Friday, February 27, 2009

This post is going to go in several directions at once, I'm afraid

We should almost have bullet points? Ok, lets just have bullet points. Or asterisks, because they're easier to type:

* Today is the 2 year anniversary of the day I listed (and sold!) my first item on Etsy. It is also Friday, which is a nice end-of-the-week-y kind of day to go out and celebrate. I have been considering the potential of this.

* I am getting a fancy pants spa mani/pedi tomorrow and I'm so excited I could CRY! I've been obsessed with getting a parafin wax treatment since I was small . . I bet thats not even considered trendy anymore, but whatever. I'm getting PARAFIN WAX tomorrow and I am GEEKED!

* Boy needs a shirt to get married in. STAT! And we only have 1 weekend left to shop for one! Any suggestions as to where we could get a pale grey dress shirt? You'd think that would be easy, but NOOOOOO . . .

* Speaking of getting married, we got the professional photos of our Vegas wedding back last night! Yea! There are more on flickr.

* My parents figured out where this webcam was this morning, stood in front of it and emailed me via my mom's blackberry. It was sort of awesome. Sort of anticlimactic as well since I could see them (as tiny little ants) but not SPEAK to them. And also, can you imagine what all those Scottish people must've thought about two mildly drunk Americans waving at thin air? I'm sure the webcam doesn't have a giant sign pointing to it saying "WEBCAM HERE!".

Happy weekend peeps!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I haz a stand mixer!

Which is how you can tell I'm married. Only married people have stand mixers.

The office shower was fantastic. I work with the most amazing people! They all pitched in and got me the aforementioned stand mixer, our kick ass glass and steel retro blender, our wooden platter and plates and both of our slate cheese boards from Crate and Barrel, and our KNIVES! We also nabbed our waffle maker, stemless wine glasses, LOTS of fun Fiestaware. AND they bought me a red velvet cake. Which, c'mon, that is AWESOMENESS right there. Squee!

And if that wasn't enough? We came home to find a second blender on our doorstep (which I'm giddy at the prospect of being able to exchange for EVEN MORE kitchen stuff!!!) and later in the evening a Crate and Barrel delivery man showed up with our tea/coffee tumblers.

Damn, getting married is fun!

PS: My parents are boarding a plane for the UK . . . RIGHT NOW. As in they are currently LEAVING FOR MY WEDDING.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Guinness

(Subtitled: "This title occurred to me and I liked it so much I had to write it it's own blog post")


Ladies, Guinness is some dope ass shit. It is high time we stopped shunning it for its manly 1940s era advertising. And for the perception that it is higher calorie or heavier than other beers. Fact: IT IS NOT. 12oz of Guinness clocks in at 125 calories. The same 12oz of Stella: 140. Of Corona: 148. Of Heineken: 166. Of NASTY Coors or Budweister: 148.

Where do the extra calories come from? SUGAR. Yep, thats right, Guinness is lower in sugar. And you know what sugar + alcohol = ? It = HANGOVER. Hangover and fat ass. It is a truth universally acknowledged (by me) that I can have a couple or even a FEW Guinness and feel better the next morning than I would if I'd had had just one Stella or Corona.

Then there's the taste thing. Guinness is very smooth, creamy and YES even LIGHT tasting. Beers like Stella or some pilsners and especially Heineken have a sharp, bitter, hop-py taste going on. Stella especially is so bitter and hay-tasting that it TRIGGERS MY ALLERGIES. Yep, I get stuffy and weepy eyed from BEER. I should probably just invest in a pocket protector and some taped up glasses now, so absurdly complete is my nerd-dom.

If all those reasons still weren't enough to spur you to embrace the Guinness, here is one final addition: Drinking Guinness will make you look like a hard ass.

So, guess what I'll be doing in 15 minutes? Attending a lunch the firm I work for is throwing for me and my weddingness. Hooray! Will post pix tomorrow.

Friday, February 20, 2009

If Dooce and Sundry are going to do it . . .

Then fine. Here it is:

What are your middle names?
Mine is Lynne, his is Anthony. Soon we'll both also have Mix in there as well.

How long have you been together?
We started dating in December 2005, so a bit over 3 years now

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
A LONG ASS TIME. We worked together, so since he started at Rhino Records which is . . . um . . . December of 2003 methinks.

Who asked whom out?
I don't remember there being any asking.

How old are each of you?
I'm 29 (No, really. It sucks being 29, everyone thinks you're lying. I'm not yet though, I swear.), he is 8 years older.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
I don't have any, so his.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Decisions involving fabric. This is all we fight about. Curtains, bedding, towels. We don't agree on fabrics.

