Annual Birthday Blog!

I know I rarely blog anymore (well, I do blog, but it’s all for AIRMATIC or Worcester Roller Derby these days) but I wanted to continue tradition and post my annual birthday list! I turned 28 today, so this year’s list is 8 things I did this year that I’d never done before. Enjoy!

  1. Joined a roller derby league. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am learning a ton, getting my ass kicked, and having a freaking blast. The women I skate with are fabulous and I couldn’t ask for better teammates. Love you awesome nerds! (Watch a video of me getting low and hitting hard here!)
  2. Went skydiving. At this year’s annual Cape Cod vacation, Tyler, Em, and I went skydiving together. Few moments in my life measure up to the feeling of stepping out of a plane at 10,000 feet into the open air and just letting go. What a rush! (It didn’t hurt that my instructor screamed “Alohomora!” as our parachute opened. #memories)
  3. Sold a house. Jordan and I put our house on the market back in May and it was under contract within 12 hours. Can’t beat that!
  4. Got a Harry Potter tattoo. I could write a book about how much Harry Potter means to me, but suffice to say that I am quite a fan. Until the very end, Harry.FullSizeRender (15)
  5. Finished writing a novel. That’s right, I finished the book I wrote about in last year’s blog! Yay! I’ve not done anything with it since finishing, but maybe this year I’ll finish final edits and look into publishing!
  6. Binge watched the following shows: Game of Thrones, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Longmire, The 100, The Mysteries of Laura, Sirens, Great British Bake-Off, Person of Interest, Diners Drive-Ins & Dives, Duff Till Dawn, Bob’s Burgers, Fuller House, Dance Academy, Zoo, Battle Creek, Degrassi: Next Class, Zero Hour, White Collar, Melissa & Joey, Young & Hungry, Bones, FRIENDS, Leverage.
  7. Read novels by the following authors: J K Rowling (10), Steven King (6), Barbara Kingsolver (4), Jodi Picoult (6), Harper Lee, Phillippa Gregory (5), Cassandra Clare (9), Amy Poehler, Pete Wentz, Haven Kimmel (2), Cormac McCarthy, Sue Monk Kidd, Carol Goodman, Carolyn Keene (3), William Brodrick, plus 900 children’s books (give or take.)
  8. Wore silk pants. Yeah, last year’s birthday resolution was a good one. I wore silk pants, fishnets under denim shorts, shoes with cats on them, crop tops (even though my post-Atticus belly button is a hot mess, floor-length fundie-style skirts, and a plethora of Harry-Potter themed garments. I wore what made me happy and it was a great decision. #noregretsIMG_8621

Here’s to 28; may it be even better than 27!

new year

The new year is upon us!

Along with making 52 crafts, I also resolved to read 52 books in 2012. I underestimated how much I enjoy reading, though, and ended the year having read 113 books. (Obviously, reading is a big part of my life!) That said, here are my top five (with Amazon.com book descriptions in italics):

1. Devil in the White City – Erik Larson – Erik Larson—author of #1 bestseller In the Garden of Beasts—intertwines the true tales of the 1893 World’s Fair and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Erik Larson has crafted a non-fiction narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

2. The Last of Her Kind – Sigrid Nunez – Nunez’s ruthlessly observed portrait of countercultural America in the sixties and seventies opens in 1968, when two girls meet as roommates at Barnard College. Ann is rich and white and wants to be neither, confiding, “I wish I had been born poor”; Georgette has no illusions about poverty, having just escaped her depressed home town, where “whole families drank themselves to disgrace.” Georgette finds Ann at once despicable and mesmerizing, and she’s stunned—if not entirely surprised—when, years after the end of their friendship, Ann is arrested for killing a cop. In previous works, Nunez has proved herself a master of psychological acuity. Here her ambitions are grander, and the result is a remarkable and disconcerting vision of a troubled time in American history, and of its repercussions for national and individual identity.

