Thursday, April 30, 2009

“If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.”

Is anyone else completely amped about the upcoming movie Julie & Julia?? I hadn't even seen the trailer, and I was speed-texting my friend, Pringles, about how we needed to see it. She and I are forever discussing recipes and foods and the like, so I figured she'd be a shoe-in to watch it with me.

Here's the plot synopsis: Julia is Julia Child. Enough said! Julie Powell is a real-life woman who decides to take on the challenge of making every recipe in Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She then wrote a book about her conquests, and it was made into a film.

I love cooking. I love Amy Adams. I love girly movies. Hip, Hip, Hurrah!!

Julie & Julia movie trailer

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Grocery Rage

Anyone else miss this show? I coulda been a rockin contestant.

I entered the store in a peaceful and sunny mood. The woman walking in with me was cheerful and friendly and made me smile. And the first thing I noticed was a scattering of cheese samples. Yummo! I practiced some self-control and only sampled one, tiny piece (way to go, sraa!*). Then I carefully made my way over the butcher counter to pick up some seafood and shellfish for dinner. Again, yummo!

The second I walked up to the counter, I could sense that an evil force was trying to wreak havoc on my serenity. A woman there stepped up after me, ignored the semblance of a line we had going, and elbowed her way up to the meat case. Unbelievable. (Is it just me or does SoCal's population have the biggest sense of self-entitlement going?) Lucky for me and nanner-nanner-poo-poo for her, I was making eye contact with the butcher as he walked up and asked, "Who's next?" Ms. All Elbows missed the boat as she was critically scanning the selection of meats in the case. Karma, baby!

After my stint at the butcher case, I was immediately bumped into by a person and then by a cart. This was while I was standing stock-still, trying to pick out some ground sirloin. And nary an apology to be heard. From there, it just went downhill. The store's aisles were littered with dropped (and squished) produce, screaming 3 year olds, abandoned shopping carts, and women with bad attitude written all over their faces. My hair is decidedly frumpy today, but that certainly shouldn't earn me ugly looks from the general public.

My only motivation to stay in the store - and not run away as fast as these pink paisley flats could carry me - was my huge annoyance with making multiple trips to stores. I knew that I had to stick it out long enough to at least gather ingredients for a salad. (And even then, the store was out of the greens I usually buy.)

It seems that today has just been one of those days. As Chiml was singing me (over IM, of course):**

It's just one of those days that a girl goes through
When I'm angry inside,
Don't wanna take it out on you.
Just one of them things.
Don't take it personal.
I just wanna be all alone
And you think I treat you wrong.
Don't take it personal
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby.
Don't take it personal.

* sraa is yet another of my alter egos. I'm up to at least 3 named personae by now, so brownie points to you if you can remember the other names :)

** I'd embed the youtube clip for this song, but it appears that I've lost youtube connectivity along with my iTunes connectivity. The IT people here have no idea how ugly I'll get when I'm cut off from music.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oregon Trail, All Grown Up

I'm feeling quite old-timey today, as I sit here in my drapey, destructed cardigan, with two enormous containers of raisins within reach. Wait - raisins?

I agreed to drive my coworker to the airport the other day, and he offered to pay me for my trouble. No way. I was raised to help people out, especially when it's something I can easily do with minimal impact on my normal goings-on. His family owns a vineyard and almond orchards, so he offered to bring me something from their farm.

And, slap my mama - I have a bag of beautiful almonds that must weigh 8 pounds. And, goodness, it will take me a minimum of 2 years to get through all these raisins. It's a shame that I don't even like Oatmeal Raisin cookies. (You jumping up and down right about now, Marn-Marn? Tee hee!) But I'm beyond excited about using those almonds in all my Christmas baking this year. Our almond roca will be even more to-die-for than it usually is. Watch out world - waistlines will most certainly plump up when all is said and done.

I'm really enjoying trading in favors and food, just like the pioneers did way back in the day. It feels pretty great. Anyone have anything I can trade for my baked treats?

Image courtesy of

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Do I Know You?

Today, at our marathon-length meetings, I knew the guy from the other company who was presenting to us. Well, I don't actually know him, but I know him from somewhere. His face is ridiculously familiar to me. And because it was a work meeting, I'm pretty sure he may have worked for my previous employer. That, or we went to college together. Now that I think about it, maybe it was school?

But some background for you - I majored in engineering (hold the wisecracks for later, please), and there were only 2 other girls in my class. So even if I didn't pack around a giant afro on my head, I'd venture a guess that sheer statistics should make me fairly recognizable to classmates. Do you follow me? Ditto for working in the engineering industry. There aren't many women, especially ones who eternally look twelve years old. And I add to that the fact that I'm continually mistaken for other people. I get the "you look familiar" thing all the time, and from all kinds of complete strangers - old ladies, waiters, etc.

But, nope, the only time that guy looked me in the eye was when I spoke once at the end. And even then, it was barely a glance. Dangit! I know you from somewhere! I don't look one speck familiar to you??

It's going to bug me until I figure out where I remember his face from.