Did you go to the same school?
No. I went to UCLA, he went to Loyola.

Are you from the same home town?
No. I've lived in LA my whole life and his dad was in the Air Force, so he lived all over. Technically, he was born in Little Rock, but he didn't stay there long. He lived in Montana as a child, then all over southern California.

Who is smarter?
I did better in school; but I'm also a complete airhead . . . I leave faucets running, forget to put on my glasses in the morning, leave my car running in the office garage (I only did that once though), etc.

Who is the most sensitive?
I'm more likely to say when I've been hurt, but he stews over things. I think we're probably equally sensitive, I'm just more vocal about it.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
There is this amazing pita place down the street from us. We walk over and get takeout every week or two. Then we bring it back and eat at home, so I guess that isn't technically eating "out", but there you go.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Wales. And we're, uh, GOING BACK IN A FEW WEEKS!

Who has the craziest exes?
That would probably be me.

Who has the worst temper?
Me by a LOT. A lot, a lot. Once, as a teenager, I kicked a hole through my parents front door. My feeling was that I did them a service by pointing out how flimsy the door was. They saw it differently.

Who does the cooking?
Me almost 100% of the time, but I enjoy cooking and he doesn't. He makes up for it. His jobs are floors, trash and coffee making; all things I can't stand.

Who is the neat-freak?
Oh, it is so bad . . . BOTH of us. We are insane. You should see the inside of our pantry. I swear. Oh wait, you have.

Who is more stubborn?
Probably me. He can be bent to my will but he usually mopes so much after that it isn't worth it.

Who hogs the bed?
Me. I sleepwalk and talk too. I'm a barrel of laughs.

Who wakes up earlier?
Me. Last week he woke up REALLY late every day and by Friday he asked "why I wasn't waking him up earlier anymore" which is funny cause all along I've thought while I'm up banging around in the morning that he's TOTALLY AWAKE and just trying to ignore me; but, in fact, he claims he is SOUNDLY ASLEEP and relies on me to wake him. Through measures other than turning on every light in the bedroom, slamming drawers and cursing. Cause apparently, that isn't cutting it.

Where was your first date?
The first thing we acknowledged as a date was dinner at El Chavo in Silverlake followed by a show at Spaceland.

Who is more jealous?
I don't think either of us really are.

How long did it take to get serious?
We were never not serious. We were probably serious before we even started dating. We were very good friends for a long time before . . . I don't think either of us would've gotten involved if we hadn't meant it. I knew I was going to marry him less than a month in.

Who eats more?
Me. Its a side effect of being a vegetarian. I must have MASSIVE quantities of food. Its a little disturbing how much I eat.

Who does the laundry?
Me. We have to wash things so often because of my allergies, it really wouldn't be fair to make him do all the work when its my bunk sinuses that are the issue. Also: he does FLOORS! I could do all the housework left save floors and be happy. I loathe floors.

Who’s better with the computer?
He probably knows more tricks but I am FAST. Like lightening.

Who drives when you are together?
Him almost always. I'm terrified of freeways, of which LA has several, and of which most are 5+ lanes in each direction. Also: LA drivers are ASSHATS. I've witnessed several BAD freeway accidents (as in, I've been millimeters away from certain death) and now I'm skittish. I usually have to keep my eyes shut on the freeway, which would be bad if I were driving.

Comment with a link to your blog if you've taken the survey as well!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The 30 Day . . . Soup?

Last night I did the 30 Day Shred whilst taking breaks to stir a pot of leeks I had on the hob for a batch of potato leek soup. This is my life lately. I have several hundred thousand balls in the air and I spend all my time scurrying around trying to keep them afloat.

The scurrying seems to be working though, things are getting done. In the past week Boy and I have finalized more or less everything with our photographer, our officiant and the castle. I spent a few minutes this morning making reservations in Edinburgh: On Friday, March 13th, the first full day of our honeymoon, we'll be going on an underground vault tour and having dinner at The Witchery.

There has been much ado with Home Depot and our custom shutter clusterfuck . . . but I'm holding back the bloggy floodgates on that one until the whole thing is done. Let it suffice to say for now that never, in the history of custom shutters, has one couple suffered so much.

On the Etsy front, I've done a few big wholesale orders lately, for shops in Virgina and Washington state . . . my new business cards are in hand and I love them. I've restocked on my shipping supplies and ordered a custom rubber return address stamp. And a raspberry colored ink pad!

