That's what Saturdays are for, I guess.
Chai-Spiced Tea Loaves
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon water
1 black tea tea bag (I used french vanilla black tea)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons chai spice blend OR 6 TBS of powdered chai mix*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
5 large eggs OR 1 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Yield: Six mini loaves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour six mini metal loaf pans. I only used five-which made for pleasantly plump loaves.
2. Heat 1/2 cup water until it boils. Place tea bag in water and set it aside to steep.
3. Combine flour, chai spice (or alternate!), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In small bowl, mix yogurt with 1/3 cup cooled tea; discard any remaining tea. This is a very scary looking mix, but I promise-it will be delicious.
5. In large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in granulated and brown sugar.
6. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Mix in both flour and yogurt mixture until combined. Spoon batter evenly into prepared pans.
7. Bake loaves until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Mine took about 35-40 minutes. Cool loaves in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and allow to cool for another 30 minutes.
8. Mix confectioners' sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon water until it creates a smooth, thick glaze. Place glaze in Ziploc bag; snip opening from corner, and drizzle glaze over loaves. Let stand until glaze sets, about 20 minutes.
Enjoy! Delicious with peppermint tea :)*Now, I love chai. But I've never seen "chai spice". I substituted for 6 TBS of Pacific Chai powder. Not nearly as classy, but it got the job done.
Anyway...this is going somewhere. Handmade-esque Starbucks Christmas decor. Do you love that goodness? I do, too!
And, come January 3rd, I had a voicemail from Starbucks inviting me to stop by and take whatever I'd like (!!!).
Last night, I became wrapped up in my project-sorting through old Martha Stewart Weddings, In-Style Weddings and Modern Brides that I've stored. Carefully finding the dogeared pages, cleanly cutting them out, marking them with labels lest I forget why I saved them, then filing them into my alphabetized wedding hanging file box.
Yes. My wedding file.
This is about the dirtiest of all dirty secrets I might possibly possess. I have a wedding file box, which I keep stashed behind the pasta and canned goods in my kitchen cabinet. Not married, not engaged, not planning a wedding anytime soon. It's disgusting, isn't it?
Somehow, last night the hours flew and time escaped me. Suddenly I heard keys fiddling at my door...I fumbled frantically to hide the evidence that I'd frittered away five hours filing photos of cake toppers and centerpieces. But it was too late. The door opened and there I was...like the fat kid in the ice cream at 2am. Spoon in the carton and freezer hanging open. Only with clippings sorted by subject and alphabetical hanging files.
...and all I could manage to let out was a weak, "Don't judge me!"
Please tell me I'm not alone. Did you or do you keep a wedding file??
It was, quite possibly, the most beautiful day of the year.
Hope your Thanksgiving was relaxing and blessed!
Hello, 23 unread e-mails, 19 voicemails and 86 (literally) strange boxes delivered to my office addressed to me.
Goodbye, 1 mysteriously deleted computer folder which contained...my entire work existence.
Wednesday afternoon has never seemed so far away.
While scavenging at the local thrift store with my mama and sis, I stumbled across this sweet little ivory wool hat. After a little handwashing, and requestioning it's sterility, and handwashing again, its as good as new. The best part, other than the snazzy sequin detail, was the three dollar price tag!
Suddenly single digit temps look so much more appealing...
Please tell me I'm not the only one...
Normally I can hold off until after Thanksgiving, but Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald have already logged 40 hours playing in my office this week...and I feel that if I have to hold back my Christmas plotting, planning and joy for one more single solitary second I will vomit more glitter, garland and Christmas cheer than any one person cares to witness!
...am I ill, or do you have the bug, too?
I have at least two excuses for my lack of posting. One being Gabe and my recent addiction to Scrabble (exhibited by the fact that I took the time to stage the above photo), and another less exciting but somewhat more personal reason.
But, here I am! Thanks to those who e-mailed to make sure I was alive...I was alive, just wrapped up in what adults call life, I suppose?
Thanks for checking in. I promise to keep things updated!
