A few weeks ago, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was the Hand Born Modern Craft Bazaar. I had heard about this even for a few months. So many people had told me that I had to check it out but when it came time to go, no one wanted to go with me. Cocodoodle saved me at last minute and spontaneously agreed to be my date for a girl's night of craft faire and wine afterwards.
Hand Born was started in 2004 It took place in downtown Modesto. I had been to the art walks that downtown Modesto hosts on Thursady nights and it was very much like that. The bazaar
Brother: Peace out y'all. *Donnie types extra loud getting weird looks from people on the bus* (Side note: My brother and I force each other to say this at the end of every phone conversation. It is especially fun for the other when one is in a public place or with other people. Then we force that person to say it louder than usual)
Sister: *Jenny rolls eye in complete disbelief*
Brother: Whatever. I am hilarious. Bye.
Sister: Uh...in a daiquiri holding, unicorn lovin' kinda way (which you should totally be for Halloween)...bye.
Brother: Or in a Steve McQueen roadhalling Osama Bin Laden across an active volcano kind of way.
Sister: Oh one more thing, did you see the article about the World Series on the Onion? Hilarious.
Uh...isn't there still some gay subtext with McQueen? But I like the volcano part...totally not gay at all.
Brother: 2 things. I haven't seen the Onion thing yet and nothing about McQueen or fans of McQueen is gay. A mean look from him could make both Chuck Norris and the Old Spice guy go sisssies in their pants out of fear.
Sister: But the volcano...anything you want to retract from that?
Brother: There is nothing gay about geological processes.
Sister: Whatever. If I have to have this argument with you then I am just wasting my breath. Apparently you are not ready to be honest with yourself yet. Its ok, mom and I will still love you. It might take a while for dad but he will come around. He already told me that he is ok with adopted grandchildren. Its ok if DHW4 (my brother is a third, he has already promised my father that his first son will be a fourth) is Chinese, or black even. Dad's cool with that (the adoption part is totally true BTW. Dad and I had a conversation about it when he was pressuring me to make him a grandpa....long story)
At this point in the conversation my brother called me on the phone to hear the adoption story.
I had been anticipating La Soiree for about two months. I was excited when I got my ticket in the mail. I was excited to buy something new and fancy to wear to the event. The night before I was like a kid at Christmas waiting for Santa.
I had to work all day prior to leaving for the event that started at 6:00PM. I was lucky enough to get off work an hour early and thank goodness. It was one of the worst days at work that I had had up to that point. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I left and headed strait to my friend Cocodoodle's house (not her real but one that she has had ever since seeing Coco Before Chanel together about a year ago, maybe longer. I am bad with the passing of time). After a few minutes of trying to convince her fine food obsessed sister to hop in the car with us, we were on our way.
We reached Livermore by 6:00PM and I thought, 'Great, we are making pretty good time. We will be sipping French wine and eating pate in another hour or so. At the very latest another two hours or so.'
Famous last words.
It was one of the first heavy rains of the season. While I might be a decent driver in the rain, those around me on the 580 were not. We finally reached my brother's apartment around 7:30PM. A little later than I had hoped but still early enough that we might still have a decent time. I had Cocodoodle call for a cab when we were about 15 minutes away from his place. Our plan was to leave my car there and take a taxi to La Soiree so we wouldn't have to worry about how we would get the car back to the apartment and everyone could be a little more irresponsible and no one would have to worry about being sober driver, we would let Yellow Cab handle that. We got through to Yellow Cab and an automated service let us know that our taxi would be there in 15 minutes. We gave them my brother's address, planted ourselves under umbrellas in front of his apartment in our fancy clothes and waited...and waited. After 20 minutes I called the service again. This time I reached an actual human. His only words for our taxi not being there, 'Oh, its on its way.' Click. No apology, no indication that we would be on our way anytime soon....nothing. While stranded in front of my brother's apartment we witnessed a family of raccoons sleuth and sneak from one apartment to the next across the street from us. It was strange to watch and the creep factor rose when they became aware of us across the street and all four looked up at us and froze all at once. Ten seconds later they were on their way again. After 35 minutes of waiting for the stinkin' cab, my brother's roommate walked out of the apartment.
