Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pulling a The David Cook for Charity - TWLOHA

Remember when the Merry Pranksters of Mommy Wants Vodka got together and pulled awesome little pranks on celebrities, like Chef Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman? Well, we're doing it again, but this time for a cause. Basically, instead of a celebrity, we're picking a charity and trying to drum up awareness by tricking that ol' Google algorithm. Hopefully, the charity I've chosen doesn't mind too much, because I think it's really important to tell people about them.

As you may have read here on my blog, my high school best friend, John, committed suicide. He was 16. Six.teen. I can't imagine the sadness a 16-year-old must have felt that would make him think suicide was the only way. I so often wish he'd had someone to talk to. Someone to offer him another path. Someone like To Write Love On Her Arms. TWLOHA, as it's often referred to by those in the know, is a non-profit organization that serves to provide hope and support to those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA's mission is a thing of compassion and love. An excerpt: "You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people, to know and be known. You need to know that your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story. You need to know that your life matters." (source).

TWLOHA has a comprehensive website offering facts about depression, suicide statistics, information about self-injury, and addiction. If you or someone you know is in need, TWLOHA provides a list of helplines.

To raise awareness, To Write Love on Her Arms sells TWLOHA shirts and has a TWLOHA Twitter as well as a To Write Love On Her Arms Facebook, which is updated with TWLOHA inspirational quotes each day. They also do TWLOHA speaking engagements.

TWLOHA could have helped my friend, John, and many others. it is my sincere hope that awareness is spread about this incredible and compassionate organization so that others don't have to lose their friend or family member.

For more information, please visit To Write Love On Her Arms and see what you can do to to spread their motto that "Love Is the Movement."


UPDATE: Aunt Becky asked me to post the above on her new group blog Band Back Together and I'm truly honored. I combined the above with this post about my dear friend, John, and you can find it here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Folks, I just have to say that I've been working on something that I'm very excited about! As you may know, our one-year anniversary is October 16th and I'm very much looking forward to celebrating it. As I'm awful with keeping secrets, it's impossible to keep my anticipation from you. Hopefully, you all will be excited too. Pretty much, there's going to be a week of wedding recaps and giveaways by some of my favorite Etsy sellers! The week of October 11th is pretty much going to feel like a visit to the Oprah show, people.

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 27, 2010


... baby back rrrribs! With BBQ Sauce! Anyone hungry for Chili's now? Good, because today is the day that Chili's is donating all their profits to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. So if you're going to eat out this evening anyway - and even if you weren't planning too - why not enjoy some Baby Back Ribs, a Big Mouth Burger, or Southwestern Egg Rolls while helping out some kiddos in need of a miracle or two? And if you can't get out this evening, you can go here and Create a Pepper and/or make a donation. What a fabulous thing to do on a boring Monday, hmmm?

Speaking of which, Meal Plan Monday is here! It's like the only good thing about Monday, don't you agree?

Monday: Chili's, obvs.

Tuesday: Mushroom Crock Pot chicken with rice and broccoli

Wednesday: Pasta with turkey meat sauce and veggies.

Thursday: Lemon pepper chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans

Friday: Probably Dos Gringos. Maybe. If not, there'll be left-overs to get through.


Our weekend was excellent. Our friend Army Daniel came into town on Saturday and we went to watch the UFC fights at Native New Yorker and then we went on to Dos Gringos for drinks on the patio. On Sunday, we took it easy, and my parents came to visit us in the late afternoon and brought us dinner. We mostly hung out and watched football. After they left Dan and I curled up on the couch and watched Undercover Boss. Have you see it? It's pretty awesome. I highly recommend it. And now we're back to the grind, of course. I swear I can't decide which kind of weekend seems shorter: those that are stuffed with plans, or those that are lazy with very little effort on my part. It probably doesn't matter - I'm sure I'll always feel like I need just one more day.

Don't forget, eat at Chili's :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

It finally happened...

