Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: Black Contacts

I've never tried any of these, nor can I really - I'm blind without my prescription so unless I wanted to still wear glasses they wouldn't work for me, but I still think they're cool.

Doing an Internet search for "black contacts" I see sites selling anywhere from $10 -$150, though I'm not sure the difference. But colored contacts are one of those little pieces with a huge impact that can really "make" a whole costume. For example, you could wear these ones to be either a Vampire as portrayed in the British Series "Being Human":

Of course, it helps significantly if you are as hot as Mitchell (and have a great accent)

Or you could very easily become one of the crazy residents of Bon Temps (True Blood) while under the Maenad's control:

(Though let's try to keep the orgies to a minimum, kay' thanks)

Previous costume idea posts: 1 2

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NOLA Costume Ideas: Celebrities

We've now passed the halfway point with just 5.5 months until Halloween 2011 and our big Louisiana - themed party. While that still seems early to some, it inspires a bit of panic when I look at everything I hope to get done by then. Starting early is helpful both for completion time and budgetary reasons - more time to plan & shop = more room to shop sales, compare prices, and stumble upon great deals. Continuing my series of "ROMP IN THE SWAMP" costume ideas for your inspiration, I present to you:


It is always fun to go as recognizable pop culture or historical figures, and I recently found an excellent list of celebrities associated with New Orleans/Louisiana: HERE

The ones that really jump out at me as far as costume possibilities:

Britney Spears

So much crazy = so many options...


Delta Burke

I prefer her in the gaudy "Designing Women" era:

Ellen DeGeneres

Super bonus points if you bring Portia

Richard Simmons

Another celeb who makes parody almost too easy. I can loan you my bedazzler for your tiny shorts.

Previous NOLA costume idea post: Here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2 Quick Happy Things for Tuesday

1. Excellent drink I stumbled upon today:

2. Thought I lost my phone, but found it between my car seats! YAY!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Out of the Blue: Check Another Item Off The Bucketlist

#129: Win at Bingo


It was no great fortune, but still quite fun. Last night I went to a local Bingo Parlor with a couple girlfriends and right off the bat, first game of the evening - BINGO!

I had to share it with a few other people, so my "JACKPOT" was only $16 in the end - but it covered the $15 I paid for my package, and I got the thrill of hollering "BINGO" in a crowded room. Take that octagenarians!

Friday, May 14, 2010


I am terribly behind in the mermaid parade planning department, despite having bought my pattern and roughed out my idea MONTHS ago, I've yet to get any further. For some reason my JoAnns coupons have stopped coming (and I refuse to pay full price), so that + a shrinking budget have forced me to put off buying fabric until now we're a mere month away - YIKES! I definitely need to come up with some sort of a plan (or plan to wear one of the TWO mermaid outfits I already have, I guess...), so that's one of the many things on my agenda for this weekend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Home FROM the range...

Well, we survived our trip to Texas despite seeing a snake, several smooshed armadillos, a heard of long horns, a couple wood ticks, and various other elements of nature that I steadfastly try to avoid. We ate some good meals, spent a gorgeous evening at the ballpark, and toured the JFK museum at Dealey Plaza. And then I puked on the plane ride home. Hooray.

But in happier news, I'm in love with my new necklace from Etsy seller SimplyChacha:

Isn't he adorable? I've had it on my "favorites" list for a while and finally gave in, and I'm glad that I did.

You've probably also noticed my new logo, from Etsy seller Enchanted Memories:

I'm still working on updating the blog layout (the templates are limited and I've got no idea how to do it on my own) so bear with me as I bounce between styles and colors for a bit here - nothing I've tried meets my OCD standards yet, so I predict more changes to come.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Perfect Brownie

Have you seen this infomercial?

I was gifted two of these pans for my birthday the past couple years (thanks!), and I finally tried them out over Easter. They were really cool!

First off, they're actually "brownie pan" sized, which means you don't have to combine two mixes to fill one out like a normal cake pan. You assemble the pan, pour in the mix, and set the grate in place before you bake. That gave me the opportunity to add walnuts to some, and leave others plain - even in the same batch. When they first came out, I was worried it didn't look like the grate had stayed in:

But it did, and they came out perfectly! I tend to underbake my brownies just a touch so they are really moist, which makes them a disaster to cut, but these were both moist and perfect little pieces. My family definitely enjoyed them at Easter dinner!

"The Perfect Brownie" pan = high marks! I'll definitely use this again.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Peanut Butter Rats

Hello faithful followers (if any of you exist?). I'm off on an adventure in the land of cowboys and conservatives, but for once I've planned ahead and have a few posts scheduled to publish in my absence, starting with:

Peanut Butter Rats!

