Whiskey, Guinness, & Baileys: A Weekend Full of Win

29 03 2010

That's not a tiny bottle of whiskey! They're GIANT bottles of Guinness and Baileys!

O HAI! What’s the haps, friends? El figured out how I can upload photos so I can quit being so full of fail all the goddamn time. Speaking of NOT being a giant pile of fuck-up, get a look-see at them-there cupcakes! They’re full of booze and they are how El and I spent our summer vacation weekend. El came down to see me here in the good ol’ RVA because she stole my hairdresser (hi Missi!) and wanted to hang out. She suggested making these Irish Car Bomb cupcakes (I know, I know- that’s kind of offensive because of the terrorists and whatnot, but it just sounds dumb to call them Guinness, Whiskey, & Baileys cupcakes.) Her plan had been to make them on or near St. Patty’s Day but pulled a Lo and totally didn’t. Whatever. All it meant was that I got to eat them instead of Kona.

The cupcakes were simple, though kind of time consuming because you have to wait for them to cool before you can fill them. I used a Wilton decorator with a filling tip (for the first time ever!). I liked it, until the ganache hardened and got stuck in the pump. (I then got the genius idea to nuke it, but nuked it for a tetch too long and spilled chocolate whiskey ganache all over my kitchen and microwave thereby springing me into a comical cleaning frenzy before my son got drunk on its remnants and I had to go to Mom Jail.) But it was definitely faster that cutting a cone into the top and filling the cakes that way. Some of the cakes kind of overloaded, but who’s going to complain about a nipple poking out of their cupcake filled with whiskey, Baileys, and chocolate? (And before you object to the Glenlivet, we KNOW it’s Scottish, but they didn’t have Jameson in airline bottles. Harrumph.)

We stuck pretty much to the recipe, but we used a glaze instead of frosting. The recipe for that is basically 2 cups of powdered sugar, a couple tablespoons Baileys, and a couple of of tablespoons of Guinness (you’ll have more than enough left over from the cupcakes.) Whisk together and drizzle on top. Anyway, without further ado, HERE is the delightful recipe which brought us much happiness, as well as our friends down at Sumo San and Wonderland. I will definitely make these again. But I’ll make sure my kid isn’t anywhere around.

Heh...he looks waste-y. He's not. He's just a little spazzy.


El Is Making a Promise She’s Pretty Sure She Can Keep…

22 03 2010

Also, how lovely is this image? You can find more of the artist's work by clicking on the picture.

I’m really bad with commitment.  I’ve actually written about 8 different starts to this post because even discussing commitment makes me suuuuper uncomfortable and is a topic I’d much rather avoid.  For goodness sake, my apartment is on a month to month lease, and even thinking about that leaves me a little itchy.  But, the truth is, I know I need to start working on some of these issues if I’m ever going to be a functioning adult (or so some people tell me).  So, baby steps, I’m going to sign up for a reading challenge.

Reading challenges are something I’ve been wanting to try for a while now – even since before we started this blog.  Basically, the host choses a topic – anything from genre to author’s birthplace – and sets the goal.  I’ve seen some that involve reading 100 books in a year, or one book for every letter in the alphabet, or one library book a month – things like that.  Sometimes there are mini-challenges, contests, or giveaways, but really the point is to get a group of people reading.

I’ve decided to sign up for the Once Upon A Time challenge.  First, because it just began and goes through the end of June – so it isn’t too long.  Second, well, because it should be pretty easy for me, and I’m lazy like that.  I’m going to go for “Quest The First” which entails reading 5 books that could be considered fantasy, folklore, fairy tales or mythology.  Seeing as I’ve recently finished the first books in two separate fantasy series that I’m totally stoked about (Percy Jackson and The Age Of Misrule), I shouldn’t have any issues.  Of course, this is a challenge, so I’m hoping to do a bit more than that, but I don’t like failing, so I had to hedge my bets somehow.

So, I’m letting y’all know about this to hopefully keep me honest and motivated.  I’m probably not going to write full reviews for all the books I read for this challenge – but I will keep an updated list.  And there will be plenty of non-fantasy books read for those of you who get irrationally angry when books are too “weird.”  And if anyone has any suggestions – please let me know – my rough plan for now is to read the remaining 4 Percy Jackson books, the second and third Age of Misrule books, the Fionovar Tapestry (3 books) by Guy Gavriel Kay and something by Ursula K. LeGuin because I’ve never read anything by her and that makes me feel guilty.  We’ll see how it goes…

I Still Can’t Figure Out How Things Work.

21 03 2010

So…yeah. I bought this pretty new laptop with my tax return, had it for 1 week and my son destroyed the keyboard. I’ve ordered 2 different ones and  neither of them fit. The old keyboard is still functional, but it’s as fucked up as Lindsey Lohan’s career. So until I  get a new keyboard my posting will be relegated to short ones like this. And I still can’t get my camera to upload. I feel like Charlie Brown. ::sigh:: Anyway. It was nice this weekend, so here are some things that I did and saw.


*Not my burgers. Mine look way more crunk.




*Not the actual baby I saw. Though he was this pissed most of the time...

Cupcakes with this new frosting recipe

This image is courtesy of the fantastic http://zencupcake.com/.

This, of course.

I don't know if I love the Dutch more for their prostitutes or their Amstel!!