I also, strangely, completely gutted and cleaned out my desk at work yesterday.

If I didn't know better, I'd say I'm suffering from some sort of bizarre nesting instinct. Don't worry though, not pregnant. Do you nest pre-wedding too though? Cause SOMETHING is up with me. Maybe it has to do with the fact that Boy and I have been planning this wedding for (full disclosure here) two years (yes, we've only technically been engaged for one) . . . now that the date is creeping up on us I feel like I should be madly scheduling things but I'm actually more or less done. I've had time, people! I'm finding other things to keep me feeling productive (like, you know, rubber address stamps. And potato leek soup.).

Speaking of, the soup was kinda rad, I feel compelled to share:

Potato Leek Soup (With cheese, because why the hell not?)

- 4 russet potatoes, pierced, rubbed in olive oil and salt
- 3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and cut into half moons
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 4 tblsp butter
- ample salt and pepper
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups milk
- 2 Knorr veggie stock cubes (or enough stock to make 4 cups)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

* Place potatoes in a 425 degree oven and bake for about 1 hour
* Meanwhile, sautee onions and leeks (with salt and pepper and butter) in a large stockpot until soft
* Add milk and water and stock cubes to pot and simmer for a few minutes
* When potatoes are done, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop potato flesh into soup pot (you can sprinkle some extra cheese on the skins and bake them, then top w/ green onions, sour cream, whatever you like)
* Bring soup back up to a simmer and stir in cheese

Makes about 4 - 5 servings

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A bit of a relaunch

"Redesign Etsy banner and business cards" has been somewhere on my to-do list for at least the last 6 months. When I first opened my shop, I was making mostly purses and crocheted items, all in a very kitschy, quirky style. I always made jewelry, but I didn't think it was the right thing for me to sell via Etsy since, I'd heard, the jewelry market was completely saturated and it was almost impossible to make sales. As it worked out, as soon as I started selling jewelry, my shop took off. So go figure.

My jewelry has always been of a style very different to the style of bags and crocheted items I had been making. I like OLD things. Or at least things that look old. I'm inspired by history: old costumes and portraits, antiques and tokens. For a while, I've been stewing over the idea of renaming my shop to work better with my current listings. I floated a couple of different name ideas, but the one that really felt right was "Relic".

Having decided on the name, all that was left to do was make up the new banner and cards. However, given my absurdly limited Photoshop skills, I dragged in getting that done. Why did I finally do it? I'm currently down to my last few dozen business cards. Shut up.

I had planned to use an image of my jewelry in the background, something that really signified the type of things I make. The photos I had of my coin jewelry weren't really condusive to having text slapped over them, so eventually I settled on this tangle of pearls . . . a photo I took before shipping a bridesmaid's gift order to a buyer. I think it works well as a background: its busy, but thats sort of my aesthetic anyways. The pearls are pretty and glowy. I had a FANTASTIC font with a really killer capital R (Blackadder, which is incidentally the same font that I used for my prior banner and cards) and did a little highlighting to make the text stand out. I'm especially happy with the business card design . . . once I'm sure that its workable for the printers, I'll post photos! I ordered my cards with ROUNDED CORNERS too, which I'm so geekishly excited about.

I'm happy with the new name and the new look. What do you guys think?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Its amazing all the great things I can force into the category of "Wedding Expense"

Like, for instance, skincare products. I have been operating under the assumption that anything I buy for my skin at this point is a "Wedding Expense". What fun! Two products that I've bought recently have been so spectacular that I really think it would be unkind of me to keep them to myself.

1) Philosphy's Microdelivery Peel: I got a 3 use sample packet of this during a Sephora skincare promotion and the first use totally floored me. I've never used an exfoliant quite like it. The first step involves massaging crystals into the skin, but there is very little actual scrubbing going on . . . the real peeling happens when the second, acidic product is placed on top of the crystals. You'd think since I'm throwing around words like 'acid' and 'crystals' that this might be a chemically, harsh peel but it SO ISN'T. Firstly, it smells like fresh oranges . . . literally as if you were peeling a real live orange. Secondly, its truly gentle. I'm used to using everyone's favorite drugstore scrub and while that product does leave my skin softer and brighter, it also leaves it red and tender. The Microdelivery Peel doesn't irritate my skin one bit, and it does an even better job of getting rid of my scaly patches than the more abrasive stuff does.

