Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Eep! I entered a writing contest!

Thanks to this post by my friend Kerry, I entered a writing contest today which is something I haven't done since college. The only guidelines were that it had to be set in Ohio in the spring and less than 2500 words long. This year I set out to do more things that scare me, and this falls nicely into that category while still being small enough to seem doable. And I did it! So if you want to read my story it is here. (And you should read Kerry's too!)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Boozy Apple-Cinnamon Milkshake Recipe

Nothing has ever made me wish alcohol and milkshakes were good for you more than what I'm about to share with you. What started off as a random desire to use my Fireball Whisky became one of the best milkshakes I've ever had. Can you dedicate a recipe? I vote yes. I would like to dedicate this one to my Grandma K. because it reminded me of the Apple Dumplings she used to make for my birthday. If she was still with us, I would take her one of these; I think she would have gotten a kick out of it! So let's get to it, shall we?

Ingredients to a soon-to-be delicious creation

Boozy Apple-Cinnamon Milkshake
(serves 1)
2T. frozen apple juice concentrate
2oz Fireball Whisky
1oz Apple Pie Applejack
3(ish) scoops vanilla ice cream (this only has five ingredients!)
Whole milk (to taste)
Dash of cinnamon

Put the apple juice concentrate, Fireball, and Applejack one of your Magic Bullet cups. Add three or so normal-sized scoops of ice cream (it pretty much filled the cup but I didn't pack it down or anything). Blend! If it doesn't blend well, or you want it to be thinner, add some milk and blend again. Sprinkle some cinnamon on and Instagram that sucker! I mean, drink it!

The delicious creation! (Now I want another one.)
As you can probably see in the first picture, my Applejack is homemade (but not by me). There are a ton of recipes online if you want to make your own, or you could probably just add a little more of both the apple juice concentrate and Fireball. If you like the red-hot kind of cinnamon candy and you haven't had Fireball Whisky yet, I suggest you do so post-haste. If you're not into milkshakes (is there such a thing?), I've had it in Angry Orchard Hard Cider which was also pretty tasty. And no, I'm not affiliated, but special thanks do go out to Andrea because mine was a birthday present!

So are you guys going to make this? And can I come over when you do?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Doodle410

This week's weekly (perhaps biweekly?) doodle is a group of sketches for a cosplay I have coming up. Justin voted for Mortal Kombat, so these are some ideas I have for Kitana's bracers and fans. 

Doodle410: MK Ideas
I'm facing the challenges of A. knowing next-to-nothing about Mortal Kombat and B. changing an iconic look to accommodate being built like a normal person instead of a made-up, adolescent-fantasy warrior-princess. But the exciting news is that one of Justin's friends wants to cosplay with us! If all goes according to plan, we should have Kitana, Sub-Zero, and Sonya Blade. And this time around I'm determined to ACTUALLY TAKE GOOD PICTURES. (Mostly so I can blog about it. ;))

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lyndsey's Baby Shower: A Photo-Dump Post

My friend Lyndsey came home from Colorado for her baby shower last summer. (I am nothing if not a timely blogger.) I made a lot of the decorations and a couple desserts for the party. So there was a lot of pre-planning on my part to get as much done ahead of time as possible, then I packed everything into my tiny car and drove everything up to Lake Erie, and stayed in a 90s-tastic B&B where I felt like an imposter pretending to live in someone else's house. Since I don't have step-by-step pictures of anything, you get a photo-dump. Enjoy!

I made some pretty paper bunting and tissue paper poms.
I took an obligatory picture of my feet after I checked in at the B&B.
Made tiiiny bows, glued them to sticks, then made Rice Krispie pops.
Found a beach so I could hang out with Lake Erie (there's a storm coming in!)
Got some snacks at a little grocery store,  chilled a wee bottle of champagne in the sink. #classy
Finally, here is a finished tabletop! Stringing those raindrops took forEVER btw.
And here is a picture of me and the mama-to-be after the party!

