Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sitting time

Touched down in Denver today for a little visit with one of the siblings. Going to ring in the New Year with some much needed family time only minus the husband because well, I reckon he'd rather be at home with his football and the stack of DVDs and books Santa left him.

I did manage to drag the husband to P.S. I Love You on Friday, and I'm so glad we did. I give that movie three thumbs up. Of course the movie theater was full of women (there was a couple husbands in the crowd). The movie is basically about moving on after you lose the one you love. You could hear sniffles and the rustling of tissues all around. It was that touching, and full of relationship stuff that even both hubby and I can relate to.

Among them is feeling like despite being ready physically and emotionally for things such a house, we aren't there financially. Of course there are probably many young couples sitting in the same darn boat with us. The hardest part is that we've had a hard few years between me finding a job where the boss has somewhat of a spine, paying for a huge wedding, and then it seems medical bill after medical bill. All the while we keep wondering how we can save for house, pay our debt, and maybe have a little change to actually do things such as date nights, clothes, and stuff. We've been running ourselves ragged with worry, but I think we're changing our tune.

Originally, we thought we save, save, save, save, give some blood (maybe a part of our souls?), and save so we could buy a house this summer. But after seeing this movie, I thought what's the rush? (Of course, the theme of this movie was completely the opposite with Hilary Swank's character's husband passing away and leaving her widowed at 29.) We're both young. We're both in good jobs. We're madly in love. Plus, we haven't seen a house we've really liked yet, but then we've only been glancing to see what the market looks like and not looking seriously, but I think I'd be scared if we were—it's not pretty.

So I'm hoping we can sit on our hands and try not to settle down so quickly, but enjoy our youth. Enjoy our alone time together, which is why after seeing this terrific movie, I thought my sister has to see it, but with an 18-month old, going to the movies with your husband is probably pretty low on the priority list or just hard to accomplish with all that babysitter fuss that comes with having a child. That's why I'm babysitting on my first night to Denver. I'm getting to spend time with my cuter-than-ever nephew, who I've currently tucked away to bed after some five books and kisses, and then some screaming. My sister is going to the movies (I can't remember the last time she's been). It's good for both us, because it makes me realize I want to hold on to that you and me time with my husband (sans baby), time that's simple and not fenaggled with a house payment and then thoughts of a little bun.

So I may live in a crappy apartment where I can't paint the walls, the carpet is dingy, and the space is tight, but we're happy and we should be having fun, not trying to cram a whole bunch of mature decisions (read: money) into an unrealistic time frame. We'll get there, and we'll enjoy the ride along the way. I hope, but I better stop watching HGTV and maybe change a bunch more dirty diapers just so my nephew doesn't look too cute to me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

$#%*


Yup, I'm cussing. Letting fly a few f-bombs and what have you like the dad From the Christmas Story (which I watched probably eight times during the TBS marathon). My computer might be dead.

You might be asking how I happen to be writing the rage-filled, shoe-kicking, screaming post? From work. Yup. Work.

I had work to do over the holidays, which really isn't as bad as it sounds when one can work from the comfort of their own home, snipping homemade lemon butter spritz, chocolate-dipped spritz, and gingerbread cookies from the kitchen. Oh, and cherry pie and pumpkin pie. I went crazy baking over the holidays. But no pie or cookies or homely comforts for me today. I trekked to work. After clearing the snow off my car, cussing and stomping the entire time.

In my post-holiday recap, I got a breadmaker from hubby. I can't wait to make homemade bread. The father-in-law even asked if he could come over for some bread, so I better buy the ingredients. I also got a lovely set of Rosanna plates from my sister (pictured here with coordinating coasters and platter). They match my wine-themed kitchen and the red flair I got going on. Other than that, not too many exciting gifts. The In Laws did get us a step stool, because "one day we'll need it." One day. Actually, it's a really great idea, but with a tiny apartment, well, it's hard to fit in nonessential items. I guess it'll have to be demoted either to the guest bedroom (otherwise known as the catch all for the things we don't have room to put up, store, or use...not that anyone really comes to visit us anyway...hem,hem) or maybe we can put it in the laundry room where we also have the shop vac that my husband also got from his parents one Christmas (that's another gift that will, I'm sure, be dead useful in the future) and a fabric steamer (it was really useful during The Event that was The Wedding).

However, I did set out and accomplish lots of baking and cooking. Besides the cookies and pies, I also made fajita topped with garlic-laden guacamole (yummy!), and then I made stuffed cornish game hens, mashed potatoes, green beans, and crescents as per our Christmas Eve tradition. Next year I can add homemade bread to the mix.