'Hi, I am Don's sister, do you remember me?'
'Oh yeah...uh...hi...' (hesitantly)
'I just didn't want you to think that we were some creepy stalker girls standing in front of your apartment. We are supposed to meet my brother at the Metreon and we are just waiting for our cab'
'How long have you been waiting? You will never get one out here'
'35 minutes, they promised to be here in 15.'
'Do you guys want a ride? It is kinda on the way the where I am going'
I wasn't about to be polite and modest...who knows when the cab was going to get there?
On the way we compared stories about how unintentionally funny my brother is. She asked me why my brother will laugh loudly, alone, while watching TV. I had to admit that it was a family thing, both my mother and myself do it. It takes awhile for those that know us to understand and accept it.
We had FINALLY arrived. We took the elevator to the fourth floor, past the neo-goth teenagers, past the concession stands. We found my brother on the balcony (with one of the most amazing views of downtown San Francisco, by the way), in the rain, about 2 sheets in. His best friend may have already been at 3 sheets. Cocodoodle and I had to catch up quick.
I wanted to get some food in me first. The first table I went to had a chicken liver pate that sounds like dog food but tasted amazing. Not as amazing as the spinach terrine that was next to it. That dish was da bomb! I filled my glass with an unknown red (decent but not great) and took a walk around the place. The balcony was gorgeous but other than that the venue kinda stunk for the event. The way it was laid out, people ended up bottle-necked around some of the more popular tables, preventing others from getting by. It made mad- dashes for wine almost impossible. Next was a white, and another red. We were starting to get loosened up (ok, I was starting to get loosened up, Cocodoodle kept asking me 'Do I seem drunk? I am already drunk') We hit on another glass of red that I was sure was my favorite, Pinot Noir. What I wouldn't give to have been more attentive because that glass was fantastic! The best of the night.
Finally good and lubricated, I took in the fabulous of it all. Beautiful people speaking French everywhere (Note to self: Put that birthday gift of audio French to work and learn the language already). A strange Shakespearean nymph looking creature, on stilts! Marie Antoinette face painting unicorns on grown men when intoxicated. The men, not Marie Antoinette...
I wish we would have arrived earlier. I wish the venue would have had a better flow. I wish there would have been more desserts (although I was told that there were lots more there before we got there, drats). Other than that, this is definitely something I would do again. I am already making plans for next year.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part. At the end of the night we got our groove on to the DJ that had the strangest mashups but, after all the wine, seemed to be works of art. I also got to see that my brother could add another terrific genetic trait, that again skipped me, to the list. On top of getting the height, fast metabolism and piano player fingers, he gets to add 'sweet dance moves'. I never knew the kid could dance. When I dance I look like I am seizing and swatting at flies at the same time.
Because the 75+lb pup sleeps in the middle of the Mr. and I every night, my body has been a little stiff lately. I had never experienced back pain before and had always considered myself lucky. Suddenly 30 hit and so did the aches and pains that I had bragged about dodging. I had outsmarted them. They found me.
It had been in my head to get a massage for a few weeks now. Every time I had convinced myself to get one, guilt set in at the potential splurge and the price that goes along with it. The other day I had passed by the Angel Relax Center in town and posted above the door was a huge banner that read 'Massage $19.99', I thought 'eh, why not?'
I thought I would play it safe and get only a pressure point massage. Although my sense of humor runs on the grossly inappropriate side, my sensibilities are that of a nun (at least when I am sober). With a pressure point massage, I was hoping to keep my clothes on. I called, booked my appointment, told them what I wanted and set it for 6:00 after work.
