Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh, dear sweet Anthropologie

I guess relativity is one of those things I need to get a little more used to dealing with. Like the Angelina Jolie debate: if you think she's hot, you are accepted; if you don't, you are a leper. Or like cilantro: either you love it or it tastes like soap. Just depends of what you think is attractive or delicious.

Or like some 'Sale' items at Anthropologie. Truly, if I had to live in a retail store, I think it would be Anthropologie. A little mix of Gap, J. Crew, H&M, Marshall's, TJ, Target ... just for spice, but ... yeah, Anthro is where it's at. But an $80 skirt isn't 'on sale' in my relative opinion. To someone who makes hoards of cash, that might be a steal. To me, that's a joke. BUT THEIR STUFF IS SO DARN GORGEOUS ... and cute, and fun and unique. So I have to admire a few choice pieces....

 Goldfield Skirt - 79.99 (actually, this entire outfit is awesome!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Birthday

So my birthday is in 5 weeks. I have scheduled a party that's happening in 4 weeks. Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do, what food I'll serve, if there will be a theme. The idea of a birthday slash apocolypse party has been tossed around, considering the recent end of the world craze; heck, since the world will may be ending on May 21st, I may not have to worry about planning it at all. Even if we make it to December, this will be my last birthday on dear Mother Earth so might as well go out with a bang, right?

I have a few ideas so far. I just need to bring them all together. I have previous party planning experience and possibly even (a little) prowess in the arena. Of course, that's mostly when money is no object - and when it's someone else's money - but I am sure I can pull something off that is budget and guest friendly.

My first requirement is cake balls. This idea is genius incarnate. My cousin had these at her graduation and my admiration - both of cake balls and my cousin - were firmly cemented when I saw the cake ball displays and tried one of them for myself. I've had cake balls before but these were the balls to beat. (hmm ... moving on) They were red velvet which honestly you can't go wrong serving red velvet *anything*. Plus they were on these long kebab skewers which are a fun way to display them on several levels, in different vessels with beans or marbles to hold them up ... pretty cool.

Oh, and obviously there have to be French Macarons. Obviously.

Also, I want a signature drink. This is an important element that confirms to your friends that you mean business: you have a signature drink ergo your party is cool (even if it really isn't, the drink makes them think it is). I'm thinking something seasonally appropriate, of course. Since I have a Summer birthday and I love, love, love all things Summer (except of course for the nasty TX heat), I think something coconuty and limey with lots of rum and maybe a colorful sugar rim. Oooo, or maybe melon? I saw a billboard this morning advertising flavored vodkas and one was watermelon - cool and refreshing.

I want a mix of indoor and outdoor areas for eating and mingling. We have a little covered patio in the backyard and a lovely tall tree. I have this (completely inflated and idealized) vision of strings of lights strung up from the tree and also going around the edges of the patio and some lanterns hung in the trees throughout the yard ... what a lovely way to light up the space on a warm Summer evening while playing croquet and sipping a signature drink. Ahhh

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

The other day I found a delicious (looking) post about cinnamon sugar bread. I haven't really made bread before - I don't 'do' yeast and rising 3 times on a warm countertop. And kneading. but the pictures had me lusting after this warm delicious bread - with a steamy mug of coffee - on a lazy weekend morning. I just had to create that pleasant visual for myself.

So I bought some yeast on my next grocery stop and prepped the dough on Friday night. You have to knead it like, 3 times or something, so I did everything I could the night before and put it in the fridge til 8:30am on Saturday. I got up with my alarm and did the rest: kneaded (again), rolled into large rectangle, brushed on melted butter and sprinkled on cinnamon sugar (pre-mixed last night, of course), cut into (not so neat) little squares and stacked up in my loaf pan. Somewhere in there I went back to bed ... maybe it had to rise again? for like 30 minutes? You'll just have to read the actual (articulate) recipe here because I'm really sucking at bread-making accuracy right now.

Anyway, it goes in the oven for about 35 minutes and comes out brown and crisp on top and melty gooey sugary on the bottom. Like cinnamon toast and cinnamon rolls on warm gooey crack. It doesn't get much better.

Here is a picture of my bread, which looks like a a very deformed cousin of Joy The Baker's lovely loaf of bread. It's really the deliciousness that counts though and that was there, in full force. It's a must-try for a lovely weekend breakfast!

(I couldn't help myself ... I had already devoured the entire corner before realizing I hadn't taken a photo!)

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Royal Wedding Weekend

So whenever my friend wrote to me in March asking if I could come up for the Royal Wedding, I had to ask her when it was. I wasn't keeping track. I didn't know who was attending or what the wedding cake was going to be like.

But of course I said yes.

So I drove up from Dallas on Thursday morning the 28th and spent the afternoon and evening helping to prepare all the food we were going to be ingesting at 4am on Friday. Strawberry Basil scones (to be topped with freshly whipped creme and strawberry jam), Prince William's Cake, mini cupcakes, fruit salad with berries and mint, baked sausage bites ... I can't even remember what else. OH: like, 8 pots of tea. of COURSE.

Getting up at 4am aside, we had a wonderful time watching the wedding festivities - history! - unfolding live. We laughed at a few of the crazy hats (seriously, ladies?), wished Diana was there, and were appropriately awed by The Dress.

Here are a few photos from our memorable weekend. =)

Looking sleepily festive

The cakes!

Mimosas: getting up early isn't all bad.

Scones, creme and jam.

Prince William's cake ... chocolate, McVitie's biscuits, topped with ganache

Some of the goodies, as well as a keepsake book from Diana and Charle's wedding in 1981.

The sausage bites, still warm.

Did you do anything festive to commemorate the Royal Wedding Weekend?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ahh, Jane Eyre.

I think there are probably more versions of 'Jane Eyre' than most books-turned-movie. I think I've seen every version. I love them all. Of course, I have read the book a dozen times or so ... it's been my very favorite book and story for so many years; I must have been 10 (ish) when I read it - devoured it - for the first time. There is something wonderfully dark and delicious about this story but at the same time, funny and playful and light. So many different feelings going on at once. I think everyone interprets it a little different; there is room for that. I think one of the obvious 'study questions' that might be asked once you have read the book would be "what would you have done" ... what would you have done if you were Jane and you were in her shoes? I still struggle with my answer, quite honestly. I'm not really sure any relationship has been as vehement as that between Edward and Jane. How can you compare to that?

I definitely recommend this version. No, it's not 'true to the book' at every scene or phrase; no version is, at least fully. But it is more than respectful of the energy and the feeling of this story and the people it explores. This is not a happy story overall and this film really shows how despairing it can be.

Also, Rochester is super hot. This is very important.

PS - I found it somewhat humorous listening to the reactions - random gasps or flurries of whispers - of the other people in the theatre who obviously didn't know the story at all, while I was wondering why they excluded a certain part or telling my friend that such-and-such wasn't quite in line with the book. *nerd*

PPS - I also love this 2006 BBC version ... it's really lovely.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Three Lovely Things from Anthropologie

This weekend I was shopping in Tulsa with a friend and scored an awesome, comfortable pair of pants at Anthropologie for the impossibly reasonable price of $9.99 (prev $118.00!) ... yes, my decimal point is in the right place. ;) I love finding pieces there that aren't budget busters!

Which inspired me to browse their website on my lunch today ... I found 3 lovely things at pretty good prices that I wanted to share.

 Maracay Espadrilles - $59.95 (prev $128.00)


Also, coming up later this week: my recap [with lots of photos] from my Royal Wedding weekend festivities!! Did you watch? What did you think?? (...the dress!!)


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