Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Vegas Baby!

January 5, 2009

OMG!

I haven’t written in so long!

And I don’t have time now!

But I have to share this!

We’re going to Las Vegas for David’s birthday!

I bought plane tickets yesterday!

AHHHH EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!

las-vegas

More Love

December 15, 2008

My birthday weekend was pretty awesome. I’ll write more when I get the pictures up, which will probably be a long time since I’m still working at 7am and have rehearsals for my show, that opens on WEDNESDAY!! I took off work on Friday, but I hope to go skiing. That would be so much fun.

Anyway, a quick story about my work Christmas party on Friday night. They do a raffle. There were some reeeeally nice prizes, like a weekend in Chicago or a $500 Midwest Airlines certificate. I didn’t win those, though I would have liked it. I can’t really complain though, because my name was drawn and I did win something. It’s sitting here at my desk with me.

wii

OMGZZZZ!!!! I own a Wii and a Kitchen Aid mixer? How will I ever manage my time? I am about to become housebound and really fat. Oh wait, I can buy a Wii Fit!

So I Say It’s My Birthday

December 11, 2008

Because it is.

I’ve been so busy that I’ve hardly found time to get excited about it. Normally I’m bouncing off the walls because all I can think is, OMG BIRTHDAY!!!!

December came on so fast, and it made me realize that now November is over and I missed the birthdays of one of my BFFs and my cousin’s baby. Sigh, I suck.

I think I keep forgetting it’s my birthday. So I’m going to keep reminding myself. Because of all the days in the year, I should feel special and happy today. But dragging myself out of bed and into work at 7am is not ideal. Fortunately I get to leave at 11 and go to lunch at an as-of-yet undisclosed location with my dad. It’ll be somewhere downtown, so it’s got to be good. Then he’s taking me shopping at that East Towne Women’s Resale shop in the Third Ward. I love that place. They have such awesome stuff. Usually their best stuff is pretty small, but if I can’t find some beautiful clothes, I know I can find some kind of cool, vintage-y accessory. And if not, my dad says I just get the cash. 😉

I made cupcakes last night to take to rehearsal tonight. Vanilla brown butter. YUM. I was in a rush, and my eggs may have curdled a bit. I tried one, and it still tastes good, but I was pissed. I just wanted to bake one yummy thing, and I didn’t even have time. I’m going to whip up a chocolate buttercream at my mom’s house this afternoon. Hopefully after today I won’t have to rely on her mixer anymore!

I did get a pair of silicone presents from David this morning. Haha, I just wanted to say it like that. I got a Sil-Pin silicone rolling pin and a Sil-Pat baking mat! The rolling pin is pink! I’m super grateful for the Sil-Pat, because there are a couple recipes that I’m looking at that specifically call for it’s use. And while I could probably get away with some combination of parchment paper and tin foil, this will be so much easier. Do you have any idea how much parchment paper I’ve gone through in the past couple months? It’s a little obscene.

So, I’m 24. It’s going to take me awhile to get used to saying that, because it was just a couple months ago that I couldn’t remember if I was 22 or 23. I know 24 is still pretty young, but I am of course plagued with how far along I “should be” in life. I mean, I could be about 1/3 done with my life right now! Okay, that’s just scary and might make me puke or cry.

I’ve been PMS-y all week which has put me into an awful emotional state. I’ve cried a lot, over nothing at all. And yet I feel like I need to cry some more! I can’t wait to have those birth control hormones coursing through me once again. </end random rant>

So as much as today sucks for having to work, even 4 hours, I am full of anticipation for tonight and this weekend. My mom is making me dinner and cake (CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!) and tomorrow I get to dress up for my work Christmas party, and then meet friends for martinis. And on Saturday David and I will FINALLY get our Christmas tree and do some decorating. And I get to have dinner at Cubanitas and drink all the mojitos I want.

I’m glad I wrote this. Now I’m feeling all happy happy joy joy. YAY BIRTHDAYS!