When I got there a different man was sitting at the desk. I told him I was there for my appointment and he stared at me blankly. I told him I was there for a 30 minute pressure point massage, again he stared at me blankly. After a few minutes of this he led to a room after silently convincing me to pay for a 45 minute full body massage. Fine. Whatever.
I disrobed, put a short towel on and waited. During my wait I looked above me and thought, 'What a strange place for curtain rods?' I couldn't make sense why they ran lengthwise in the middle of the room and were about a foot apart. I would soon find out.
'Sw' (pronounced 'Sue', her spelling, not mine) came into the room and instructed me to lay face down on the bed. No sooner had I put my head in that toilet seat looking thing and Sw's hands were all over me. No hand holding, no soothing voice, just strait business. Well, ok. If I paying for 45 minutes I suppose I want to get my money's worth. Sw worked fast, too fast. It was more painful than relaxing but again I compromised with myself and thought, 'I just want my back to feel better'. Here are the highlights of how the rest of the appointment played out:
-The phone rings, in the room! Sw answers it! Now I don't feel so bad about the silent receptionist not understanding that I had wanted cash back for tip.
-Sw's hands leave me and suddenly I realize what those bars were for. She needed something to grab onto to steady herself. Feet! Feet were on me! Walking up my legs, heels digging into my butt. standing on my back....all over me. I was appalled at first, only because I wasn't at all expecting it. After a few minutes though, I started to loosen up and enjoy it. (Don't judge me!)
-At this point I thought the massage was over and started to get up. Sw gently pushed me back on the bed and somehow convinced me to commit to the full hour for an additional $10. I was too scared to say no.
-She holds two separate conversations over the wall with the other employees in the parlor (is that even the right word for it?). Again too scared to say anything, hoping they weren't talking about me.
-She has me turn over and as modest as I tried to be, everything ended up showing as she grunted her way through some of the more grueling moves of the massage.
-Again, I think the massage is over and she whispers to me 'Oh no, baby oil' What the???
-She pours baby oil all over my backside...all over! I am beyond mortified at this point.
-After cleaning me up with hot towels (that felt so good, by the way) the massage was FINALLY over.
I walked up to the counter and Sw helped the receptionist understand that I needed to pay for the additional time. I also let her know to add more for her tip. She gave me a glass of water, her card with her name 'Sw', a squeal and a great big hug.
I walked out of there, water in hand, not fully understanding what had just happened. Not fully convinced that some of what happened wasn't illegal. I called my mom for a voice of reason (after calling G begging him to answer the phone). She had me on speaker phone with her coworker who, after I told the story, simply said, 'Oh yeah, that's what they usually do'.
Now that I am sitting in safety and comfort of my own home, I feel great. I might go back next month.
Needless to say, I know what I getting the Mr. for Christmas. Purely for the awkward entertainment.
I am so sorry that I have been somewhat absent from The Sour and The Sweet. I have been busy (ok, lazy?) and have not had a chance to post a legitimate update. I promise to soon tell you all about 'La Soiree' in San Francisco with my friend Cocodoodle; the Hand Born Craft Fair the day after Thanksgiving with a stop at my favorite restaurant, Tresetti's; and my missed opportunity to sail around Greece this summer with my brother (that last one might be a depressing entry). Give me some time and I promise that I will get it together. Hopefully before the new year. In the meantime enjoy some Xtina Aguilera (just because I like spelling her name that way) and the latest from Hyperbole and a Half (those that find this as hysterical as I do can be my best friend forever). Oh and food for thought? IS pie the new cupcake? Maybe so....
This is my mom's new pup. Welcome to the family Milo!
What I am:
Hearing: 'Things Have Changed'--Bob Dylan on Mad Men Radio via Pandora Radio.
Seeing: Ace of Cakes on the Food Network.
Smelling: A cup of Trader Joe's Wintry Blend coffee, my favorite.
Tasting: Leftover Garlic Chicken and Luck Chow Mein from Lucky House.
