Happy Halloween!




Ok, I didn't actually have anywhere to go today except Staples, but that didn't prevent me from getting a little dolled up. I wore my favorite hat & brand new coat with a big fat wad of eye makeup. But despite wearing my normal clothes & just a little extra eyeliner, I still felt very Halloweenish.. quite Edward Gorey, if I do say so myself. :) I hope everyone else has something more fun than errands planned for tonight, and can really take me up on this when I say -- have a happy halloween!

don't look now


another new treasury! of course with 800 gazillion things to do, I spent like 6 hours today doing treasuries :-p Anyway, this one is a tribute to the 70's horror film Don't Look Now starring Julie Christie & Donald Sutherland. Exceptionally creepy in a hundred different ways, and since Halloween is this weekend, now is the perfect time to watch it. Don't say I didn't warn you though -- it'll scare the pants off of you!

how much do I love thee






Remember this coat? Well, it's MINE ALL MINE! *muahahahahaha* It went on sale 20% off last week so I was able to snatch it up without feeling too guilty about the price. And, miracle of miracles, it fits like a glove! The sleeves feel like they were made for my arms and I can button it up completely without pulling on my hips, something very very rare for me. My only teeny tiny complaint is that it's a bit long, but only by a few inches so I'll either live with it or eventually get it tailored if it bugs me too much. Also the shoulders are a little too big for me, but I'm used to that since I have a hard time finding cute coats in petite sizes ;p

Of course the main attraction is the collar. (THE COLLAR!!) It's beyond gorgeous. You can style it about five different ways, thanks to some hidden buttons. I like it best the way I have it in the photos, but it also looks fantastic worn really wide & open.

It really is amazing to finally have a good coat. You can tell simply from feeling the fabric that it's quality. It's so soft and warm and beautiful, I'm just totally in love!! Now if the temperature would finally drop to something that slightly resembles fall or winter I could start wearing it! ;-D

ps. Outfit photos using my mac photo booth? Who'da thunk it?! Every picture came out nice, and I actually had to narrow them down. Nice change from picking 1 half-bad shot out of 100 miserable ones using my powershot self timer. I think photo booth will be the way to go from now on!

how to steal a million


new etsy treasury :)
an ode to one of my all time favorite movies (and the one that got me started on classic films) - How to Steal a Million with Audrey Hepburn & Peter O'Toole

hypatia, sans fur


Hypatia had her fur shaved today. I ordered her a sweater on etsy, and I was planning on letting her go au natural until it arrives in about 2 weeks but now that I see how scrawny she looks sans fur, I'm going to head over to pet smart & get something to hold her over until her sweater arrives. She looks like she'll be so cold when the temperature drops at night!

They left a little bit of fur at the tip of her tail, and all of the fur on her face (which kind of makes her head look about 10x the size of her body in real life) and some at the bottom of her legs like little booties.


She's not quite as intelligent or conniving as Fleshy, but right now her appearance is definitely reminiscent of the hairless cat in my favorite comic, Monty --

lost in the supermarket - october's playlist



I make myself a new playlist every month, and I thought maybe it would be fun to share it from now on :) I know it's almost the end of the month now, but this was my October playlist. I really liked this one so I might repeat a lot of the same songs in November ;-D I get hooked on some songs for years on end (like On The Road to Mandalay) and they end up on almost every single playlist I make.

my favorite halloween costume



After reading this article today about Target's attack on homemade Halloween costumes, I was reminded of my all-time favorite costume -- a Hershey's chocolate milk box made for me by my mom when I was 11 years old. It won 1st place in the best costume competition at my Halloween school dance, and I came home with a $25 Pizza Hut gift card.

I think this is 100 times better -- and 100 times more special -- than any disposable polyester costume I could get at Target, don't you?

how well maintained was my valley

It happened again this morning -- I was rudely awakened from my restful slumber by the sound of a lawn mower which sounded so close I could have sworn it was mowing my bedroom carpet. All summer I put up with lawn mowers, patiently awaiting the day that fall rolls around, when the grass doesn't grow enough to warrant cutting it.

But either my neighbors forget that they've hired lawn crews, and just keep paying these guys to mow non-existent grass, or they're so obsessed with keeping up appearances that they need even the slightest, most minute bit of growth -- 1/16th of an inch, tops -- to be eradicated.