2) Osea Hydrating Oil: A friend who works at a spa brought me a bottle of this as part of a sampler and while I was apprehensive about putting oil on my face, I was also in the middle of a severely dry winter skin spell and, lets be honest, kinda desperate. I quickly discovered that this stuff does NOT make me break out and that, when used under my regular moisturizer, it boosts the overall effectiveness by, like, 1000% (v. scientific number, that.) Also, not to sound completely insane, but the Corrective Oil is pretty much the best spot treatment ever. I'm not kidding.

So, ANYWAYS, I had my bachelorette party last Friday! It was perfect, exactly what I'd wanted. Although, I suppose that isn't entirely true because what I REALLY wanted was NOT to have a party at all (!) but I'm very glad that my dear friend Catie talked me into it (ok, hounded me into it) because I had a FANTASTIC time. We had wine and snacks, I was forced to wear and absurd hat, and I left with a hysterical assortment of lingere. Fun!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Guinnesss and Bailey's Cupcakes

I have ONE cupcake recipe. It is reliable. I like it for that. I don't usually stray from it because when I do, the results are kind of meh. And while I've been known to decorate my cupcakes rather festively, the fact is: chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing is pretty much it for me.

However, since the ENTIRE INTERNET has been buzzing about Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate, Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes, it was with great trepidation that last night, I strayed from my norm.

I fucked up almost immediately. The batter recipe is a bit fidgety and I got ahead of myself and dumped the flour into my chocolate/butter/Guinness mixture instead of mixing it in its own bowl with the other dry ingredients. I decided to handle this by opening another Guinness for myself, dumping the entire remainder of the batter ingredients into the chocolate mixture, turning my beaters up to high and hoping for the best. I did wind up with something mostly batter like, and I baked it. It seems to have suffered no ill effects.

I skipped the whiskey ganache bit . . . filling cupcakes is just too much of a fidget for me. But sometime I think I might make whiskey ganache on its own. To eat. With a spoon.

The icing worried me. Its basically just butter and powdered sugar, and I wasn't quite sure it would wind up being edible. I should have known . . . butter + sugar = pretty much the best thing ever. And when you add Bailey's? I'm not sure how I've lived so long without this stuff.

I made a double batch of icing since I wanted enough to cover the cupcakes entirely. If anyone is keeping track, that means I used an entire pound of butter making a batch of 24 cupcakes. Makes you nauseous, doesn't it? Also: HUNGRY.

By the time the cupcakes were cool enough for decorating, I'd been hitting the Guinness pretty hard for an hour or so, so I decided to skip my fancy pastry bag in favor of spreading the icing with a butter knife. I dressed them up with a bar of hazelnut chocolate that I grated using a plain old cheese grater. I'm pretty stoked with the gold cupcake papers as well, how cute are they?

I brought 12 of these into the office for my boss' birthday today (please, universe, don't let anyone get drunk on them. I'd like to remain employed.), the remainder are for my BACHELORETTE PARTY tonight! Yep, Bachelorette Party. I will take photos. Some might even be safe to post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Things

Much like the rest of the population, I've been 'tagged' do make a list of 25 things about myself on Facebook at least 80 times. I don't really fell like making a list, then having Facebook send it out to all of my "closest" friends (ie: mostly people I haven't seen in a decade, at least), but I see no problem with putting a list together here, for my blog, where only those of you who care to read it will. I've seen several other bloggers do this recently, so I'll go ahead and jump on that bandwagon. Here we go!

1. I ALWAYS put my left shoe on first. If possible, I put on left shoe, left sock, then right shoe, right sock. This habit originated when . . .

2. . . . from the ages of about 11 to 18, I was a competitive figure skater. I tested through the Novice level (which sounds quite lame but actually involves a full set of double jumps, and a few triples when I could land them).

3. Other than the shoe thing, I have absolutely no superstitions. My boy doesn't like leaving the TV volume on 13 and I think that is ODD!

4. I don't believe in god. There are mysteries about our universe and our existence for sure, but I think eventually science will explain the reasons behind all of them.

5. Which is not to say I don't respect what other people believe. I think religion is fascinating, even though it isn't something I subscribe to.

6. You'd probably be shocked to see the amount of religious paraphernalia I have lying around my house. I have crosses, rosaries, relics from visits to great cathedrals. Like I said, it's all fascinating, just not for me.

7. I have been a vegetarian for 11 years and change. I don't miss meat. Even a little bit. Ever.

8. I can be quite morbid. I love dark things . . . poetry, books, etc.

9. My dark side made it difficult to write our wedding ceremony. I wanted to put in a poetry reading but, apparently, Sylvia Plath never wrote anything suitable for a wedding.