Feeling: Crafty. I am thinking of going to the fabric store if it still open. I have some ideas brewing up in my noggin. I also told G that I would look for some vintage fabric that he found locally and used in his collection. I better get a move on.
Shhhh...don't tell the Mr. but I am in love with Ryan Jones (K. Ryan Jones for professional and pretentious reasons). If you aren't reading The Only Living Boy in New York here are the top 5 reasons you should be.
He talks to his brother Garrett the same way I talk to my brother. Exhibit A and Exhibit B.
Regrettably, I could not find a pic of my brother and I from when we were kids stored on my computer. Hasbro's My Buddy and Kid Sister will have to make do. Fun fact though, my brother TOTALLY had a My Buddy doll. We gave him several haircuts and took a magic marker to his face. Fun times!
I can't tell you how excited I am about this particular blog. I fell in love with Hello Naomi's simple and sweet cake and cupcake design when I stumbled upon her flickr account a couple of years ago. She is the one that made me want to design and decorate cupcakes. She was my very first inspiration and that planted the seed...now she has a blog?!?! Too good to be true. Check it out.
Last week, best friend G (known to the world as Gregory Metcalf) and his boyfriend Tony (known to the world as Anthony Franco) were featured in Apartment Therapy: Los Angeles. I should say that their gorgeous house was featured. When G told me this I shrieked because I have been a huge fan of Apartment Therapy: San Francisco for some time now and knew that this was a huge deal. I have spent many weekends at this house and consider the downstairs office to be my own personal guest room at Château Franco-Metcalf (look close and you can see my hidden contribution, a charcoal afghan that I made G years ago, hanging off the arm of the couch downstairs). These two boys have impeccable taste that carries an obvious artistic touch. Please check out their home tour and see for yourself. Make sure you take a double look at all of the fantastic pillows featured by G's endeavor, Gregory Keith.
Hearing: 'The Crazies' Hearing it because I refuse to watch it. I hate scary movies, I don't care what the day of the year it is.
Seeing: All the cute pics of all my friends that have kids that dressed up for Halloween.
Smelling: Pumpkin seeds starting to roast from the pumpkins I carved tonight.
Feeling: Between the leftover Halloween candy and the 'Witches Hats' I made today (normally known as Peanut Butter and Hershey Kiss Blossoms), I feel kinda sick to my stomach. I haven't had this much sugar in a long time.
Hearing: The most adorable beagle howl, next to my own pup's.
Seeing: My transaction receipt for the ticket to La Soriee that I just purchased. So excited!
Smelling: A cup of Folger's with a dash of sugar and a splash of milk in my zebra striped coffee mug. I bought it on a whim from the dollar store about 7 years ago and has become my favorite mug to sip from.
Tasting: Oroweat Dutch Country Extra Fiber toast with a smudge of chunky peanut butter.
Feeling: It was a stressful week for me. Insomnia set in, handfuls of hair fell out in the shower and I seem to have lost my appetite. On the plus side the numbers on the scale are plummeting so maybe its more of a lose win situation. Hope next week is a little better.
Hearing: The second game of the Giant's and the Philly's on the TV behind me. The Giant's just walked a run in because the bases were loaded and its only the first inning...this is why I have a hard time watching sports, I get too riled up.
Seeing: The overcast sky of the first legitimate fall day of the year through my office window. I love it.
Smelling: My favorite apple pie baking in the oven. I am sharing it with my friend/cousin Andrea while we watch the final episode of Mad Men tonight.
Tasting: A tall glass of milk.
Feeling: Relaxed, it was the first weekend that I let myself enjoy being a bit lazy in a long time. Now I don't want to go to work tomorrow.
I decided that I was leaving town too much in the past couple of months on my days off and really needed to stay closer to home so that I could tend to things more domestic on my weekends (laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming, et all) and the Mr. really needed to tend to the yard work. He is outside mowing the lawns as we speak while I am updating the blog (he is a much better person than I am today).