I don't have too many pet peeves -- women wearing coats on their shoulders without using the armholes is my strangest, yet most irritable one -- but suburban lawn obsessions rank pretty high on my small list. To me it's a symbol of all that's wrong with suburbia. I wouldn't be surprised if some of my neighbors have spent more time and effort on cutting their lawns than on raising their children. At some point, some humans decided that lawn maintenance was a powerfully important task, and ever since then middle aged suburban men have spent their weekends fertilizing, weeding, de-grubbing, trimming, weed-wacking, watering and measuring (yes, measuring. Home Depot has an exact recommendation for optimal blade-of-grass height.) while lawn crews come in to take care of things during the work week.

I'm originally from Princeton, which is only a few minutes away from my suburban nightmare. There, they let their lawns grow freely -- some are totally covered in ivy and weeds, and it's absolutely beautiful. The overgrowth reflects a sense of peace and tranquility. The people who live in these homes don't have an obsessive compulsive disorder about their grass. They realize that there are hundreds of things more important than a well maintained lawn. And they aren't jarred from their sleep by the sound of lawn mowers because nobody cares to mow.

Give me a Princeton, or a city where no grass needs to be maintained, and I'll be a happy camper for the rest of my life.

goodbye, mr. bosley



I don't usually do memorial posts, but I really liked Tom Bosley. He just seemed like such a genuinely nice guy, and his role as a love-sick beau of Natalie Wood's in Love with the Proper Stranger is one of the cutest, most sincere characters I've ever seen. He'll be missed.

the season finale


I made this treasury after watching the Mad Men season finale last night. I expected one thing (the Joan thing) and totally did NOT expect the other thing (the Don thing) .. I'm trying to make this cryptic so that anyone who hasn't had a chance to watch it yet isn't mad at me :) But seriously I can't wait until next year to see what happens next!

If you did watch it, see if you can figure out why I picked each item in the treasury! :)

apple pie pops


The other day I found this post on Luxirare about pie pops. They're mini pies on the ends of lollipop sticks -- cuteness! The post is very picture oriented and doesn't really give much information about how to make the pops, so I just had to wing it. (Although, the pictures would definitely come in handy if you have trouble deciphering my verbal instructions below!)

I used my mom's recipe for apple pie filling (just apples, a drop of lemon juice, white sugar and cinnamon) instead of the suggested one that includes corn starch. I really don't like thick goopy pie filling, and my mom's is perfect! I cut the apples really tiny so they'd fit in my little pies.

I used:

1 apple - cored, peeled and minced
approx. 1 tbsp sugar
approx. 1 tsp cinnamon
approx. 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 ready made pie crusts

Thaw out the pie crust for about 20 minutes or so until it's pliable and you can roll it out. I used the lid from a spice container to cut out 2" circles from the dough (of course, if you have a real circular cookie cutter that would be stellar!) I placed the lollipop stick in the middle of the dough circle, about 1/4" from the top. I realized after my first two pops that the stick needs to be near the top in order for the lollipop to be sturdy enough to pick up.

Put a little tiny bit of apple mixture on the dough (about half a teaspoonful), layer with another cut-out circle, and then seal the edges using another lollipop stick. Keep doing this until you run out of dough. (I managed to get about 26 pops out of this. The trick is to keep re-rolling the leftover bits of dough.)

Brush each mini pie with some egg white, prick with a fork to release steam and then sprinkle with sugar. I baked mine for 12 minutes at 375' and they came out perfect, although my batch on the lower oven rack burnt a little, so next time I'd probably keep it down to 10 minutes, and then let them sit on the tray for a minute or so out of the oven.

These are by far one of the cutest recipes I've ever tried. And in the end, I'm actually glad that the original post didn't have instructions, because it makes these feel more like my own. And since I used my mom's apple pie filling recipe, they tasted like mini versions of the pie I've loved since I was a kid.

pumpkin pie cookies




The squeals of joy coming from my house could be heard from miles away when I announced to my family that the weather was sufficiently autumn-like for me to make my first batch of pumpkin pie cookies this season.

These cookies go hand-in-hand with heavy sweaters, hot cocoa and multiple layers of comfy blankets. One bite and your eyes see a haze of falling leaves; cool howling winds seem to blow through your hair, and you can smell the distinct aroma of a fire in the hearth. These cookies are fall itself.

