Upcoming Priorities

After days of lounging around on my parents’ couch and eating absolutely everything in the pantry, like I do, I am headed back to my home in the city. Our apartment has power and I am ready to resume semi-normal life. So much so that my mind is racing with all of the things I want to do in the next week or two before I’m back home for Thanksgiving! Without further ado, here they are:

1) Buy a french press, buy coffee, make coffee in the french press. Enjoy thoroughly.

2) Research which camera I’d like to buy on BLACK FRIDAY. Normally, I am in a self-induced food coma on this day and generally avoid crowds of crazy people at all costs but not this year. This year, Gina needs a camera. On the cheap, man. And I will fight you for it. Kidding…kidding…maybe…

3) Download new music! I have lists! Need to throw away lists and listen to the music already!

4) Download podcasts. Goal: make 30 minute walks to and from work more enjoyable. Also, I miss NPR on my car radio.

5) Buy me some walking boots. Throw away boots that are old and yuck and make my feet hurt.

6) Find restaurant supply store and buy a few things.

7) Plan a trip to Nashville with Hannah! I’m dying to go and I need to plan post-December trips because otherwise I get all sad and mopey in the lame aftermath of the holiday season. Ya feel me?

8) Before I get to number 7, I need to actually entertain Hannah as she is coming to visit next weekend! We already have some to-dos, too!

  • See a Broadway show
  • Ladies night.. Saturday night.. no boys allowed.. just gals doing what gals do
  • Go to brunch and devour everything

Well, that’s all at the moment. I will now be going to sleep in the spare twin bed in my little brother’s room. We just finished up a rousing game of Cranium so, obviously, I’m quite exhausted. Yes, my life is this glamorous. See you when I’m back in the city!

Well, hello again.

Hi there! After taking a brief hiatus, I’m back. And, you know, I have a few things to say.

Since my last post, I’ve baked a hummingbird layer cake and an apple pie with lattice crust. All from scratch. They were divine and already gone. However, I’m in the business of learning and delveloping my baking skills so here are the things that I’ll try to remember for next time:

Pie Stuff

1) Take refrigerated pie crusts out of the fridge as soon as you start making your pie filling! Otherwise, you’ll be faced with two little rocks of dough and more minutes until you can eat the pie..

2) Sprinkle some sugar on that crust before you bake it – it’ll be nice.

3) Roll out the top crust really thin. It’ll puff a bit in the oven and no one wants a puffy lattice crust. I mean I do but mostly no one.

4) Do this again: when you cut the top pie crust into strips to create the lattice top, you want to use every other strip when you lay them vertically (or horizontally, whichever way you would like to start) – this ensures that you have enough long and short pieces left for the opposite way! What?! Amazing. Look at that, geometry in baking. I think..

Cake Stuff

1) When making cream cheese frosting for a layer cake, double the recipe. You’re welcome.

2) After you put a crumb coat on the cake (the thin, first layer of frosting on the cake that seals in all the crumbs), stick that whole cake in the fridge for a bit – this will make it easier to frost the next layer and it’ll be prettier.

3) Put more frosting between the layers. You’re welcome again, future self.

4) Do this again: Stick some parchment paper under the edges of the cake before frosting. It looks so lovely when you remove the mess that spilled on the paper. Also, you can lick the frosting off the paper. Just kidding, I don’t do that.. Heh.. Heh…

I should have taken pictures of these delish desserts. However, when I finished up at 11pm, I was sleepy and hungry and I just, I just didn’t. Ugh. This is why I’m better in the morning! Especially since I’m at home (at my parents’ house) and have a large pot of coffee that I feast upon every morning when I’m here. Anywho, that is entirely off topic.

For now, those are my thoughts. I hope they help you in your baking endeavors.

Climbing Cat

It was a long Monday, friends. Are you with me? Luckily, the day is done and the only thing on my agenda for the rest of the night is to read, finish up work, clean up a bit, consider life, determine my next move, solve for world peace, etc. etc.

Before I start all of that, I’m enjoying a few photos of my sister’s cat. His name is Gus.

He like to scale furniture.

Somehow, he got up there, and is just hanging out. Like he’s got nothing else to do.

“Ain’t no thang” he says.

But then, he hears the soft trot of a another creature approaching.

And, although he doesn’t need to, he puts on his scary face. My dog runs away. The end.

Also, I walked through Central Park this weekend and it was real purrty.

That’s real water down there folks. Not sure if you were wondering.

This looks like Cinderella’s castle to me. It’s not. But, I’d probably live there if someone offered it to me. Just saying.

Thank you for listening. Happy end-of-Monday. Here’s to Tuesday.

