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New bed!

After waiting patiently for the duration of the four hour delivery window, I called the transport service and they said that the driver got caught in traffic (yeah, right) and wouldn’t be there until 5:30. Well, they got here at 5:45 and at least they were pretty quick putting the bed together. Here it is:

I think it looks good! I was a little worried that it would be too big, even though I saw it in the store and the size was fine. What do we think?

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Sunday I drove down to my brother’s house so I could go on a quest for the perfect bridesmaid dress for his wedding. His fiancee was nice/laid back enough to give us a color and let us choose our own dresses, so it was fun- trying on lots of dresses. This is the one I went with. Apparently David’s Bridal is now guilty of vanity sizing- because the last time I checked, I wasn’t exactly fitting into a size 6- let alone in a formal wear store where things traditionally run small. But fit into the size 6 I did, miraculously. Hopefully it will need to be taken in a little bit by the time of the wedding. Did I mention that I still haven’t made it to the gym to pick up my key tag and free tee shirt?

Anyway, once we were back from the bridal appointment, we decided to order pizza and wings from the pizza place down the street. It never occurred to me why I didn’t eat wings during my childhood… but it could be partially due to the fact that NJ wings are not great. Now, I’m making a blanket statement here- I’m pretty sure that I did see Aaron McCargo on the Food Network touting the virtues of some wings in Cinnaminson, NJ, but who knows what a person from Buffalo would say about those Jersey-style wings. Stick to cheesesteaks  and panzarottis, Aaron.

It is also possible that the Sal’s pizzeria in Mt. Holly just has really crappy wings. My dad says that you should never order pizza from a place called ‘Sal’s’ because every town has one, so how good could it be? He may be right. The first thing I noticed about these wings was that the blue cheese dressing was conspicuously absent, despite early protests from my brother that they came with it. Upon closer inspection, the blue cheese dressing proved unnecessary, because there was little to no sauce on these wings at all. I think they were fried, but not particularly crispy, and they were sitting in a shallow puddle of nondescript liquid. The first wing was downright disappointing but by the fourth or fifth I just gave in to their mediocrity.

The next morning on my way home, I stopped at McDonalds to get an egg Mcmuffin, no meat:

I’ve always found the McDonalds muffin to be superior to the Dunkin Donuts variety, since they use a whole egg rather than a pasteurized scrambled hockey puck. But I digress. As I was ordering my muffin, I thought to myself… “I should see if I can get a Shamrock Shake. This might be my only chance. I don’t want to waste it.” And yes, I was able to have a mint flavored shake with my breakfast. You know you’re in NJ when you can not only get a Shamrock Shake but you can obtain one before 10:30 am. It felt wrong, but so good at the same time. I did politely decline the whipped cream and cherry topping, as I prefer to experience my Shamrock shake the way God intended. It’s bad enough that it was in a clear cup and I could see the little pool of green flavoring at the bottom that hadn’t been properly mixed in and made my first few sips taste like toothpaste.

My trip to New Jersey was capped off with a trip to the gas station for cheap full-service gas and a shopping spree at Trader Joe’s. All in all, a short but eventful journey to the Garden State.

Today I taught a make-up lesson, got my bangs trimmed, got my taxes done (I’ll be receiving a refund for the first time in years- three cheers for buying a house!) went to Target and attempted to pick up a refill on Eartha’s prednisone. When I got to the vet they told me that Eartha was due for a visit before they would refill the prescription. Le sigh. So I get to bring her in tomorrow. Joy. Get the butchy rawhide gloves ready.

Tonight I’m going to ‘fondue’ night at a friend’s house. I’m in charge of the dessert fondue, so I got some stuff to dunk in it and I figure I’ll just make a chocolate ganache and add in some liqueur. Nothing too fancy. The thing I really want to try before the vacation is over is macarons. I’ve got a couple different recipes and I have also been looking online to see if it is possible to make them using pasteurized egg whites- because that would be sooo much easier than separating all of those eggs. Any thoughts?

So, a while back I was obsessing about what kind of bed to get- right now my mattress and box spring are just on the standard metal frame that comes included… no headboard or anything. I wanted to get something that looked more like a piece of furniture, because my bedroom is kind of, well, under-decorated. I was mainly looking at metal beds because I figured that the wooden frames were too expensive and bulky. Today I went to the same clearance center where I bought my couch and in ten minutes I had purchased a bed. Wanna see it?