As someone who loves (actually, love isn't quite a strong enough word) pumpkin, but isn't keen on the creamy consistency of pumpkin pie, these cookies are a perfect alternative. They have the same flavor as the popular seasonal treat, but with a super soft cake-like texture instead.

I've been making them every autumn for at least five or six years, though I can't remember where I originally found the recipe. It's jotted down on a piece of loose leaf, sprinkled with smears of pumpkin and flour from years of baking. It was originally a pumpkin-chocolate-chip cookie recipe, but I ditched the chips after the very first batch. The pumpkin itself is more than enough. However, in case you want to add the chocolate, I included them in the recipe.

You'll need:

1/2 c. margarine
1 c. pumpkin
1 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. skim milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 375'

Microwave the butter, then combine with pumpkin, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Mix the two together, and then add the chocolate chips (optional).

Drop even teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet, about 1" apart. They don't spread too much during baking, so you can fit quite a lot on each sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes, checking to make sure the bottoms don't burn. Transfer immediately to wire cooling racks. Enjoy! :)

my best buddy


Hypatia was sick in September and looked a little worse-for-wear, so I didn't really take any pictures of her. She's doing much better now, so it's time for me to go camera crazy again :) She's just so photogenic, and loves staring at the camera when I take pictures!

Her coat suffered a lot while she was sick, so the vet is going to give her a little buzz-cut and start from scratch. I found some waterless cat shampoo at the grocery store, too, so she's going to be a clean, albeit temporarily hairless, cat. I'm thinking of getting her one of those little doggie sweaters since it's getting chilly now. She's loves sleeping under the blankets, and actually lets me cover her up with a throw at night so I think she'll enjoy the extra layer of warmth once she gets her haircut. She's going to look so funny with a giant furry head and skinny hairless body!

By the way, has anyone ever made an international move with cats before? It seems like such a tedious process! In order to sidestep the quarantine process, we apparently have to have them microchipped and then get blood tests 6 months prior to taking them overseas. We decided that if the house sells before the 6 months are up, I'll stay behind and my family can go get started in Wales. I'd really want to be the first one over there, but if Hypatia stays, I stay. We're pretty inseparable.

Happy Birthday Casey!!

out of my league


We all accept certain people as "out of our league" -- Jude Law and Johnny Depp are, I'd say, decidedly out of mine. But what if by scrimping and saving your pennies, forgoing all unnecessary expenses and cutting back on the food bill for a month I could suddenly find these gorgeous men willing to take me out?

Okay, that's not going to happen. BUT... if I partake of these cost-cutting measures, I could find this out-of-my-league coat on my doorstep. It's a whopping $695, and for someone who's never spent more than $120 on a coat before, that's kind of a lot. Totally out of my league. But I think it's about time I discard some of my cheap-o coats that don't keep me warm and invest in a real coat for once. I have over 20 coats in my closet, and yet only one of them actually keeps me warm. The rest were $25/$30 polyester things from Forever 21 that look nice in November but serve no real purpose once the temperature drops.

And now that I'm moving, I really shouldn't be lugging my giant coat collection overseas with me, right? So, what do you think? Should I save up for this coat? It really is the coat of my dreams. (If you know me, you know I am obsessed with collars, and that collar is TO DIE FOR.)

Just after 23 years of believing that cheap mall clothing is the best I can do, I don't know if I can seriously buy a coat from Bergdorf Goodman (!!) It's sooooo out of my league.

cupcakes and antlers

Luckily, Percy managed to walk away from the duel with only a small eye wound


My newest endeavor: Cupcakes and Antlers. Ironic drawings of cupcakes, antlers and the occasional fat cat. On etsy here.

to feel light

I had a dream last night that I was skinny again. I felt lighter, I moved easily and gracefully. I was conscious that I was dreaming and reveled in my lightness. I rummaged my closet for shorter skirts that I could wear without feeling self conscious. Moving, sitting and standing were weightless.

I miss being skinny. I miss it, not because of how I looked but because of how I felt. I miss feeling light and totally carefree. Not caring if fabric clung or bunched, or if skirts rode up past my knees. Paying no notice to my appearance because it didn't feel so constantly present.