Also new this year was a ornament exchange with one of my sisters and my husband. From the sister, I got a glass bear holding a trout fish to commemorate our trip up to the mountains earlier this year, where I learned afterwards we could have been attacked and eaten by bears. From the hubby, I got a chubby penguin named Scooter that's an angel playing a harp. Both hilarious, both unique. Can't wait for next year's exchange.

I just hope that I don't have to buy a new computer. $%&*!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wish list: Dinner parties


Maybe it's because the new year is upon us, but I'm in a plannerly mood. Dreaming up dinners for guests I don't have, decorations I don't have room for (ditto on space for a party more than five), and cooking chops I don't even possess.

Tonight I'm flipping through my Good Friends Great Tastes cookbook in preparation for my sister to come visit me (something I'm trying to make into a monthly ritual because she too loves to cook, even when she can't eat most of what she does cook because of food allergies; plus, she's on the closer side: 3.5-hour car ride away). This cookbook makes me wish for weekly dinner parties; its the perfect cookbook for such a thing. It has menus that list attainable ingredients and minimal directions. One of my other sisters purchased the cookbook for me when I was in college, and I have yet to make anything out of it some three or four years later. I guess I just assumed it's a dinner-parties-only kind of cookbook, and if that's the case, well, who wants to come over for dinner? My door is open and my oven is preheating.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Blustry prints



Looking at modishoppe today, I came across the perfect prints by Shira Sela that evoke the kind of day I love—blustry, snowy or otherwise. They'd work together as a trio easily.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Mom


I can't believe this is the third birthday I won't have celebrated with Mom. She would have been 61 years young. Amazing how time flies, and even more amazing the things you'd think to say and ask a person when they are no longer in your life. Hope it's a good one Mom. Party up.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Hung from the chimney with care


I love, love, love these Christmas stockings from withlovefromalabama's Etsy shop. They would make a great Christmas gift (hint, hint). I like the red striped and green striped ones best.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Happy, healthy ear, teeth

Two-month post-op ear doctor appointment. Check. Bi-annual teeth cleaning. Check. Ears, or ear rather, is on the mend. I think I'm hearing more than I did before The Surgery, and the good news is that the graft is happy and healthy. Doc said I could even get water in my ear and do whatever I want to with it. Not sure what he means by that...maybe take it on vacation? Just imagine looking at pictures of me on vacation with my ear. If I were Photoshop-talented, I would post you a picture of exactly that visual. On the dental note, my teeth are good, too. Yay for flossing!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Enne meene minee mow

I'm in need of storage. I've had my eye on these two buffets, but I just can't decide. Go for the better price, or go for quality?


The Pottery Barn Langton Buffet & Hutch



The Contender



The JC Penney Sanders Cove Buffet & Hutch Set

Thanksgiving (is) past


I did it! I made homemade pies! Besides burning my thumb on the oven door (It's pretty nasty looking now because I didn't have time to cool it down.), my cheery cherry pie and toasty pumpkin pie came out of the oven beautifully (Thanks sis for your tutelage). I felt like a proud mama. It seems I no longer have a black thumb when it comes to baking. I even got hubby's stamp of approval and a "When you making me another cherry pie?" So all is well. My faith in baking is restored.

To finish out the traditional Thanksgiving holiday, we put up our tree. I jokingly refer to it as our Charlie Brown tree, because it's a bit on the sparse side, but the lights and an ornament on just about every limb (another story) make it sparkle.

Should you want to see our tree (I don't think anyone even saw it last year), I invite you to come to our home...it'll give me an excuse to bake another pie.


Looking for a wreath for my front door. This one from Fiori Belli looks inviting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas baubles


Looking for some fun, festive holiday decor that goes beyond santa and the snowman? Check out CB2. I'm loving the inexpensive and simple classiness of the Lumiere candleholders. Deck the halls!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Deck your desktop


Every now and then, I switch up my desktop with graphic-designer-made desktop art from the cute, adorable pictures of my nephew that I usually post. I don't do this often because I don't often stumble across sites that offer desktop art I appreciate (plus, I can't resist the cute mug of my nephew). But today, I did. Maybe your desktop is looking a little bland? If so, check out Eleanor Grosch's wallpaper.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Calendar time