But then again, I do my best (and am quite successful) to think of anything but the engineering world once I leave the confines of my desk. Instead, it'll be lemon cupcakes occupying my brain for the next few hours. Cupcakes take precedence over most things, to be sure.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's a Scorcher

It's 100 degrees outside today.*

I had to look that up on Wunderground, because it's precisely 64 steps from my chair to the nearest window or door. Yes, I totally counted. But, now that I think about it, I haven't turned my little space heater on once today, and that's usually the first thing I do when I get here every morning. And, I'm wearing an adorable little dress with sandles, SANS cardigan. I haven't had one single goosebump on my arms all day. Yes, indeed, it must be hot out there.

My new bestie, Dee, calls this "boyfriend weather" - when it's perfect to talk a lazy walk in the evening, with an ice cream cone in one hand, your boyfriend's hand in the other. Ahhhh...I couldn't agree with her more.

I guess one out of two ain't so bad ;)

* And yes, it's still only mid-April. But before you go hating on So-Cal, keep in mind that the months of May and June are pure ugly here. While the rest of the country is enjoying that beautiful transition from spring to summer, it's gray and cloudy and chilly here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Oh, Honey

Pause for a moment to take in the vision of beauty before us.

Now, let's read the label together:
"Rich, sumptuous waves of cream mingle with evocative glimpses of tropical honey. The rare and delicate texture of the Lehua honey is entirely different from any honey you've ever tasted."

Ahhhhh.....Anyone feel like taking a vacation after reading that?

No iffs, ands, or buts - this ice cream is to die for. I use up all my dairy-cheats whenever this is in our house, because I can't keep my face out of it. It's got a creamy honey flavor that somehow manages to remain delicate while it's knocking your socks off and across the room. It makes any dessert a la amazingggg.

Put a spoon in your pocket, go buy a pint, and tear into it while you're still into the grocery store parking lot. It's a vacation in a carton, I promise.

* A note to my former frozen favorite:
Take The Cake, you will forever hold a place in my dairy-hating heart. There may be times when it appears that I'm choosing Mr. Lehua over you, and that you've been relegated to the back of my freezer. But rest assured that, like Whitney, I'll Always Love You.

Phone Blogging

I'm completely nerding out here. I'm composing this post from my phone, and in the text message thing, if you can believe it. I clicked a link from my blogger dashboard (which so needs an overhaul to make it usable), and it said I could blog from my phone. Hmmm...I'm not so sure I see the use of it, but I'm sending this to test things out. I'm already thinking that my subject line will be screwy. Oh well. Next time, I'll see what sending a pic text does.

* update: Sending a post via a text message didn't work well. It didn't give me a subject line or tags, and it doesn't work for pic texts (MMS). The verdict: Worthless.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"To a kid from Oregon.."

" way of California..."

From the moment I heard those lyrics, I knew that Mat Kearney was a talent I had to follow. Really. I mean, he wrote that song for me, I just know it.

I was a late adopter when it came to buying his debut album, and I worried that after hearing his single on the radio, the rest of his album would quickly grow tiresome. Absolutely not so. I wore that thing out, and two years later, I still bump it into my playlist.

I got the chance to see him live at House of Blues and was again blown away by his talent. When so many artists perform in concert, they make it obvious how much mixing is done on their albums. And some have so little stage presence that it would be a better use of my money to hit play on my iPod while I'm sitting in my own living room. But, truly, Mat Kearney was better in concert than his cd. His voice was beautiful and warm, and you could almost see his love of music pouring out of him. He created an energy onstage that felt like comfort food served with a side of joy.

His new cd is out on May 19, and I am beyond excited about it. The following is a link to his latest single and video. Too sweet.

"Closer to Love"

Monday, April 13, 2009

No Spring Chicken

While I realize that I'm not yet as old as dirt, I am aware that there are people shopping in Forever 21 that I could have given birth to. (Chiml assures me that I'm still allowed to shop in there, and she's sweetly promised to tell me when I've crossed that line.)

I certainly don't feel my age, and sometimes, I actually have to stop and calculate in order to tell someone how old I am. But, there are days when I can't help but hear the manic internal whisperings that my uterus is gathering cobwebs and dust. As a result, I'm forced to use all my willpower to beat down those voices with an aluminum baseball bat.

I spent today's lunch break picking up some groceries at my favorite little chain of farmer's market-style stores. As I made my way to the register, a pretty blue bottle of champagne caught my eye. And the name, Moondrops - again, so pretty, right? I love champagne, and it was on sale ($5 off!), so it took me precisely three-quarters of a second to debate whether to put the bottle into my cart.

As I paid for it, the cashier asked for my ID. This wasn't terribly surprising, as I nearly always get asked for my ID when I buy booze. But that moment as she read my birth year, when her eyebrows shot up, and she jumped a millimeter off the floor. That vision was priceless. I coulda hugged her.

It's the small things. And the cheap champagne.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Toucan Sara

According to Bo, I smell everything. Everything. According to him, everything I get into my hands, I immediately put up to my nose to smell. Really? Do I really automatically do this with everything within reach? It makes me wonder if I've been spending too much time with Ror-kins and not enough spent with humans.