Just because I was planning on staying close to home didn't mean that I had to let myself stay cooped up in the house all day. I had been catching up on all my favorite design and DIY blogs and was bit by the 'before and after' bug. My plan today was to scour Craigslist with a budget of about $25 dollars and see what I could find to re-purpose for my own home. I am in dire need of a new entertainment unit for the television in the front room but still haven't found anything that I feel would be the best fit. I moved on to the local newspaper hoping to find something in the events calendar for this weekend. I know many people that live (or have lived for that matter) in my community that constantly complain that there is nothing to do in this po-dunk town of almost 250,000 people. To them I say, 'You just aren't trying hard enough.' This weekend I found the perfect way to say 'I told you so'. After finding it on the events calendar, the Mr. and I headed out to the 3rd Annual Modesto Disc Dogg Competition. It was held at John Muir Park. I grew up in this town and had never been to this park. It is tucked away on High Street which is close to the downtown area and by the cemetery. It is an older neighborhood in town and I always believed it to be somewhat rundown that I never thought to venture further down the street. Big mistake on my part because at the end of the street is a picture perfect little park nestled in the middle of quaint, nostalgic houses. It was in this setting that the Mr., the Pup and I sat under ancient oak trees, in mild weather (finally) and watched other pups make amazing (and not so amazing) jumps and frisbee catches to score points to see who would be top dog that day. We headed out and I was able to get two pictures on the way there and one picture once we arrived...and that was it. Dummy Jen forgot to charge the camera and I couldn't coax anymore photos out of it. I was so disappointed and I know you are too. These are the potential photo ops that were missed out on:
Baby crawling on all fours at the same level as some of the more well behaved pups.
Cute older couple that showed up to watch on their beach cruiser bicycles. (I love cute, older couples).
Dogs catching some serious air reaching for the frisbees.
Sammy Davis Jr, a dautsund that, for me, stole the show. That dog was hustling!
Eli. I wasn't sure what kind of dog he was but he was beautiful. He was brown with a white streak over his forehead that made him look a little like Pepe Le Pew.
A dog named Zip...only because he had the coolest name that day.
While there, the Mr and I had an opportunity to meet Jill. She walked over to introduce herself and to let us know more about the Disc Doggs. We let her know what a great time we were having but that our own pup was hopeless when it came to fetch. She gave us some tips and gave us some hope that maybe next year, the Pup might make it to the novice competition. She let us know a trick to getting your dog to return the frisbee to you is to dab a bit of peanut butter under the lip. I said, 'Thats great to get her to go after it but how can I get her to return it to me?' Her answer was so simple, 'Have another one waiting for her and she will come back to you.' Brilliant. Like I said it gave us hope, now all we have to do is practice and maybe next year the Pup will be out there chasing frisbees and scoring points.
The Pup eagerly anticipating going to the park. Taking the Mr.'s seat while he was getting the car gassed up.
Rare, although carefully cropped, self portrait taken today in support of two of my favorite people.
Not to brag (ok, TOTALLY to brag), the above flower was constructed of vintage fabric from my good friend (boyfriend to my best friend G) Anthony Franco. He is showing this week in LA Fashion Week and I cannot be there. G keeps giving me random updates; certain A-list celebrities are to be in attendance and at the after party, certain D-list celebrities (who are more A-list to me than the actual A-list celebrities) are promised to be there as well. I know he is doing this to entice me to make the mid-week trip but I can't and now its becoming more and more painful. I promise a full post soon after the event on Wednesday. Until then please check out Behind the Line with Anthony Franco. His show is sponsored by Cotton (Yes, THAT Cotton. The touch, the feel, the fabric of our lives...you know you know it) and they have followed him from the beginning of designing his Spring 2011 line. I will be there in spirit and will be watching a live feed at Behind the Line with Anthony Franco on Wednesday, you definitely should too.