... I made a cake, and nothing went wrong! And awesomely enough, it was for another big boss in the building, so I'm so glad it went well. The only thing was that the birthday boy requested a Betty Crocker vanilla cake (they're very specific about their cakes in that group) with chocolate frosting. My coworker asked for chocolate butter cream. Only problem, I don't like chocolate butter cream. So I really had no idea what it should taste like when it's good, because it just doesn't taste good to me. I got it to where I think it's supposed to be and went with it. It smoothed nicely, didn't pick up any crumbs, and everything went great. I didn't get a picture, but just imagine the most awesome chocolate frosted cake you've ever seen with "Happy Birthday" written on it.

In other cake news, I ordered our anniversary tier from our baker today. I am so excited! That was darn good cake, and I'm excited to celebrate our anniversary and Dan's birthday with our friends, Scott and Melissa. We were going to head up north for a night and have dinner and go out. Unfortunately, as I started looking at hotels, I discovered that the university up there is having its Family Weekend that weekend. Everything will be crowded and hotels are way overpriced. Boohiss. Dan decided he'd rather save the cost and just do dinner and something fun here, instead. He doesn't know I ordered the cake though, so it'll be a fun surprise. Now I just have to figure out what to get my husband for our first anniversary and for his birthday. Hmmm...

In dog news, Clover went to the vet yesterday for her semi-annual bordatella shot and I was talking with the doc about her house-breaking issues. Something about the frequency of how often she's relieving herself triggered some concern for him, and he suggested an ultra-sound and urinalysis. The last time we'd talked about it, she was almost 6 months old and within the normal range for house-breaking, and he didn't think it was an infection since she wasn't having accidents in her crate (a truly bad infection would have over-ridden her natural instinct to mess in her crate). The ultra-sound came back normal, which was a relief, but he said she may have a low-grade infection and prescribed antibiotics. While I feel awful that it's possible she's had this little infection looming for quite a while, I'm happy that we may have an answer to why house-breaking has been so difficult with her. I just hope this may be the start of a new beginning for us.

As far as this weekend goes, it's a blank canvas, just like I like my weekends. I think we're going to see my parents, and Dan's on call, but other than that, everything is wide open.

Does anyone else have any fun weekend plans? How did you celebrate your first anniversary? What should I get my husband?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Scattered Thursday Thoughts

I'm way too all over the place this morning to put one concrete thought together. Maybe it's the full-force, full-sugar Coke I've been drinking the last couple days. Or maybe it's just the sheer excitement of today.

  • It's Premiere Day!! First and foremost, today is full of the awesome because The Office returns tonight! New Michael, new Jim and Pam, new Dwight, new Angela, new Kelly, new Creed, Stanley, Erin, Phyllis, Meredith, Toby, Darryl, Ryan, Kevin, Andy, Oscar and IT guy!! Also, new 30 Rock and the premiere of the new show Outsourced. My friend Andrew doesn't understand why I'd be so excited to see an aspect of my daily work life made into a show. He doesn't have to deal with India though. Our company has outsourced a lot of stuff to India, so I talk or email someone there daily. This show has to be hilarious.

  • The cookie bridal shower favors I worked on for my coworker were delivered today, and we're both just thrilled with them. If you didn't see the explanation before, the groom made the bride a black shirt with "I said yes!" and a ring on it to wear after he proposed. My coworker wanted cookie replicas of the shirt, but I deterred her away from the awfulness that is black icing. So we had vistaprint make postcards with a shirt design and the cookie itself is the ring from the shirt. Look how cute they came together!

  • We've had out first baking related death. RIP Oster handmixer. But heeeeelllloooooooo new awesome Waring Pro digital mixer with a timer!! Dan thinks I'm crazy for taking pictures of my handmixer, but I just love it so much and I'm overly excited by that kind of stuff. Plus, did I tell you it has a digital timer? Never again will I lose track of how long I've been beating cake batter. Win!

Today is just all good things!! Hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday - enjoy the premieres tonight!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I won an award!

I should read my blog roll before I go posting. The lovely Shelly over at Shelly's Musings gave me an award! Yay!! Funny thing about Shelly, and I'm not even sure she knows this, but I'm sure I'm not the first jackass to point this out, but whenever I think "Shelly," my brains adds another and makes it "Shelly, Shelly!!"