I’ve always liked sleigh beds but they tend to be on the giant side, and my bedroom is kind of long, like a boring beige shoe box. A bed with a big frame or a high footboard would just be too much. This one seemed to be about the right size, and I think it will go nicely with my dresser. It was a little more than I originally anticipated spending, but I think it’s also a nicer bed than I thought I was going to get. It was the first thing the sales guy showed me and I thought, ‘Yup. That works.’ It should be shipped to the store by Monday and I can have it delivered on Wednesday. Yay! I’ll be one step closer to having a properly decorated bedroom.

This afternoon I found myself at the supermarket before dinner, without a list. As we all know, this leads to impulsive shopping. One product I saw in the international aisle was this:

I was not compelled to purchase.

Luckily, my impulses were mostly limited to some Cadbury mini eggs. (Apparently, the day after Valentine’s day is when the Easter candy goes out. Last year I waited until Easter was actually imminent, and every store was out of Cadbury mini eggs. Damn.) I also bought a bunch of cream cheese products. You may ask what prompted me to stock up on cream cheese… well, there was this really nice looking cookbook that was free with the purchase of four Philadelphia brand products. So, I got a couple blocks of cream cheese (always good for dip or frosting), a pack of single serving cream cheeses, and a container of this new and mysterious stuff called ‘Cooking Creme.’

I got the impression that the cooking cream was meant to be sort of an quick Alfredo solution… most of the serving suggestions showed it with pasta, or spread on a pizza. I picked up a container of the ‘Italian herbs and cheese’ variety. I probably would have stuck to the ‘original’ flavor, but the Italian one was all they had. The serving size is 1/4 of a cup (I think there were 4 servings per container) and there were 9 grams of fat per serving- so not nearly as bad as traditional Alfredo sauce. Also, I liked that it didn’t involve making a roux and stirring milk for what seems like an eternity (especially on a week night when I typically get home at 6:30.)

When I got home, I put on some water to boil and got to work slicing half an onion and chopping some garlic, both of which I tossed in a pan with a little olive oil. I had a couple of tomatoes that needed to get used, so I blanched those, removed the skin, chopped ’em up and threw them in also. I also had a bag of chopped spinach in the freezer, so I microwaved that and threw it in with the other vegetables and a little white wine. When the pasta was al dente, I drained it, threw it back in the pot with the ‘creme’ and dumped the vegetables on top. I stirred it up and heated it through and this was the result:

I sprinkled a little Romano cheese on top and it was actually quite tasty! I definitely would go with the plain flavor in the future- just because the Italian seasoning tasted a little bit like a Laughing Cow cheese wedge or something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Generic ‘herb’ flavor. Better to get the plain and season it yourself, I think. Well, now that dinner is done, I think I’m going to clean up and do some laundry. I have another college friend visiting this weekend. (one of the nice things about having a new, bigger place- lots of people want to visit!) Maybe I’ll also get some work done on the afghan that I have been neglecting for the last week. I don’t want it to take 8 years to finish like the last one!

So, I was on my way home from rehearsal today and I thought I would stop at McDonalds and get a small Shamrock shake… I was under the impression that in recent years all of the McDonalds in my area had wised up to the sheer heaven of the Shamrock shake, but alas… no dice. This after having seen several Facebook posts of friends in New Jersey who were already sharing the shamrock love. Apparently, McDonalds is now trying to class up the shake, by putting it in one of their clear ‘McFrappe’ or whatever they are called cups and squirting some whipped cream on top. They even top it with a maraschino cherry. I’m not sure how I feel about this. The Shamrock shake is not supposed to be fussy. Don’t try to make it look like it came from Starbucks. Anyway, it’s a moot point because I didn’t get one. This is probably a good thing, because I’m failing miserably at all attempts to diet and am turning into a giant blimp. I need to stop the insanity now or none of my clothes will fit.

This is just a quick post- I wanted to get one in because I hadn’t written in a few days. Now I have to make myself look presentable so I can go to hear the NY Phil tonight. They’re playing Shostakovich…. yessss.