There you have it! An abridged version of baby shower decorations. Lyndsey and Mike's families did a great job with the whole thing. I don't have any pictures of the awesome quilt her mom made or the Pinterest-worthy candy bar Mike's mom and sister put together. After all the decorations were up, I got to get off my feet and BreAnn took over running all the games and organizing present-opening which she is really good at doing. All around a great party for a great couple who are now back in Colorado being great parents! And I'm pretty sure I will get to meet little Owen sometime this summer!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The First Weekly Doodle! (408)

This week I read a post on Kerry's blog about blogging. Very meta, right? It made me realize that whether or it's a blog post, or a workout, or a painting, I have the hardest time with actually starting things. So I made this doodle. (It's on a Post-It note. No judging.) I plan to keep having weekly doodle posts, as well as reminding myself not to stress so much about starting new things. Because, frankly, I often end up loving them once I'm in.

Doodle from week #408

Don't believe me? Fine. Here's a list.

1999: Marching band - Definitely changed my life for the awesomer (yes that's a word).
2003: Varsity tennis - I sucked at it, but we had a good time regardless.
2005: Intramural indoor soccer - You can bounce the ball off the walls? Fun!
2007: Driving - I had my license, but didn't start liking to drive until I bought my own car.
2010: Guacamole - I'm eternally grateful to Justin for convincing me to try this wonder-food.
2012: Conventions/Cosplay: Made steampunk outfits and went to MARCON and had a blast.
2014: Ultimate frisbee: I don't love it yet, but it's growing on me and based on past precedent, I just might someday. ;)

Have you ever been reluctant to try something and ended up loving it? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 17, 2014

DIY: Fangirl T-shirts

Once upon a time, there was a semi-angsty college kid who had finally begun to develop her own taste in music. One of the very first albums she fell hard for was Fall Out Boy's "From Under The Cork Tree" sometime during her sophomore/junior year of college. As you may have guessed, that college kid was me and that love continues to this day. (Fun fact: if you Google my name and Fall Out Boy, you'll find the article where I was randomly called by my college newspaper while listening to that album.)

As you know (or don't know because you don't care) Fall Out Boy went on hiatus in 2009 and I was sad that I never got to see them in concert. But then they got back together last year AND were coming to Columbus. So much fangirling! Luckily for me, in the meantime I had rekindled some college friendships, one of which was just as excited about the Fall Out Boy reunion as me. Somewhere in the midst of totally freaking out about the new album, we decided to make our own FOB t-shirts to wear to the concert.

I guesstimated how big these should be and free-handed them onto freezer paper.

Using much research (read: Pinterest) we decided to try both the freezer-paper/spray-with-bleach as well as the write-with-a-bleach-pen techniques. We wrote lyrics from The Phoenix "change you like a remix" and "raise you like a phoenix" on the fronts of our shirts, and used the freezer paper to make bigger letters for the album/tour name on the backs.

This is my pal Bre, getting ready to iron her letters down.

As it turns out, writing with bleach pens is not something I would recommend if you like precision. The flow is hard to control and unless you use VERRRY thin lines, your words will bleed together. Or where your letters cross back over themselves, like in my "k" below. Or if it globs out too fast, because there is no undoing bleach. We also did a little spraying on the front to make it look similar to the backs.

Cursive was maybe not the best choice, but I have to say I still like it even with the blurs.

Ironing on the freezer paper actually worked pretty well. If you were doing something really intricate, it might blur your lines a bit, but with our big block letters, the edges came out surprisingly crisp. However, I would also recommend going easy on the bleach spraying. At first, it will look like it's not doing anything, but it will eventually get there so be patient. If you want to bleach it all around, get close and spray right at the shirt. If you want a more splattered look, stay back a little ways and sort of spray over the shirt so the bleach falls like a nice, toxic rain.

Here they are, after the bleach did its job and we took off the letters.