South Park, anyone? No? Okay. My Shelly is way cooler, obviously, because she gave me this shiny award. And also because she's just plain awesome and has cute dresses with airplanes and loves the zoo with the passion of 1,000 fiery suns. She and Salt are pretty much my favorite Knotties of.all.time.

Enough already. My "A Blog With Substance" award:

I have to explain my blogging experience in 5 words: therapeutic, liberating, entertaining, fun, journaling

I now get to give my award to 5 other lucky bloggers. And the winners are...

Mrs. ESPN @ Life With Our Brown Eyed Girls

JMJE @ Making Stuff Is Fun

Amanda @ It's Blogworthy

Skye @ ndnspeechmom

Angie @ Painting Galactic Scenes

Blanket wars

I present to you a conversation from last night:

Dan: I need to get my own blanket

Me: Why?

Dan: You keep stealing the blanket at night.

Me: I do not. I woke up last night and you were laying on top of it. If anything, you steal it.

Dan: Well I woke up and you were rolled up in it like a little burrito. Like you got up out of bed, rolled up in it, and taquito-hopped back into bed.

Me: Oh. Sorry.

Dan: What if I catch pneumonia from being cold?

Me: I doubt that. It never gets below 76 degrees in here.

Dan: What if I get gangrene and lose my legs?

Me: How are you gonna ge--

Dan: What.if?

Me: Then I'd feel really bad.

Dan: I'm surprised I wake up in the morning with a pillow. Or even on the bed at all, for that matter.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meal Plan Monday: Beef Week

This week, thanks to checking the ads at Pinching Your Pennies, I've found that beef is my best deal for the week. So we'll be having lot of good hearty protein-filled meals.

Monday: Meat loaf and asparagus I just love my friend's recipe - it's so tasty

Tuesday: Turkey taco salads. Okay, so it's not beef, but turkey's on sale too :) And we have chips to use up

Wednesday: Pot roast. Yummmmm

Thursday: We have plans to go to Native New Yorker for delicious wings

Friday: Leftover pot roast remixed as beef enchiladas


I don't really even know how to start this post, but I felt compelled to post it after finding out about it on Twitter through Salt. I've never read this man's blog before, but he's got a humbling and powerful message. I urge you to read it, and share it if you also feel so inclined.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Feeling Feisty

I have to say, I'm feeling a little feisty this Friday morning. I don't know if it's because I just got on The Twitter and have discovered a whole new level of fun, or the fact that the Merry Band of Pranksters is succeeding in John C. Mayering (it's in Urban Dictionary, now, people) every celebrity from my own Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman to Nicole Snooki Polizzi, Oprah Winfrey, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Twitter is all a...twitter about it. Awesome. If any of you have found your way here from Mommy Wants Vodka or Google, welcome!

Anywho, it's Friday, and I'm very glad to be welcoming the weekend. It's Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sunday, and I'm hoping to get to use the pirate cupcake liners and flags I bought waaaaay back in March. Yes, I'm a huge nerd. Hopefully, we'll be spending the weekend with friends and/or my parents. We're heading to Mrs. ESPN's house tomorrow so Dan can work on her Honey Do list. It'll be nice to hang out with her and the girls while Dan plays handy man.

I've also got cookies to do, which will be my project tomorrow morning. I actually LOVE this order. A coworker hired me to do engagement ring cookies for a bridal shower she's hosting. When the groom proposed, he had a shirt made for the bride that said "I said yes!" with a cute cartoony engagement ring on it. My coworker ordered free business cards from with the shirt design. The cookies themselves will be the ring from the shirt. I thought it was a really cute way to make the shower favors reflect the couple in such a personal way.

Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pranky pranky, Chef Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman

Dear Chef Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman,

May I call you Duff? Chef Duff? Anycake, I adore you. I hope you know that. I loved you on Cupcake Wars, Chef Duff. I love you and your lovely whisk tattoo, Duff Goldman. I love your show, Ace of Cakes, on the Food Network, Duff. The way you and your friends at Charm City Cakes create cakes and make them into amazing things like old cars, spinning exorcist cakes, and even a giant spaeztl cake.

