Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

Deliciousness

September 29, 2008

Haiku For Cupcakes:
Foul temptress with your
Inviting interior.
Could there be better?

After spilling my heart about my bakery dreams (and thanks everyone for your words and encouragement) I decided to put my mixer where my mouth is.

Well, really it’s my mom’s mixer, because I don’t have a mixer and she has a KitchenAid beauty. I went over to her house on Sunday afternoon to use her big kitchen (compared to mine, anyway) and baking tools. She wasn’t home, because she was off competing in a triathlon in Whitewater. Where she won the GOLD MEDAL in her age group! GO MOM!!!

WD showed me this recipe on Friday. I thought YUMMMMY and thought it didn’t look too difficult. So I decided to attempt it on Sunday. Annie’s Eats blog is full of incredible looking recipes, so check it out!

While there are more components to this recipe than a normal, standard cupcake, none of the steps were very difficult. I, shamefully, don’t make a lot of cakes or cupcakes from scratch. In fact, I don’t think I have ever made anything like that from scratch on my own. It was easy! I find that I overthink some things while baking and underthink others. I’ll mis-measure ingredients even though I think I’m being so careful! Fortunately, I haven’t made mistakes like that in a long time. You can’t rush baking, and once I accepted that, things have been a lot better! This did take me about three hours, from start to finish. And unlike something simple, like cookies, I was working pretty much that whole three hours.

The cupcake base recipe is so delicious. I will definitely use that again. In fact, I’ll probably make this whole thing again. I love the combination. I’m thinking it would be a fun dessert to take to my family’s Thanksgiving celebration or a Halloween Party, especially with a little orange tint to the buttercream.

If you like apple pie, you’ll love these. I had never made apple pie before either, and I was surprised by how easy this filling was. I thought there wouldn’t be enough butter in there to cook all the apples, but it was just fine. I used regular white sugar, but I think brown sugar would work well too. I found I didn’t need it because of the cinnamon. I could only find medium sized apples, and I used four of them. Well, four minus 2 slices, because I ate those.

Of course then I wished I hadn’t, because I ran a little low on the filling. The cupcake batter made 26 cupcakes for me, but I overfilled a couple of those. I probably could have gotten 28 cupcakes out of this. My advice: make more filling than you’ll need. You can always just eat the extra!

These delicious looking puppies are then topped with equally delicious vanilla buttercream. Yes, you may continue drooling. I have a small container of Maple Sugar at home. I think I will sprinkle some of that over the remaining cupcakes.

Oh, and if you have leftover buttercream and/or apple filling, you can do what I did. Put all your carved out “muffin tops” on a plate and eat them with the leftovers! I also recommend taking these leftovers to a peace rally and handing them out to friends as “Muffin-Tops for Peace!”

So yeah, try this recipe. It’s easy and delicious. I’ll leave you with some more impromptu poetry, inspired by the cupcake I just finished.

Ode to Cake and Buttercream:
Alas, with your tender crumb and sweet richness,
You would tempt many a hard-hearted soldier.
Your smooth texture is not only pleasing to the eye,
But heaven on the tongue.
The sugary taste lingers, and develops,
And soon all thoughts have flown from my mind.
Only thinking of cake and buttercream,
I am left in a hazy paradise,
Wanting, yearning for more.

🙂

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Dreams

September 25, 2008

First off, I’m not going to forget to do this. I was given my second blog award (I am totally lame and forgot to blog about the first one) by Ginesa.

I have to thank her, because if anyone’s blog is encouraging, it’s hers! We found each other, thanks to the internets, and have enjoyed cheering each other on in our weight loss journeys. She is doing GREAT! Not only is she losing weight, but she’s training for a race and doing a kickass job on her runs. Plus she has an adorable daughter who just turned one, and posts pictures often. Yay babies!!

Okay, now that I have remembered to write about that…

I had a dream a couple months ago about a bakery. I’m unclear as to whether I owned it, or was just a customer. It could best be described as a dessert bar. It was decked out in black and pink and had a modern, yet whimsical and a not-too-girly feeling to it. Kind Alice-in-Wonderland-ish. It was in a part of town that was part nightlife/part college area. Although it happened to look just like this street of gay bars that I visited in Thailand.

There were big comfy couches and booths where groups of young adults picked off large trays of gourmet goodies. Fancy versions of youthful desserts like Oreos, Oatmeal Creme Pies, Twinkies, and other treats like cookies and cupcakes. It was like a cafe, where people could come in, hang out, study, work, chat, and eat delicious desserts. Or they could place orders to go. It was cool. And it was open late.