A Day of History

Well, today was pretty great. Spending several hours learning about history and eating soft pretzels is a fun time in my book. A few friends and I joined the huge line of tourists standing in Battery park, waiting to pay a visit to Lady Liberty herself. And, I must say, she was pretty magnificent. Here are a few photos that I snapped between listening attentively to my audio tour and avoiding stepping on children (who run around there en masse).

Did you know? Money was raised to complete the pedestal that she stands on by promising that donators would get their name in the paper. It was a pretty big deal to have your name immortalized in newspaper back then. (You can read about how quickly they raised the money with that promise here.) Isn’t that so interesting to think about? Now, you can immortalize your own name on the internet, whenever and however you want. For free. That’s deep if you think about it. Whoa.

A sonnet was written about Lady Liberty and, if you have a chance, I’d recommend reading it. It’s very pretty.

Here you can see that she is walking forward, which symbolizes walking out of and away from her shackles. I learned this from the audio tour.

After we soaked this all in, we got back on the ferry to travel a very short distance to Ellis Island. In the meantime, I got pretty international by eating some Swedish Fish. Yum.

Here is a pretty view of the building on Ellis Island.

Here is the inside of the waiting room. Pretty fancy, schmancy looking.

Here are some pretty windows that I liked. The end.

It was chilly outside today so I was happy to see the sun. So I took a picture. And then sat there for a while.

I was not happy to see these pesky pigeons feasting on leftovers. Ugh.

It’s a pigeon’s world, man, and we’re just living in it.

With that, we made our way back to Manhattan, and it wasn’t looking too shabby.

All in all, it was a very nice Sunday. I feel liberated, free, a bit cold and sleepy. Is that how you’re supposed to feel? I don’t think I would have made it if I lived back when Ellis Island was functioning….

Until next time, friends!

Fall in a Small Town

Good morning! I’m waking up by watching Ina Garten bake ginger cookies this morning. Nothing makes me happier than watching cooking shows. They are so relaxing!

While I sit here and dream of baking in a beautiful house in the Hamptons, I thought I’d share some photos from my weekend at home. There is nothing quite like fall in a small town in Northeast Ohio.

Hello, Caterpillar. My mom says that if they are extra fuzzy then we are in for a long winter. Bring on the cold.

Sweet antique shop “downtown”.

Vibrant leaves on our walk around a nearby park.

My dad walking away from my brother’s football game. On the phone, looking cool.

Our frontyard. I love sitting in the living room and looking out the window at this. Look at the colors!

Our backyard. My parents have seen wild turkeys running around here as of late. Sadly, I didn’t see them during my last visit but I’m crossing my fingers for next time!

Surprise!

Oh my, it’s been just a bit since my last post and a lot has happened. So, here is a (not so) concise list of all of the events in my life over the past several days.

I surprised my beautiful sister for her 21st birthday. I flew in on Friday night and met everyone at a restaurant in Cleveland. She had no idea that I was coming and she cried when she saw me. Success! The whole experience will stick with me forever.

Look at how cute she is!

In my family, we never just celebrate one birthday at a time (there are too many of us), so the next day, we sang to five people. And ate every bit of this delish cake. (Pardon the fuzziness and the bad angle, I was under the influence of sugar and wine, but I just loved the flowers so I had to post it!)

 

Since I was home in my mother’s kitchen, and not cramped in my little apartment, my biggest priority was to bake! I made this recipe and it. was. divine. Donut muffins are my new thing. I want to make every kind of donut muffin that I can think of. Chocolate donut muffins, lemon glazed donut muffins, almond donut muffins, oh my! As soon as I whip up those variations I’ll post the recipes here.

After I stuffed my face with donut muffins, I ventured outdoors (it made me really tired at first so I had to take a nap and then go back outside  and I found this sweet display in the center of my parent’s town. I love small towns. I love the midwest. I love America. The end.

How cute is this?

Freaky spider

Frankenstein!

Headless Horseman

Lastly, but not least, this is my sister’s cat.

I love him. And, I think I’m allergic. This does not stop me from cuddling him even though he hates it.

Getting Out of Town

Today, the temperature plummeted. Turns out, when it’s 50 degrees and rainy, it’s not exactly enjoyable to be outside for long periods of time. Good thing I planned a whole day outdoors!… heh…heh…

Up, up and away, out of Manhattan we traveled. Our destination – a magical place where there are not approximately 5304389483 people inhabiting every square foot of space (not that I’m overwhelmed by the city or anything..) We went to Lyndhurst Mansion, a historic home that’s been on my “To Visit” list for quite some time.

