Thursday, February 25, 2010

Some Housekeeping.....

Today's post is dedicated to various bits of blog housekeeping.  First, I want to acknowledge and pass on a couple of awards given to me by two fantastic bloggers during the course of last month.

I'll start with the "Kreativ Blogger" award from Betty @ Cut and Dry.  Betty is a lovely individual and her blog is always insightful.

I would like to pass this on to:

Kait @ This American Kait - Her blog never fails to make me giggle
Nikki @ Simple Travels - She always has randomly useful info and I love her "Frugal Fridays"
Meg @ The Way I See It - Because her blog is just charming

The second is the "Beautiful Blogger" award from Sadie @ Sadie.  She just started touring her apartment via blog on "Touring Tuesdays" which I think is awesome.  AND she makes tutus, how cool is that?
 I would like to pass this on to:

Joanna @ Fool in the Rain - She is a dear friend and has the best taste in music of anyone I know
All the Ladies @ BonBon Rose - Because with every post they tap into my visions of a dream closet/apartment
Pissy @ Southern Circle of Hell - She is subtly snarky and I love that in a person

Continuing with the blog housekeeping.....if you note to your left I have added another book.  This month I read "Why Kerouac Matters."  It was not a page turner but I wasn't expecting it to be.  After all, it was 25% biography and 75% literary analysis....that's right, I am one of those people that will read literally analysis and such for fun, you wanna make something of it?  I didn't think so.  Though perhaps a little dry it was a very interesting read and for anyone who has ever read On The Road I would recommend it as it adds another dimension to the book.  
 Along the theme of housekeeping something odd happened today that I want to share with you all.  A couple days ago a dumpster appeared extending over a few parking spots in front of our building.  Not too weird.  Then today my husband and I took the dog out for a walk and a portion of the screened in patio of the apartment down a floor and caddy corner from us was cut away forming a direct path to the dumpster which was now full of stuff.  But not normal dumpster stuff.  There was blankets and furniture and at least two mattresses.  It was bizarre.  I remembered that the apartments patio was really cluttered but nothing ever moved and I don't remember ever seeing anyone go in or out of the unit.  I am at home a lot and I haven't seen cops or paramedics by our unit so I don't think anyone died.  While out with the dog I did a quick survey of the immediate area and it didn't seem like there was any evidence of a TV crew from A&E's Hoarders.  So seriously guys, I am confused.  Did someone just abandon their place?  Nick, slightly in jest but also not said, "We should talk to the leasing office and see what happened."  I said I was sure that they couldn't just tell us about that, privacy laws and all, to which he responds with, "Well if someone died we deserve to know if there is a chance our building is haunted."  Thanks Nick, such tact and discretion......but not a half bad idea........Oh I have no shame.

One last housekeeping item.  Remember my resolutions and one of them was to refinish this rocking chair?  Well, this is the chair in question.  

We inherited it from my in-laws, I don't really know how or why.  But this week I am going to start (and hopefully finish) fixing it up.  That means I will be using power tools, specifically our drill with grinding and sanding attachments.  If I don't post for a while just assume I have lost a thumb.

But first, this weekend it is off to Brewvival.  I have had my tickets for over a month and I couldn't be more excited for a day dedicated to sampling craft beer and eating BBQ!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Miss Walter Cronkite

Let's get it out of the way now.

Boy, Tiger Woods can sure put one in the whole.
What do golf fans and millions of ladies have in common? They all want to take a swing at Tiger's balls.
Wow! Tiger mates with cougar. National geographic? No. People Magazine.
Oh and some reference to his name, cause seriously, first name Tiger last name Woods. Come on.

Now that we have a few sophomoric puns out of the way, can we talk about Friday?

My husband had Friday off so we slept in. On days like this we have this little routine. He gets out of bed and turns on CNN while he grabs breakfast and then he turns on Modern Warfare 2. I stay in bed because I have discovered sometimes if I stay in bed long enough he will bring breakfast to me. This past Friday was a little different.

While sitting zombie-like with my hair sticking up like a had shoved my finger in a light socket and a little drool falling out of my mouth trying to fight my way to consciousness I overheard the TV talking about Tiger Woods. How could this be? Nick is not an ESPN sort of guy. And even if he were, neither of us have any use for golf. It is about as entertaining as watching grass grow or paint dry.

I climb out of bed and shuffle the 10 feet into our living room, note that the TV is tuned into CNN and promptly ask: "What the hell is this?" Much to dismay Nick explains that Tiger is on every news network at the moment. What the, what?

