Sunday, December 25, 2011

happy christmas!

Hope everyone has a great holiday day! I plan on spending mine in my red tutu, baking christmas tree sugar cookies and putting The Muppet Christmas Carol on an infinite loop (all while snacking on stuff that's definitely NOT health conscious!) Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

warning: not at all fashion/style related.

You have been warned.

This whole "Day Off In the Middle of the Week" thing is weird. Good, but weird. Today I decided to play it on the low key. I went and got my Fiddlecakes on with Kaelah, and gorged myself on a snowflake-shaped cookie, coffee, and Kaelah's macaroon. Then we headed to the fabric shop down the street and "oooohed" and "aaaahhed" at all the adorable novelty fabric! I'm still kicking myself for not picking up a yard of the lobster fabric (which would have been perfect paired with the knife/fork fabric!) Oh well, next time. I have this habit of wanting everything that no one else wants, so I'm sure it'll still be there upon my return.

The rest of the day I plan to spend drinking tea, watching American Dad reruns, and maybe eating some cheese.

And playing with picnik stickers and my webcam. Pictures that I'll never show to anyone, because I have some self respect. Oh, who am I kidding! Let's have a look (my self-loathing sequence will initiate the second I click "publish post." Worth it!)

 Christmas Pirate! Note the gingerbread-pirate-man and the snowman in the crow's nest.


And don't you hate it when unicorns erupt from you mouth? I know I do.

Okay, that last one's pretty heinous. So here's something pretty (click through for source.)

Snowy forests for the Christmas Win (doesn't this just LOOK like Christmas?)

Monday, December 19, 2011

holiday baking: peppermint mocha cake!

Hello lovlies! Today  I'd like to give a shout out to one of my best friends, Chris! It's his birthday, you see. And because of this, I thought it'd be fun to play around with one of my faaaavorite hobbies: BAKING! Chris is a big coffee fanatic (as am I!) so I thought something espresso-related-and-still-Christmas-festive would be fitting. And after playing in the kitchen for the better part of two hours (and neglecting the camera during the process because I kept forgetting... sorry!!) I emerged victoriously with this beauty! Luckily I took detailed notes of the recipe i used, (thanks Martha!) as well as my modifications to make it all mocha-y! So, let's do this thing!

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and cut into tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups super strong, black coffee (and a few extra tablespoons for the first step)
 Preheat your oven to 325 degrees, then grease two 9-inch cake rounds with non-stick cooking spray and dust (lightly!) with some flour. Put your chocolate and 3 tablespoons of coffee in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and stir until smooth and melty (and liquid-y and lava-y and scary!). Then set aside to cool slightly, preferably without touching the chocolate mixture and hurting yourself (hello, unsightly band-aid!)
Beat your egg yolks and sugar together for about three minutes. Then add your coffee! And gradually add your chocolate mixture and the butter, mixing them together until smooth. Transfer this to a big bowl, then sift flour, cocoa, and salt over top of mixture. Fold in and then let your batter rest! 
Beat the egg whites until almost-stiff peaks form, and fold them into the chocolate mixture in two parts (don't overmix!) Carefully pour your batter into your readied pans and bake until puffed, cracked, and set, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Then let your cakes cool (in a windowsill is always quaint, and the breeze blows the smell throughout your house!) before you pop them out!

  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of room temp butter
  • 3 tablespoons of strong, black coffee
Pretty simple, just mix it all together! I like to use my food processor/blender, and cut up the butter into little cubes beforehand (it mixes more evenly!) It's going to be a little more runny than your standard buttercream frosting, which is why it's more of an icing! Prepare this while your cakes are baking, then while they're cooling let your icing "chill" in the fridge! (Har. Har.) I also threw in a teaspoon of so of SUPER fine coffee grounds, the smell is amazing but this step is totally optional!

  • A candy cane (it's Christmas, you should have one laying around! I stole mine off my tree. Now I have to fix the bald spot...)
  • A hammer.
  • Some aggression to let out. That's optional, though. 
Pick one cake to be the bottom part. Shave off the top with a ridged knife to make a flat surface, then use a little less than half of your icing to smooth on the top. Plop on the second cake, and use the rest of your icing to spread over the rest of your creation! It'll be a little on the runny side, I just more-or-less poured it on top then used a spatula to wiggle it around the top and the sides (once you let the cake sit in the fridge for a while, it'll set perfectly.) Smash up your candy cane between some wax paper and sprinkle on top! 