…because not talking SUCKS!!! I have been dealing with a dwindling voice since Thursday, when I only could sing the notes in my low range, to Friday, when I had no voice at all, to the weekend when it was intermittent but still mostly gone, to today, when I just sounded sort of sick. I have had some permutation of this cold for over two weeks, and it is just passing through my system at a glacial pace. Yesterday I got home around 6:30, had some dinner and laid down on the couch to watch a show on the DVR… I fell asleep and woke up at midnight.

I then stumbled upstairs, groggily turned on my new humidifier and proceeded to hack, wide awake, for two hours before I finally got to sleep. Ugh. This morning was not pretty. I was a snotty, coughing mess all morning, and to add to the misery, my contact lenses freaked out and I had to wear my glasses due to the stabbing pain in my right eye. I seriously considered taking a half day and calling out sick after lunch, but once I make it to lunch the afternoon isn’t that bad. So I stuck it out and even made it through my private lessons tonight. I’m done complaining now.

Sunday I did this fun little project- I got this kit for a gift that contains all the necessary supplies to make your own glass pendants. Totally cool. My friend found the site that sells the pendant kits on www.dailygrommet.com. The website describes itself as:

” …a marketplace of fresh product discoveries, powered by Citizen Commerce™. It’s a revolutionary way to give each of us the information to support the companies, people and products that reflect our own values. Whether it’s a love of innovative design, social and green enterprises, hand crafted goods, a quest for unique gifts, or a desire to support new technologies, Daily Grommet has an inspiring set of stories and products to fill that need.”

So, basically, this website is filled with cool links to unique products from many different vendors. Definitely check it out. Here is a link to www.anniehowes.com if you don’t want to look for the pendant kits.

I wish I had taken pictures of every step while I was making the pendants but I didn’t. First, you have to apply the Glamour Glaze to the back of the glass. Then you stick the paper, pattern side down, onto the glaze.

This has to dry for 30 minutes. Then you apply another, thicker coat of glaze on top after trimming the paper around the edges. Once the glaze is dry, you can apply the bale with the adhesive. The kit comes with the glass disks, pre-cut decorative paper, ‘Glamour Glaze’ and the adhesive for attaching the bale (which also comes included.) It was very easy to do, and now I have six really cute pendants:

I also got my replacement tagine in the mail today, and so far it seems like it is in one piece, with no visible cracks. The color, ‘pistachio’ which looked a little more yellow/green on the website, actually turned out to be an sort of green apple color, which I think I like even better.

I also prepared by getting a diffuser, which had directions which were equally as elaborate as the tagine. Maybe I should just cook these tagines in the crockpot and just serve them in the fancy clay receptacle. Ha.

Well, I’m off to do some knitting on the log cabin afghan and watch a few episodes of Dexter. It’s 7:46 pm now, so I’ve already made it longer than last night.

More cupcakes

As promised, a picture of the lemon cupcakes:

Though these are not the original cupcakes- they’re a second batch that I whipped up this morning. The originals had much bigger swirls of frosting on top because I used the seven minute frosting- this time I just went with convenience and used a can. Hence the much smaller dollops, since it would be a sugar overload to have a huge swirl of that stuff. The seven minute frosting makes it definitely taste more like lemon meringue pie, because, well… seven minute frosting is meringue. So if we want to be picky here, we could just call these ‘lemon’ cupcakes. This time around, however, the lemon curd is homemade- I made it on a snow day this week and needed to use it for something. I thought about just making a layer cake and putting it in the layers, but cake is harder to divide up and hand out, so I went with the cupcakes again. I think they are super cute.

I didn’t post the last couple of days because it has been kind of busy and I was, once again, sick. I guess it’s all the same cold- it just keeps progressing through my system in new and creative ways. I have been so congested that I ended up with laryngitis the last two days, which is so frustrating for me because all I do is talk all day long. I probably would have had it sooner, but I was home alone for two days because of the weather and didn’t really talk to anyone except the cats. And they’re not really conversationalists, so I went two days without saying much. Two dance rehearsals at school did me in. I should actually be at rehearsal right now, but there’s freezing rain all morning so we opted to play it safe and cancel. I hope everyone got my e-mail.

Yesterday I went to Target and bought myself a humidifier, which I think really helped. I also did a little retail therapy, as I was feeling sorry for myself, and bought a new purse. So now I am just awaiting the hopeful arrival of my aforementioned friends… If they don’t come I’m going to have a whole lot of cupcakes to give away.