PS. A happy birthday shout-out to my favorite people to share a birthday with me, Jeff and Greg. Is it a little strange that David, and his sister Sandy, are both with people who were born on December 11th? As if this time of year wasn’t crazy enough. Also, I’m sorry to all who have to come up with birthday and Christmas gifts in such rapid succession.

Hello Winter

November 11, 2008

Even though temperatures were in the 70s less than a week ago, I think I am ready for winter. Winter was always my favorite season. Now that I’m an adult (Ha, kind of…) it has lost a bit of its luster. But only a tiny bit! Snow is not as magical because I have to shovel it and drive in it, but it’s still pretty fantastic. Lets just say that I’m not dreading the first white ground covering.

Good bye Halloween, perhaps my second most favorite holiday.
IMG_2950

I don’t remember if I bragged about these yet, but these are Vampire Cupcakes. Perfect for Halloween. Or, sigh, your crazy “Twilight” movie watching parties.
IMG_2908

I’m not going to talk about my favorite holiday yet, because I don’t do that stuff until the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, I’m actually kind of starting early because I am going to bake tons of cookies for gifts. And eating. And that stuff has to be done in advance, especially since I will be in a show this December!

My other favorite holiday is, of course, my birthday. Which is EXACTLY ONE MONTH FROM TODAY!!!!! Wow. Kind of scary. The number is… well, young, I know. But I will officially be in my mid-twenties. And that freaks the crap out of me! Not because I’m “old” but because I feel like I should be more grown up by this age, and be more accomplished, and blah blah blah.

I’m less concerned now with presents than I was a month ago, because now my number one wish is to go on a ski trip with some friends to Indianhead Mountainin mid January. AND I am planning on getting my season rental this week! It is really more than I should spend, but I’m giving up an awesome and expensive birthday dinner for it. Maybe we’ll go out for apps and drinks at Cubanitas instead…

I just thought I’d post this on here. My wishlist is almost exclusively baking stuff, which is kind of funny. But I neeeeeeeed it!
My Amazon.com Wish List

So YES, bring it on winter!!

Halloween and Baking

October 29, 2008

Okay, here we go. Some pictures. These are from the last two weeks or so. I still have things to talk about from even further back, but that will have to wait again!

I have been baking like a madwoman. Why? Because this baby has been in my kitchen for the last two weeks:

My mom’s Kitchen Aid mixer. Sure, I can bake things without a mixer, but this puppy makes the impossible possible. Including creaming butter and sugar, because I do not have Popeye muscles. This is probably to me what pictures of sexy sportcars are to men:

So I have been baking up a storm. Since I borrowed the mixer, here is a list of what I have made, along with pictures, if I remembered to take them, and some comments.

For Bosses Day, I made Apple Pie Cupcakes (again) for my work and Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies for David’s work. They were all a big hit.

Then I attempted to make Slime Filled Cupcakes for Sandy’s Halloween Party. I had never made a lime curd, or even a lemon curd before, so I was really wandering into uncharted territory. At first, things seemed fine.

But as it cooled, it turned into this lumpy green jello stuff. And it tasted TERRIBLE. It was like lime x1000. It was just sick. So at the last minute, I had to switch my game plan. I had already made the cupcakes and the green buttercream frosting from that recipe, but I wanted it to be a little more special. So I filled them with chocolate buttercream frosting from this recipe. They were still a big hit. The cupcake batter was pretty easy and tasty. They were pretty light and fluffy. I would definitely use that batter again.

I made these Margarita Cupcakes for a party I had during the week. I know someone took pictures of them, so I’ll have to share later. Yeah, it uses a box mix, but it also uses real tequila. They were not your typical cupcake, but they were tasty.

I had a whole bunch of leftover chocolate and vanilla frosting, so I thought I’d try out another cupcake recipe to use it up. Later that week I made Vanilla Brown Butter Cupcakes. OMFG SO GOOD!! This might be my favorite recipe yet! The cakes were very dense and rich. And… they don’t even use the mixer! So I can still make cupcakes when I finally have to give it back. Surprisingly, they were totally amazing with the chocolate frosting. I had never browned butter before, and must have had beginners luck, because it was almost perfect. SO GOOD!

