February 29, 2012

Simple Single-Braid 'Do

This hairstyle was shamelessly stolen from Torrin Paige, one of my favorite YouTubers. As I still don't know the etiquette involved when it comes to embedding YouTube videos into blog posts, I'll just link to it - you can watch it by clicking here.

Now. I did change this style. First, I did only one braid, because I am lazy and have poor hand-eye coordination. Second, I stopped there and just left the braid hanging down my back. For the life of me, I cannot get my hair to cooperate and cover the hair ties like Torrin does in the video. Again with the crappy hand-eye coordination.

This looked nice and straight and even when it was first done, but this photo was taken at the end of a day of shopping. Hence the crappy factor.

My favorite feature of this style is the flip-through ponytail.

Love love love. If you do my abbreviated version of this style, it can easily be done in less than 10 minutes. More like 5 if you have quick fingers. Torrin's version shouldn't take that much longer.

We totally need to band together and bring back braids. LET'S DO THIS!
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February 27, 2012

'80s Floral Print Button Down

This was for sale in the Etsy shop, but no one bought it before the listing expired. Instead of renewing the listing, I done kept it fer myself.

My favorite feature is the tie at the neck, even though I almost set it on fire when I was cooking the day I wore this blouse. That's totally beside the point.

Floral blouse - thrifted
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February 24, 2012

The Be All and End All - Brownie Edition

There are brownies, and then there are brownies. There are brownies that are, you know, pretty good. From a box. Not too shabby.

And then there are brownies. That say 'hey, baby' in this voice. (Feel free to substitute whatever voice you like. Take your time. I'll wait.)

These are fudgy, dense, and gooey. If you like cakey brownies, these are not for you. And please don't tell me you like cakey brownies, because if you do then I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

The brownies consist mainly of melted chocolate, butter, eggs, and sugar, held together by just a bit of flour. I know. Word.

I make this recipe about once a year. Because otherwise I would make them all the time, and I would be a rather girthy (but happy!) lady.

I've been making this particular recipe for several years now, and if I remember correctly I adapted it from a few other recipes. However, as I can barely remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, I could be wrong. If anyone finds a recipe that's very similar, let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Be All and End All Brownies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups dark or semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Big pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 inch square pan.

Cut the butter into small cubes. Place the butter and chocolate in a double boiler, heat until just melted and smooth. Remove from double boiler.

Whisk in the sugar and cocoa power. Add eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add remaining ingredients, mix just until flour is incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center has puffed up and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Cool completely before serving.
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February 22, 2012

To the Woods!

Again with the woods. I know. It's what we do, apparently. Perhaps we were elves in past lives. Or, more accurately, given my love of polyester, hippies.

The Mr's goggle-thingies. Apparently these are the shizz when it comes to keeping flying chunks of wood and/or tree limbs out of one's eyes. They're also very sexy. I should sell these to Lady Gaga, start a trend, and become a millionaire. With solid plans like that, I just can't understand how I'm not ruling the world.

What the Mr does during the day:

Slightly more productive (and dangerous) than what I do. Although I did give myself a wicked paper cut yesterday, so I have that going for me. 

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February 20, 2012

Pineapple Coffee Cake

This recipe? Totally not mine.

It's tasty.

It's vegan.

The occupants of this household, who shall remain nameless, have ridiculous sweet-teeth. And would happily eat cookies and cake all day until we they looked like a troop of Violet Beauregards. (By the way, how awesome is YouTube? I mean, really.)

I've taken to making vegan desserts so that we can still have our cake and eat it too, but in a somewhat healthier manner. The above cake has no butter. No milk. Less sugar. And yet it's moist, delicious, and dense, with lovely bits of pineapple throughout. The layer of crunchy sugar on top is perfection. The recipe comes from Susan Voisin, of the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

The only change I made to this recipe was that I used an actual egg instead of the vegan egg replacer. Thus rendering my version not vegan at all, but we'll just ignore that. If I had a suggestion for this recipe, it would be to add a handful of chopped walnuts. Oh! I lied. There was another change that I made - the cake was baked in a round cake pan instead of square. 

Normally I would type the recipe here, but since I changed it so little, I'll just link to it. Click here to get it. And while you're at it, check out the dessert archive. You want to. Believe me. (I'm peer pressuring you right now, by the way. Give in.)
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February 18, 2012

Thrift Store Goodness

A current obsession.

I know. Corelle. Part of me wants to be all snooty and say, 'I use only Limoges,' but yeah. Not so much. Me = clumsy, and Corelle = no breaky. The only reason we needed new plates in the first place was because I, Madame Graceful, had chipped and/or broken the majority of our old stoneware plates. 

I saw these, said 'OH MY GOD OWLS!', and threw them in my cart. For $1.99 at Goodwill, I get eternal owl-filled happiness in the form of earrings. 

A red day dress. I tried on one other blue and white checked dress, but it was too Little House on the Prairie even for me, which I would have thought impossible. Also a Goodwill purchase.

Heeled loafers that have vintage styling, but were made not that long ago. Found at a thrift store in Michigan for $3.00

A few recent finds have made their way into the Etsy shop as well, it hasn't all been about me lately. Mostly about me. But not all.

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February 15, 2012

Gibson Girl Hair Tutorial

My hair.