My love of historic homes will always begin and end with Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, but I need some historical fun now and again and tickets to Ohio ain’t cheap. So, I journeyed “upstate” for a tour and some old-timey fun. Here’s how it went:

First stop – Grand Central Station – very pretty.

Then, I needed coffee, as I do every morning. Magnolia Bakery to the rescue! (A muffin or two never hurt anyone, either)

After a lovely train ride along the Hudson, we arrived at Lyndhurst. Even though it was dreary and cold, I loved every minute of our exploration.

Many, many hours later (quick aside: it seems that traveling anywhere without a car takes a very long time. sometimes I think this is romantic and lovely and sometimes I think this is the worst. it just depends on how much I’ve eaten recently) we returned back to Grand Central headed home. Very productive and educational day, I’d say.

Newest Obsession

Well, I’ve lived in the big city for three months now and of all of the things I miss, I miss baking the most.

There is something so therapeutic about baking. I love the measuring. I love the precise directions. Eek, what does that say about me?

Oh, and I love the time it takes – who doesn’t like to earn a dessert. I know some people might think that earning a dessert should involve exercising. Maybe. I prefer to bake something complicated and time-consuming and then count that as exercise. Who’s with me?!

Plus, it’s pretty awesome to know that I will love whatever I bake (because I’ve never met a sweet thing that I didn’t like…try me..)

I’ve ordered a few baking books from Amazon and I’m eagerly waiting their arrival. I figure if I can’t bake in this teeny, tiny apartment, I can at least dream about it while reading the recipes and losing my mind over the pictures.

I was already excited about going home a few times this fall for the holidays but now that I have so many baking projects lined up I am counting the days!

Here are the things on my list to make:

- An ombre cake – check out these amazing photos! I love a good cake – the more colorful layers, the better.

- A few pies – pumpkin for my sister and apple for me.

- Tiramisu – for my dad and me, we could eat the stuff for days. And we have.

- Caramel Sauce – I don’t think I’ll ever have enough caramel in my life. I love the sound of this recipe courtesy of Ina Garten (whom I love).

I’m sure this list will get infinitely larger when the books arrive so I’ll stop there. Also, I’m really hungry and now I’m craving all of these desserts… I’ll update with my new list soon.

Oh my, this just makes me so happy! Check out the prettiness.

Stumbling Around

Well, I recently decided that I needed to change up (read: start up) my workout regimen again. Rather than pay for expensive, hour-long classes at a hoity-toity studio, I opted for a down-home approach – a $7.00 workout DVD. When I bought it on Amazon with a couple of hand weights, I thought, “psh, I’ve got this in the bag.” I mean, had I not spent the last several months in fancy barre classes? Yes, yes I had. I was ready to go and I completed the 20 minute work with ease in my teeny tiny living room (and looked awesome - not awkward – doing it… heh heh heh).

As I was stumbling, and I mean really stumbling, around work today, I started to think, hey, maybe I do have some more work to do. Yikes…

It’s not like I was fooling myself before. I am certainly not in tip-top shape but sheesh I was not prepared for the seized up feeling so many of my muscles at once! Anywho, the lessons here are as follows:

  • I need to keep working out
  • It’s weird to work out in your living room (but effective)

Soon I will fit back into the jeans, which I shrunk into a tiny child size after leaving them in the dryer for much, much too long. One day I will live on a lovely farm where I can air-dry my clothes and I’ll never have to deal with this again.

Autumn has Arrived!

Fall is here! I know it’s true because I am craving autumn-y things. Today, I finally treated myself to this candle after visiting it in the store a couple (or seven) times. It is Illume’s Sweet Vanilla Cinnamon from Anthropologie. My, oh my, it is heavenly. Wowee, I would highly recommend putting a few bucks aside to invest in one of these babies:

I am in a happy place.

I may have to purchase one for my momma. Her birthday was a week ago. So, here is a better-late-than-never  “Happy Birthday!” to the lady who gave me hair that is difficult to tame, a love of things I can’t afford and an appreciation of magazines. Oh! and love. She loves me a lot (I think) and I love her too. (I promise I sent her flowers on her actual birthday.)

In other news, I’m in a hot pursuit of flavored coffee. I think that this is another side-effect of my love of this season. In my last place, I had a wonderful roommate who would go home occasionally. Though I would miss her greatly, she would return with bags of this delicious coffee from a shop up north. I tell you, I dream about this coffee. The peanut-butter cup was my favorite but, to tell you the truth, I didn’t meet a flavor I didn’t like. I know that some coffee enthusiasts would be appalled by my love of flavored coffee but, man, it is tasty.

Until next time, I will be thinking about coffee and reading The Hobbit. Adieu.