3. The Feminine Mystique – Betty Friedan – Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely describe the earthshaking and long-lasting effects of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. This is the book that defined “the problem that has no name,” that launched the Second Wave of the feminist movement, and has been awakening women and men with its insights into social relations, which still remain fresh, ever since. A national bestseller, with over 1 million copies sold.

4. The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa Gregory – When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands. A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.

5. Atonement – Ian McEwan – Ian McEwan s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose. On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives together with her precocious literary gifts brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century, Atonement engages the reader on every conceivable level, with an ease and authority that mark it as a genuine masterpiece.

If you’re in the market for a good book, I highly recommend all 5 of the above books (as well as many more!)

 

christmas catch-up!

Christmas has finally come which means I can share all the crafts I made as gifts! Here we go!

An infinity scarf for Hani

To infinity and beyond!Yarn bangles for Erica (the pastel ones ended up being cat toys because Sisko loved them so)

Those darn cats.Owl sunglasses cases for Rachel and Emilee (and me!)

Aah! They're so cute!Complete with whatkittydid tags!

Oh, yeah!And a pillowcase for Caity (it’s a long story that ends in an inside joke that isn’t that funny)I love stripes!

And that’s crafts 49, 50, 51, and 52: COMPLETE!

BAM! I JUST BACKHANDED THIS YEAR WITH MY CRAFTY RESOLUTION! WHAAAAAAT!

=P

Hope everybody had a very merry Christmas!!!! (Stay tuned for next year’s resolutions!)

‘c’ is for cookie, that’s good enough for me

Hi! Hi, friends!

Ready for a quick update on my life before we dig in to this week’s craft? First of all, I got a brand new cord for my sister-in-law’s camera which is now my camera because Jordan stole it from her when she got a new camera. (Did that make sense?) Anyway, get excited because that means the quality of my pictures is about to go up. Way up.

Second, tomorrow morning Jordan and I are mailing out the first two batches of submissions to poetry journals!

Eeeee!
The possibilities feel endless!

There are five poems in each of those envelopes, heading out into the big wide world, hoping to make a mark. How exciting!

Third, Caity is coming up on Saturday to spend some time hanging out with Jordan and me! Can you blame her for missing us? We’re so cool.

They don't make cool like us anymore.
Oh, heck yes.

Okay, time to get down to business! This week’s craft was a batch of delicious sugar cookies with Nutella filling. The recipe comes from Peabody’s blog and even though World Nutella Day isn’t until February 5th, I’m making them now. Call me overexcited. Go ahead, take a look at that recipe. Tell me you wouldn’t be overexcited, too.

So, first I made the sugar cookie dough using this recipe, also from Peabody’s Culinary Concoctions. I halved the recipe because it started out HUGE. (7 1/2 cups of flour!) Jordan went grocery shopping while I was at work and picked up some last-minute supplies.

I love my melamine bowl set.
I like any recipe where the butter to egg ratio is 1:1.

I beat the butter and powdered sugar together then added the eggs.

See the bowls? Love them!
Mmm, whisk-y. (Whisk-y, not whiskey.)

Next, I added the flour. A lot of it.

Wow. Just look at the quality of these pictures.
A lot.
I mean, really!
A little less.
Just phenomenal.
All mixed in!

Then I checked the recipe to see what the next step was. “Refrigerate dough for at least 4 hours.” Oh. Did not see that the first time I read the recipe. I stuck it in the fridge, checked my email, watched an episode of Bones, uploaded some pictures, and decided that was long enough. Time to roll it out!

[Okay. Time to be honest. I wrote that first portion of the blog while I was waiting for the cookies to chill. It’s been almost two hours since I got them out of the fridge. Two solid hours of rolling, cutting, flouring, filling, baking and icing. There was so much dough. I cannot emphasize that enough: There was so much dough. Here’s a photographic summary of the rest of the adventure. Hover your mouse over the picture to read what I was thinking.]