I made these Apple Hand Pies(or as I like to say, pocket pies) over the weekend. We had some friends over to carve pumpkins and eat them. These things are AWESOME. The dough was a lot of work, and I know I can do better, but it was worth it. The final result was so tender and flaky and warm and just.. MMMM!! It’s not a great way to use up my apples though, as I only used three for the recipe.

Also on Sunday I made Oatmeal Jumbos. They did not turn out very jumbo. I needed to use up some chocolate chips and some mini peanut butter cups. The cookies were good, but I think the batter got too warm, I over mixed it, or my baking soda is bad. Or all three. They were very flat. But they were still tasty. It made a HUGE amount of cookies. David and I both took a bunch to work, and they didn’t last long.

Monday night I made good old Chocolate Chip cookies. I’m pretty sure my baking soda has given out on me, because these again weren’t as thick as I had expected. They were still plenty chewy and delicious. Are they the best chocolate chip cookies ever? Quite possibly. I just bought more baking soda, so I will be trying these out again soon.

Also on Monday night I made up the dough for Shortbread Cameo cookies from my Sweet Miniatures book. The dough is in my fridge, just waiting to be cooked up.

 

Sandy’s  Halloween Party was super fun. I left a little early to finish up the night at a friend’s bachelorette party after I didn’t win the costume contest!! That’s okay, I was close. Being an election year, there were a number of political costumes. I went as Sarah Palin and David went as Joe the Plumber.

The “redneck” was wearing a wifebeater that said “GOD IZ REPUBLICAN” and the “clown” had a sticker that said “Votin’ for McPainin’.” Ohh, funny people.

There was also a hockey mom.

And Peanut Butter Jelly Time. And a Ceiling Fan.

And even the USA.

His costume was interactive. He has a real tattoo of Wisconsin on his back. So he brought markers and we all got to finish the US across his body. Hilarious.

The rest of my party pictures can be found HERE. And Cristina, apparently I stopped caring about taking pictures after I started mixing rum with my punch. So I missed a lot of action and a lot of people and a lot of costumes. 😛

Finally, check this out. It’s hilarious!!

Cupcake Crazy

October 8, 2008

I am feeling obsessed with cupcakes right now. I’ve spent the last two days at work feverishly pouring over recipes. Sometimes I get distracted by brownies or cookies, but I always work my way back to cupcakes. I like them because I love cake and they’re individually portioned. I’ve always liked the cake part better than the frosting part, even when the frosting is rich and delicious buttery buttercream, and a cupcake generally has a better cake-to-frosting ratio for my tastes.

Of course, there are many factors that would go into my decision to eat a cupcake or a piece of cake, but that is neither here nor there.

I like the easiness of cupcakes. I mean, they’re mini cakes!! While I might not bake a cake for a casual party or get-together, I would definitely bake cupcakes. There really isn’t any other treat that is both individually sized, and cake.

And so, I think I have finally found the recipe I will make for my mom’s Halloween party. I thought about making those Apple Pie Cupcakes again, and tinting the buttercream frosting orange, and I found a recipe for Pumkin Spice cupcakes, but there was no clear winner.

Until now. I present the Vampire Cupcakes. Not only are they appropriately creepy, but I think that touch of cherry pie filling will be tasty. I’m not huge on fruit pies, and I’m especially not huge on fruit pie filling from a can. But I think this small amount hidden inside each little cake will be okay.

If I’m brave and have the time, I might try to figure out how to create a filling from my mom’s homemade strawberry jam. The recipe as is claims to have a somewhat runny filling that still doesn’t get totally absorbed by the cake. I’m thinking I could do that with some slightly watered down and pureed jam… maybe cooked with a little melted butter? Hmmm… I’ll experiment. I might also change the “marshmallow frosting” to something with white chocolate and/or cream cheese, though I don’t want to lose any of the whiteness.