I awoke with the insane urge to open this place.

A couple days after this dream, a coworker talked to me about a thought she had about opening a “Wonka Bar.” She had just seem us perform in “Willy Wonka” and had this idea of opening a bar that served candy-themed drinks. It fit in perfectly with my dessert bar idea. It could be called the “Candy Bar” and could serve all kinds of delicious desserts along with yummy drinks.

Just a couple weeks ago, after dinner with my dad and sister for her 13th birthday, we wanted to go get dessert. I racked my brain for places to get dessert, near downtown. We had just come from a restaurant. We didn’t want to go into another one just to order dessert. Kopp’s custard was far away. We didn’t want to go to a grocery store to get cupcakes and eat them in the car. We settled for gelato from Whole Foods. But eating gelato in a car on the way home was not the perfect way to end the night (though close, because Whole Foods’ gelato is yummy).

I started thinking, does Milwaukee really not have a cool place to go get dessert? Shouldn’t we have one? We have plenty of awesome bakeries, but those require planning and forethought. What if I want to GO OUT for dessert, at 9:00 at night? The closest thing I can think of is at the InterContinental, where you can order up some chocolate truffles or petit fours at $2 a pop. Good, but not quite what I’m looking for.

So now I’ve had this thought, this dream, of opening up a “dessert bar” in Milwaukee. I’m not the best baker, but I would learn. I’m pretty good, and if I had the time, I think I could develop quite a nice talent. But running a bakery? I don’t know… It sounds like a good idea sometimes, but then I think about all the potential problems.

How would I get started? Where would I find money/space? Would I be able to sell stuff? What about equipment? What about health insurance? What about health codes and regulations? What about the potential of financial ruin? What if no one thinks it’s as cool as I do? And so on…

I keep thinking about working towards it, though. Maybe devote my weekends to baking. Learning about it and trying out new recipes. I have a couple friends who own theatres. Maybe they would let me sell some treats on show nights. Maybe I could develop a small following. Maybe I could start a by-order-only business, and then hope for it to grow. Maybe… what if… what about…

I don’t feel like I’m cut out for the 8-5 job that I’m in right now. My creativity is stifeled. I need more. I want more. I deserve more. I wish I could jump into this RIGHT NOW. But I have to step back and think. Maybe I can go to MATC and get my associates business degree. I hear that gives you some good entrepreneurial information, and it wouldn’t take half a lifetime to finish. Maybe in five years, I can really start something. Or maybe in five years I’ll think it’s even more foolish than I do now.

And it’s time for my favorite Disney quote. Belle, from Beauty and the Beast sings,

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere; I want it more than I can tell. And for once it might be grand to have someone understand, I want so much more than they’ve got planned.”

Planning For Life

May 13, 2008

At 23 years old, I often feel like I should have more of a purpose, direction, or plan. I know that 23 is still pretty young, but it won’t last forever, and there’s still so much I want to do. I’ve touched on this theme before, but it’s weighing on my mind again.

I work full time. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it (usually). I took a break from theater to get my house in order, and it will get there, slowly but surely. But I feel like there’s so much to do in my LIFE and I don’t know when to do it all.

Here’s some of what I want to do:
– Go back to school and get some kind of degree in something!
– Get married
– Have or adopt kids
– Find a job that I love
– Move somewhere new
– Travel

I have long wanted to work in events. I love acting, but I don’t think that’s where I’m meant to make a living! I love photography, but I don’t know enough to work in that field (yet). Events (or public relations, marketing, etc) seem like the perfect place for me to use my creative AND practical sides. It just so happens that David’s sister feels the same way. In fact, she recently got a great job working events. We have talked a lot about opening our own event-planning business, and I really love the idea.

I would like to at least get my associates degree (if my past credits transfer, it wouldn’t take THAT long) in business. It seems like the program at MATC has a lot of practical courses on starting your own business. That would help both of us out.

The big time thing to me is kids. I think I want them. I’m 99.9999% sure I do. I think David is almost as sure as I am. I don’t know if I want to have my own or adopt. Either way, 30 seems like a deadline there. Sure, I could probably push it to 35 for bio kids. Could I adopt up to 40? Probably, but I don’t know that I’d want to. 30 seems like a good time. Not too old, not too young. I want to be able to keep up with a baby or two! Plus, I’m too selfish with my time right now to even have PETS, let alone kids!!

The “problem” I run into while trying to think about where my life is going and what I should be planning for, is that there are SO many things I want to do before I have kids!!

My degree should definitely be done before kids. I will obviously be married before having kids.