It's been long since....8th grade, I think? A long time, let's leave it at that. I never used to know what the heck to do with all my hair, so it was habitually put into a messy bun at the back of my head. I've gotten better with finding different ways to style it, but I love the styles from the '40s and '50s.

The problem is that hair was usually worn (much) shorter then. I can pin curl and victory roll 'til I drop, but it never looks quite right, as it's about 8 inches longer than it should be for those styles.

I could just cut my hair, but that is something We Shall Not Speak Of.

Lately I've been looking back to eras when women wore their hair long, which landed me in the Victorian era. And can I just say, oy gevalt. Holy moly. Shut the front door. Sweet fancy Moses. Apparently, this was the time period when going to a hairdresser became popular, and it shows. Some of those styles look like they require 6 people, 2 hours, a Nembutal, and a yak to put it all together.

Eventually I remembered the Gibson Girl. The Gibson Girl, who wore her hair piled on top of her head. Now that I can handle.
 Here's the result of one of my attempts. The good news is that this style is supposed to be messy, so I've got that going for me. Which is nice.

Want to have Gibson Girl hair? Read on!

You will need a hair brush and bobby pins. That be all. Your hair also needs to be long enough that it can all reach the top of your head. If it can't all be piled up on top of your head, it's too short for this style.

First, brush your hair.

Next, part your hair from one ear across to the other ear.

Brush this section smooth. Now, you can insert a hair fall under this section, or you can tease it to get height. If you look back at photos of this style, some of those ladies could have taught hair bands a thing or two about big hair.

Anyway, I don't like teasing my hair, so this is what I do: Twist the hair. 

Lay the twist against your head. Push it forward to give your hair some height. All you're doing is creating a sort of faux pomp. 

Pin the twist in place. 

Now. This next step can go one of two ways - it can be easy, or can get elaborate. I'm going to show you the easiest way to get the Gibson Girl look. There are other, more elaborate ways to do it, and I'll show you that in the future. 

So. The easiest way to do this (for me, anyway) is to flip your head upside down and brush the hair smooth. 

While your head is still upside down, gather all your hair into your hand. Stand up straight and twist the hair. 

Start coiling the hair loosely. You want to coil the hair right on top of the bobby pins that are already there. The bobby pins used to pin the front section of hair in place will act as an anchor. Again, coil loosely. You're trying to achieve a loose sort of mass, not a rigid bun.

Pin the coil into place. Crossing your pins over each other in an X shape around the perimeter of the coil is the easiest way to go.

And that's that! Done. If it's loose and full of fly-aways, that's okay. It's not supposed to be perfect. 

My hair doesn't have nearly the height that some of the ladies achieved back in the day. That's fine by me, as this is just an easy daytime style that's comfortable to wear, and can be done in less than 10 minutes. Pinky swear. 

Later, I'll post a tutorial on how to do fancy Gibson Girl hair with twists and swirls and all sorts of fun stuff. 

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February 13, 2012

Breakfast Pizza

We're big on weekend breakfasts around here. Waffles (my husband's favorite) and pancakes are usually in pretty heavy rotation, but once in awhile I'll make a breakfast pizza. Yeasty pizza crust topped with scrambled eggs, pepperoni, veg, and cheese? Yes please!

Of course, you can top this any way you like. You can do whole eggs cracked on top instead of scrambled. Sausage instead of pepperoni. Add spinach, mushrooms, ham, whatever blows your hair back. The only trick is to make sure to leave the eggs really undercooked in the frying pan - if you cook them too long on the stove top, the additional oven time will leave them rubbery.

Breakfast Pizza

Olive oil
1 homemade or store-bought refrigerated pizza dough
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 large onion, small dice
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice
1/2 cup pepperoni, small dice
Salt, pepper
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet with a little of the olive oil. Smush the dough out onto the baking sheet, pressing it all the way into the corners. Place in oven, bake for 5 or 6 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside. Do not turn oven off.

Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium frying pan over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and pepperoni, season with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 6 minutes.

Add eggs and milk to a bowl, whisk until frothy. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add to frying pan. Scramble eggs, leaving them quite undercooked – they will finish cooking in the oven. 

Top pizza crust with the scrambled eggs, leaving a 1 inch border all the way around. Top with the cheese. Place in oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and eggs are cooked. Cool slightly before cutting and serving. 

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February 10, 2012

Cabin Fever

I tend to do strange things in the winter, all in the name of battling the Dreaded Cabin Fever. For example, I recently organized and alphabetized my bookshelf. Because that's how I roll.

The Before:

The Middle, When I'm Wondering What In God's Name I Got Myself Into:

The End:

The Highlights:

My Leonardo Da Vinci action figure. You know you want one.

While dusting the shelves, I found a bullet. Please tell me there are other people in the world that find bullets in their bookshelves.

Total Time: 2 hours
Other Information: Subject has difficulty with alphabetization; ie Koontz does not come before King.
Cabin Fever: Repressed. Momentarily.
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February 8, 2012

How to Walk a Bloodhound

First things first - a leash is not optional. Unless you want to chase your dog across 6 counties. Your choice.

Bloodhounds tend to do a lot of this.

They're very agile.



The Cary Grant of the dog world.

Really, all you need to walk a bloodhound is a leash, camera, and good sense of humor. And a tolerance for slobber.
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