My mom’s party is on Friday, October 31st. Incidentally, that’s also her birthday! That means I need to get her a birthday present! My standby has always been a spa gift certificate, but it sometimes feels like a cop-out. I’m sure she’d appreciate a gift card to REI, but I just don’t know if I can get a gift card for my mother. It just doesn’t seem right. So inbetween obsessing over cupcakes, I have been obsessing over potential gifts. It’s HARD!

Despite constantly looking at pictures of amazing baked goods, I have been GREAT on my South Beach Diet so far this week (and yes, I know it’s only Wednesday). I started over with Phase One on Monday, and haven’t cheated, except for a couple tiny bites of Vosges’ Red Fire Bar. I’m proud, because this week my company is celebrating “National Customer Service Appreciation Week.” This means there is food and candy and treats EVERYWHERE!! Yesterday there was a cookout for lunch, and I ate a burger and brat without buns and skipped over the entire dessert section. And I ignored the cheesy potatoes. I have not touched any of the candy bowls spread out across my department. I hope to remain strong for the rest of the week.

When David mentioned Taco Bell a couple days ago, and Cubanitas as a possibility for dinner on Friday, I remained unmoved. I am yearning for Cubanitas, but I will do without. The desire to get back on track and lose weight is again greater than the desire for all that yummy food. I still plan on reaching 170 by the end of the year, but I have to get my act together! With all the food and holidays yet to come this year (not to mention my birthday, where I will eat LOTS of cake!) I really need to get to 170 by December. 10 pounds in two months? I can do it!!

Weekends

September 8, 2008

Best thing this weekend: My sister was in town! That’s always fun times. This is picture is from her 21st birthday, but appropriately expresses our glee.

Worst thing this weekend: Having to depart from drinking with my family early to pick David up from the east side after he locked his keys in the car at midnight. Oh, and have I mentioned he sprained his ankle last week and is/was on crutches? Yeah, ’cause he did.

Craziest thing this weekend: Helping my mom with my youngest sister’s 13th birthday party. Thankfully only about 12 of the 19 kids invited were able to make it. But it was still 4 hours of complete insanity.

Second best thing this weekend: Spending alone time with David on Sunday evening. We started watching Heroes on Netflix. We watched one episode and are already hooked! David also finished reading Ender’s Game to me. What an awesome and crazy book! I’m really liking curling up in bed and having a book read to me. It’s so much fun! It’s a good way to wind down at the end of the day. We’re going to read something a little lighter and fluffier next, but we might make our way back to the Ender series in a couple months. We also decided to read scary stories in October. Specifically, Edgar Allen Poe stories. I CAN’T WAIT!! I LOVE POE!! LOVE!!!

Exciting thing about next weekend: I will be driving up to Eau Claire with my youngest sister to hang with Samantha all weekend. We might go “floating” down the river if it’s warm. Otherwise we’ll drive to the Mall of America and spend Saturday shopping. We’ll leave kind of early on Sunday because…

Music thing next weekend: The Iraq Moratorium is presenting a benefit concert at The Coffee House(on 19th and Wisconsin) featuring my own David Kaye! He will be joined by his “band,” Chuck (aka The Electric Moustache), and local singer-songwriter Brett Kemnitz. It’s technically free, but donations will help keep this grassroots organization going. I’m really excited to hear some of David’s great songs.

Drunkest thing a couple weekends ago: David and I went to the Milwaukee Wine Festival. It was hot and drunk. We each got 10 tasting samples, but David only had like, 4 of his. So I had 16. Wait no, I had 15 and gave the last ticket to a cute couple. My order of 5 of my favorite wines will be coming in this week to my local Sendiks. YUMMY!!!

David, having TONS OF FUN playing the musical bench outside of Discovery World.

FUN, can’t you tell?

He was SO not amused

But I was!

Pretty!!

Afterwards we went out for sushi with Sandy, Jeff, and Jac.

It’s weird getting drunk in the middle of the afternoon. I think I started getting a hangover after dinner. Everything was blurry.

We all enjoyed this signage FAIL next to Japanica

Ahhh, good times.