Current thought: This is going to be great.
Rolling out the dough and cutting the circles.
Current thought: Yeah, this is fun!
Squeezing the filling into the cut-outs.
Current thought: Irked that there's flour everywhere already?
Folding the circles and sealing the edges.
Current thought: This is taking forever.
Putting the cookies on the tray.
Current thought: 18 cookies down, 4 billion to go.
Cutting more circles and transporting them to the counter for filling.
Current thought: I hope J doesn't want to wear this tomorrow.
Realizing there’s flour freaking everywhere.
Current thought: How am I only halfway done?
Running out of space to put the cookies coming off the trays.
Current thought: If these aren't good, I'm going to go to bed and never get up.
Deciding I’m over this and making regular sugar cookies and a nutella pie.
Current thought: Finally. FINALLY.
The finished products.
Current thought: The smell of sugar is making me feel sick.
An inside view.
Current thought: Someone...anyone...bring me to my bed.
Me.

Week 3 of 52: Complete.

i’ve got 100 resolutions

Hello friends!

I hope you all had joyous Christmases and spent lots of time with the people you love! Jordan and I spent lots of time with each other and that was the best! We had lots of fun and will always have wonderful memories of our very first Christmas. =) Plus, I got some really nifty gifts, like these knitted, fingerless gloves for work, handmade by Erica!

I love gloves!
Aren’t they wonderful?

I love them and am taking them with me to work tomorrow. (Side note: Someone brought a thermometer to work today to see how cold the office really is, because it always feels like it’s freezing. It was 59°F.)

Next up on the radar is New Years! Yay, New Years! I take my resolutions pretty seriously and try to make ones that mean something to me. This year, I put the kibosh on retail shopping all year, with the exception of buying wedding related garments, gifts, and underwear. Because some things just shouldn’t be bought used. =P I stuck to that all year and learned that I much prefer thrift store shopping. I can get more bang for my buck, and it allows me to reuse things, rather than waste resources for new stuff. On top of that, it’s always an adventure!

This year, I’ll be keeping the thrift store resolution and tacking on two new ones! First, I’ll be starting my “One New Craft A Week” adventure (more on that in a moment) and second, with Jordan’s encouragement, I’m going to start submitting my writing to publishers. =D

I realized yesterday that the new year is only a few days away and if I’m going to start crafting with more regularity, I’m going to need supplies. So, JoAnn Fabrics gift card* in hand, I went shopping!

I love the smell of fabric in the morning.
Ooh, ahh!

While I window shopped, I did some serious thinking about the kinds of things I wanted to make. I like clothes I can wear at home and to work. Things that are comfy but can be dressed up to a sort of “business casual.” I kept that in mind and decided on the following fabrics and projects.

First, I want to make a skirt with deep pockets out of this fabric:

Butterflies flutter by!
I love the watercolor effect!

I can whip up a skirt in a flash, but I like a challenge so this one is going to have pockets. I think it will have an elastic waist but you never know; I could get crazy and add a zipper! Before I bought this, I mentally checked out my closet and made sure I had at least two tops that would go with it. Look at me, I’m such an adult. =P

Next, I decided I wanted to make a vest. I have an adorable gray plaid vest that I bought at a thrift store for a dollar, and thought it would be nice to have something similar in a different fabric. Here’s the fabric I picked out:

I like stripes.
Fancy-shmancy, eh?

This fabric is seersucker which is very light, so I might have to put a lining in the vest. That seemed like something that I might need some guidance on, so I bought this:

Vests are best.
Look at all the variations!

That’s right: big girls use patterns. =D I bought extra seersucker fabric because I think I’d like a skirt as well. I love stripes. (Originally, I wanted to make a seersucker jacket but I think a vest is more my speed for now. Perhaps later in the year. Or next year. Or next decade.)

I also bought a couple yards of elastic because you can never have too much. (Also, if you’re like me, you lose a lot of it in the house.)

Anyway, I’m very excited and can’t wait for my supplies to arrive! Before I start any of that however, they’ll be at least one more baking post. Jordan and I have some bananas that are quite mushy and we’re going to make some of my renowned “Anna Banana Likes Venus By Bananarama” Banana Bread. Stay tuned!

kitty

*The gift card was a Christmas present from my boss. How thoughtful was that?!

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