I sunk into the couch long enough to realize no one had died, Tiger hadn't inadvertently discovered a cure for AIDS while eating take-out with a classy lady in a classy hotel room, nothing of news relevance had happened at all. Tiger was simply making some scripted "sorry I got my hand caught in the cookie jar" public apology. Now I ask you, why did this monopolize time on our news networks? Do we not still have troops all over the Middle East? Aren't the Olympics still happening? Was there not a tragic Luge death that should be reported and discussed? Do we not still have tenuous relationships with other players on the global stage?

I understand that public apologies are, well, public. But I am fairly certain things were not always THIS publicized. I mean if they were then I am pretty sure the Dallas Cowboys would have just launched their own network during the 90's so all their players could apologize for their various arrests and social faux pas.

Is this where we are going? Will Anderson Cooper soon be announcing the arrival of Angelina Jolie's new addition to her ethnic kaleidoscope of children? Will Wolf Blitzer be hosting a new "Stars are just like us" segment on The Situation Room? In that case, I politely decline. I will exclusively sift for my news online and dedicate myself to watching my locals.

On another note, who was Tiger apologizing to? I didn't see anyone in power suits holding big microphones chomping at the bit to ask follow up questions. All I saw were a bunch of pissy looking 40 something women with no obvious press passes. Who were these ladies? Mistress moms perhaps? Maybe Elin's lawyers. I'll go with that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My husband is a funny freaking guy, PLUS a bonus recipe!!

Allow me to introduce you all to my husband, Nick. This is his George Clooney "peer through your eyebrows, deliver your line, peer through eyebrows again" look. He looks devious, doesn't he? Well, that is because he is devious.

This past weekend our favorite little wine shop turned 3 and there was a birthday party. Nick and myself went with our friend Mike and Amy. No sooner had we arrived than we all shot humored but slightly panicked glances at each other. The guy was there.

Some months earlier the four of us had attended a function at the same wine shop and there was this guy. We never learned his name, but for the sake of this story we will call him Jerry, due to the fact that he may as well have stumbled out of an episode of Seinfeld. Everyone knows a Jerry. Jerry is the guy that has the confidence to talk to anyone but lacks the tact or self awareness to be a good conversationalist. Which, under normal circumstances, I would sympathize. Except Jerry is also offensive. Upon this initial meeting Jerry cornered Mike and Nick and tricked them into a one-sided conversation that ended in his disclosure of, well, some sexual encounters involving some miniature bottle-shaped chocolates filled with liquor.

The second we realized Jerry was at the birthday party this weekend the four of
us spent a fair amount of time in graceful social choreography to avoid getting caught in a conversation. However, as more people arrived later in the evening and the small shop started to get packed we let our guard down a bit. We found ourselves in the back of the shop, outside, where there was food, a keg, musicians, and a fire pit. Nick and Mike went to warm their hands at the fire while Amy and I grabbed plates and started to wait for kabobs to come off the grill. While munching on tabbouleh Nick comes up to us and innocently says, "Hey, did you guys see the chocolate covered strawberries inside? They are really good. You will have to check them out. Although, you know, I really wish they had those little chocolate bottles with the liquor in them." And as soon as the last word left his lips, Nick turned on his heels and walked the short distance back to the fire. Before Amy and I could even giggle at the little inside joke we heard a voice from behind us, "Was he just talking about the little chocolate liquor bottles?" We turned around to face Jerry. He proceeded to tell us about two different places we could get the chocolates, and what time these places would be open, and give us recommendations about what else to look for at these shops. Amy says nothing. I say as little as possible. We are both shooting glances over to our husbands who are still at the fire, facing away from us but still in earshot, their bodies shaking with laughter. Well played, Nick, well played. We will call the photo posted of him as my small vengeance.

On another note, as part of the birthday party the shop ran a cake competition where Amy and I debuted the bacon cupcakes. Haven't heard the results of the competition yet but all the cupcakes were gone before the evening was over and we heard some good things so my fingers are crossed. As promised here is the recipe:

*Note: These are best made as mini-cupcakes
as the ratio of cake, to icing, to bacon is crucial.
Butter Cake Recipe:
1 1/4 cups cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350℉ and line your mini muffin tin. Sift cake flour, baking powder, and salt into bowl and set aside. In a large bowl use and electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter and sugar until smoothly blended and crea
my. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until blended. Add vanilla and then beat for about two minutes. (The goal is to get the egg whites all whipped up and get the batter fluffy.) On low speed add the flour mixture in 3 parts and the milk in 2 parts, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until flour is incorporated and batter looks smooth. Fill the minis about half to 2/3 full. Bake for roughly 17 or 18 minutes. Until tops are golden brown and a toothpick can be pulled cleanly from the center of the cake. Cool for 10 minutes in pan then put on a wire rack.