I'm dying to try your new Chef Duff cake decorating supplies. You even made Chef Duff cake tattoos. It's about time you gave that other cake supply company who will not be named a run for its money in the market for ready made fondant, Duff Goldman.

I don't Twitter, Chef Duff, but I hope that we can still be friends. Maybe we can meet up on Facebook, Duff Goldman? If nothing else, I promise to religious watch your show.

Until we meet (which I'm sure will be never, because Charm City Cakes is on super lock-down), all my love and adoration,


P.S. I'd be honored to battle you in kitchen stadium should you ever make another appearance on Iron Chef, Duff Goldman. Rock on, Ace of Cakes.

Want to know what the F is going on and why I'm ranting and raving about the great Chef Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman? Go here. I'm just trying to prank my favorite culinarian, Chef Duff into more fame than he's got going for him now. He deserves it.

Prank on, Merry Pranksters!


Check this out! My little known blog... yeah, it's #3 when you Google search for Jeffrey Adam "Duff" Goldman.

"Facebook Duff Goldman" is #2, second only to his actual facebook page.

My work here is done.

Giant Reese's cups!

I'm sure everyone has that one person at their job. That one intimidating boss that you avoid. That one that when they show up at your desk, you know something is horribly terribly wrong. For me, that's the controller. He's really not that scary as a person. He's a big, kinda goofy looking, most-likely-gay, corn-fed Midwestern boy with a vampire laugh. He's hilarious and out-going at happy hours, but he is a hard ass at the office. Of course, he's the controller. It's to be expected. But man, oh man, he intimidates me. And today was his birthday, and I was hired to make his cupcakes. Cue me shaking in my ballet flats.

Now, if you've seen pictures of most of my other cakes and cupcakes, they're all pretty girly. They're pink and have sprinkles (even if it's bacon) that coordinate with their cute cupcake liners. So my first thought was how I was going to make cupcakes look manly (even if the birthday boy isn't a typical manly man). Once again, Mrs. ESPN (she really should just be my business partner!) stepped in with a brilliant idea: chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. My coworker's birthday cake was such a big hit, I figured cupcake sized confections would go over really well. So I used the same recipe and.... voila!

I wanted to whip the ganache and fill the cupcakes with it (like the filling I used for the wedding cake), but I think the peanut butter and corn syrup may have worked to prevent the ganache from getting fluffy. It got partway there, but not enough that I was confident it wouldn't make the cake soggy. So I drizzled it on top, instead. Dan said they were just like giant Reese's cups. It's a good thing I bought manly gold foil cups to put them in. Everyone said they were delish, but I haven't heard from the birthday boy yet. I suppose that would be the only thing I'd want to see him at my desk for :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crumby cake

Just once, I'd like to get an order for a cake and be excited to make it and know that nothing will go wrong. Does that happen? Because it seems like more often than not, I have some sort of problem that, at some point, has me (a.) in tears or (b.) saying, "I can't DO this."

I made the cakes for my coworker's surprise baby shower cake last night. I had planned to leave the office early and get a head start, and of course that didn't happen. Thankfully, nothing went wrong with the baking. Score one for me. Since it was late and I wanted to get a good frozen crumb layer (a thin layer of icing to pick up cake crumbs intentionally), I decided to freeze it over night and finish the top layer and decorating this morning. Great plan! I mixed my gum paste colors and washed and set out everything I'd need this morning.

Unfortunately, my great plan got derailed when my nice fluffy soft frosting top layer picked up and mixed in with crumbs from the crumb layer, creating a super-thick crumb layer using almost a whole batch of frosting. Oops. Poor Dan came into the kitchen to find me in tears saying I couldn't possibly take money for this cake and I'd have to go buy one. He told me not to give up and it would be okay, that I'd promised a cake and I was going to deliver (sound familiar?). I frantically IMed Mrs. ESPN at work, who told me to put it back in the freezer and try again in a bit. Thankfully, the newly frozen layer didn't pull up when I added new frosting and I got most of the crumbage out. I moved on to decorating and that went smoothly as well.