Sunday we stayed close, very close, to home and went out to the Riverbank Wine and Cheese Exposition. The Mr. and I really could have walked there from our house but because we did tons of walking the day before, we decided to drive the three minutes and find a parking space. At first I felt pretty lazy but in the end I am glad that we did because we didn't stay that long. Its not that we didn't have fun, its just that we go almost every year and had seen most of it before. I was excited to find out that Cupcake Vineyards was showing this year. I hadn't tried their wine yet but of course I was intrigued because of the adorable name. When we reached the wine tasting area, the Mr. and I ultimately decided that we didn't want to pay the $35 dollars when we only wanted to try to few of the wines. I was disappointed that I didn't get to try the Cupcake wine but I think I would rather just purchase a bottle some other time. Last year we went to the free cheese tasting, but the community center (where the tasting is held) was too warm, too crowded and we ended with only a couple of morsels of cheese. This year it seemed we might face the same problem so we avoided that all together. This year the expo seemed more 'family friendly' with a carnival with games and rides for the kiddies and there seemed to be more festival fare geared towards the younger set. Because it was pretty warm, the Mr. and I headed to the beer garden. We walked the rest of the expo with refreshing beer in hand. I have to say, I am glad that we decided on beer that day instead of the wine...is that wrong?
The tasting corral.
Ginormous inflatable hawk advertising a local radio station.
Celebrating fall even though it hasn't quite reached us yet.
This was outside the community center. Downtown Riverbank has gone through a makeover in the past couple of years and the statue (along with other statues around town) is a new addition to the community center.
This was the coolest thing for the kids that day. A mad scientist concocting 'volcanoes' made of juice and dry ice.
Who could resist BBQ being sold by the Duke?
October 9th would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. It is strange to think of him as an old man and I wonder what the world would have been like if he hadn't been senselessly gunned down.
I swear that I do more than escape to San Francisco.
I was confronted with a very tough decision this weekend. Do I go to the Riverbank Wine and Cheese Exposition, or do I go to San Francisco Fleet Week? "Why can't I do both?" I said, and that's what I did (or at this point, plan to do). I don't know why I never really thought to take the pup with me before, considering that SF is such a dog friendly city, but I decided that today was the day to make her official debut. The pup, the Mr. and I headed out early. Well...early enough. We had a late night with friends the night before dining on huge steamed oysters, hamburgers, sausage and drinking good, cheap beer. There was too much food, including pasta salad, an amazing sun dried tomato dip that I must have the recipe for, and a delicious Chinese Chicken salad. It was so good that I was sure I didn't like that sort of thing but have now changed my mind. We ate well and sat on the edge of our seats as the SF Giants let the Braves take the win last night in the 11th inning. The night would have ended earlier for us if the Mr. and his best friend hadn't egged each other on to rally on Mario Kart for the next hour or so. At that point felt I had to step in to put a stop to it. My tactic didn't work too well because I found myself, with Wii-mote in hand, screaming at Toad to stop falling off the edges and putting me in last place for a couple more games.
I don't know how we managed to get out of bed but we did and were in SF by 11:00am. We stopped to visit my brother at Books, Inc. so that he could give his dog-niece a doggy treat (pathetic I know, don't judge me.) and then the Mr. and I walked on until we reached Barney's. I have been here before and knew the Mr. would love it. We took a seat outside so that the pup wouldn't go nuts (she has a little separation anxiety problem). The burgers are ridiculously large but hard to stop eating. I was hoping that if I ordered the BLT that the meal might be a little more modest. I was wrong. I had to leave the restaurant with half of my sandwich because the first half was more than enough for me. The Mr. had the Chipotle Burger. He loves spicy things and is usually unimpressed when a restaurant insists that a dish is spicy because for him, it usually isn't and he is disappointed. He wasn't disappointed this time. He said the burger had quite a kick.
Oh yeah, the sweet potato fries...um...pretty much the best thing ever and the reason I return to Barney's time after time.