Dude

May 2, 2008

Whoa dude. I leave for Arizona on Sunday. That’s two days from now. Less, technically, since I fly out at 7:30 AM.

I have to figure out what to pack! It looks like it’s going to be in the 90s! Then again, I did survive Thailand earlier this year, so I’m sure I can survive the desert. The problem I’m having is everything I hear about Phoenix is superficial. My cousin said she felt fat when she moved there. And she’s like a size 8! I hear people are blond, thin, and LA-like. This is SO not me! Especially since my hair is now a dark brown. But hey, I’ve always been different, so I think I can handle this. It’s not like I need dudes at the bar to look at me. I will have my own dude waiting for me at home. 🙂

My cousin seems to have a bunch of fun stuff planned for me. I fly in (Midwest Express!) early Sunday morning. She and some of her friends want to take me to the zoo once I’m settled in. Sounds like fun! Monday she has to work, so I will take that day to lounge by the gorgeous pools and read a book. Monday is Cinco de Mayo!! I’m sure there have to be some big parties going on in Phoenix, so we’ll probably go out and celebrate with tequila.

Tuesday she wants to take me shopping in Scottsdale at the Fashion Square Mall. I am incredibly excited about this! They’re getting a Barney’s! Not until 2009, though. Holy crap. Visit that website. Check out their map. Scrolling over the stores gives me chills as the names pop up. Max Mara, Juicy Couture, Burberry, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Jimmy Choo… Oh my goodness. All in one place! It’s like all the 5th and Madison Avenue stores, all in a mall!! I don’t think my cousin knows what she’s in for when she releases me on this place.

Wednesday I don’t leave until the evening, so we’ll probably hang out by the pools or wander around downtown. Or do whatever we feel like doing. The only thing that sucks is our plane doesn’t get back to Milwaukee until 11:30 PM! And I’m going to work at 8 the next morning. Sigh. At least I can sleep on the plane.

Speaking of the plane… the anxiety is starting to set in now. After spending about 40 hours on a plane to and from Thailand, I did NOT want to get on a plane for at least a year. And here I am, two and a half months later. At least it’s Midwest Express and at least I’ll be sitting next to my dad. I feel that panicked “Will I make it home safely” feeling in my stomach, though. I hate that.

Okay, I’ll just shove this in at the bottom of my post here… I spent THREE hours at Neroli last night getting my hair cut, dyed, and highlighted. It’s not a huge change on the cut, and I’m a little disappointed. It has more layers and it feels lighter and has more movement and body, but it’s not a different style. That was my choice, but I think this tells me that NEXT time, I will ask for something a little more drastic.

I loooove the color. It’s very natural, but different enough that my coworkers noticed right away. I wanted a deep, rich brown, and my stylist talked me into some soft brown highlights so it wouldn’t be harsh around my face. I just think the color is beautiful. Pictures don’t capture it too well, but here’s what I could do:

A Good Day

March 27, 2008

26 years ago today my future husband was born. He may not be too thrilled about his birthday, but I am. 26 may not be an exciting age to reach, but hey, in this crazy world, making it one more year is good news. Plus, now he’s just a year away from the holy grail of birthdays. THE Golden Birthday.

If you believe in the power of numbers, his next birthday seems pretty special. When I think of powerful/lucky numbers, I think of 3 (and 7). His birthday will be 03/27/09. Not only is there a 3 and a 7 in there, but:
3×3=9
3x3x3=27 (as does 9×3)
I’m pretty sure we need to go to Vegas. This seems like one powerful day.

I’m taking off work at 4:00 today. We’ll stop by my mom’s house, where I have been stashing his present, and then go to Sake-Tumi for dinner before rehearsal. It sucks he has to work AND go to rehearsal, but there are other birthday activities in the coming weekends.

On Saturday he is FINALLY going to a game at Miller Park. It’s just a Brewer’s exhibition game, but I hope it makes him happy. He’s been having a rough couple of weeks. Little bad things keep happening to him. I have contributed, though not on purpose, in my own ways. Hopefully today it will all turn around.

