Friday, December 30, 2011

Alleged best post of 2011.

I know my blog is not even a year old… But one of my favorite things about the end of the year is the ridiculous number of lists and magazines that contain “The best of 2011.”

The best _______ of (insert year) is always attacking us during the week between Christmas and New Years. I think the reason for this is because people are too lazy during this week to be creative. OR they have decided to continue their Christmas slothiness by putting in minimal effort. I bet the lists were all completed before the holidays even hit!

You think of the list and it probably exists.
-          Best  celeb couples  of 2011
-          Best  movies  of 2011
-          Best  starlet crotch shots  of 2011.

Okay, sorry… that last one was vulgar. I bet it exists though!

Well, my “best” post of 2011 was about flirting. I don’t know if it was really the best, but it was the most popular. I don’t know if people Google “flirting tips” a lot or something… but this post got the most page views by a landslide.

Read it and decide for yourself. Is it “Best of 2011” worthy?

I know the text is small in the screen shot. So here is the original post: God made mud, God made dirt, God made boys so girls can flirt!

Happy New Year! Can’t wait to get glittery and kiss a stranger! (kidding!… kind of)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Denture warning: Salted Caramels

Every year since we were in high school my friend Caitlin and I have been doing what we lovingly call,  "Christmas cookie bake." We have some old standards for each year, but we also always have a wild card slot. Over the years we have done fudge, chocolate dipped pretzels, cut outs etc. This year our wild card cookie wasn’t a cookie at all. We made salted caramels. Candy is tricky to make, but I am happy to say that they turned out quite nicely.

Caitlin had done a trial run of the recipe the week before. They didn't turn out quite how she wanted. Which was good because we knew what to do and what not to do. We checked on a number of different recipes and blogs in order to get good advice and tricks to make sure our caramels would turn out just right!

With help and recipes from Brown Eyed Baker and advice from David Lebovitz for opinions and temperatures etc. we came up with our own manageable/ less fancy version. Plus we exchanged some ingredients for what we had in the pantry. Both recipes said to use light, but we only had dark corn syrup. BUT, Betty Crocker says to use dark corn syrup...Who are we to argue with Betty!? It worked for us!

1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ tsp vanilla
1¼ teaspoon fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup dark corn syrup
¼ cup water

Important tip: Be ready for the whole recipe before you start cooking. Once you begin you need to move quickly!

1. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, lightly butter parchment.

2. Bring cream, butter, vanilla and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

3. Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved try not to stir too much. Just lightly stir occasionally to check the bottom of the pan for any hot spots. Remove from heat when the mixture reaches 310 degrees.

4. Immediately stir cream mixture into the caramel. The mixture will bubble up and make a noise. Don’t be alarmed! Return to the heat and let it simmer, stirring until caramel registers at 254 degrees. Getting to the high temp will take a while. Don’t get freaked out, the mixture cools off a lot when you add the cream. If you remove the candy too soon from the heat you will end up with caramel sauce for your ice cream. If you let it get too hot you will end up with hard sucking candies ala Werther’s. Both fine options… just not the desired result.

5. Pour immediately into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle more salt over the top of the caramel and let sit until cooled (at least 2 hours). Cut into pieces by heating the knife and wrap each piece in wax or parchment paper, twisting ends to close.

We used holiday parchment to wrap them! 
We originally thought they got too hot and were going to be hard to eat. We were wrong! They were great and gone by the end of the weekend. Thankfully no one in my family has dentures! 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mishmash moments: Christmas wrap.

Here is the Christmas wrap up from our household!

The Mish: 
The long weekend started with my lovely friends. We went to Peacock Lane and it was awesomely old school.

Driving down Peacock Lane. 

I have always wanted a tacky light up nativity scene. I am so jealous of these people!
The Mash: 
This Christmas was so surprising! I feel unbelievably spoiled. Yes, I received a Clarisonic! Woohoo! Get ready for good skin. Once the Clarisonic was opened I was ready for breakfast and figured Christmas was about done. Boy was I wrong. My parents threw a major curve ball and surprised us with iPads! I was seriously speechless. It was such an incredibly unexpected gift. I feel like I don’t deserve such a nice gift. Seeing how excited my dad was to set it up with me and the fun we had trying to figure it out was awesome. I understand why they do these things; it is just hard for me to accept sometimes. It has only been a few days and I am already wondering how I lived without it. Haha! Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Clearly I have quickly become obsessed with my iPad. Did you know that if you subscribe to a magazine, you automatically have access to the tablet version? I did not. I am rapidly filling all my iPad storage space with downloaded magazines. Since I started this blog, I was carting my giant laptop everywhere. The iPad will make things so much easier. I will obviously still mostly write on my Laptop, but posting and reading etc. will be so much easier now! Not to mention books. I currently have 2 books and a journal in my purse. Talk about shoulder relief! I am so excited to join the tablet reader community.