Guys from Cal Berkeley decorating the neighborhood for Fleet Week. Go Bears!
After lunch we made our way down to the water. We walked along the 'St. Fancy Yacht Club' (St. Francis Yacht Club) and strolled through the Marina Green. We walked passed displays from the Marine's and of course the Navy. Walking amongst all of the service men and woman dressed in uniform made me feel patriotic and very proud of my country. These are men and woman, as well as the rest of our military branches, who are risking their lives for the freedoms of our nation. This is something that I couldn't step up to do. No matter what your belief is about the war that we are fighting, these men and woman are the true heroes of our country. Not the celebrities or athletes that we see in front of us everyday and definitely not the pseudo-celebrities on reality television grasping at their last 15 minutes of fame.
The best part of the day was taking the pup to Chrissy Field and finding a spot to watch the Blue Angel's Air Show. We walked to the end of the beach and let her loose to frolic with the other dogs on the beach. It was the first time that she had ever been to the ocean and I thought that she would be fearful (see THIS earlier post) but she wasn't. She charged every wave until she was tuckered out. We caught only the first part of the air show before deciding to get an early start out of the city. What we saw was terrific. I loved watching the synchronized planes leave a trail of red white and blue behind them as they passed. There were jets that, when you heard the rumble of their engines, you looked up and they were already passed you flying faster than the speed of sound. It was insane! We loved it.
Please excuse to excessive amount of photos of my pup playing on the beach...yes, I am THAT kind of dog-momma.
Its not the best picture but this guy was gettin' it. He made me feel very lazy for sitting on my duff watching him cruise by.
I am a pretty sad 'action' photographer so this was pretty much the only photo I was able to get of the air show :(
One last fun note. Below was the most random, but quintessential San Francisco, photo op of the day...
Sorry again for the delay between posts. Events have been happening but I have been horrible about writing them up. At this 'new' job (not so new anymore), I sit in front of a computer all day. By the time I get home I do a quick check of my emails and designated social networking site and then I try to stay away from it. This last weekend was quite eventful in fact.
First up, my good friend had her baby girl 2 weeks early on Friday morning. Both baby and mama are happy and healthy. She is too cute for words and I find myself 'cyber-stalking' her pictures online (but not in the creepy or pervy way). Congratulations T on your little OG!
I camped out in my kitchen for 2 nights working on sweet treats for the bake sale that I mentioned before. For the Saturday delivery I made, what I call, Dirty Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes and Grasshopper High Hat Cupcakes. I have almost perfected my red velvet cupcake recipe and topped it with a whipped cream cheese icing that turned out lighter than most cream cheese icings I have used before. I garnished these with homemade, chopped pralines. I mentioned these in the last post and was excited that they worked out to be the perfect topping to a cupcake favorite. The Grasshopper High Hat was a devil's food cupcake and buttercream lightly flavored with peppermint piled as high as I could get it. After setting these puppies in the freezer for a bit, I dipped them upside down in a chocolate opera glaze. I was trying to get them to taste like a peppermint patty but ended up tasting more like a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie (which, in my opinion, was a better turnout). For Sunday I stuck to our traditional 'Monster Cookies'. This is a recipe that was handed down from the Mr.'s grandmother and I make them every year as gifts at Christmas. We also included these in our wedding favors as his childhood cookie (mine was chocolate chip and walnut that my mother used to call 'Frog Leg Cookies' to try to keep us kids from eating them. The 'frog legs' were the walnuts.) The recipe is meant to make an obscene amount of cookies and I had dough left over. I finally got around to baking the rest of them and now they are in my house looking for a home.