This cheery fall template really caught my eye since I am convinced fall has arrived in Wisconsin. Words cannot describe my elation! Commence two air/heat-free months...reducing my energy bills and freeing up an extra $60 to
Everyone around you has handfuls of numbers, in time pairing them up with three matching cards and setting them aside. But you...you look at your cards and they're all strangely NOT numbers...you're holding an asterisk, a semicolon, etc.
You keep saying, "Do you have a ampersand? How about a parenthesis?"
And one after another, the other players look at you quizzically and say, "Uh, no? Go fish."
So, there you sit with an awkward handful of mismatched cards from the fishing pond, and all those punctuation cards that you just can't match up or get rid of. And the reality is, you don't mind that you've drawn wacky cards...you just wish you knew if there was something out there to match them or if you should just forget about it and sit this round out.
I'm quite positive this is rubbish and makes no sense, but if just one person understands that feeling...thank you.
The masterminds behind the project wanted to embrace the Polaroid while it's still around and inspire/encourage the public to achieve lifelong goals. So, they capture a random stranger's expression the moment they are sharing what they want to do before they die, and allow them to write their dream on the Polaroid. Five, ten and twenty years later they follow up with the stranger to see if they've achieved their goal!
After pouring over their online gallery, here are (what seems to be) the world's top goals:
2. Have children
3. Be loved
4. Eat cake/party like a rockstar
Mine is vague and open-ended but this is it:
Before I die I want to do something with my life that will make my family and closest friends say, "That is exactly what she was meant to do." Oh. And the above listed #4. :)
Creature Comforts created the above for coco+kelley's wedding inspiration contest, and without a doubt it's my top pick. That Irish green is right up my alley.
You can check out all 90 (ninety!) board submissions here.
It is physically impossible for me to use that word without shamelessly quoting Anne of Green Gables, which I've just now done. Alone in my office.
Ahem. Normally I feel completely in tune with whatever Domino Magazine showcases in it's latest issue, but for some reason September's issue nearly made my retinas bleed. This is a girl who loves color saying...too much!
While reading over at Bliss
about her living room transformation to all white, I had to agree: an all white room is so cozy and rejuvenating, that I might be persuaded to copycat.
Decoratively speaking, my bitty yellow bedroom has been quite neglected. I may just have to channel some of this restraint, because it looks like white may be just the trick.
(Please note: I had this little post all prescheduled and ready to go but I must interject--Jessica over at Swell Life posted some photos today that were oh-so-inspiring. Consider me head over heads for white.)
(photo found here)
Because, somehow....the stars, the ozone and my very curtains have alligned and by the grace of Pete, I have snagged one wavering bar of UNSECURED INTERNET at my tiny upper apartment in the ghetto.
The beauty of cuddling up on my own couch, smothered in blankets typing whatever my heart desires for the first time in three months...it finally makes writing out that monthly rent check seem worthy of every penny.
Thought I'd share a few of my new favorites:
brandi carlile-the story
Um, wow? I enjoy songs featuring soft female vocals...so this was a complete 180 for me. It gives me chills. Between the powerhouse voice and unfeigned lyrics, it's a blend to experience, my friends.
griffin house-the guy that says goodbye to you
"You don't need to change a thing about you...from where I sit you're one of a kind." How sweet. I want to hug someone. Really, I do. And I am not a hugger. Enough said.
rachel mcgoye- try, try
Reminiscent of Colbie Caillat, but a fresh breath of air because it hasn't been played to death on every station from here to Beijing.
the weepies- all good things
I have been head over heels for The Weepies since last year. If my life were ever turned into a (pathetically dull) movie (about working, reading and surfing the web), I would make sure there was a break up montage in which this song was used. Somehow this might make me seem much more intriguing (but probably not).
(postcard found here)
Maybe someday in the very distant future I'll plan my own, but Hello! Lucky's Wedding Inspiration Boards are just enough to tide me over. Each photo links to the product or place of origin, so there's no dead end when trying to track down where the gorgeous blooms came from, or which photographer snapped that stunning photo.
This board, the Roaring Twenties, might be my favorite. But, 1001 Nights is a close second...
And a lot of evidence of slothfulness on my part. I've logged more hours watching the Olympics in the last three days than actually working. The start of the week has been a receipe for a (beautiful) disaster. An out of town three-day work event, a cozy hotel, a compatable travelmate, a tiny town...at the end of the day I just want to crawl in bed and gorge myself on Michael Phelps and Twizzlers. It's a charmed life, I tell you.