Major technology overload:

Macbook pro, iPad, iPhone, iPod. Ridiculous. Apparently I'm a Mac...

The Moments:
This Christmas was a little different. It was the first Christmas without a very beloved grandparent and my sister and brother-in-law out of town spending Christmas with his family (we did our Christmas morning a day early). My mom worked really hard to get all of our traditions in. I kept thanking my parents for such a special Christmas, because it really was. As my parents read this, I hope you know how fantastic it was!

Yet, there was a void. My Grandma Sue had a huge personality and she was greatly missed. Plus, we were down two more on the day of (without Lindsey and Brandon). I know that the holidays will keep changing; it was just extra weird to have two big changes in one year.

Regardless of the changes this year, we had an amazing Christmas weekend. I got to spend some great quality time with family and friends, the food was awesome and most importantly, we remembered the reason for the season... Happy Birthday to Jesus! 

It was a very love filled holiday at our house!

Crab dinner

Sorry for the crap iPhone photos. I resolve to use my real camera in 2012. I hope you had fab celebrations too!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Leavenworth or bust!

This past weekend I traveled north to Seattle to meet up with a few of my fav ladies and we went over to Leavenworth, WA. It was a Bavarian wonderland!

You may be wondering the same things I was: Why is it called Bavarian? It looks pretty dang German to me! What the H is Bavaria?

Well, let me tell you! It is a region of southeastern Germany. But from what I observed in Leavenworth’s version, there is also a little bit of Scandinavian tradition hanging around. I don’t know if my family is confused or if the Bavarian village is confused. Really, I just think the shops carry inventory to appeal to all travelers.

We had a delightful time. Gluwein, brats, fudge and lots of laughter, how can you go wrong!? Plus we were all bundled in our coziest winter attire.

Here are some photos of us being Bavarian this past weekend:

Such a cute little town! 

Father Christmas is not the same as Santa... and quite possibly cooler! He wears a wreath and has a satchel.  Pretty cool! 

Our poor friends. We are probably embarrassing to be with!

Have a great weekend everyone. Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Obligatory blog wish list.

Or should I say oBLOGatory!? TaHa!

Apparently in the blog world we are supposed to do a Christmas wish list. I am still pretty new to this blog thing, so my apologies for not being on my A game with the Christmas posts.

I don’t have a real wish list this year. Both things I want (numbers 1 and 2) are practical items that are simply out of my budget range. 
Here is my super cool Christmas wish list:

 1.) A Clarisonic!! Apparently this hot ticket item is skins new best friend. I thought moisturizer was skins BFF4L (best friend for life). But apparently there is a new popular kid in school, and that kid is the Clarisonic. I do believe that moisturizer is that life long friend, but I think the Clarisonic is going to be that friend who comes in and helps you grow for the better. Ridiculous that I just described skin products in terms of friendships…

2.) Make up brushes. I am just in need of some new ones. My collection is pretty good… but they are getting old and gross. I can honestly say that the last time I purchased a makeup brush was probably 4ish years ago. I clean them and stuff… but I have never actually bought a brush kit. It is all just a mish-mash of brushes collected over the years. I assume it is a crazy bacteria-fest.

3.) Starbucks card. For the caffeine consumption that occurs in my life.

Now for the ridiculous items:

4.) Cartier Love bracelet. I have been coveting this bracelet for many years. I like the traditional gold one. I don’t actually want it now. But I do have a hope that someday a super-fly guy (who loves me) will give me one. That is all. So I thought it could still go on the wish list. Okay, maybe the wish is for a super-fly guy.

5.) Harry Potter Snuggie!!!! This is a no brainer. Who doesn’t want a HP Snuggie that looks just like Griffindor robes?

Final wish (warning: this one is cheesy): 
Spending some good quality time with my hilarious family! 

Go tell it on the mountain! 

That is all my friends. I hope all of your Christmas wishes come true!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grace isn't just for dinner time.

I know you think this post is going to be about how we need to grant grace to one another. You are wrong. It actually is about table grace. Fooled ya! I just really liked that title for my post...even though it totally doesn't apply. Ha!

My family says the sweetest grace. I was curious the origin and decided that now was the time to start asking questions. My grandparents (on my mom’s side) have always said the same grace:

“Come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.”