Happy Birthday Love!

Polar Bear 2008

January 7, 2008

Gosh, I know you have all just been on pins and needles waiting for me to post pictures from my Polar Bearing experience in Lake Michigan. Well, here’s the story…

I was supposed to go with a few friends- Lisa, Megan, and my new-ish friend Krissy (Chrissy?). Lisa was feeling pretty under the weather, so she cancelled. I was feeling pretty awful too, so I cancelled. But then I thought… wait, I’m already awake. My stuff is already set out and ready to go. Krissy is still going. FINE, I’ll go!

David and I went to George Webb for a deliciously cheap and greasy breakfast and then made our way down to the lakefront. We met up with Krissy, who had been trying to talk herself into it while having coffee at Altera, and staked out a spot on the frozen tundra of Bradford Beach.

It was cold and windy. And we got there early. I had about an hour and a half before noon, which was the “official” time that all the crazy people ran into the water. This was upsetting and cold, but it was worth it to get a close parking spot. Did I mention it was cold?

There are a lot of funny characters walking around. People get really nuts for this event. Not that I should talk, because last year I wore a tutu. I think my favorite (and the most vocal) was the RoFo Headgear samurai. He was dirty and profane and it was hilarious.

These guys were pretty awesome, however:

We tried to keep warm by laughing, jumping around, and drinking. I had a thermos of coffee liquor and butterscotch schnapps. Krissy drank Bailey’s straight from the bottle.

By 11:30 it was quite packed and the crowd’s excitement was palpable. At 11:45 we slowly started stripping off layers of clothing. At 11:50 I was standing there in my bathing suit and a robe, quite literally freezing my ass off. But mostly freezing my toes off. They already hurt. I knew jumping in the water was going to be painful. But I had come this far, I wasn’t turning back.

So at noon (or just about) we ran in.

And at about 12:01 we ran out.

(Yes, I wore my hat and scarf in)

It was just as bad as you are imagining. In fact, it was probably worse. My feet hurt so badly. Or rather, they didn’t. At all. I couldn’t feel them. I couldn’t get my shoes off without help. My feet wouldn’t cooperate. It was awful. I’m going to have to see if there’s a way to avoid that next year. Yep, next year. It was stupid and insane but it was SO much fun!! And now I don’t really remember how terrible it was. So I guess I can do it again. That’s what they say about childbirth. I think it’s true here as well.

Things I have learned about successful polar bearing:

  1. Drink. The night before, the morning of, during, whatever! Not only does it make you feel warmer, but a shot of ‘liquid courage’ is practically a necessity.
  2. Go naked. Well, if you could, that is. Seriously, wear as little as possible into the water. Last year I wore a stupid outfit into the water, complete with stupid knee-high socks. I thought it was funny. It sure wasn’t funny when I had to try to take them off while they held freezing water to my legs. Remember that anything you wear into the water will be holding ice water next to your body until you get it off. That’s why the people in bikinis are actually pretty smart*.
  3. Bring a buddy. If you can, bring a buddy who stands there and holds your towel and robe and blankets and slippers (etc) while you try to kill yourself in icy water. Running out of the lake is disorienting and the beach is lined with gawkers. Trying to make it to your towel 50 feet from the water is a daunting task.
  4. Bring easy clothing. Bring something you can easily pull on over your clothing or something big enough (like a blanket or robe) to change underneath. I thought I’d take my swimsuit bottoms off, but I didn’t have the energy. I just pulled on two pairs of sweatpants over them. Another reason to wear as little as possible. Slippers are a good idea to try and quickly warm up feet. Err on the side of caution and bring more than you think you’ll need. Also bring a towel or blanket to put on the beach to mark your spot and to set your things down.
  5. Be brave. It only hurts for a moment. Well, and until you warm up. Which could be an hour or two later. But it’s so worth it.

You can see my other Polar Bear pictures here. Be sure to check out the Monsters Inc guy, the hot dog, and the Barbie.

*Smart here is a relative term. In no way do I believe that any of us ice jumping fools are smart.