Monday, September 1, 2014

Weekly Wishes | Twenty-Two

Last Week's Wishes

Practice Showcase Song: plucked and strummed.

First Brewing Day: Well, I did it. But I did it incorrectly. So the fermentation did not even start occurring. But this means I get to try again! Practice makes perfect, yes?



Kick Ass at the Showcase (and Open Mic Night): It's happening this week! I'm playing with my group at both an open mic night (for practice) and at our Girl Guitar Showcase! Ack! What song am I playing? Check out the Song of the Blog below!

Get Health Insurance: Remember for.ever.ago. when I was trying to get health insurance back from my stupid insurance company. I'm throwing in the towel. Aetna has failed me miserably and I hate them. Now, I have to get health insurance for reals. There are times that I truly just hate being an adult.

Plan Trip to AZ: My future sister-in-law's bridal shower is in six weeks so I need to buy my ticket and figure out how long I'll visit and simply get crazy excited to go to AZ for the first time since Christmas.

Song of the Blog: Love Interruption by Jack White

Weekly Wishes is where I join up with The Nectar Collective amongst many other bloggers to share the goals or challenges we wish to achieve this week. We're a community of goal-setters.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I Do Spy — School Spirit


NYU Women's Nightshirt — CafePress
NCAA Womens Knot Top — Sparky's Stadium Shop
ASU Wine Glass Charms — DecalNDome
ASU Cowboy Boots — Online Boot Store

GO SUN DEVILS!!

Song of the Blog: ASU Fight Song

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Simple Baking Necessities

This post originally appeared on The Rich Life. Now it's the first part of my new series Let's Get Baked. I know you're excited for all of the baked goods I'm about to throw at your face. 

I bake all.the.time. Whether it’s thirteen batches of Christmas cookies, a vegan birthday cake or pumpkin bread, my oven is on at least once a week. But it’s not as expensive as it sounds. As long as you have the appropriate ingredients stocked in your cabinets and fridge, all you need from the grocery store are those one or two additions that make that recipe unique: pumpkin puree, bananas, chocolate chips, etc.

Below are the bare necessities. And then a freaking awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe from one of New York’s Alice’s Tea Cup  former pastry chefs, Becky Lazarus, because why would you NOT want a freaking awesome chocolate cookie recipe?

All-Purpose Flour: If you don’t have flour, then you can’t bake. (here’s a good article on the difference between all those types of flour out there)

Granulated Sugar

Powdered Sugar: You won’t use this as often as granulated sugar but it’s still nice to have in your pantry. 

Brown Sugar: My personal favorite of the sugars.

Baking Soda: Please note, there is a difference between baking soda and powder. One cannot replace the other. 

Baking Powder

Xantham Gum: I bake a lot of gluten free baked goods and this is incredibly necessary if you want your bread/cupcake/cookie/cake to turn out like a gluten rich baked good.
 
Salt

SO.MUCH.BUTTER: Seriously. You’re going to go through butter like it’s nobody’s business. 

Shortening: The idea of shortening grosses me out, so I keep vegetable shortening in my pantry and it works all the same. 

Vanilla

Eggs: So, I actually don’t like baking with eggs. Just like shortening, I think eggs are gross and they make my stomach hurt so I avoid them when I’m able. I generally use ¼ cup of applesauce to one egg but I also like to try chia seeds as a replacement. The recipe comes out more moist (read: fragile and possibly falling apart) but for me personally, it’s worth it. 

Parchment Paper: This is the greatest thing ever invented. There’s no need to use Pam (which adds calories, yikes!) when parchment paper exists. 

Hand Mixer: There are many of us, myself included, who can’t afford rent, let alone a beautiful but expensive stand mixer, but a hand mixer can generally do the trick. If you mix by hand with a spatula and wisk, I think you’re crazy but mad props, my friend. 

Correct Oven Temperature: For reals. If you don’t have a fancy schmancy oven that shows the exact temperature, go to the dollar store, get an oven thermometer and make sure your oven is on point. You don’t want to waste all that hard work just for your bread not rise.


Freaking Awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by Becky Lazarus

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. In a mixer or with a hand mixer, cream butter and both sugars. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Once all the flour is incorporated, add the chocolate chips with a spatula. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Song of the Blog: Back to Basics by Christina Aguilera

Follow Katie Grimmer's board Food | Sweets + Treats on Pinterest.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Books That I Desperately Want to Own


The Diviners by Libba Bray

After her secret gift for divining information from objects lands her in trouble, 17-year-old Evangeline O'Neill is sent from Ohio to live with her uncle, who runs a museum specializing in folklore and the occult in Manhattan. Evie is a quintessential flapper [and] although she starts out her new life like the party girl she was back home, her pursuits become more serious when her uncle is asked to help solve a series of strange murders. She crosses paths with Memphis Campbell, a black numbers runner in Harlem, whose power to heal by laying on hands failed him when he tried to save his mother. Other characters include a homosexual composer who meets people in dreams, a Ziegfeld girl with a past, a pickpocket searching for his family, and a young research assistant with his own secrets. Bray develops each of these characters and their gifts, gradually bringing them together in a chilling and thrilling battle with Naughty John, a paranormal serial killer. (School Library Journal)

I love everything about Libba Bray. EVERYTHING. And I can't believe I haven't read her most recent novel, which has been out for almost a year. I've heard it's her best book yet (although I doubt it because The Gemma Doyle series is my everything) so I can't wait to get my hands on this thing.