Now, I'm always conscious of my body. Conscious of my weight. Of the louder sound that my feet make on the ground as I walk; of the tight feeling when my jeans cut into my stomach when I sit. I feel heavy, weighed down, more tired and less bouncy.

*

I've been walking now for a month, every single night I walk almost a mile. I eat healthy. I exercise. Yet I still see no difference. When I remember what if felt like when I was thin, I wonder if I'll ever feel like that again. I really miss the old me, and no matter how hard I try I don't think I'll ever be her again.

imagine



(unfortunately the only embeddable version I could find has lyrics..)

nutella cupcakes


Last night I was perusing tumblr when I came across this amazing blog, Bake It in a Cake. I was drawn in with a Pumpkin pie in a cupcake recipe, but what ultimately hooked me was their recipe for Nutella and Vanilla cupcakes with Nutella buttercream frosting. (I know, "yum" right?!)

I panicked, though, because they only had a photo of a cupcake and no recipe! eek! Luckily, they posted it tonight and I was able to whip up a batch of delicious cupcakes for dinner. Yup, cupcakes for dinner.

I made a few alterations to the recipe -- instead of putting a chocolate wafer in the cupcake (since I don't have any) I just used the nutella. I also halved the icing recipe since nobody in my family is a huge fan, and even half was still a little too much for us. I actually over-iced the cupcake in this picture just for the blog post.. normally we just spread a little bit on top like butter ;-)

Our oven is broken, so it overheats and doesn't spread the heat evenly. Baking anything is really hit or miss, but these came out fine. The nutella sunk to the bottom of the cupcake instead of floating in the middle, but I actually think I prefer them that way! It was like a little cupcake sandwich with nutella on the top & bottom and cake in the middle!

And to top off the deliciousness, I opted for half of a Ferrero Rocher candy instead of a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts. They are, without a doubt, some of the most scrumptious cupcakes I've ever tasted! My mom predicts that once my dad gets home from work & we have three people working on them, there won't be any cupcakes left by morning ;-)

ps. I'm planning on making the pumpkin pie cupcakes but with gingerbread cupcake instead of cream cheese! I'll let you know how they come out!

pps. Sorry for the crummy picture quality, I usually only take pictures in natural lighting, but I made these at night and wanted to snap a photo before they're all gone by morning!! :)

impromptu trip to new york



I'm petrified of elevators, especially ones that go up 80+ floors, so I gave my brother my camera and asked him to snap some photos for me when he got up to the top of the Empire State Building. Isn't the view breathtaking?!


Close up of the purple M&Ms in the huge candy department in the NBC store. My mom's favorite candy :)


The Empire State Building at night. There was a really bizarre sky that night... it seemed as if there were black clouds floating above.


I take one of these every time I go into the city, don't I? Oh well, it's one of my favorite places to go, I think it's so lovely!


Friends section of the NBC store. Love this shirt! My brother wants the "How You Doin?" shirt, and I also saw one with the infamous "pivot" sequence. If I was a t-shirt kinda gal, these would have been coming home with me ;-)


My view from our seat at Olive Garden in Times Square. It was so much fun to look out the window while we were eating!


Scrumptious chocolate mousse for dessert! I don't care if it's not real Italian food, a commercialized chain, blah blah blah... in a family where even Chinese takeout is a rare treat, eating at Olive Garden is a huge privilege and a delicious one at that!

lemonade

Grapefruit juice is up to $4 a bottle now, and I really just can't afford to feed my addiction anymore. I couldn't even afford it when it was $3 a bottle, let alone $4. Heck, it could drop to $1 a bottle and it'd still be too expensive for my meager budget. So now I'm trying to wean myself off of it altogether by drinking diluted lemonade. It probably doesn't sound very appetizing but seriously, I think it's the best-tasting drink next to my beloved grapefruit juice. I just add a couple of tablespoons of Minute Maid lemonade to a tall glass of cold water, and top it off with a couple ice cubes. The heavy, sugary taste of straight lemonade is just too much for me; this is much more like French Limonade, only with water instead of soda.

I know, ice cold lemonade seem a little out of place when most people are stocking up on hot cocoa, but I like my beverages cold, even in autumn.. even in the middle of winter :)