Thursday, December 29, 2011

Take One Last Look in the Rearview

I had to work today.  *mumble mumble profanity grumble*

I really can't complain.  I mean it's not that bad.  It's just the feeling of next week barreling towards me at, oh, 750 miles an hour.  And the fact I'd convinced myself I was the only person in the free world working (not true after all. go figure) *pauses to lie down while there's still time*

Early this afternoon The Chef came over for our semi-annual garage dive.  The one where he pries a bunch of crap from my vulcan grip to give to charity while I stand on one foot debating whether or not I need it anymore. But this time I was ready for him.  I wanted to give it all the heave-ho!  Off the starboard bow, over the hurdles and into the great unknown.  *you know, because it's always so much easier to purge when it's a situation of work vs. purge*

When I'm in the mood to let it all fly I'm in the mood to let it all fly and suffice it to say it flew.  There were just a few treasures I couldn't let go of this round.  Examine the evidence:
Dudes.  Everyone needs a magic wand.
And some Foo Dogs, a rotisserie chicken thing, a set of jumper cables and a cat carrier.  
But who's keeping track?
And there's no way I'm getting rid of the gift box from
 the bomb a** Missoni throw the Chef got me back in 2009 when the 
recession had bit a hole clear through the derriere of my pantalones.
It was the nicest gift evah...even though it sat in a crate in NYC until February while
we called and called and called realizing the receiving company was in dire straits and
couldn't pay for the shipment so the blanket had to be reordered through a different store.
It was the Great Blanket Adventure of 2009. Woot!
What is this you ask?  Brace yourself.
Hell yeah! It's a Piglet phone cover circa 1998!  
Don't ask me what I was thinking at time of purchase.  Clearly very brainiac thoughts.

Anyway on that note I give 2011 the royal kiss off with a wave of me magic wand!  It was a wild one and I'm ready to shake the dust from my heels and slide into 2012.  PS- yesterday was Good Riddance Day.  A time to say goodbye to one bad memory from 2011, write it down and shred that mother up.  Did you tear one up?  *I may or may not have stuffed an envelope full and clogged the shredder.*

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Red Alert on the Shoe Front?

Rather than launching off into the post-Christmas wrap-up, I bring you the following:
This is not okay.

Holiday sale or no holiday sale these need to become extinct immediately.
Tsk tsk Saks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I. Can't. Even.

So while everyone else is posting about homecomings and last minute gift guides, my house is a disaster and I've been buried under a pile of Trader Joe's Candy Cane and Mini Peppermint Waffle Cookies (daily bread) watching the following on repeat.  Everyone and their mother probably saw it before me, but I've made up for it in the past 3 days.  'I mean, get it together.'

I haven't laughed so hard on the rinse and repeat cycle since this one.  Still leaves me gasping for air:

You're gonna need a snack or ten once you get all caught up in the youtube videos, so why not head over to Danielle's?  I'm guest posting over there today and whipped up a Black Forest Trifle complete with Baileys infused chocolate pudding.  And then proceeded to eat half of it in 3 days. Er, breakfast lunch and dinner?

ps-thanks for all the kind words yesterday. just needed to say it out loud and close the door.  gotta get back to singing 'ding dong the witch is dead' now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Woman Treading Water Wants Out of the Pool

Has someone ever disappointed you so much that you kind of got stuck at a certain place in your life? Loaded opening sentence there, but one I'd like an answer to.  Recently - and I guess stemming back to not so recently - a person I really trusted and thought highly of (and no not the bf) completely trampled me in what I've come to realize is their ongoing tirade of self.  It feels like such a long time that I've been weaving in and out of a deep level of hurt.  Sometimes, admittedly, without much grace.

Yesterday I was in my car and managed to forget it for awhile when suddenly at a red light this jolt of remembrance left me feeling as though I'd been kicked in the stomach all over again.  Yeah, it sounds dramatic and certainly isn't all unicorns flying out of your a** like blogging's supposed to be (or something), but whatevs.  It's the truth.  A guttural sigh and a green light later I thought to myself, 'I've gotta get away from this. I don't want to let this moment define my life and destroy me.'  It was a turning point, I guess.  There have been months of dark days dealing with this person and I'm really tired of it.  The Chef's been cheering me from the sidelines and it's helped a lot, but every once in awhile I am faced with the fact that this thing, this person, will forever be written in my life story and I wish I could just erase the entire thing.

Hell's bells.  Not so much on the cheery side today I'm afraid.

Some dark pics to go with?  You got it.  Pass the chocolate.