It is so beautiful and simple! When I was old enough to understand the meaning and finally stopped just mumbling along, I realized how truly succinct and significant the words really are.

My sister looked it up, and it turns out that this grace is a traditional Lutheran table prayer. Who knew!? It was first published in Germany in 1753 and has been passed down and used for generations! There are many adaptations of it, but it is especially common in the midwest. Note: My grandparents are both originally from Minnesota

Growing up, my immediate family didn’t always say grace. And when we did, it was an in the moment kind of grace. Specific prayers for the time, rather than a repeat prayer.

We lovingly call my grandparents grace, “Minnesota grace.” I think I want to carry the tradition of Minnesota grace to my future family. I love how melodic and meaningful the prayer is. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blooper Box: Where funny videos go to hang out.

The other day I got an interesting email. Subject: “came across your blog, have question.”

First of all, I was like, “He ran across my blog? How did that happen? Do people read my blog?... this is weird.”

Then I was like, “He is a killer. A deranged murderer. He says he is emailing me about my blog but he is totally an ax murderer. CRAP!”

Then I actually read his email and went to the Website.

He loves funny videos!? I love funny videos! People who like funny videos from the internet can’t possibly be murderers. Murderers only like Dexter and American Horror Story (Yeah, I’m on to you Marina. We all know you are a murderer).

SO, I emailed him back and asked if he was a murderer. He said no… and I decided he was telling the truth. I have a super legitimate screening process. Brad and his business partner, Phil, moved to Portland not to long ago to start BlooperBox.  I hesitated to write about it for a split second because I have never done a review like this before. BUT I saw that 1.) They are local and 2.) They are a start-up. Two awesome qualities!

Of course I will spread the good news about your hilarious website! Note: they are from St. Louis. I automatically think of Louise form St Louis (Jennifer Hudson in the SATC movie) and Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis. (Pre extreme pill-popping)

Apparently Brad and Phil were co-workers back in St. Louis and one of their main procrastination activities was to find really obscure funny videos and send them to each other. It became a competition of sorts. Who was going to find the better video? And BlooperBox was born. They created a site that holds weekly competitions between 5 uploaded videos.

This video was not a winner. And really, neither is this lady. I do feel sad that she couldn’t land her back-handspring. Next time she should call me and I can give her a spot.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I know, right!?

Megan from PIPM posted this video to her blog and I admit it! I am not at all innocent when it comes to many of the phrases highlighted.

My main offenses:
- "I know, right!?" 
- "Can you read this and see if it makes sense?"

Not listed: 
- "Did I leave my straightener on?" (Or curling iron depending on the day.)

You know you are guilty too. Just admit it! 

Forgive the title. It was too funny not to post. Enjoy! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Can you hear me now? YES!

Today I went to get my oil changed, and while I was in the waiting room a middle-aged lady walked in. I was sitting there with my coffee in the pleasant waiting room reading my book with 5-7 of my nearest and dearest automobile appointment friends. Promptly after this lady sat down her phone rang. I knew we were in for it when her ringtone was a shockingly loud default tone that began with “Ver-I-Zon Wi-Er-less” and was followed by annoyingly swooping beeps and tones. She took FOREVER to answer and when she finally did she was shouting into her phone. Not just talking loudly, but shouting. I am not sure if she was on the phone with someone in a far away land, or if she really doesn’t trust cell phones yet.

It is easy for me to zone people out. I have been self-diagnosed with selective hearing. It is both a gift and a curse. Mostly a gift. Although, people in my life might disagree with that. So… gift for me… super annoying for others, since I am unintentionally ignoring them for long chunks of time.

I honestly just zoned this lady out. Then people kept glancing at my side of the room. I was thinking “did I laugh out loud at my book? Do I have a booger?” Then I realized they were all shooting dirty looks at Shouty McLouderson in the corner. Pretty hilarious. I then chose to listen for a moment. You guys, she is looking for a place to rent. She has a cat. Her son has a new girlfriend. Hmmm, I wonder if her son’s new girlfriend will go to this new cat friendly place for Christmas?

This lady was seriously on the phone for 45 minutes. After she hung up there was clear relief in the room. I am sure she didn’t notice, but how could you not notice an entire group mumbling thanks to the heavens simultaneously? It was quite hilarious. I felt like I had just observed a social experiment.

