Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's not even Thanksgiving yet!

As much as I love shopping I'm not really a fan of shopping with a purpose. Even less so during the holidays. So, for that reason, I have started my Christmas shopping pre-Halloween. The things I've bought already are for friends so I can't share them here yet. I do want to share some things I've bought for the girls I used to nanny, AKA Sweetie and Monkey.

The girls get so many toys, the vast majority of which go un-played with. Years ago I decided I would only be giving them clothing for Christmas and birthdays. Last year was my first year not living with them on Christmas so I decided to break my rule a bit and give them some toys as well as clothes. I haven't decided if I'll do that again but here's what I have so far for their gifts.

My little Monkey is six and has more personality than anyone I've ever met.I think this outfit suits her perfectly.







My other munchkin is nine and just the sweetest girl ever, as well as being incredibly bright and articulate. I remember once when she was three we were about to leave the house when she asked "Will you tell me about Buddha?"

This is what I picked for her.





I'm also going to try to find her a pair of burgundy colored tights.

And then, because I absolutely couldn't resist, they are each receiving one of these.



All items are from the UK based Mini Boden.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Only Treats

I absolutely adore the girls I used to nanny. We're still very close and I watch them in the evenings or on weekends whenever I can. They call me "Nanny" and think of me as a sister. I think of them as my own children but I'm in the lucky position of being able to still spoil them. I look for any excuse to give them gifts and Halloween is no exception.

The thing is, I know their family isn't huge on the candy thing, and they're already going to be getting tons of it. I wanted to give them something they would enjoy but that had more substance than a simple sugar treat.

Here are some of the things I picked for them. The full list includes umbrellas, stick on earrings, window clings, headbands, stickers, crayon pens, Goldfish crackers, Slinkys, Silly Bandz, bubbles, pumpkins, pretend mice, monster erasers, and sticker puzzles.








This is as close as I got to candy for them.


Although I did try to wrap things sort of like old fashioned candies. Not because the kids would get it but because I thought it was adorable.





I bought these little party favor bubbles but they weren't labeled except on the larger package they came in. Which I thought was really stupid because who thought giving kids tiny unlabeled bottles of liquid was a good idea? I wanted to label them, if only with a sharpie and my own handwriting, so that 1. they would know what they were and 2. their parents wouldn't freak. I decided calling bubbles "boo-bbles would be cute. Until I realized it's really close to sounding like slang for breasts. Oh well.


Oh look, Javier caught some mice.


These sticker puzzle things were actually pretty cool. I got them at the grocery store, they were with all the Halloween candy as an alternative to passing out more sugar to children. I think they would be too expensive to really do if you had a lot of trick-or-treaters but they were perfect to sprinkle into the baskets for two kids.





I wanted to just throw these pumpkins in with the rest of everything but then I decided to draw jack-o-lantern faces on them. Then I started drawing out my ideas and the whole concept of positive and negative space was sort of escaping me so I decided to write their names on the fronts and a message to each of them on the backs.





These are the finished products. Well, the real finished products will be sans tissue paper covering their names but I decided to let them remain anonymous. We can just call them Monkey and Sweetie.



Meta


I swear, I am not posing him. Also this is a totally new thing. The sitting on my laptop all up in my business thing.

My Most Favorite Time of Year

I'm seriously in love with this time of year. So much so that I think I have reverse seasonal depression. As soon as the wind and rain and earlier dark nights come I get giddy. And while during spring and summer you pretty much get all you're going to get as far as positives go from the beginning, with the cooler months there are so many surprises that get forgotten over the year. It starts with boots and scarves and then you get to turn on the heat and see the leaves change...

and then you get to eat pumpkin flavored things.

I actually don't really bake. I like the product of baking but the work to do it is just sort of tedious to me. With cooking you can just do and things will turn out. It's like an adventure. And while it can be different every time it's usually not bad. With baking you have to follow the directions or you can almost guarantee it will be bad.

Anyways, my friend Lana and I decided we wanted to bake, actually we wanted to have a whole day of baking but that didn't happen. So instead we had an evening of baking/freezing because we made...wait for it...homemade pumpkin ice cream that we sandwiched between chocolate molasses cookies. Seriously, best. Thing. Ever. It makes me want to go get some of the leftover ice cream just thinking about it. The awesome thing about this endeavor is Lana is really good at baking. And really patient. I think baking with me in my studio apartment kitchen was probably a little like trying to cook with a four year old but she was awesome about it. She even made herself a little cookie rolling station on my bed so we could watch Gossip Girl too.

We definitely could have done this with a little more finesse but here are some photos from our very delicious food making. Also, I'm going to be making pumpkin ice cream year round from now on.

This was our cookie recipe. It's from the Martha Stewart book Cookies. Her baking books are amazing by the way. A little intense but it wouldn't be Martha if it weren't.


Lana worked on the wet part of the batter...


while I did the dry. It's pretty right? I was loving all the shades of brown.


This was before our dough went into the freezer. We were supposed to let it refrigerate over night but I didn't read the recipes before we started. Such an amateur mistake. I did mention Lana was patient right?


So the recipe didn't really make many cookies and then we burned half of them so we could only make a few ice cream sandwiches. The cookies and ice cream are equally delicious together though not in sandwich form.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Because there are starving kids in Africa?

For some reason staying up late makes me feel hungover. Even when all I've drank is orange juice. I woke up this morning exhausted and parched. Which is a really bad combination. Half of you wants nothing more than to stay in bed for as long as possible and the other half is desperately crying out for hydration.