And this awesomeness that El turned me on to and now I am obsessed. OB.SESSED.

So that’s it for now. Expect a book review from me in the near future. It’ll relate to Charles Manson! A book for everyone! Huzzah!

A Chat with El & Lo: Lucha Libre’s New Stars

12 03 2010

Yeah, I'm reusing this picture. Deal with it.

Lauren: OH MAH GAH
It reeks in this office today.
Like rotten eggs.
I am going to die.
Lauren: It is El Terrible!
Can that be your Mexican Wrestler name??
Elizabeth: Uh-DER
and you can be LO SIENTO!!!
Lauren: OMG
We need to make this happen, if only for photos.
Because, really, this is cracking my shit up right now.
Elizabeth: Ummmm
Lauren: Photoshop, then?
Elizabeth: this is going to happen
Halloween, mayhaps?
or I can try and find my mexican thumbwrestling masks
Lauren: YES.
I still have one…floating around my house somewhere.
EL Terrible. LO Siento.
I love this.
Elizabeth: hahaha

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

10 03 2010

I fell in love with papercutting last year, so of course I had to have this book.

I’m a bit of a book design slut – I’ll pick up just about any book with an interesting cover.  And I’ve bought more than one purely because I liked the way it looked, with no care at all about content.  Granted, I normally only do that if the book is also on clearance – because I’m a cheap slut – so if it turns out to be awful or if I never get around to reading it, I really don’t have regrets.  But, sometimes when I’m lucky, the pretty book whose name I barely know turns out to be very very good and my cheap slutty ways pay off.  [ahem] Such was the case with The Book of Lost Things.

This is the story of David, a very serious boy living in London right as World War II is beginning.  The book opens with the death of his mother, followed quickly by his father knocking up and marrying his dead mother’s hospice nurse.  David and his father move into his new stepmother’s family house in the country where David is not happy, to put it mildly.  He escapes into the books he finds in the house, reading and rereading strange fairy tales because they remind him of his dead mother.  Which is all sad and a little sweet – until he starts seeing his mother in his dreams, and hearing the books on his shelves whisper to him, and having strange fits filled with terrifying visions.  This all builds until one day, David ends up following one of these visions through a gap in a garden wall and ends up in a different world – a terrifying and twisted world that he is destined to save.

John Connolly takes a familiar story and fills it with nightmares.  David may not have been happy at home, but this other place is not an escape filled with delights.  It is a land where fairy tales are mutated and no one is safe.  David goes on his hero’s journey to save his own life, and learns his lessons in some fairly horrifying ways.  And the reason this is all so unsettling is because it is so well written.  Even though most basic elements of the story aren’t anything new, and I had a decent idea early on how things were going to turn out, all of the details that make a simple story grand were there.  This book was exciting and unexpected and satisfying and proves that sometimes it’s okay to judge a book by its cover.

I Told El I’d Post Something Tonight, But I am Full of Fail.

8 03 2010

So instead, here is a hilarious video. It is why the internet exists.

We [heart] LOST. And funny things. DEAL WITH IT.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

4 03 2010

I’m not an athletic person, I never have been.  I’ve never been able to do a cartwheel, or a pull up, or stretch further than my toes.  Even was I was very young, I’d rather read than run around.  I remember in elementary school, for some reason I wanted to go across the monkey bars.  I was never able to make it the full way, I just couldn’t seem to figure out the motion needed to propel myself past the mid-way point.  So, I was trying yet again to succeed, and instead I fell hard and got the wind knocked out of me.  I just remember laying on the ground, gasping, tears springing to my eyes even though I wasn’t really crying, too shocked to feel any pain yet, and staring up at the sky – it was a gorgeous day, the sky was Crayola Sky Blue and there were a couple of puffy white clouds – and it was this perfect frozen moment of panic and peace.

I’d forgotten about that until I read The Unnamed.  I had this familiar anxiety throughout the book and it took me a while to put my finger on it, but when I’d finally finished and I was laying in my bed, staring at the ceiling, it came flooding back to me.  I know this doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but OMG, it so is.  This book was beautiful and heart wrenching and funny and it left me breathless and shaking and exhilarated.

The Unnamed is about a very sick man, but his disease is unique to him.  He is compelled to walk – think restless leg syndrome on hyperdrive.  He has no control over where he goes or when he starts or when it stops; he walks until he collapses, passing out on park benches or in an alley.  He’s been to specialists of every sort, he and his wife have tried everything they can think of to control it.  And twice before, after several months of walking, it has stopped – the illness going dormant and forgotten for years.  Now it is back and this is where we join him, and his wife and teen daughter, as they struggle to deal with a serious illness that is unlike any other.  At least with cancer or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or whatever, people know what you’re talking about – this has no name, no treatment, it doesn’t even sound serious.  But this disease is as absolutely devastating as anything else and their journey is powerful and gut-wrenching.

Of course, it is so good because it is written so beautifully. Every word was necessary and exactly where it needed to be.  The characters were flawed and real.  Everything felt true.  Joshua Ferris is spectacular, and you absolutely must read his debut Then We Came To The End.  I’m always a little awestruck by writers that I love, especially when they are able to produce two completely different yet equally outstanding books.  I recommend that everyone read both of them and I cannot wait to see what he does next.