Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Vinegar experiment

Our driveway has a few big cracks, and growing out of those cracks WAS a few green weeds, but is now practically a bush. I've watched enough "Life After People" to know that weeds strive for world domination and were we to turn our backs for a moment too long, they'd overrun our society and tear down all our monuments and libraries. (The same show is why I'm terrified of riding the NYC subways under the rivers - it's really interesting, but only feeds your paranoia) So far I've let our weeds get a little head start (I've been busy!) but it was getting close to out of hand. Something had to be done.

I read this post on "The Long Thread" that said you could use vinegar to kill weeds in a more eco-friendly and non-Norm-poison way, so I thought I'd try that. Last night I dumped a full gallon of vinegar on the driveway, pouring it carefully down each row of green and singing a "Happy Death to You!" tune.

My driveway smells like pickles.

My clothes, shoes, and skin smell like pickles.

I really don't like pickles.

I woke up this morning sure I'd find only twisted weed carnage left....but it pretty much looks the same. Of course, the temperature dropped dramatically over night, so maybe they need to slowly cook in the sun? I forgot to snap a picture, but I'll keep you updated if this has any effect...so far I have a bad feeling I'll be stuck ripping up stinky pickled weeds.

Monday, June 29, 2009

All Things Alice

The Husband got me a great book this weekend called All Things Alice. Its a beautiful collection of art and illustrations based on the stories, as well as quotes, recipes, and other Alice-isms, and now I can't stop thinking about Halloween. I'm in the beginning stages of planning the 2009 party and costume, and I've been sketching and jotting down notes all day. I'm hoping this book will help me nail down some guidelines so I can start making all the decorations I'm envisioning.

But back to the book, I wouldn't suggest buying it where he did (The Afternoon at Mall of America) because its significantly cheaper on Amazon here. Almost every single page would be suitable for framing, though it might be hard to chop out a page.

Thanks Honey :)

Mermaid Bodice

I promise I will get back up to speed in posting my creations, I got a bit sidetracked with my excellent NYC trip, and while I still have more mermaid parade photos to post, I'll do so sporadically and interspersed with my own creations.

I thought it might be nice to highlight how my mermaid ensemble was created - though not exactly by me :) My excellent old friend, Ryan j Moller (the lower case j is intentional - look for his website coming soon!) is a costume and wig designer living in Brooklyn, and he whipped my whole look together in just hours.

The bodice was from this pattern - Simplicity 4401, a very mermaid-ish formal gown. He made view "A" but without the overlay (the overlay would be great too in a contrasting color to look like a seashell bra, but I found the beaded appliques I fell in love with). For fabric I had brought a peachy satin (it was the closest my untrained eye could find to flesh toned) and he had the brilliant idea to use the reverse side which looked so much better. It was matte, which blended much better, and also held up to the rainy conditions a lot better than a satin side would have.

He altered the shape of the back to scoop it down lower and show off more of my tattoo, but otherwise it's pretty much following the pattern. The boning made me feel supported and sucked in, not to mention kept the strapless top up really well. The appliques were just stitched on top, and voila! A very classy, non-naked, comfortable mermaid top for women of all sizes.

If you're not a fan of strapless, you could always add a pearl or jeweled tie behind the neck (view B) for more support.

A flesh-toned corset could be the base for all sorts of costumes if you prefer the illusion of a bare top without actually showing that much skin - some that spring to mind are Eve, Lady Godiva, a Vegas Show Girl, plastic surgery patient, streaker, Britney Spears, etc.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our NYC Cupcake Tour!

***Forgive me, I can't seem to get a grip on the layout features that allow me to space my photos through the text, so I apologize for the awkwardness. It's a work in progress.

While in NYC we had this great idea to go on a cupcake tour of the city, stopping at various acclaimed bakeries and sampling their wares. Monday seemed the perfect day (and the rain actually stopped to accommodate us!) so Ryan plotted a course and we set off to our first stop - Cheeks bakery in Williamsburg.

It was closed. Permanently. Boo.

So we kept walking across a windy bridge into Manhattan, and the next stop was Butter Lane. I was really excited for this one because Cupcakes Take the Cake raves about it all the time. The outside was adorable - just this little cottage-feeling store front tucked into the side of a neighborhood. They didn't have a big display, just a few pans of cupcakes sitting on the counter. I asked the worker what kind he suggested, and boldly (for me) took his advice - chocolate cake with maple frosting. Ry got white cake with raspberry frosting. They looked adorable.