*Note: This recipe is adapted from the book cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans. I love, love, love this recipes are easily conquered with a little take charge attitude.
While your cupcakes are baking start the bacon. Cut into pieces first and then fry in a pan until the bits are on the verge of burning. This way it is nice and crispy and you have rendered as much fat from the bacon as possible. Move the bacon bits to a plate lined with a paper towel and pat with paper towel. Allow bacon to cool while you make frosting.

Caramel Frosting:
1 cup butter (2 sticks)

3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Gently heat your butter. You will want it extremely soft and partially melted. With a mixer beat the caramel and butter together until blended. Add salt. Blend again. Finally gradually add the powdered sugar until completely blended.

*There are recipes online that include how to make your own caramel and then use it in icing. I am not well-versed in candy making and get lazy sometimes...hence the ice cream topping.

Frost your cakes. Top with bacon. And you are done!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For the Tree-Huggers in my life.....

It should be noted that I love the thought of going green in my own little way. I truly respect and admire those who make "being green" a way of life and a total overhaul sort of thing. I, however, don't feel that sort of urgency on the subject and don't plan on trading in my car for consistent use of my bike anytime soon. Of course I don't live in an area that facilitates a practical use of a bike AND I drive a fuel efficient car, so there, rationalized. Nonetheless, I most certainly hold a philosophy that blankets the rest of my life in that I believe in not being wasteful and being respectful of your environment etc. However, tonight I think I found a cause I can truly get behind.

This evening I went to a wine/chocolate tasting at Ted's Butcherblock co sponsored by Charleston's chapter of Slow Food USA and featuring chocolate from Christophe Chocolates. It was super delightful, I heart Ted's, the wines were great, yada, yada. What you really need to know is that Christophe and Ted heard about this pig called the Black Guinea Hog which produces amazingly fatty and henceforth amazingly tasty bacon. They got a hold of some of this bacon and played around with it to find some new uses for it. They came up with bacon dipped in dark chocolate with either black pepper or cayenne dusting the top. It was really, really, good. But that is beside the point....The interesting thing is that the Guinea Hog has been dwindling in numbers. Red Guinea....extinct. Black Guinea needs some help. And this is how us people who love to eat are helping. Rediscovering the deliciousness and hence encouraging the breeding of the Guinea Hog.

So yes, I would shout if from the rooftop, but I don't have access. So I shout it via the interwebs, let us save the Black Guinea Hog!....cause it is so tasty!

What can I say? I am a lover of irony......well, that, and bacon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Might Be the Female Taylor Lautner

Something you may not know about me; I am built like a 13 year old boy that holds great promise for his high school wrestling team. I am of average height, maybe a little on the tall side, fairly average build, close to flat chested and, as I am discovering, I pack on muscle. Who knew?

I am still running and recently decided that perhaps I should throw some basic ab work and free weight work into the mix. Don't be impressed, we are talking about a few sit ups and some random curls with my 8 lb weight (yeah, 8lbs, I'm a total hoss, right?). I would like to be able to tell you I have become a workout junkie but that is not the case. I still rationalize my way out of working out as much as I possibly can. Things like "Oh it's raining" or "I just worked out yesterday" or "Well, I'll run tomorrow" or "I have to be at (fill in the blank) in 2 hours so that really isn't enough time for me to get a good pre-run meal, let it digest, work out, shower and be at (fill in the blank) on time" are still rolling around my inner monologue a lot. I am trying to fix that but right now I am averaging I would say 2 good work-outs a week.

From just that little bit I am not losing weight and developing a dainty toned figure, oh no, I am starting to pack on muscle. Which would be totally cool if I dug female bodybuilding. I would be stoked, like, oh, here's the thing I am good at, the thing I am supposed to be doing with my life. But no, I don't even like my guys that ripped. During my several years of not working out I was kinda hoping my quads from 6 years of cheer leading would atrophy a little, they didn't, and now they are coming back all big and angry. Like getting the hulk mad, or feeding Gizmo after midnight and getting a Gremlin. Man, I would love to shank the guy that decided there was not enough money to be made in wide leg jeans and that skinnies were the way to go this decade.