~Outfit:  Juicy Couture-Vest, Old Navy-Sweater, Alexa Chung-Skirt, Frye-Boots, Rings-Flea, FP, Bracelets-Vanessa Mooney, Madewell, Motif 56~

Bright side: skirt's on sale, sweater is too and so good I picked it up in two colors.  Santa's sleigh came early and I was driving it.  Maybe that was him behind me in that picture?  Nah!

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is How It's Going Down

Epic bummer on the home front:  I can't go back to Canada to be with my family for Christmas.  It is the tale of a passport that UPS "misplaced" for 21 days, that a loyal blog friend then located and had delivered, followed by line upon line upon....well let's just say the passport isn't here yet and airline tickets are at a minimum of $1500.  All this sent me into a bit of a tear-filled spiral this weekend. Okay and last week.  Christmas is the one time of year where you can have guilt-free days off from work because everyone else is doing nil with their friends and family too.  I want my mom's cookies! *whine*


Looks like it'll be a concrete jungle-filled Christmas this year.

It's pretty tempting to just get into a nap-induced fetal and remain there until January 2nd.  And it might happen anyway, but it would be nice to get some traditions of my own going.  I'll be honest:  one thing I always do at this time of year is buy and religiously wear Abercrombie & Fitch sweatpants.  Go ahead.  Laugh.  Laugh all you want, but know this:  the sweats they push out at the holidays are unparalleled.  Soft, smushy fabric that's like velvet on the skin.  Sized to fit the adults of the world vs. the 12 year old skinny girls they cater to the remainder of the year.  I lived in mine all weekend and given the need for comfort at this traumatic time *drama queen in the house* am hoping Santa hears my cry and drops a couple more pairs under the DECORATED (victory!) tree.

Santa?  Santa you out there?  More smelly A&F sweats please.  This is a red alert.

Is it wrong to want to spend Christmas day lying around in one's A&F sweats munching sugar cookies, watching Elf, and dozing in and out of a food-induced coma?  We think not.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Decorate What?

On Friday we arrived, filled with excitement, at the beloved tree lot.  Determined to linger and not get caught in a panic we were, of course, late and had to rush a little.  This led to strategizing prior to departing the vehicle.  Dialogue included the following:

Him:  Don't get caught up in the wreaths.  We're here for a tree.
Me: Oh ma gah I want to ride the train.  Do you think they'll let me on there?  
Him:  Are you listening to me?  
Me:  Is there a height restriction for the train?
Him:  Hel-lo! TREE TREE TREE
Me:  Fiiiine (eye roll)  I hear you.  Stay out of the 7 footers.  Capiche?  I don't think we can fit one of those mothers through the door.  Remember last year? (don't ask)

Upon exiting the vehicle here's how it went down:
Nerves dissipate as the scent of Pine, Noble Fir, Douglas Fir and whatever other wonderful
tree smells are out there waft into our nostrils.  It's Christmas-tree time.

He thinks this might be the one.

While I make best friends with this tree which is, coincidentally, over 7ft tall.
Ahem.  Insert foot in mouth.

The tree guy agrees that this is the one.  The Chef doesn't really care.  It's over 7ft tall. Sold! 
Time for gymnasio into the dojo aka trying to stuff it up the stairs into our place.

Sunday afternoon we limber up for decorating time.  
Okay he mocks my stationary lunges.  Whatever.
Three hours later we had one strand of lights on and went for a Mexican food break.
Sounds about right.

Cut to scene and it is now Wednesday night.  That one, lone, strand of lights remains on the tree due to insanity decorating at the restaurant (which looks marvy btw) while the house looks like a tornado blew through here flinging one strand of lights on the tree in the corner.  On that note:  I gotta go.  It would be nice to have the tree decorated by Christmas and I only have 10 days left to make that happen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Operation Sequin Pants: The Eagle Has Landed

In the process of undergoing Operation Sequin Pants a couple of things have come to light:  a. I am not particularly risky in the clothing department (read: fears the thunder thigh effect) and b. one can never have too many lunges and/or squats per 24 hour timespan.  It's been a few weeks since the pants were secured, but yesterday was the first time they actually saw the great outdoors.  Conclusion:  you have to have nuts to be traipsing around in these things in the daylight hours.  They are ideal for the New Year's Eve or Holiday party circuit, but I'm contemplating how to meander around for the next few weeks in a more casual ensemble.  Perhaps the ballet flat, simple white t//blouse + blazer effect will bring it home...once the ten inches of rain stop falling.  Until then, examine the evidence.  Warning:  sparkly pants apparently bring out the inner crazy bird.
~J.Crew-Sweater, Siwy-Sequin Pants, Forever21:Booties~
I'm sure the neighbor was wondering WTH was going on. Niiiice.
Picked up this sweater on the fly at J.Crew just days before locating the pants.  
It sold out moments later, but I saw a few strays in my local store this weekend in case
you're on the hunt and/or feeling chagrin over lack of online availability.
~Bracelets: mix of Madewell, J.Crew, Vanessa Mooney, AE and random hairband.~