This is my citation to the cell phone lady

Anyway, the book I was reading had a section about how God hears our prayers and why we doubt the power of prayer. It was lovely and eloquently put. Unfortunately for the author, my instant sarcastic thought was, “How can God hear me when this lady is around. She is drowning me out with all her yelling!” I know that God hears me, and that I should never underestimate the power of prayer. Although, He probably doesn't appreciate my snarky comments… Who knows, maybe He thinks I am hilarious!! I’ll get back to you on that one.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Right?!

Sorry for being absent this week! It has been unexpectedly busy. Something I hate… mostly because I didn’t get to plan ahead. When I start my week, I like to know what day I am going to do laundry, what nights I won’t be home until late and what my meals are going to look like. Will I be eating at 9:00 one night? If so, I prefer to know that I will be crazy hungry when I get home... etc.

Anywho, it wasn’t that my evenings were super crazy. Although with cheer season in full swing, my personal time is shrinking by the minute. It is that my days have been so packed that when I do finally get home, the last thing I want to do is post on my blog. Sorry dear readers (the few that I have). I promise to come back to you with some awesome posts!

Sometimes my evenings don’t start until 8:00 or 9:00 because of commitments and such… but the personal time I come by is what keeps me sane! My time this week was spent painting my nails with awesome glitter, TV time with my outrageously stellar roommate and running errands (the last one… not so fun). I have gotten inspired by Sara and Nicole lately. I just feel put-together when my nails are painted. Plus the time taken to paint them is relaxing! I love it.  

My nails are teal with the glitter on top. Sorry about the dark photo, but you get the idea!
People have asked me how I did this to my nails. Is it just me or are people getting dumber? My response, “Uhh... glitter nail polish...” Do they think I placed each individual fleck onto my nails? Plus, glitter has become a huge trend this year. You would think they are aware that glittered up nails fall into this trendy category of awesomeness. I guess some people don't get out much... not necessarily a bad thing. I would love to be home more. Note: this awesome glitter polish is from Sam! I got it in the gift exchange at the blogger meet-up Christmas party. Another thing I should have posted about this week… oops!

I hope you are all doing okay in your pre-holiday schedules. Make sure to leave yourself some personal time! Maybe paint your nails or Hulu this weeks episode of Modern Family. And remember to always leave room for God interruptions! Those are the best kind!


Monday, December 05, 2011

Brunch in Bridgetown: Slappy Cakes

I love Slappy Cakes! I don’t think they have the best breakfast menu, but the ambiance and fun of the restaurant is still a fantastic reason to go.

We got a table with a griddle (of course) to make some pancakes as our appetizers. That is the thing about Slappy Cakes, if you really want pancakes you should order them so you can have the perfect fluffy pancakes. The pancakes at your table are really just pre-meal activities. It is really fun though. Plus you can’t mess them up because they keep the table griddles at the perfect temperature. From the long list of toppings we chose chocolate chips and banana. Don’t worry though; they have literally every topping imaginable. I have also tried bacon and lavender honey. You would be surprised how good the bacon is IN the pancake.

Pancake art:

The company was splendid and my mushroom scramble was delish. My favorite part was the goat cheese… obvs. This is going to be a pretty pathetic review because I didn’t taste test others food or take photos. I was hungry and clearly not focused.

Libby and Brian. AKA my slappy friends

For a good time call:
Slappy Cakes

Friday, December 02, 2011

Happy birthday Ms. Spears.

Happy 30th to my gurl B. Spears!

Some people don’t understand the love for Britney. But all of us 20-somethings grew up with her! 

Thanks for all the silly made up dances, car parties and simply awesome jams! Hoping that your future has less crazy and more awesome. Happy Birthday! 

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Still thankful.

Still thankful one week later. Here is my little T-giving post. Gobble gobble. 

This Thanksgiving was wonderful. I spent the entire day cooking with my mom. We have a blast in the kitchen together and this year felt extra special for some reason. Plus everything turned out great! Later the rest of the family arrived, including my grandparents and uncle from the Seattle area.

It was a wonderful dinner. I am so thankful for such a wonderful family. We genuinely like each other! That is not always the case with family. Well, mine rocks! And we sure like to eat! Haha

Here are some photos of the feast and festivities:

My mom's cute decor.

Taste testing. Look at Mama Jo! We must have liked it.

After a long day of cooking.

Bro (d-jenner) and Grandma

We named the turkey Hank. He was delish.

Listening to my 89 year old grandpa is amazing. He has great stories. 

Clean plates and my Grandma's lovely centerpiece. 

It isn't Thanksgiving if there aren't turkey cookies! 

Photo credit to my big sis Linds Jo.

So excited that tomorrow is Friday! 
Keep it real.