Sorry for the weird lighting on the photos, this whole "Sun Sets by 5 PM" thing is frustrating! And dark.

Friday, December 16, 2011

proof that i had a day off (thanks, camera phone!)

from top to bottom: fresh baked mini-biscuits are a must for breakfast, and served with locally made preserves. Classy! Also, take note of my new "Pimp Cup" (it's covered in hoes, HA!) Then a quick outfit post, and a picture of a kitty that had been sleeping since 2pm the previous day (if you're wondering about the grid, it's for D&D campaign maps. I'm okay with myself!) Some Christmas time with the tree (and potential future Christmas card, once I recreate it with my actual camera?) and then some apple cider in the smallest (and CUTEST!) bottle ever! And it tastes even better when served in the most heinous holiday cup you could find at the Dollar Tree. Then a friend comes over to watch a terrible movie, and you end up at the mall down the road trying on lipstick colors at Sephora and then heading to Claire's to browse friendship necklaces for 12 year olds.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

apples and oranges

I'm obsessed with a few things. The Beatles, good coffee, good whiskey, bunnies, deer, baking, berries, dresses, lacy underthings, nail polish, glitter, twinkle lights, Christmas, Valentine's Day, colorful tights, cats, basset hounds, pancakes, vw buses,
AND FRUIT. (yes, I put berries and fruit into different categories, just deal [with it]).

So you can imagine the excitement and arm-flapping motions that followed me learning that there's a year-round farmer's market just north of downtown! On this particular occasion I bought apples, some apricot preserves, and yams. Because baked yams with butter and marshmallows are healthy! Because they're STILL YAMS! You know I'm right.

This purple-and-lime-green-tweed coat is one of my favorite things ever, and was a gift from an old friend. My shoes, scarf, arm warmers, and (unseen) dress were thrifted, my polka dotted tights are from Target, and the gold bow brooch (on my purse strap) was my grandmother's.

And I'm smiling because this was before I learned that I had just missed the bus. If there had been another picture taken about 30 seconds from now, it would have been a lot like this:

Hope everyone is having a Smurfy Day!

Monday, December 12, 2011

morning thought-time.

When i wake up in the morning I always have the same first thoughts, and they usually go like this:
"Good LORD I'm STARVING! I need food. Banana! Okay, this is going well. I wonder if I can take a shower without worrying about the upstairs neighbors listening to their awkward talk-radio. My head's fuzzy. Oh yeah. I NEED COFFEE!"

And then I struggle with the task of getting said coffee. Sometimes it's easy (and usually involves whining,) and sometimes it's difficult (hey! when it's early in the morning boiling water is complicated! I might as well be attempting a souffle!)

Nashville is home to quite a few cute coffee shops, all with good quality stuff (Bongo Java knocked my reindeer-patterned socks off, and so did The Frothy Monkey.) Unfortunately, none of it's within quick-access distance (aka five amazing shops within two city blocks, not counting Starbucks.)
I know, Seattle spoiled me.
Like a carton of milk left outside during the summertime.
Or something.

Another good spot I've been frequenting is Sam and Zoe's. I think the "rustic-color-hippie" decor reminds me of the Northwest, which is comforting. I've only been here a month, I still feel justified in being homesick!

I've had these riding boots for so long, I've forgotten where they've come from. The dress, sunnies, and bag were thrifted, and my jeans are just Levi's (jeans instead of tights, I was riding my bike and wanted to avoid unnecessary flashing.) My little sequined shrug was a gift from a friend years and YEARS ago, it's one of those things that I could never get rid of!

In addition to exploring more of my new habitat, I've been meeting some lovely lovelies! Quincy from Q's Daydream Vintage is an absolute DARLING, and definitely one of my new favorite people! (it was nice to be able to cry during My Week With Marilyn and not be mocked, haha.) And Kaelah from Little Chief Honeybee is one of the sweetest things I've ever had the pleasure to meet, and is one of the most inspiring and motivated ladies out there. (she blogged about Sam and Zoe's too, a while back! Her review's as positive as mine, I'm in love with this place.) I'm so excited to get to know these girls (and more!) better! Nashville seems to be a sort of "hub" for old fashioned girlies, who are content with baking and crafting and watching Doris Day films. I'm a flan, and I hope I don't get put in custard-y for saying that (old Office jokes, anyone?)