After dropping the cookies off at the bake sale on Sunday, I stopped to visit with my grandmother. The visit was pleasant. I left and was in a little bit of a hurry to get out of town to SF to make it to my french macaron class (taught by the same instructor at Baking Arts where I learned the opera glaze used on the High Hats) that I had been anticipating forever. I realized I forgot my phone at home and made my way there to pick it up before getting out of town. On my way there I got into a little fender bender. Everyone was alright but after the police report was taken and all was said and done I was running really late. I made it into the city 30 minutes late and could not find parking ANYWHERE! I finally gave up, called my instructor and hoped that he would call me back so that I could reschedule the class. I met up with my brother at the 'Secret Starbucks' in the Presidio. Walking out of the Starbucks we saw, hand to God, a three legged dog!! My evening was starting to look up slightly. We had some fantastic seared ahi sandwiches at Pacific Catch and we had dessert at the Grove Cafe. The Grove Cafe was adorable, when we walked in it felt as if we were in a ski lodge in the middle of the mountains. It was the perfect setting for my cheesecake and hot apple cider. I dropped my brother off and started for home.
The reason I couldn't find parking anywhere when trying to get to my class was because it was the last division game for the SF Giants (Go Giants!). I have nothing but love for the Giants, but the Giants fans in the city that evening...well...that is a completely different story. These guys had no clue how to drive in the big city. It took me 2 and a half hours to get from my brother's apartment to the other side of the bay bridge. I was beyond irritated. Oh it was alllll baaaddd.
The next day I ended up getting sick, but that is for another blog post later...
First up...pralines! Why have I never made these before?
Next weekend I am participating in another charity bake sale. This time it is in support of Cookies for Kids Cancer. More specifically it is in support of two amazing young men (Noah and Caden), one beautiful angel (Chase) and their families that have been affected by this terrible disease. I was asked to break out my mixing bowls and measuring cups. Anything that I can do to help I will. A high turnout is expected because of the overwhelming support of friends and a small write up in the local newspaper (Around the Region), I thought it might be the perfect time to try out some new recipes. I spent the better part of last week just trying to perfect a red velvet cupcake recipe. I am still working on it but I am determined to get it by the sale. I got the idea to sprinkle homemade pralines on top of the cupcakes to make them extra extra southern. After my first attempt at making them I found myself asking, "Where have these been all my life?" They are crunchy, sweet and salty (with my own addition of a sprinkle of sea salt to the recipe). The first batch didn't last for my second try at red velvets. I am actually grateful that I have not known how terrific these lil guys are because I am sure I wouldn't be able to fit through the front door if I had known about them before now. I can't wait to debut them next weekend.
On Saturday, even though it was scorching hot (at the end of September, I am more than ready for fall weather), I took a little trip to the Antique Warehouse. I was prepared to look and not buy but, for the most part, the prices were extremely reasonable. I got lots of inspiration for future decorating. The store is right off the freeway and when you pull into the parking lot the entrance can be kind of tricky to find. Good thing they have flags up at either side of the door to make things easier to figure out. The great things about this place is that it is comprised of multiple stalls that are rented out by people wanting to sell their collectibles. Every stall is different making it a place for all sorts of different styles. The staff is very helpful and will call the stall renter for you if you want to barter on an item. It had been years since I had last been and it was just as fun as I remembered it. Part flea market, part museum.
Below are some of my favorite and not so favorite finds. The Good...
I had to show some real restraint when I found the cookie cutters and I loved the old tool boxes. I am a big lamp fan as well, can you tell?
If I was going to buy anything it would have been a tea set bit nothing screamed out to me. I really liked the weathered cookie jar and the ice crusher might be on my Christmas wish list. I found some vintage linens with adorable retro bows printed on the corners that I thought seriously about buying. I forgot to get a picture of those (I think subconsciously so that no one else would buy them and I could go back and get them).
My favorite things in the shop that day were these AMAZING porcelain bunnies...could you just die?!? I love them so much. These I definitely might go back to get...now I just need to find out where I would put them...
What tha??? Old timey toilet? Kinda gross.
...and The Downright Creepy...
Nightmare inducing dolls that follow you with their vacant eyes....creeeeeeeppppyyyy...