10. I did write poetry in college, under the supervision of, truly, the most excellent writing professor. It wasn't bad poetry either. I can read it now without cringing.

11. Speaking of college, I finished my 4 year degree in 2 years and 1 quarter. Majoring in English Literature at UCLA. In some ways, I'm sad I didn't spend longer in school. In other ways (ie: ways involving student loan repayment), I'm impressed w/ my teenage self's practicality.

12. I do sometimes wish that my teenage self had possessed the gumption to study Archaeology or Physics.

13. My husband and I seem to have met on several occasions before we met in earnest, working together at Rhino Records. He went to a Jimmy Eat World show I helped put on at UCLA in 1997, and we're fairly sure I bought a record from him at This Ain't No Picnic a decade ago.

14. He says he fell in love with me the first time he saw my record collection. I have a Sunday's Best 7 inch that he put out on his own in the mid 90s. He only pressed 1,000 copies . . . its so rare it isn't even on that Wikipedia discography. I can still picture his face when he picked it up and said "I didn't give this to you . . . did I?".

15. I just cried while I typed that.

16. Never, in my entire life, have I ever been so sure of anything as I am of marrying Paul.

17. Every day, I am shocked and humbled by the success I've had on Etsy.

18. I am obsessed with Disneyland. We go for my birthday every year, but I secretly wish we went monthly. When we have kids we'll go more often: Paul might be able to talk me out of going, but he won't be so effective against a two year old. Just you watch! We will have annual passes in no time. Mwahahhaahahah!

19. I've been to the UK almost every year since I was 10. Those visits have been instrumental in forming my love of history. And of cheese and onion crisps.

20. I am obsessed with all things Tudor. Have you ever seen this hysterical video? Paul and I have considered getting me really hammered then taping me talking about Tudor history. It would be almost that funny.

21. In conjunction with my Tudor obsession, I've stayed with my parents at an apartment inside Hampton Court Palace several times over the last few years. I saw something rather unusual there once.

22. I adore cooking. One of my favorite things to do is to take retro, meat based recipes and make them over vegetarian style. I make my grandma's meatloaf pretty often.

23. I love to read but I find I don't have as much time for it as I'd like, with work and the Etsy business and all. I keep my Shelfari link (to the right) updated pretty faithfully. I enter everything I read, even the cheesy romance novels and young adult fluff. I figure, having read Canterbury Tales in Middle English and the entirety of Paradise Lost, I've earned the right to indulge in literary BS now and again.

24. I love to shop, but who doesn't? I'm a big fan of The Gap, Sephora and Forever 21; but also of smaller indie businesses on Etsy.

25. I love my blogfriends and wish I could know them all in real life!!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday Morning Confessions

You totally wanted to talk about my wedding, right? OK!

I decided a few months ago that I hate my wedding dress. No, really. I have been sitting on this idea, keeping it entirely secret ever since. I've been surreptitiously looking at other wedding dresses online. Mostly at J. Crew. Mostly the one with the pockets. Which really is insanity since: a) I would freeze my ass off in that dress b) its silk and cotton and would wrinkle to high hell in my suitcase and c) IT IS TWENTY FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS MY GOD! (Yes, I know, in terms of wedding dresses $2,500 is not bad; but spending that kind of money on a dress I will wear once and surely ruin in that one wearing is not for me. Just . . . no.)

So I've got this gnawing doubt in the back of my head as I schlepped myself over to Hollywood for my final fitting yesterday but, LO! I love my dress again. Which is fortunate since all told I have spent a shit ton of money on it. Not $2,500, but it wasn't FREE, you know!

Not only do I love my dress, I love the coat I will have to wear over it. Most of my doubts had centered around my coat. I bought it via Craigslist from a bride in Utah. It had fur at the collar and cuffs . . . v. Kate Hudson / Almost Famous looking. I have several coats in that kind of style and I love them all . . . but in all white, floor length, and with me being only 5'5" on my toes . . . well, wearing it was kinda like being eaten by a Muppet. So I had my (awesome) tailor rip off all the fur, reshape the collar, and chop the sleeves to 3/4 length. And then immediately thereafter I began SERIOUSLY doubting my decision.

I'm pleased to announce though that ALL IS WELL and I love the coat, how the coat fits with my dress, the jewelry I've made (the second set, I scrapped the first pieces I made), the makeup . . . the only thing I don't actually love so far is my hair and I'm just going to have to wait until its cut on the 21st to begin stressing in earnest over that.

So . . . the moral of this weekend: YAY! I am not going to psychotically buy another wedding dress at the last moment. Hurrah for my apparent sanity.