I chose bed.

When I finally got up I threw on clothes, brushed my teeth, and left for work. By the time I got to work I thought I was going to dry up and die so my first priority was water. My boss keeps cold water in a pitcher in her fridge. She also labels everything she puts in the fridge. So there are tupperware that say "BBQ chicken" or "french potatoes 10/18."

Or this:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Punkins!

Friday night my friend Craig and I decided we wanted to carve pumpkins. So after some shopping for an outfit worthy of someone officiating a wedding (him, not me) and some dinner we picked out some pumpkins, which took forever. We also got some Halloween candy just in case there were some very early trick or treaters. Oh we also got this movie called Monster House which is awesome. It's animated and for children but very clever.

Anyways, we picked out pumpkins and went over to his place to get to work. We had also picked up one of those kits full of tools. I always thought they were sort of a marketing gimmick but they're so much easier to work with than knives. The set also comes with a book of designs for those who are not very creative. Craig is one of those not very creative people so while I free hand drew and and planned out my work of art Craig resorted to using someone else's design. It was called Boo-gie Nights though so he can be forgiven.

We both wanted white pumpkins but we also wanted an orange one. All the orange pumpkins were gigantic though so we bought one of these hideous painted ones. They all had paint chipping off them so we figured it'd be fairly easy to scrape the rest of the face off and use this one.


Pretty much right off the bat I failed at pumpkin carving. My stem fell off.


Since it was now significantly more difficult to get the top out I requested the use of Craig's muscles. He used two steak knives to get it out and while he nearly stabbed himself in the chest I took photos.


I'm pretty sure it's against Halloween rules to have a stemless pumpkin so I found some old glue from some project Craig had done and decided to glue the stem back on. The glue was seperated and weird but I stirred it with a butter knife and it was all good.


All hollowed out!


This was my pumpkin carving plan...


This was Craig's pumpkin carving plan.


I decided I drew him a little too fat the first time so I drew him taller on the pumpkin.


I've done this cat on a pumpkin before but for some reason I always forget how difficult it is to carve out these tiny thin lines.


Almost done...


Yay! Kitten pumpkin!


This is Craig's pumpkin. We watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre followed by Monster House while pumpkin carving. He was finished about halfway through TCM. My pumpkin took about five hours. Yes, seriously.


Here are our pumpkins chillin' out together.


Craig roasted the seeds while I finished my pumpkin. I accidentally told him you put pepper on them then corrected myself and told him to use salt. He ended up using both and they were the best pumpkin seeds ever. I could have eaten the whole pan.


Some of you know I used to nanny. I did pumpkin carving with the girls last year while visiting them one night. Mine was the rainbow one. I was pretty in love with how adorable and girly these hippie pumpkins were.


The year before the younger of the girls drew her face on her pumpkin and I cut it out for her. I did the cat pumpkin (obviously).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When weird turns cute...

I went shoe shopping with a friend the other day with no real intention to buy any shoes. But when does that ever work? Anyways, I've been looking at these shoes for awhile but every time I see them I feel like something's wrong with them. They sort of curl up at the ends when not on a foot and while that alone wouldn't be enough to deter me from making a purchase there was just something odd about the strap placement. My assumption was it would end up under the leg of a pant and essentially render a black leather flat.

I'm not big on the whole trying things on for fun thing since, I mean, how fun is that for the salesperson? But I decided to go ahead and try these. I needed to finally see what was going on with these shoes.

And here's the part where I was totally and utterly wrong. First of all, as you can see, I was way off in guessing where the strap would land. Maybe if I was wearing wide leg trousers it would be covered but I would never wear these shoes with wide leg trousers so we're good. Also, it isn't noticeable really but the shoe has a slight wedge which gives you maybe an inch without really entering heel territory.

I still maintain they're weird shoes but as I was wearing them in the store they started really growing on me. I've never understood grown women being fascinated with Mary Janes but this shoe made me sort of get it. It's like an update on a classic yet they look vintage at the same time.

I'm in love.

Magna flat by Vera Wang Lavendar in black

Shrouded in Mystery

I have a friend who has taken to calling Javier, Javi (pronounced hah-vee). At first I was all grumpy about it because I love my cat's name but now it's pretty much all I call him. Plus when he's knocking over all my jewelry in the bathroom at 4am it's a lot easier to yell "Javi!" than inquire "Javier what are you doing?"

Also I'm aware this photo turned out weird but it's one of the few he has been able to keep his eyes open in since I am usually blinding him with flash.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I'm Wearing Today

Fall! I love you!

Today it's chilly so I pulled out a sweater, jeans, and Uggs (I don't want to hear it). I am cozy and happy.


Sequin sweater by MICHAEL Michael Kors in Derby.


Denim Leggings by Vigoss in Rinse.


Classic Short Boot by UGG Australia in Chestnut.


Verona Satchel by Tory Burch in Tan.

So, I know I have two supposed fashion faux pas going on here but to my defense, the whole denim leggings trend is really just skinny jeans with a new name for a new year. I know some people are still all anti skinny jeans but I like them and they look good on me so whatever. As far as UGGs go...they've been around forever. They're comfortable and while they may not be something you look at and exclaim at it's beauty they really aren't that bad. I've seen way uglier shoes. Take Crocs on adults for example. I say if you aren't wearing them around with a cotton mini skirt and an Ed Hardy hoodie you can probably still look good in them. They're past being a trend. People continue to buy them year after year and by now it's a good seven years since they were trendy. I'm pretty sure they're here to stay.