I have basically come to terms with the fact that holding to my resolve to get fit and overcome my aversion and insecurity surrounding physical activity will lead to me looking like a damn gymnast by the end of the year. But a gymnst without all the cool coordination and the ability to do flips. I'll be a gymnast that walks into doorways and trips over her own feet.

Until that day I will just keep working out and coming back feeling a little more and a little more like that once scene from Benjamin Button only not as bony, and in a sports bra.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The "Happy" Post

So a couple days ago Aion over at I Blog your Profile awarded me with the Happy Award. Which was very exciting cause when I started this blog I had little expectations of it actually even being read, but, delightfully, I have been proven wrong.

With this award I present my list of 10 things that make me blissfully happy and I pass the award along. Here's the thing though. I am going to cheat a little. As I am still pretty new and very persnickety I don't yet follow very many people, so instead of 10 I will be passing it along to 8. I apologize for breaking the rules.

10 things that rock my socks off:
1. Being in the car and screaming "Party in the USA" (by Miley Cyrus) or "Summertime" (by New Kids on the Block) at the top of our lungs....cause we are dorks like that.

2. The Wagyu Beef Sandwich at Ted's Butcherblock
3. Exploring someplace new
4. The surprising mobility of my life thus far

5. Learning a new skill
6. Great weather, a good book, a decent glass of wine, and my porch

7. Taking pictures

8. Craft Beer

9. Being the first to find out about a great restaurant, bar, shop, festival, etc. and being able to introduce someone else to it

10. The incredible feel of home I have with my husband and little pets, no matter where we are.

Passing the torch:
1. TS @
The Non Review
2. Amy @ Listophelia
3. The Office Scribe @
Asleep Under My Desk
4. Betty @ Cut and Dry
5. Moonflower @
Here and There
6. Annie @ Keeping it Cheeky
7. Michelle @
8. Lord Demonico @
Monopoly Money

(I also unofficially pass this back to I Blog your Profile, but I think givsies backsies is breaking the rules)
These Blogs never fail to put a smile on my face.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

So it's come to this.....

So Nick is now in full swing of his rotating schedule and has been on graveyard shift for the last 7 days. What does that mean for his currently unemployed, naturally a night owl wife? My schedule goes down the tubes with his. Last night was the end of his rotation as a result we both slept until noon then got up and puttered around the house from a sleep hangover until about 10pm when we both were WIRED. End result, we both look up from our knitting/crocheting and cupcake eating at 4:30am and decide we were sleepy. Let me spell that out for you. Two, perfectly decent looking, intelligent, no longer in college, late twenty somethings are staying up til the wee hours of the morning to bake from scratch and practice hobbies traditionally saved for frumpy seniors with 12+ cats (although I guess yarn work has had somewhat of a little hipster revival, so I am holding on to that). Ridiculous? Yes. How we roll? Fairly routinely.

Ever since we moved I have been baking with a fair intensity. This has started to become a somewhat inebriated tradition of ours when friends come over. We will have a few drinks and then Nick will look at me and sheepishly ask, "Will you make cupcakes/cookies?" And, provided w
e have the ingredients on hand, who am I to turn down a chance to throw back a beer and lightly dust the entire kitchen with flour or confectioners sugar? No one.

Last night's venture required some serious sobriety though. I have recently been obsessed with the irreverent mixture of salty and sweet things. So I had been sitting on this idea of a bacon-caramel cupcake. The cake itself was a butter cake recipe, the icing, caramel flavored, then topped with real bacon bits. Last night was the first attempt, and while the icing (which I had to BS my way though) didn't get quite the consistency I
wanted, the flavors showed serious potential, so I will call it a success. I mean really, how delicious do those look: The yarn work has had a resurgence in our house this week. As part of my new years resolution (#7) I decided I was going to teach myself how to crochet, legitimately. So this week I busted out the book I bought and jumped in head first. This inspired my husband to start knitting again. didn't know that the Lieutenant knitted? Great story. A girl I knew in college taught me how to do a single crochet, a very basic stitch. I called my husband (then boyfriend) and mentioned that I learned and he decided to one up me by going home and asking his mom to teach him how to knit. That Valentine's day we both gave each other handmade scarves. To this day it remains one of the most endearing and nauseating things we have done. So we picked the hobby up again and yarn has just exploded all over our living room and the cat is running around like addict locked in a pharmacy. You can basically hear Lizzy's inner cat monologue running a mile a minute, "Holy crap, you guys finally picked up a good hobby. There is so much string for me to play with.....AHHH!"

It is now a little after 1am. We have both yarned 'til we went crossed-eyed and promised we would be in bed by's hoping.