Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

Kickass 80s bash? I don’t mind if I do.

Whew! Things are finally slowing down…well, enough for me to update you on what’s been going on. I was in Daytona last weekend for the SIBA trade show for work, and then we went to see Renee Fleming perform on Monday evening. I’m only just now recovering from overdoing it. I really need my weekends.

Okay, on to the good stuff. In case you didn’t know, Kelaine and her fiance are getting married in TWO weeks. Yep, two weeks. That’s two weeks for me to finish creating her awesome 80s veil for her bachelorette party, the tags for her favors (which are done…I just need to resize them and print), the “just married” banner for her cake table, and the mad libs cards for the reception. EEK! Think I can get it done? You betcha.

But before I get into all that, I figured I’d share what Jon and I were working on last week, before the busy trip to Daytona: K&P’s joint bachelor/bachelorette invitations.

These two didn’t want the typical bachelor/bachelorette party (and I don’t blame them!). They just want to go out and have fun with friends before the wedding festivities start. So we decided we’d have a great dinner and head out to 80s night at a dueling piano bar…in costume.

And what better way to celebrate a kickass 80s bash than with a mixed tape? Well, in this case, CD.

The real invitation, with all the details, was inside the CD case. I tried to use tacky, 80s-inspired fonts and graphics, although I eventually gave up on the latter because–let’s face it–the 80s were ugly.

Jon was a major help–he made the playlist and burned all the CDs (and saved me so much time). THANK YOU JON!

Hopefully everyone who received these invitations enjoyed rocking out to some Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Billy Idol…all the greats. I am soooooo looking forward to celebrating this day with K&P!

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September 19, 2010

Eureka! The perfect gluten-free flour mix for muffins

We have officially welcomed Fall, even though she’s not due to arrive until September 21. Jon has been singing “I love football” from his permanent weekend spot on the couch, and for me? This is the perfect season for baking (or, the perfect season for baking gluten free). :)

Gluten-free baking is tricky. When I first found out I had celiac disease, I figured I’d be eating rice for the rest of my life. After a few months, I discovered rice flour (ta-da!). I was so excited I decided I’d make my favorite pumpkin cookies, and I simply substituted the all-purpose flour the recipe called for with my rice flour. Imagine my disappointment when they just crumbled apart when I tried to pick them up. You see, gluten is the sticky part of wheat, barley, and rye–without it or some other binding agent, your baked goods will just fall apart in your hands. From there I learned that the key to gluten-free baking is mixing flours and adding a little xantham gum to hold everything together.

But on to the gluten-free pumpkin muffins, and the absolutely perfect gluten-free muffin flour dough I created.

See that texture? Just like wheat flour muffins. (If you don’t eat gluten free, you’re probably thinking, “so what?” But if you’re used to the horrible textures and aftertastes of gluten-free baking, it’s kind of a big deal.)

I adapted Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for simple pumpkin muffins. I added a teaspoon of vanilla (because you just can’t bake anything pumpkin without a little vanilla) and instead of wheat flour, I added this mix:

1 part brown rice flour
1 part sweet sorghum flour
1 part millet flour, with a little potato starch mixed in to keep the muffins from being too dry

Why did I use those flours? Because it’s what I had in the pantry. I also added a teaspoon of xantham gum, my staple for gluten-free baking. And voila! Perfect gluten-free pumpkin muffins on the first try. (I should also add that I’ve only tried this recipe once, and I should probably test it out a few more times before calling it perfect, but oh well.) These muffins are light and airy, yet moist, and they puffed up beautifully in the oven. I wouldn’t use this mix for cookies though–I tried that last weekend and was left with little cake-like bites instead of flat, round cookies. The perfect gluten-free cookie flour mix is next on my to-do list.

Enjoy!

September 10, 2010

Things that look funny

I love the idea behind this (sealing a bottle of wine in a box, to be opened on your anniversary), but a lady in a formal gown with a hammer makes me giggle.

Photo credit: Love Me Do Photography via Ruffled Blog

September 6, 2010

Beauty is everywhere.

And although we’re barraged  with an obscene amount of catalogs we never requested/wanted/heard of (seriously, it’s out of control), the Anthropologie catalog always puts a smile on my face. Not just because I love the clothes (although lately they’ve looked cheap and scratchy), but because they travel around the world for great photography.

When my little sister and I were kids, we’d stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom (getting ready for school or brushing our teeth, whatever) and shout, “Delia’s!” and strike a pose we’d seen from the Delia’s catalog. I couldn’t find a photo of our favorite pose, but we liked this one too:

Thank goodness catalogs have evolved since then! Now I get to see things like this come out of my mailbox:

Stunning, isn’t it? Sooo much nicer than those Delia’s catalogs of the 90s, which were usually shot in a studio. But the one thing that kills me is Anthro doesn’t print any info on their shooting locations in their magazines. Why not?! So I started googling.

According to StyleList.com, this photo was shot at a ranch just outside Buenos Aires in Argentina. And not just any ranch–the home of Juan Martín Zavaleta, one of the country’s top polo players. “He was kind enough to let us use [his trophies] and to treat them rather irreverently,” creative director Trevor Lunn told StyleList.

Knowing this makes me fall in love with Anthropologie even more. It just adds something to the photos. I think I’ll keep tabs on Anthro photo shoot locations from now on, so check back next time you get a catalog in the mail!

I’ll leave you with one more photo from this month’s Anthropologie catalog, and this one proves that you don’t have to go far from home to get a great shot. This one was taken on the street in Brooklyn:

Beauty really is everywhere.

September 4, 2010

Ahhh September.

Goodbye, Summer!

I don’t know if I’m ready to give up summer sunshine, drinks by the pool, and surprise thunderstorms, but I guess I don’t have a choice. So I’ll take cool weather, cozy sweaters, apple cider and pumpkin everything, and I think I’ll be all right.

And I think we’re off to a good start. This is what Saturday morning looks like:

And a Kylie update: The good news is that the lyme bacteria is out of her body. (Yay!) But she’s still having a hard time using her back legs, despite the pain meds she’s on. She’s become an excellent scooter–she can move across the bed without getting up. And it’s a little heartbreaking.

So much so I’m considering getting her acupuncture. (Am I crazy?) I found an accredited vet in Greensboro that offers it. Has anyone tried it?