David and I have talked a lot about picking up and moving somewhere. Just for the heck of it! To experience a new city, to start a life together, to get out there and try something new, to go on an adventure! We’ve done a lot of casual browsing, taking “Where Should I Live” quizzes, etc. We’ve thought of Portland OR, Richmond VA, Baltimore MD, and many others. We like the feel of Milwaukee, but want something a little different. Of course, my dream is Chicago or New York, but David doesn’t like the thought of living in those places.

My current obsession is Lexington or Louisville KY. I know, I know… Kentucky??? What am I thinking? Well, my dad recently came back from a road trip where he visited some friends in Louisville. He could not stop raving about how nice of a city it is. He literally said “I want to move there!” I could barely take him seriously. I mean, it’s Kentucky! But after seeing pictures and browsing the Wikipedia and Craigslist pages, it doesn’t look that bad. They’re on a similar scale as Milwaukee. They’re not TOO far from home (Lexington is about 8 hours from Milwaukee). They are affordable and plenty of major corporations call one of those cities home. They’re safe. They have tons of art and history and culture. They both have summer festivals. And lots of theater. They look pretty good! Don’t believe me? Read their Wikipedia pages (linked above).

Ideally, we’d like to try out a new city for maybe a year or two. If we like it, we stay. If not, we move back to Milwaukee. I want to do this before we have kids for many reasons. But after we’re married. But then what does that say for the hopes of an event planning businesss?

I was thinking about going back to school in the fall. But how will that affect my debt-free goal? They say that student-loan debt is “good debt” and hopefully with a degree, I’d be able to get a job that pays more than my current one. But still. I am really against owing ANYTHING right now, and I don’t want to think about making more payments to anyone.

Also, how am I supposed to justify saving up buttloads of money for a wedding, when that money COULD be going to student loans? Argghh!

If money didn’t get in the way, I’d go back to school in the fall. At most, I’d be done in two years. At that point I’d get or be married. We’d take a kick-ass honeymoon somewhere exotic. Then we’d look for a job in the city of our choice, and move there for about two years. At this point it would be 2012 and I would be around 28. Perfect time to settle down in Milwaukee and do the kid-thing (close to family aka built-in-babysitters). Having kids seems like the ideal time to kick start a home business.

Even if I don’t start that plan for another year, to save money, or what not, I’ll be around 29 when I’m ready for settling down/kid time. That’s not too bad. I’ve thought that my life might be over once I have kids, but I don’t think that has to be the case. I’m sure my mom or David’s sister would be willing to baby sit while we went on vacation. And when they’re older, they could come along.

This is all pretty overwhelming. I like to live in the moment and be spontaneous. I don’t want to plan everything out. But I also don’t want to turn 30 and feel trapped or feel like I didn’t do anything with my young years or like my dreams of adventure can’t be achieved.

 

Credit Cards and Debt

March 27, 2008

I am so anxious to pay these sons-of-bitches off. My credit card debt hangs over my head and weighs on my shoulders every day. With my Thailand trip, I actually did fall a little behind on my debt situation. But I made a bold move today. Here’s where I stand, actual numbers and everything…

I have about $6,650 total in credit card debt. Whew. Yikes. Some of it was necessitated by unfortunate circumstances and accidents. Some of it was self inflicted. Regardless, there it is. And I have learned my lesson.

I got an e-mail yesterday from my Chase Mastercard (my first card, from when I turned 18, and would forget to make payments occasionally). My credit limit has soared to $7,000. But the best news was that they lowered my rate. A LOT. Even after calling a couple months ago, my rate was at about 23%. It went down to 11.99%!! I am SO THRILLED! My highest balance, highest interest card, just became much less scary.

Here are my card stats now:

Chase Mastercard: 11.99% on a $2,450 balance
American Express: 16.49% on a $2,000 balance
Citi Mastercard: 8.74% on a $2,200 balance

I am trying very hardnot to get overwhelmed. I can do this, I know. Both my Amex and Citi cards started with 0% balance transfers that I told myself I’d pay off before that rate expired. Didn’t happen, obviously. But now I am making large monthly payments on all of these. Just 3 or 4 months ago, that Chase balance was a few pennies away from $3,000!!

I finally decided to take a leap and apply for another 0% balance transfer offer. Hopefully in a few weeks my Amex balance will be about $400 and I will have a Discover card with a $1,600 balance with 0% APR until April of 2009.

If I get approved and everything goes through (and I don’t anticipate any problems there- I may not have a lot of credit history, but what I do have is pretty good- I’m proud that my score hovers around 700.) then I will make minimum payments on that $1,600 balance until some of my bigger, interest accruing balances are less scary.