*I'll add outtake pics to the facebook page later today (now done)...prepare to pee your pants laughing.
ps-next up:  Operation Trim the Tree.  Here's hoping the lights are on prior to NYE.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Give & Give Back

Usually I have gifts purchased or in view by the first week of December and am sitting in a pretty decent situation counting down the days until the 25th.  Usually.  For some reason this year is a repeat of last when I found myself in a bit of a frenzy, kind of stumped for what to buy and with only a couple tchotchkes tucked into the closet.  One thing I don't want to do is just click away at items on the internet to make it go away (although it is tempting). Giving meaningful gifts is half the fun of giving in the first place, so one thing I am planning to do is give at least one item that gives back to each member of my family.  It's really easy (at least for me) to get swept up in the excess of it all, even if I don't necessarily purchase mass amounts. And then without fail as I'm wrapping presents a degree of chagrin sweeps over as I think of thoughtful things left out that could have made an impact on someone else's life too.  So with that in mind here are a handful of wonderful goodies that can make a difference and do double duty at the holidays:
1. Pura Vida Bracelets - These are so cool to pile on and are the perfect stocking stuffer.  Pura Vida provides food, clothing and shelter for the 15 Costa Rican artisans who make these bracelets, and donates 1% of each bracelet sold back to The Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting oceans and beaches worldwide.
2. Glassbaby - I raved about Glassbaby last year (see here).  These votive holders are beautiful and come in a wide array of colors.  Different colors give to different causes, and one of my favorites to gift is the BFF.  A.  love the color.  B. 10% of proceeds go to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centers C. get your colors/sets here.
3. TOMS Shoes - I'm such a fan of TOMS.  For every pair of shoes sold, a pair is given to a child in need.  I recently had a chance to spend an afternoon at TOMS and left feeling so inspired and moved by the spirit of giving that permeates the company.  Everyone in my family is getting a pair this year.  Secret's out!
4. Made With Love Recycled Rubber Bracelets - made by a Women's Cooperative in West Africa, these bracelets not only provide the women who make them with a viable means of support, they are also sold to raise funds for L'Empire Des Enfants--a center for homeless children from the streets of Dakar, Senegal.  The center provides shelter, meals, education and training as well as works with local organizations to reunite children with their families.  I have a set of these bracelets and love them!
5. Mother and Child Candles - made in California by Maura Peters, all profits from these candles are donated to the Tibetan Healing Fund (THF) a not-for-profit humanitarian organization established to improve primary healthcare and education for rural Tibetan women and children in the Tibetan regions of the P.R. China.
6. Dutzi Design - this business is near and dear to me.  Founder Ariane Dutzi has become a dear friend and it's been wonderful to watch her business grow.  Ariane designs the bags and then empowers Mayan men and women, skilled craftspeople, to earn a living and set fair prices for their work as they bring her designs to life.

Do you consider/include gifts that give back in your holiday shopping?  If you have additional ideas, please leave in the comments.  I'm hoping to knock out some serious shopping this weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If At First You Don't Succeed Try Again: Gluten-Free Donuts

Last week Tiffani from Dancing Branflakes sent out a plea for real gluten-free donuts.  You know, like, real donuts that are fluffy and light vs. cake donuts.  She tugged at my heart strings (and truth be told read my mind. As a former Krispy Kreme visitor and child of a donut maker life just isn't quite the same) and memories of growing up with a mom and grandma who made the best homemade donuts in all the land.  So many times after school I would walk through the door and find fresh made glazed or sugar donuts waiting for me.  Sigh.  Those were the days.

So with these things fueling me I worked up the courage to find a recipe that looked like it just might work.  Now I'm not a professional baker by any means and a lot of gluten-free baking is by trial and error.  With the Chef backing me (read: egging me on) I set out making the dough on Saturday.  It appeared to work and, following instructions, I set it in the refrigerator overnight with dreams of donuts dancing in my head all that night.
Cut to scene and there I was Sunday morning.  It was donut time!  The Chef bought me a little gift:  candy thermometer for the side of my deep fryer.  There was no way I could fail now.  It was go time.  Go donut time. Whatever.

Step one: roll out the dough.  Was it going to hold together?  Could it handle it?
Why yes, yes it could.  Sigh of relief.
I took it back to the old school and rolled the dough out on my dining room table just
like my mom and grandma used to do.  Everything was on track.
I laid the donuts and donut holes out to rise for an hour or so (lightly covered) and crossed my fingers.