Once the bleach had done as much work as we wanted it to, we carefully peeled off the letters and rinse our shirts in cold water in the sink to get most of the extra bleach off. Then we just washed them like normal (but not with anything else you might not want residual bleach on, obviously.) And then after all that, we ended up running late the day of the concert, so Bre didn't have time to change into her shirt, and I forgot to take a picture of me wearing mine, so I got you this shot from the concert instead. It was so awesome: they played most of my favorite songs from all their albums, and I could not be happier that I got to go.

So fun. So loud. So much sitting in the parking garage after. So worth it.

These shirts were actually pretty fun to make, and as soon as I have another reason to make a t-shirt, you can bet I will be doing this again. I knew that my black shirt would bleach to that rusty color, but I actually like that Bre's fuchsia shirt went pink with bleach, so I'll probably experiment with other colors too. So what do you guys think? Want to DIY some sweet band t-shirts? 

Monday, January 27, 2014

DIY: Rinse & Scrubs

Happy New Year! (Is it too late to say that? Happy Current Year then.)

This week/weekend I spent a lot of time cleaning my kitchen and simultaneously messing it up some more. It's a fun game I like to call "Never-ending Dishes" and it's not really that fun. The main reason for this was preparations for my oldest nephew's birthday cake (another story for another post), but while I was at it, I decided to make some things I've been seeing around Pinterest.

The recipes I chose were this hair rinse with rosemary and ACV, this salt scrub inspired by LUSH Ocean Salt, and this lip scrub inspired by LUSH Mint Julips. The rinse I made according to the recipe and I've only used it once, but it did make my hair smell good all day. So the jury is still out on that one. I changed a lot of things in the scrubs though, so here are my altered versions.

Citrusy Salt Scrub
1/2 c. fine sea salt
1 1/2 T. lime-infused vodka
1/4 to 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
10 drops Lemon essential oil

Salt scrub ingredients! (And reusing an empty LUSH container.)

You basically mix all these things together to a consistency you like, so it's pretty simple. I did infuse the lime vodka myself (1/2 a lime, zested and chopped plus 3 T. vodka, mix and let sit for three days then strain), but you could probably sub in 1:1 citrus juice to vodka, or even all juice if you don't have vodka. If I made it again I would add some orange or grapefruit zest to the scrub itself for more citrusy goodness. (Citrusy is too a word.)

The original recipe calls this a face scrub, but I used it on my feet and it seemed pretty rough to me, so I probably wouldn't use it on my face. But hey, I'm a sensitive little flower. I usually like scrubs for shaving my legs, so we'll see how that works. If it's still too harsh, I'll give it to someone else and just use the rest of my sea salt for something else. Like French fries.

Warm Vanilla Lip Scrub
1 T. vanilla sugar
1/2 t. honey
1 to 2 T. coconut oil, melted
Dash of cinnamon

Once again, mix everything until you have a nice consistency and pack it into little containers. I've seen other recipes for this that call for castor sugar (which is white sugar ground more finely) so I put my sugar in the littlest cup for my Magic Bullet and blitzed it a couple times first. And if you don't have/don't want to buy vanilla sugar, you can use regular sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Mine will just look fancier than yours because of the cute little vanilla seeds in there. #opulenceclub

Fancypants sugar scrub! (And reusing more empty LUSH containers!)

I was going to make the mint version in the original post, but then I opened the cupboard and my vanilla sugar was staring at me. In my world, vanilla-cinnamon-honey is in the top three best flavor combinations of all time, so obviously I'm in love with this stuff. Also, it works like magic. My lips were so, so chapped that day but then I used this, licked off the rest (because it's completely edible and totally delicious), and put on the lip balm my sister made me for Christmas. It was the first time I hadn't been mad at my lips in about a week. Since our predicted high temperatures for the next couple days are in the single digits, I'm sure I'll be getting more use out of it soon. That is, if I don't just eat it.

The 2014 Pinterest Success Score (which is a thing I just made up) is now 1 okay, 1 undecided, and 1 love-it-so-much-I-would-marry-it, so I'm declaring this an overall Pinterest-win. I'm planning on keeping that up this year. What about you guys, make anything good from Pinterest lately?