Monday, December 24, 2012

Cookies for Santa

Ah, Christmas cookies. They're a tradition for almost everyone I know. While I'm not the biggest fan of sugar cookies normally (they're boring) something about Christmas simply begs for them. I think it has something to do with decorating them while listening to Christmas music and making yet another giant holiday mess in the kitchen. Oh, and they make the best shaped cookie cutters for Christmas time.

So this post was originally going to be about making sugar cookies and decorating them with instructions and tips, but I didn't really take enough pictures during the process, so it seemed silly. (I admire "real" food bloggers to much more now -- taking pictures and cooking is quite a challenge, and very unnatural if you're used to just cooking, sans camera.) When reviewing the batch of photos another idea came to me to change my mind about what this cookie post was going to be.

Candy Cane Fingers and Reindeer Toes

Candy cane stripe nails are beginning to be a Christmas tradition for my fingers. I've attempted them several times, with limited success, using the tape method often touted on Pinterest. This year I went a different route and tried some nail pens and they definitely simplified things. Of course I don't think I'll ever get the stripes perfect, so I'll keep covering up the mistakes with a glitter top coat.
" can they see with sequins in their eyes?"

For my toes, I was using some of the traditional "ugly Christmas Sweater" patterns, like reindeer and geometric snowflakes, This time with a red base and embellishing with a white nail polish pen. I thought the actual reindeer came out really cute, but the I just need to practice.
Still, they're rather festive.

Did anyone else paint their nails fancy for Christmas? Tell me about it in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mayan Doomsday Mixer

I decided to take the occasion of the end of the world as the perfect excuse to party. Luckily for me, the Museum of Natural Science was throwing the biggest (and probably best) bash around; food trucks, cash bars, great music, salsa dancing, and DINOSAURS. Nothing's beats the combined power of entertainment and education, right?

It's gonna eat you!

We made it through to the next Mayan time cycle of another 5128 years. Kicked this one off with a nice bout of shopping! I snagged a few deals on some really excellent pieces that I might be sharing here in future wardrobe updates, and you know, a few things for Christmas gifts as well.

Until next time,
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Cards, and the Joy of Addressing them by Hand...

Warning: The following post does not contain any relevant pretty pictures
I could not capture any photos of the lettering without compromising the privacy of those receiving the cards, and they probably wouldn't like that. Maybe next time.
oh hello there re-used image, how've you been?

I love calligraphy. It has all the hallmarks of something I could really get into: decorative text, unnecessary flourishes, pretty colors, fancy inks, spiffy writing utensils, and being antiquated for no reason. Also, Harry Potter! ......I mean... um, it looks cool. ....I guess.

In all seriousness, I think it's fascinating because of the rich history, ornamental beauty, and the structured method required to produce such beautiful, flowing results. Well, that and it gives a purpose to my impulsive pen purchases. I also think I'm not too bad at it. maybe.

My first venture into the whole calligraphy thing (for real) was the addressing of my graduation announcements. It was really fun to make the envelopes special, and focusing on the lettering was considerably more relaxing than anything else associated with college graduation. Plus, there were less than 25 of them to send out, so it wasn't a big deal. 

Naturally, after how well the announcements went I "volunteered" to address the Christmas cards this year. Yay! How Fun! At first... However instead of 20, there are 75 people on this "nice list" (see what I did there? ;P ) and with a full time job, and 10 minutes per card; it's taking FOREVER!

Wahhhhh! ... I know.....

But in the spirit of keeping thing Merry, I'm trying to think positive thoughts like "practice makes perfect" and about how much easier it will get if I do this more often. Thinking things like "it's just a stupid envelope" and "I doubt anyone is even going to notice" is not helpful, or jolly. I will not remind myself excessively that sticking some labels in the printer would have gotten the whole mess of cards into the mailbox in less than 20 min.

For now I'm going to keep at it like a cloistered 15th century nun. Or at least I will until I die of carpal tunnel (pretty sure you can totes die of that, BTW).

Think I'm crazy for my calligraphy? Check out the inspirational work of hand-letterer Sean Wes @ 

What are your thought? Do you address cards by hand or pop out printer labels?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chocolate Crackled Cookies

My oven is still broken. :(

Obviously, I didn't make the cookies pictured here all that recently. In fact, these were our Thanksgiving dessert (please don't hang me for treason because we didn't have pie). The recipe cam from an issue of Food and Wine Magazine that mysteriously appeared in our house last month. It was filled with a ton of tasty recipes, but oddly enough the one I'm sharing today was from an advertisement, not part of the feature content.  I am seriously missing my oven, and the ability to make Christmas cookies, so  I'm taking the opportunity to re-experience making these by blogging about them.

Not having an oven around the holidays is a serious bummer. All the adorable cookie recipes on my favorite blogs fill me with envy and ennui. I can't make cookies. I can't give cookies  to my friends. The joy of just-out-of-the-oven baked goodness has been taken from my holiday. IT'S NOT FAIR.

Enough with the melodramatics. The oven repair guy is coming today, so I may be back in cookies by week's end. (fingers crossed).  Hopefully, you have a working oven, and can try these little beauties out yourself. Make a batch for me, okay?

Chocolate Crackled Cookies

Recipe adapted from McCormick


  • 12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chile Pepper (I used Cayenne, but the original recipe calls for Ancho; I suspect Hatch would be fantastic if you can find Hatch chili powder...)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate as directed on package. Set aside. 
  3. Coarsely chop remaining 4 ounces chocolate. 
  4. Mix flour, roasted cinnamon, chili powder, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. 
  5. Cream butter and sugars in large bowl with paddle attachment of electric mixer on medium speed (or with a fork, by hand) until all sugar has been dissolved and the mixture appears light and fluffy. 
  6. Add eggs, vanilla, and melted chocolate; beat until well blended. 
  7. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until dough forms. Stir in chopped chocolate. 
  8. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons or medium cookie scoop 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. 
  9. Bake about 10 minutes or until cookies are set and slightly cracked on top. 
  10. Remove from the oven, then transfer cookies to wire rack. 
  11. Allow cookies to cool cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Until Next Time,

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