I will admit that I do have a thing for smells. I mean, I felt compelled to actually post my ravings about a fab-smelling lotion, and I still sit here smelling my hands all day long, I love it that much. And I do have some very specific favorite smells: fresh-cut grass reminds me of spring; fresh asphalt makes me think of summer; and the scent of new running shoes is like catnip to me. There are times when I catch a scent that is specifically the cafeteria in 5th grade and nowhere else. And the cleaner in our bathrooms at work smells exactly like my grandma's medicine cabinet, circa 1989.

But I suppose that, to some degree, Bo is right. When I buy fruit, nearly all of it makes the sweep upward toward my nose before I'll put it into my basket. How else can you tell if canteloupe or strawberries or peaches are ripe? If they smell good, they'll taste good. It's a simple concept, but now that I'm aware, I'm sure I'll be looking left and right, all sneaky-like, before I take a whiff.

And if I'm going to be completely honest, when people mail me packages, I open the box and breathe in the smells. Because the packages nearly always smell like their houses. It's my little way of "visiting" my loved ones without being able to hop a plane and physically step into their houses.

I contend that I'm not so terribly different this way. Back me up here - do you have a strong association with scents? What are your favorite smells?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cake Wrecks

I feel as though I shouldn't be posting about cake so soon after my last whirlwind of baking. But gosh, I can't believe I still haven't written a gushy blog on how much I adore the Cake Wrecks blog. Reading Cake Wrecks has got me through some really tough days at work by making me laugh until I had to cover my mouth and wipe away a constant stream of tears.

The basic theme of her blog is to showcase professional bakery cakes that are either hideous, hilarious, or a disaster. Most are all three :) And, really, how could I possibly resist a site dedicated to CAKE that mocks grammar and spelling errors?! I can't believe I didn't think of it first, it's so me! And now is a good time for me to admit - I'm so addicted to this site, that I've even bought a shirt. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that, but then, no I'm not. I wear that thing with immense pride.

It's incredibly hard to list my favorites, but here are a few highlights to start with...Happy clicking. And laughing.

And....someone came up with a creative quiz to determine which Wreck you are, ha! Evidently, I'm the one that started it all. So classic and trend-setting, I am.

You are the Walmart Cake!
You're an oldie, but a goodie. You can take things a wee bit too literally, sometimes. (

photo courtesy of Cake Wrecks!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cupcake Pops

I've been dying to make these little cuties ever since I saw them on Bakerella's blog a couple of months ago. Yeah, I so can't claim the creative idea, but hey - I'm pretty proud of the fact that they didn't turn out half bad for my very first attempt :)

Sometime soon, I'll be making these again to work on my technique and some color and flavor variations. Be prepared to get some of the extras shoved on you.

(Ack! Squinting in the sun, getting eye wrinkles.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Emily Bear

I'm feeling tired and not terribly chatty today, so I'm going to be lazy and let the following video blog for me :)

I usually approach news clips of "child prodigies" with a bit of wariness. The kids are usually presented as too precious for words [insert oohs and ahhs here]. And a lot of the talented little things have been lauded so much praise for so many years, that they've got a double dose of snotty attitude along to boot. And then every single interview includes a clip of the child proclaiming that they're "normal just like any other kid!"

I realize that I sound utterly and completely bitter, but let me introduce you to Emily Bear. Truly, if you met her in a grocery store, you'd just think she was a cute little kid who might be a bit of an old soul. But to hear her play. Seriously, she has an amazing gift, and I'm not using those words lightly. The little dear not only plays heavy hitters like Mozart, she freaking composes her own music. But all the while she's playing, you don't get a sense that she's troubled or tormented by her talent. It actually seems like something that's a part of her, and no big deal to her. She just seems like a happy little girl who has fun playing the piano. And I love that her mom just wants her to be normal and happy when she grows up. No lofty dreams of her kids becoming world famous or anything.

All of it was completely refreshing. And completely inspiring.

And, Emily totally already has 2 albums of original work on iTunes, what a little rock star!

Sayray Saves the Day

Yippeeee! I'm now the proud owner of yet another alter ego! (Zippy being my first and most favorite of them.) I'm just beside myself with gleeeeeeeeee!

Last night, Bo told me that he's calling me Sayray, and that it's my new superhero name. Get out - my superhero name?! Woo!! My mind immediately began racing through all the potential mischief I can get away with, in the name of "Sayray!!"

And of course, every superhero needs a special outfit or, at the minimum, a signature talisman. I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe, I've been wearing my superhero talisman all along, completely unaware of its powers? I just adore my pearl flower ring to bits, and I only take it off to do messy tasks, like baking or scrubbing. Hmmm...methinks that it very well could be it. Yes, it's decided. Thankfully, my ring negates any need to wear silly capes, gaudy crowns, or - God forbid - lycra. This superhero business is going to be too much fun :)

Behold, the powers of Sayray...Prepare to be mesmerized....