My 2nd dessert for the Goth Party was a bit more time consuming, but much more creative as well. I had an idea in the back of my mind that skulls, spiders, bats, and rats were all dark and "gothy," so food in any of those shapes would work. From that came Peanut Butter Rats.

I started with my go-to peanut butter ball recipe.

When the filling had chilled, I molded it into mouse-like shapes (thinking of a computer mouse actually was pretty helpful) and laid them on a wax-paper coated tray. I added a pretzel tail - using pieces that had been broken off of large pretzels, particularly curves. I had considered using licorice, but I much prefer the taste of pretzels, especially when dipped in chocolate. For ears, I used Wilton Candy Melts - I happened to have a few peanut butter ones left over from my last project, which would keep the taste consistent. They were the perfect size.

The chocolate dipping part was fairly complicated. Curse Bakerella for making it look so easy with her cake pops :)

When the peanut butter gets warm, it droops and melts immediately, and the rats were larger than the 1" balls you usually make for this recipe. I ended up balancing them on a fork and scooping the chocolate over them (from a double boiler), trying to do as little damage as possible when removing them from the fork and placing back on the waxed paper (this was a challenge), and then once they cooled I flipped them over and added more chocolate to the "naked" parts the fork was covering during the first dip.

I was having problems keeping my chocolate consistent temperatures, so I burnt myself a few times and got a little gun shy in handling them - if you had a steadier hand you could probably get a smoother coating, but I don't think I did too bad:

I'd dip 3-4 and let them sit for a moment before adding the eyes, which were thick yellow sprinkles that came in a pirate decorating pack (I think they were supposed to be gold coins). Since the chocolate coating was still soft when I added them, I didn't need to mess around with making tiny dots to secure them, I just pressed them into the cooling chocolate. They were simple but creepy with their bright yellow color.

They ended up being a little big as far as eating - about 3" X 2", so that's a pretty big peanut butter cup, but they were still tasty! I didn't want to make them any smaller and have to spend twice as long dipping, so it was a trade off :) A few times I melted the ears off and had to repair. Several of the rats looked like they'd eaten radioactive waste or gotten smashed in a trap, but I felt that was still acceptable for a goth party :)

Clearly this would also work well for Halloween, or you could try other shapes - I'd never do these for my own Halloween party because it's too much work with everything else I try to get done, but for an event where I'm just bringing a dish, I'd be willing to try it again.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Moody Mini Cheesecakes - for Krista's Goth Party

When charged with bringing a dish for a Goth theme party, how do you reflect that in the food? Same way you turn regular hair and makeup goth, dye it black, of course!

Moody Mini Cheesecakes:

I took the super easy route, and used Philadelphia Cream Cheese's ready-to-eat cheesecake filling, which I first tried for the Wicked Wonderland party and found to be a huge time saver (and still tasty). I dripped a few drops of black food coloring into the container and stirred.

And a few more drops. And more. And at around 50 drops I got worried about the effects of that much coloring and decided that an angsty grey color was just fine too:

I set it back in the fridge to firm up before piping, and worked on the graham cracker crust. I followed the directions on the back of the graham cracker crumb box (definitely use pre-ground graham cracker crumbs, in the baking aisle by the ready made crusts. Both Keebler and Honeymaid make them, huge time saver). It's a very easy combination of crumbs, sugar, and butter. I scooped a heaping teaspoon into each foil mini muffin cup (foil is necessary to come off clean - don't use paper), then pressed it down till it was hard.

I baked them at 350 for 10 mins, until golden brown, then cooled completely in the fridge:

Then I used a pastry bag with a large star tip to pipe a swirl into each cup:

and topped each with a fresh raspberry.

This is a super easy treat, sort of the "half homemade" style of baking that minimizes time use without just buying something off the shelves. I think they look pretty cute and obviously you could dye them to match other party themes as well.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Wait for it...

I've been too busy trying to comb through my ratted purple hair to get my photos uploaded from this weekend (seriously, that took a day and a half to repair - apparently my repeated back-combing and hairspray application felted my hair. oops).

I hope to get to them tonight so I can show you how my peanut butter rats and black mini cheesecakes turned out, and possibly my goth ensemble depending on how scary the photos are (I'm more worried about how I look in the corset/pencil skirt combination than the fact I was goth). The housewarming party was hilarious (I fully endorse theme parties of any sort), and in addition to scaring Krista's neighbors (and my own - who happened to be giving their parents a tour of their house when I strutted out to the car in my leather & chains), I stayed up much too late and ended up accomplishing next to nothing yesterday. That will make this week a bit of a hurried mess - as we are headed off on a mini vacation Thursday, whoo hoo!