All in all, I'm happy with how it came out. There are still some visible crumbs, but the rational part of me knows I'm looking at it and scrutinizing more than anyone else is. The buyer was happy with it, and that's what matters, right?

If nothing else, that sucker is delicious with a layer each of chocolate fudge cake and white cake with Oreo crumbles. Yum!!
And once again, I'd like to thank Dan for not letting me give up. It's nice to know he's got faith in me when I don't.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meal Plan Monday: 9/13

I'm really not feeling super inspired today to think of great things to eat all week. I also have to bake and decorate an office baby shower cake tonight, so I'm really more concerned about that than dinner. Feel free to feel bad for my poor husband.

Monday: We really may end up eating Chinese take-out if I don't think of something better than Mac'n'Cheese with hot dogs. I'm trying to avoid a dinner that has to be baked, since I'm doing cakes. Feel free to offer up suggestions

Stuffed peppers


Chicken - probably my stand-by crock-pot chicken, or maybe baked. Either way, served with rice and veggies

Dos Gringos, yay!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Junk Drawer Tape

A couple weeks ago, I baked some cute dog cookies for the nieces of my coworker and shipped them to Michigan. All of my cookie packing stuff was in the car, so I pretty much packaged them at my desk when I got to work. Of course, when I got there, I couldn't find my nice roll of clear packaging tape. So I asked our wonderful admin assistant if she had some tape to borrow. What she brought me reminded me instantly of something from my childhood: junk drawer tape.

When I was younger and asked my mom or dad for tape, I was directed to the junk drawer in the kitchen. In the drawer lived a roll of 3" wide packaging tape that should have been thrown out looooong ago. It was yellowed, brittle, and the cardboard core was warped, rippling the tape. The handy-dandy dispenser and razor cutter had long since disappeared. Every time you used it, you had to find the end (because none of us were smart enough to fold it under making a tab) and hope that you could peel off the length you needed without it somehow shredding. Then, since it was packaging tape and therefore tough, you had to make sure you had scissors handy to cut it. If you were wrapping a gift and wanted neat little strips, you had to make your own by cutting the strip lengthwise. God forbid we just buy some scotch tape on a nice neat little roll with a dispenser. If my parents had any of that glorious stuff, they kept it hidden.

Now that I'm on my own and can buy my own tape, I'm kind of nutso about it. I keep multiple rolls in various places - the junk drawer, my craft drawer, hidden in my desk at work. I spend good money on 3M brand Scotch tape (no generics!!), and if one should lose it's dispenser and razor, it finds a new home in the trash. My packaging tape is the same. My days of fighting with packaging tape and struggling to get a 3" strip without tears are over. I even buy those cute little pop-up, pre-cut dispensers for Christmas wrapping. Tape is now one of my "things," along with good ol' name brand 27-ply toilet paper, which is also a result of being deprived of the quality stuff at my parents' house. My mom is so cringing right now.

So when Shannon sweetly handed me her tape at the office and I burst into laughter and called it junk drawer tape, she just looked at me completely baffled. I'm pretty sure if I ever ask to use it again, she'll ask if her tape meets my standards. As long as she tries to give me junk drawer tape, that answer is 'no.'

Do you have something silly that you're now obsessive about because you were deprived when you were younger?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thankful Thursday

On my drive in to work this morning, I was thinking about some things that I am really thankful for. Some of these things, I don't express enough, and I feel I should. So here goes...