My plan right now:
Chase: $200-$250 per month
Amex: $100 per month
Citi: $100 per month
Discover: (I’m guessing around $30 – $50 per month)

I’m not counting on a tax return, but I think chances are high that I will get one. If I do, that will go towards my Amex, just to get it out of the way. Having at least one ZERO balance will help motivate me. Then I can put $50 more to my Chase and Citi cards.

I don’t have a head for math like I used to, but based on the calculators at http://www.bankrate.comI could be paid off in about 12-15 months. If I get a good tax return and stimulus check, I could achieve my goal even faster. I like my Chase and American Express cards, so I won’t be cancelling them. I think my Citi card will eventually be cancelled.

Other than my credit card debt, the only debt I carry is my car loan. It was a 27 month loan, and I’m not paying any extra towards it. My monthly payments are about $175. I have a fairly low rate (5 or 6%) and it should be paid off by summer of 2009.

My other monthly commitments are:
Cell phone bill ($70)
YMCA dues ($30)
Car Insurance (have I mentioned this is now only $110 a month?!)

David pays our rent and utilities.

I have an automatic $80 savings withdrawal.

Whats left is usually used for groceries and gas. It’s a really tight budget to live on, but it’s only temporary. We still do fun things like going out to eat or seeing a play or movies. We could cut even those things out, but that doesn’t seem like a fun existence and I have too much “carpe diem” in me to lose all of that.

Again, I wish I could just fast-forward through all of this. I have barely used my credit cards at all since Christmas. I’ve learned my lesson. And now I have to step up and pay the price. I can’t wait until I can check the box on my online bill payment screen that says “Pay balance in full”!!!

Emo

March 5, 2008

I’m feeling emo today. Perhaps I should have dressed all in black and combed my hair over my face. I can only assume it must be PMS because my week has been pretty good.

I got a raise yesterday! It’s an average raise, but I got a teeny tiny raise last year, and this one was more than double. PLUS, I got a huge bonus. Well, huge to me. Big enough to make up for a majority of my Thailand trip. Big enough that I don’t feel TOO bad for taking some out and treating D and I to a nice dinner, perhaps for his birthday. Big enough that I can apply the rest of it to one of my credit cards and breathe a little easier.

Of course, it’s not big enough to take a huge bite out of my credit card debt. In fact, it’s only about 10% of my CC debt. But hey, it’s a step, and it it’s a much bigger step than I thought I’d be able to take at this point. If I get a tax return AND a stimulus check, I might actually use the stimulus check for it’s intended purpose. I could use some home improvement items.

Part of my feeling down is also probably the Favre news. I liked the guy. He was fun to watch. And I never was able to fulfill my dream of seeing him play live. Woe is me.

Also, D has been feeling down and worried thanks to the election news. He was really hoping that Clinton would effectively be OUT of the race after last night, but that did not happen. I’m not THAT in to politics, but he is more than makes up for me. He is really invested in this election and it’s really exciting for me to see him so inspired and hopeful about a political candidate. It’s hard to see him disappointed over something he takes very seriously, but has no control over.

Finally, this could be a whole entry by itself, but I just need to touch on it… I feel like I should be older. By that, I mean I feel like I should be past my early 20s. I look at some friends who are older than I. They’re married, buying houses, going on great vacations, working at jobs that they like, etc. I often wonder what I’m doing wrong and why I don’t have all that yet. Then I remember that I’m only 23. Some of these people are 26 or 28 or older. Just because those people are my friends, doesn’t mean I have to be at the same place in life.

But DAMN I’d like to be. In some ways I feel so much older than the number 23. In others, I feel younger. But overall, I just want to BE THERE already. I want my life to be in order. I want to be done with the struggling. But unfortunately, I can’t really see any way to speed the growing-up process. I just have to make sure things fall in place as I’m able.

For now, I’ll just have my dreams where we’re happily married and living in a house. Maybe one that is nicely decorated and where we can invite friends over for dinner and where the laundry is always organized and dishes are always done and the living room doesn’t resemble a dorm. That stuff comes with age too, right??

Packer-Mania

January 18, 2008

I had a dream last night about the Packers!

I was involved in this text-message bidding war on a group of four tickets to the NFC Championship game on Sunday. Except for some reason I didn’t quite think about the numbers I was entering. I accidentally won these four tickets. I say accidentally, because I had to pay $1,807 for them!!!!

I think it was the best and worst dream I’ve ever had.