jewelery I forgot I had.

Instead of camera tripod: ET doll from Universal Studios Japan. Winter greeting card I liked so much I bought it for no reason a few years ago. I'll send it to Chris in November. Also, that velvet clutch I got for free, which just happens to be the perfect size to fit my camera and the tripod (found later).

Good stuff, good stuff. I'll be posting on a regular basis now, seeing as I can not put this camera down for the life of me.


The Lomo Challenge

Due to the recent passing on of my crap Polaroid t730, I am left cameraless until I can decide whether or not to:
a- save up for an overly pricey digital SLR. I want one of these terribly, but also think it would be more logical to wait for my tax returns next spring.
b- buy another pocket digital camera for the time being. I have mixed feelings about doing this, since it will cost me $100-$200, and I'm sick of buying one of these things every year. I don't want to waste my money on a temporary fix, while that same cash could be put towards an excellent camera that would last me a while. And, I might possibly be able to borrow my brothers coolpix for the meantime....hm...

So while I'm still thinking this over, I've decided to show an old friend a little love.
I got my Lomo LC-A when I was 17, for christmas during my junior year in high school. I forget exactly how I discovered lomos, but as soon as I found out what they were about I wanted one desperately. I love the whole lomo philosophy of shoot-from-the-hip, shoot recklessly, shoot everything that catches your eye. And the colors, the vignetted edges...

It's nearly impossible to get a good photo every time with this camera, but when you do it's breathtaking. It's going to take a bit of practice and a few rolls of film to get me back into the swing of things, actually having to think about aperture and distance, iso and etc. It's also going to be a bummer to have to pay for film and development. While part of me misses the anticipaton involved in dropping off a roll of film and waiting to see how everything came out, digital is so freaking convenient, with instant gratification.

So for the next week or so, I've assigned myself a Lomo challenge. First order of business will be getting new batteries, since the ones I've got were from 1999.

Visit the Lomo Homepage and fall in love. If I had unlimited funds, I swear I'd have every single Lomo camera on earth by now. Also, I am proud of my 17 year old self for recognizing a very cool thing when I saw it. Lomo is still the shit ten years later :)

(All photos above were borrowed from the lomo.com website)