Must do something creative soon or I'm quite sure I'll be declared a vegetable.
Hello and welcome to Monday, my friends.
My officemate, Stephanie, and I are holed up in Hayward, Wisconsin for a three-day work conference. Last week, after a bleak search for the Hayward night life, we were somewhat wary of the trip. However, a quick drive through town proved our research to be false. Home to two flea markets, three mini-golf courses, plenty of lake views and one delectable plate of grilled cheese and fries...I may just love this place. The above photo is the view from our hotel's back patio. Luscious.
Oh, and it is also home to this beaut...
So, case closed? This place is kickin.
(Giant Muskie photo via this guy)
The entire night was 40 billion dollars worth of fabulousness.
How dapper did the Netherlands look at tonight's Opening Ceremony? Crisp, white-piped, grey suits paired with those poppy orange ties...definitely one handsome risk worth taking. And the US, you might ask? Technical foul for improper use of barretts. Yikes.
This rusty red swirl design was repeated several times throughout the night in connection with the Olympic flame. A completely whimsical and unexpected pattern which I adore.
Did anyone else watch the opening, or am I the only square?
Gabe: What's Chalkfest?
Me: Ok. It's at Wilson Park, that little park I love.
Gabe: Oh yeah.
Me: So, artists register for Chalkfest and are given a piece of sidewalk to create a large-scale piece of chalk art. Really intricate, beautiful things. There are other festivities, but basically you can stroll and check out the art.
Gabe: Really? That sounds awesome. Let's go.
After repeating the above conversation four times, I think the concept is understood.
Until tonight while writing this post.
Me: Check out these pictures I took of a Chalkfest ad downtown.
Gabe: So you're looking at pictures of Chalkfest?
Me: No. I took this picture. Of a picture someone drew downtown to promote Chalkfest.
Gabe: Cool. So are you going to draw that?
Gabe: At Chalkfest.
Me: No, why?
Gabe: Wait. What is Chalkfest. (Period intended.)
Somedays I swear we are chalk and cheese. And he agrees.
This weekend was positively pig-infused.
Gabe and I spotted an originalPass the Pigs game at a thrift sale and were reminded that it had been months since we'd busted out the pigs. So Saturday night, flashlight in hand, we crept down to the park after dark and played pigs on a rock til midnight. A hippy passerby boasted to us about his recent double leaning jowler (!!!) and I bemoaned the nixing of the "Makin' Bacon" position in the updated edition Pigs.
Is it pathetic that I miss the weekend already?
Twelve years ago I knew it was true blue.
I was 10, and deeply in love with all things theatre. But my sixth grade world was rocked when I discovered I had been cast as an elephant for our year-end school play (gooooooodbye, self esteem!). The kicker was...this elephant gig was a two person job. And my job? Bringing up the rear.
Thankfully, my fellow nerdling for life, Becky, was cast as my front half. Knowing how much I was dreading my debut as an elephant's fanny, she selflessly gave up the driver's seat to me and cozied up in the rump.
Happy Girlfriend's Day to all my pals who keep me sane.
In an attempt at witty redirection, I crafted this sign. But nature, I believe, has had the final say. It poured within 48 hours and reduced my sign to mere mush. The cigarettes, however, have mysteriously returned to the ashtray.
Ah, passive aggressive tendencies. You never lead me astray.
Am I crazy, or do you too remember the smell of home?
I'm sure I do. In my mind, home smells like apple cinnamon and linens. No, it doesn't actually smell that way. I suppose that is the romanticised version, the two scents I remember most from my childhood. My mom used to make apple cinnamon ornaments several times a year...fragrant apple and snowmen shapes lined a shelf next to the telephone in the kitchen. My bedroom was steps away from the linen closet, which was a mix of cedar and sunshine. My dad was nutso for line-dried laundry...my mother hated it because it left her jeans crunchy (I agree).
Now, twenty years later I know my parent's home smells differently. It smells of new furniture, fresh paint and dishsoap. But me? I'll always remember apples and linens.