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham

Twenty-something Franny Banks is destined to act, if she can can actually land a decent audition and an even more decent part. Able to pay her rent since she snagged a coveted comedy-club waitressing job, Franny lives the typical life of a struggling actor as she tries to balance finding a good agent, going to auditions, making a splash in her acting class, and keeping her disliked if much-needed job while fretting over the looming self-imposed deadline of three years to make it on Broadway. Her roommates, good pal Jane and wannabe writer Dan, play her foils as she also deals with family issues and the very enticing James Franklin, from her acting class. (Booklist)

Lauren Graham has been like second mother to me since she portrayed Lorelei Gilmore on The Gilmore Girls. When I found out she wrote a book, I knew I had to read it immediately. Just like the above novel, it's been out for a while and I clearly did NOT read it immediately. I must fix this...immediately.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of color. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time. (goodreads)


I've heard nothing but lovely things about this novel and I think it sounds wonderful. That is all I have to say about that.  


Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair… Tiger Lily. When fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan deep in the forbidden woods of Neverland, the two form a bond that's impossible to break, but also impossible to hold on to. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. However, when Wendy Darling, a girl who is everything Tiger Lily is not, arrives on the island, Tiger Lily discovers how far she is willing to go to keep Peter with her, and in Neverland. Told from the perspective of tiny, fairy-sized Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily is the breathtaking story of budding romance, letting go and the pains of growing up. (Amazon)

I generally don't like books that are told from a different point of view from the original. Take for instance, Pride & Prejudice. There are many many many fan fiction novels told from the point of view of every other character in that novel. Except one: Peter Pan. I will watch, read, listen to anything associated with that brilliant story and Tiger Lily is definitely no exception.

The Boy Detective Fails by Joe Meno

In the twilight of a mysterious childhood full of wonder, Billy Argo, boy detective, is brokenhearted to find that his younger sister and crime-solving partner, Caroline, has committed suicide. Ten years later, Billy, age thirty, returns from an extended stay at St. Vitus' Hospital for the Mentally Ill to discover the world full of unimagi-nable strangeness: office buildings vanish without reason, small animals turn up without their heads, and cruel villains ride city buses to complete their evil schemes.

Lost within this unwelcoming place, Billy finds the companionship of two lonely, extraordinary children, Effie and Gus Mumford--one a science fair genius, the other a charming, silent bully. With a nearly forgotten bravery, Billy treads from the unendurable boredom of a telemarketing job, stumbles into the awkward beauty of a desperate pickpocket named Penny Maple, and confronts the nearly impossible solution to the mystery of his sister's death. Along a path laden with hidden clues and codes that dare the reader to help Billy decipher the mysteries he encounters, the boy detective may learn the greatest secret of all: the necessity of the unknown. (Amazon)

This book was recommended to me after I finished (and highly praised) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime — and if you have not read that, stop what you're doing, go to your library and check it out. Anyway, I was told this is just as brilliant so I'm looking forward to what it has to offer.

Song of the Blog: Words by The Bee Gees

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly Wishes | Twenty-One

Last Week's Wishes

Read More: I FINISHED MY BOOK. HALLELUJAH.

Eat Everything that I Buy: I'm definitely making progress. I'm realizing that I'm buying all dinner foods, which is just plain dumb since I'm never home for dinner. So if anyone has any great LUNCH (meatless) recipes, I would love the suggestions. In fact, does anyone have an entire Pinterest board on lunches?


Practice Showcase Song: Ok, yes, I have practicing my guitar every day down. But what I haven't been doing is practicing the song that I have to play in front of a ton of people.

First Brewing Day: I lied to all of you. I did not end up brewing last Monday. But I'm off on Wednesday, which means I have an entire day to get this ball rolling.

Song of the Blog: Anyone Can Play Guitar by Radiohead

Weekly Wishes is where I join up with The Nectar Collective amongst many other bloggers to share the goals or challenges we wish to achieve this week. We're a community of goal-setters.

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Do Spy — Happiness

What a crappy past week | month | years it's been for mankind recently, huh? I had to stop reading the news for a whole day this week because my heart couldn't take the sadness and injustice and just plain cruelty that was happening in the world.

Can't we all just get along and love each other for a day? I lived in NYC when it went an entire day without crime and if THAT CITY can do (this microcosm of earth), then certainly the rest of the world can stop being idiots for 24 hours, right?

Here are just a few things that I hope put a smile on your face. And you know what you should do with that smile? Pay it forward. Buy the meal for the person who is eating alone. Keep some granola bars in your car for the homeless people that you drive by to and from work. Pick up some trash.

DO SOMETHING.

This print from The Nectar Collective.


The Mindy Project returns on September 16. And if that doesn't make you happy, it's because you just don't realize how hilarious and perfect Mindy Kaling is.


Ah, children. I will love this trio forever.


Here's a corgi twerking. Because corgi twerking.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shake It Off



Taylor Swift is in a whole lot of trouble for her new controversial video. I understand that using white ladies as ballerinas and black ladies as the twerkers wasn't the brightest idea, especially in light of what's happening in our own country. However, if anyone knows anything about T-Swift it's that the only thing she takes seriously is her relationships. All she's doing in the video is making fun of herself. She can't do ballet, she can't twerk, she can't do modern dance. She just wants to *dance.* There are other problems we should be worrying about here, folks.

I think Rachel said it best:
"There are plenty of social justice issues to be upset about them right now, and Taylor Swift showing how she cannot twerk is not one of them."
What do you think of the video?