  • I'm thankful for my mother-in-law. And for my mom. My sister's wedding planning experience so far has been so stressful for her and Daniel, and a huge part of that relates to the troubles her future MIL has given her over the guest list. Things seem to finally be resolved, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is some resentment that lasts for a while. And I doubt this will be the last of the stress between now and April. In comparison, my mom and MIL were nothing but supportive during the planning of our wedding. They wanted nothing other than what we wanted. Both saw it as our day and wanted nothing more than for us to be happy. Seeing how my sister's wedding planning is going has really put it into perspective for me.
  • I'm thankful for having two healthy pups. Clover may drive me nuts with her habits peeing on my carpet and chewing all the buttons off my clothes, and Paisley hasn't grown out of eating flip flops. But since Paisley's illness in November (knock on wood), we've been blessed with two healthy and happy dogs.
  • I'm thankful, as always, for my husband. It dawned on me yesterday for the 349835th time what a great man he is. He recently drove our friend Daniel's new car back from Daniel's hometown while Daniel was serving in Iraq and then attending his debriefing. In the last couple of weeks, Dan has put Daniel's new wheels on and picked up parts to modify the car (boys!). Last night, before Daniel flew in, it was important to Dan to wash the car so that Daniel's first glimpse of his new ride would be immaculate. So, at 11:30 last night, Dan washed the car and then picked Daniel up in his sparkling shiny new Camaro. It just struck me once again that my husband would do anything for his friends. He's a great friend to the people we care about. I'm just so proud to be his wife.
  • Speaking of Daniel, I'm immensely thankful for our military men and women who leave their families and friends to risk their lives in foreign and dangerous places for the sake of our freedom. Whether I support the war or not (and even possibly whether they do or not), I feel that support and gratitude of our troops is necessary. I'm thankful that Daniel is safely back home once again.

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

  • This Tuesday is really a Monday parading around in Tuesday clothing. It's awful. The only good thing about my Mondays is that they usually fly by, but I saved the most tedious part of my month-end duties for the very end and now I'm finding myself with little concentration and motivation to finish it.
  • I'm feeling very thankful for my easy-going mother-in-law and the wedding planning experience I had. My poor sister is having a heck of a time reigning in her MILzilla and her guest list of thousands (okay, I'm exaggerating... a little). I think they're come to a solution, but I'm simply thankful for not having to endure the stress or battles that she has.
  • Our weekend was excellent. We hung out with friends, went swimming at my in-laws' house, and spent yesterday cleaning and relaxing before enjoying dinner out together.
  • I just bought some super cute earrings from my pal Salt. She's got a newish Etsy shop that you can check out here.
  • On Friday, we took my friend, Fariba, out for almost the first time since she had her baby, Eli, four months ago. We had a blast! That girl had some serious steam to let off, and I'm so appreciative of my sweet husband for taking us out and getting us home safely.
  • I still have to figure out my meal plan for the week, which means I also still have to go grocery shopping. Blah. I was hoping that was one thing I'd miss out on with the elimination of Monday this week, but no.
  • I've been shopping around online for some new clothes. I'm thinking I want to find a few dresses to pair with tights and some cute boots to get me through "fall" and "winter" (I use those terms loosely). If anyone has suggestions for online stores, let me know!
  • Lastly, I have a suit I need to get rid of. It's plain black and a size 6 (though I was an 8 when I wore it) and unaltered. I only wore it three times and I'm thinking I'll send it away for $50 to a good home. Leave an email in the comments if you're interested and I'll send you pics.

Friday, September 3, 2010

TGI 3 Day Weekend (or TGI3DW)

Hallelujah! It's a 3-day weekend. I don't think I've needed one so badly in all my living days. I am antsy antsy antsy to get out of this office for 3 days. It's just been one of those weeks. It's been long and tedious. We had a new site come on to our reporting system (try to stay awake!) and their data is just a bowl of fun, let me tell you. There's a going-away breakfast potluck at the office today, and Dan once again contributed his delicious maple bacon cupcakes. There's also a happy hour later, which should be fun.

We don't have much planned this Labor Day. Two years ago, we went to Mexico on our first (and only, so far) vacation. None of that this year. We'll be heading to Scott & Melissa's to hang out with friends on Sunday, and other than that, we'll be taking it easy. I finally cleaned out my closet, and I do have to find somewhere to take all my discarded clothes. I have a cookie order due later this month that I might get started on as well. I don't care what we do, as long as we have an extra day :)

A few announcements:

  • After a year of being a nanny for a family in Seattle, my sister accepted a new position, and she starts today! Have a fabulous first day, Megan!
  • Salt Says... (the blog, not the actual Salt) is celebrating its blog birthday with a giveaway. Click here to enter to win a gorgeous sparrow necklace handmade by Salt (the person, not the blog) herself.

Have a fabulous Labor Day weekend, everyone!