This chair was one of my first DIY projects a while back. I dug its lines and knew I could give it a quick face lift. One can of spray paint and a half of a yard of fabric made a world of difference!
I have a bit of a thing for framed art from thrift and antique stores. I snagged this mirror last year for only four dollars! A whole pile of art awaits my next hanging whim...but my indecisive nature has kept me from making any long term nail holes.
This is my tiny read/think/write corner. Generous co-workers funded the armchair with an IKEA gift card several months ago...I was ever so thankful as I was severely lacking extra seating. My living room is rather minuscule, but it's probably for the best. Forced decor editing!
Although the reviews I've read are hardly raving, if you love ABBA (or musicals in general) this one is a must this summer. Filmed in beautiful Greece, the views are stunning and the cast endearing. Very rarely can I say a movie allowed me to experience a full range of emotions, but let me say this: I laughed, I cried. I clapped at the end. I find clapping at the credits obnoxious. But wholeheartedly, I clapped.
Who am I kidding? I STINKIN WORSHIP THIS MOVIE.
From twenty-two to sixty two years...every single one of my co-workers sang along. It was an exquisite afternoon.
An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break. -an ancient Chinese belief
(artwork by groundwork)
Have I been living in THE smallest box or did anyone else know that Project Runway Season 5 premieres tonight? By some whim I looked up PR yesterday only to have my proverbial socks blown straight off when I discovered that I was a mere one day away from fresh load of fashion.
Now a visit to Shanghai isn't complete unless it ends with a scoop of green. And after reading a list of all the benefits of green tea, I've convinced myself that it's healthy.
The stars have aligned and our boss's birthday just happens to coincide with this Friday's much anticipated opening of Mamma Mia! We've convinced our boss and co-workers to cash in on an afternoon's worth of personal time to indulge in a little birthday lunch and an afternoon showing.
Colin Firth + ABBA + Guilt-free Friday afternoon = Absolutely. Cannot. Wait.
And speaking of apples, these apple jackets may be the most impractical thing I've ever needed. But how sweet!
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
I fessed up to my complete and utter caff compulsion quite some time ago. Convinced I would live in lifelong subservience to Diet Dew and Mochachinos, never once have I tried to kick the habit, other than the few college-induced days of poverty when I had no choice but to cut consumption in half.
Now, however, I'm in "grown up" world and there are days in which the only warm-fuzzy thought that greets me at my desk in the morning is the pending run down to the basement vending machine...where the sweet, sweet nectar of my existence awaits. Crisp. Cold. Spendy, but cheerfully caffeinated.
That cheer has officially been ripped from my now shaky hands. My boss, a health nut, has convinced me to give it up.
Tonight marks 48 hours, caffeine free.
So far the only side effects I've encountered are headaches, muscle aches, inability to concentrate, fatigue, irritability, slight nausea and one 13 hour nap (not exaggerating).Oh, and that one fleeting moment where I pondered shoving Bic pens in both my eyes and my temples. And then taking a sick day.
This is what my dream bookcase would look like, thank youabchao for capturing the feel. I've been sorting my books by color since the first day I moved in and have yet to find the perfect sized bookcase to fit in my itty corner. For now they're stacked in two towering vertical piles, just a wiggle away from complete and devastating destruction.
here. For a woman who obviously digs color, she's done a ki-i-iller job editing what she brings into her home!)
(Can I just mention how abchao has wrapped up all my hopes and dreams and placed them in her home? View her eclectic and colorful home
(Can I just mention how abchao has wrapped up all my hopes and dreams and placed them in her home? View her eclectic and colorful home
I loathe trying to choose a new calendar every year (this year I gave up). Year by year it seems the choices become more horrendous: 12 Months of Kitty Kat Snuggles or 365 Days of Boop. Godless giant, glossy pages flopping and falling or peeling back one page a day and finding myself 23 days behind by March.
Happy 4th, ladies and gents (and by gents I mean my father who reads occasionally when Everybody Loves Raymond is a rerun he's seen).
My mind is boggled by the fact that it is 10am...and I am being paid to laze in bed and blog. Oh, paid holidays. A luxury for which I am thankful.
I'm off to blow a ton of money makingthis. Enjoy your day!!