We split them in half to try both...and didn't really like them. The cake was on the dry side, and the frosting was a little crusted from sitting out exposed to the air. The raspberry was too subtle to taste, and the maple was like chewing on a mouthful of brown sugar. Ugh. Sadly, we weren't very happy with these...and they were out of milk, so we had to wash them down with water. On the up side, they do use all organic ingredients...

Then off we went to our next location, Eleni's in Chelsea Market. What a great shop! They had a long clear display case the length of the store with all clear stands and props, so you really saw the cupcakes and cookies (they seem to specialize in very cute but very expensive themed sugar cookies - like $4 each little baseball bats. Cute, but too rich for my pocketbook). Their sign & accent walls were a cheerful pink, and it was all really eye catching. We again asked what the most popular flavors were, and went with two of them - Oreo and peanut butter cup. The Oreo flavor had an Oreo baked inside the chocolate cake as well as on top, toasted marshmallows, and Oreo-cream-flavored frosting. The peanut butter was also chocolate cake with a peanut butter cup baked inside, topped with peanut butter frosting.

They were AMAZING.

The cake was really moist and light, the frostings were flavorful but not pure sugar, and in general, these got a big thumbs up. Eleni's for the win!

On our way out, we saw another bakery that was not on our list just right next door - "Ruthy's" I think? They had the most elaborately decorated cupcakes I'd seen in a long time, including large flowers, Muppets, and teenage mutant ninja turtles. We admired them, and their nearly $5 price tag, and it slowly began to hit us how much sugar we had already consumed. We didn't stop at Ruth's, but continued on to our next stop, Billy's in Chelsea.

...where we realized we were already starting to feel pretty sick from sugar. I was shocked, knowing how awful my daily diet is, I thought for sure I could pack away close to a dozen before folding...but it was not so. Billy's didn't have very many flavors, and was pretty busy, so we just took a look around and decided to skip it. Maybe we were too old for a cupcake day?

Big Booty was next on our list, and the little logo guy looks exactly like the owner, David. David is beautiful. Reason enough to go in, even if you can't put down another cupcake. They also have a lot of other breads & treats, and I actually went for a croissant, hoping it would turn my cupcake appetite around, and Ryan insisted we try a red velvet cupcake. I was actually surprised we hadn't seen red velvet at the previous bakeries, and perhaps even more surprising - I've never tasted red velvet cake. I'm pretty picky, and usually stick to what I know I like, but I was being daring on this trip, so I bit.

Big Booty's red velvet cupcake was really moist with melty cream cheese frosting (it was getting hot by then) and I think had I been a fan of red velvet, I would have really liked it. As it turns out, I'm just not into that flavor, but I'd be willing to try Big Booty again - and the croissant was WONDERFUL, just what I needed at that point.

At this point you'll note that between the two of us we had only consumed 5 cupcakes + 1 croissant. And we were done. We just couldn't eat any more. I was pretty shocked, but didn't want to push it - especially since we were due to sit in the Letterman audience later that night. So, we abandoned our mission early. On the way to and from the Ed Sullivan theatre we passed our final destination (Sprinkles?Something that was a chain, but I can't seem to recall - I was in a sugar coma at that point) but our cupcake consumption couldn't be forced.

This was a super fun idea, and I LOVED seeing all the pretty cupcakes, but were I to do it again, I think I'd have to space it out, one destination per day over the course of a trip. Though it was great that all our walking CLEARLY burned off any calories we consumed during our tastings :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Non-naked mermaids for my mother...

Apparently my mother was quite concerned with the lack of clothing at the mermaid parade so in honor of her midwest sensibilities,
here are a few of the more "clothed" characters we saw...which, I will point out, includes me :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Letterman Update

We didn't find out until moments before we entered the theater that we were actually taping FRIDAY's show, so if you missed it yesterday...you didn't! They taped two shows, and ours was even BETTER than the Monday show - we got to see Martin Short and Regina Spektor! We'll most likely be on camera too, look for us right behind the dumb anniversary couple towards the beginning of the show but after the monologue. I'm wearing a red turtleneck sweater and Ryan has a dark grey t-shirt.

A few more 'maids...

Monday, June 22, 2009

more mermaids...

Look for us tonight on Letterman!

Ry & I scored tix to Letterman, we'll be watching Samuel L. Jackson, Emeril, and Iggy Pop (He's still alive?!?!? SWEET!) up close and personal. Not sure if we'll have any camera time (seating is pretty random) but I'm excited!

Just a few more pics...