The rest was kind of a letdown.  After an hour and a half the dough had only risen maybe half as much as I wanted it to.  Chances are (and my gut was telling me) gluten-free dough may work better without that time in the refrigerator slowing the yeast down.  At the end of it all I decided to deep fry a few donuts just to test the texture of a finished product.

Here's what I got:
Pardon my giant thumb and not so fancy plate.  
By that time I was pretty much traumatized and disappointed that I wouldn't be having any of the 
super light and airy donuts that had filled my dreams just hours before.

What I can say is this:  the taste is there.  The texture on this batch was a little heavy, but lighter than a cake donut so maybe, just maybe, if I tweak the recipe just a bit there may be a chance for a donut that is a little closer to the fluffy ones of days gone by.  Wish me luck!  I'm hoping to go in for round 2 this weekend if I can manage to get the Christmas tree purchased at some point this week.  And then there's always that Christmas shopping that isn't near done...or even significantly started yet.  Where is this month going??

Monday, December 5, 2011

It Was a Case of True Love

I had something to say, but can't remember what it was seeing as I just made the grave mistake of watching 'Virgin Diaries' on TLC and fear my mind has been wiped clean.  If there is a possibility of being scarred for life simply from watching a tv show I've got third degree scars.  Did any of you happen to catch the two who got married and had never kissed before? (see here)  Uh, can you say maul?  I was mid-air with a fork of pan seared green beans and can't even recall eating them.  There were some other awkward scenarios to behold, but suddenly they've escaped my mind.

Did I do anything this weekend?  Laundry, couch, worked on testing gluten-free donut recipes and laughed my head off on Friday night over dinner with friends.  At some point I made a pitstop at Whole Foods where I had a stranger tsk tsk me for purchasing green beans that weren't organic.  Excuse me lady, but do I know you?  I'm paying $4.99/lb for green beans and counting out exactly 14 so as not to break the bank.  Do ya mind?  It was on this very excursion that I seized the moment to try out my new Current/Elliott Rollers for the first time.  The love story continues.  No big shocker there.  I've been raving about the brand since the very beginning.  I guess this makes me a one denim brand loving woman (you know like a one woman man)--except nothing like the peeps who got married on Virgin Diaries.  *washes eyes out with bleach*

~Details:  Alexa Chung for Madewell-Sweater, Current/Elliott-Jeans, Joie-Wedges~
Effective immediately:  Channeling the 80's love for fisherman knits.
~Jewelry close-up:  Vanessa Mooney x3-Silver/Grey Suede, Madewell-Gold, Motif 56-Leather~
All those late nights watching Grease and Saturday Night Fever are manifesting before 
our eyes.  Next up:  big afro wig!  (wishes and dreams)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's a Sign: The Sequin Pants Saga

A couple years ago you would have found me hunched over the computer staring at Siwy's sequin Hannah's for hours.  I am by no means daring with the sequins, yet there was just something about these pants.  Should I? Shouldn't I? Should I? Shouldn't I? It was a never-ending cycle of staring and questioning.  Then they went on sale.  It was the height of the recession (or is that now? It's like a broken record...) and I just kept watching and waiting for a slightly lower price then BAM! Those hookers were gone!  Snatched out from under me while I fell asleep at the watch computer being a cheapskate.

Funny how it goes, isn't it?  You think you might not need something and then the moment you can't have it anymore you suddenly realize, 'Hey I really do need those pants.  I need them now.  I will wear them every day.' Of course it was too late, but I never forgot those pants.  Every once in awhile I would take it to eBay and do a search that resulted in, well, nary a sequined pant.

And then last fall rolled around and Isabel rained down with her sequins during which time 
I almost poked my own eyes out for having dropped the ball.
which if you're not reading you're seriously robbing yourself.

Aaaand of course in winter Carey appeared wearing the gold version I had lamented over, though likely would never have had the nuts to wear.  Yes I just said nuts.  I bawled softly into a kleenex while kicking myself yet again.

And then it happened.  A few weeks ago I was perusing Hautelook (which I rarely ever do uh, hel-lo SIGN!) and spotted a Siwy sale on the horizon.  Silently I whispered, 'If those friggin' pants are there they are mine.'  Cut to scene and there I was, clicker finger at the ready, 8am PST the following day.  I open the sale, I see the pants, I scream out loud and purchase the mothers!!!  Admittedly, a bit of angst remained.  Would they live up to my long-awaited expectations?  Did I really need them after all? (seriously I have no idea what is wrong with me).  Well they arrived and all I have to say is hell yes!

*Due to copious amounts of work you may notice I have not had an outfit post or consistent posts of any sort in weeks.  My bad on that front and we're doing what we can to rectify, but as you well know love don't pay the bills.*  

In the meantime examine the evidence:

In parting I leave you with the words of Winston Churchill and the kid on Martian Child:  
"Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give up."


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