It may seem a bit early, but it is indeed calendar time. Especially, if you are like me and love, love, love calendars...making them, buying them, flipping to the next month. Last year, I made my own calendar (layout and all). I printed, stamped, and embossed them, then gave them as Christmas gifts. It was a long (and fairly expensive) project. When I gave them out as Christmas presents, I wasn't confident they would be received happily. I could just hear, "What did Jessaca make us this year? I hope it's not another scarf." But, it turns out, there's been a request for my calendar-making skills again this year. Will I acquiesce or will I turn to Blueprint magazine's ready-made version? Only time will tell...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Haunted Atchison

Last night, I embarked on a road trip to Atchison, Kansas to go on the Haunted Atchison Tour with my friend Amanda. Her excitment and amusement upon hearing about the tour, which was featured on Travel Channel, made me book spots for the two of us aboard the tolley tour. I was scared, but not of the long legends of ghosts that wonder many of the beautiful Victorian mansions in Atchison, but those ghosts of my past.

This was the first time returning to the quaint rail road town that borders the Missouri river since Mom passed away. Although she wasn't living in Atchison at the time, I think if Mom had a choice her spirit would be sitting in one of those very houses we stopped by on the tour. Atchison was home to her.

Mom lived in Atchison twice during her short life: during college (I was in grade school) and then later in life when my sister attended college there. The town for me isn't haunted with infamous ghosts of Sally or Molly, but rather those memories of Mom. Returning was like looking at a photo album.

At each turn of the trolley, there's the house she lived in on 2nd street, there's the house she and my sister lived in on 10th street, there's the pharmacy I used to go pick up her medication from, there's where I attended school as a youngster. And each time my breath would catch in my throat, and I would remember some long-forgotten memory, such as when we were little and my sister and I talked Mom into getting a real, live Christmas tree. Well, three girls and large Christmas tree isn't a very balanced equation. After it was wrestled up the stairs and an attempt made to get it in the stand, we needed a break. Mom hollered breaktime and let go of the tree...she let it fall right onto my sister trapped into the corner my mom had released it to. I can't remember if my sister cried. I can't even recall what Christmas Day was like or how we ever got the tree in its stand. I just remember Mom.

Atchison holds a lot of memories, some good (Christmas tree) and some bad (learning Mom has cancer), but returning to Atchison wasn't as near as painful as I thought it would be. Atchison has changed, which is only fitting, because I've changed too.
I expected ghosts, but Mom wasn't among them—neither was Sally or Molly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Currently loving (and singing along to)...

Feist. She's the one covering the new Apple ipod Nano video commercials. Her voice is a pleasant, fun mix of folk, indie, and jazz. Definitely a mood-picker-upper.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

D-day anniversary

This year's September 11th anniversary marked for me another event. Last year, the ax fell, quick and hard. I was diagnosed with MS. MS...

It was an unexpected diagnosis, especially because I had only experienced symptoms for only a short period of time. At the time I thought I had suffered a runner's injury. How wrong I was. And a month to my wedding,too.

A year later, I'm in a great place. A place I think I've been in since being diagnosed because I didn't let myself get down or throw a pity party. I gave myself one day. D-day. Then I went to work, researched everything I needed to know, got started on medication (injections, eek!), and surrounded myself with life.

I've only had one major set back, but it was a set back that made me acknowledge just how low this disease will go. I could barely walk or hold a glass to drink, and the tingling drove me mad. I armed myself with yoga, yoga, yoga, and more yoga—and my hero, my husband.

Life goes on. I do too. How lucky I am.

Lobsters mark the spot


All the right pieces for a lobster skirt (J. Crew) in the fall.


To watch: Soprano's James Gandolfini's Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq is no Italian mob documentary. Alive Day Memories gives you an inside look at those who've served their country in the Iraqi war—a true guerilla war. The loss of limbs, eyesight, and enduring other tramautic injuries may have robbed their bodies, but not their national spirit.

To read: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Melt my heart

Today I received in the mail a box. A thank you box. From my dear, sweet, about-to-be married niece. It was the sweetest thing, for in it contained two cute, but understated (perfectly my style) white flutted ice cream dishes from Crate & Barrel (his & hers, I'm sure), a Zyliss Swiss ice cream scoop, a Williams-Sonoma sundae sprinkles kit (for the kid in me), a box of Bahlsen Waffeletten chocolate-dipped wafer rolls, and, my favorite, a picture-filled ice cream cookbook by Liz Franklin. Now I must plan a weekend of heavy cream, fresh fruits (the fresh peach recipe is calling my name), and my little red machine.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Oh baby

Why is it that when ever a baby is born to someone I know I get just a little melancholy? Today I went a saw my friend from college who was blessed with a beautiful boy. I got to hold him, discuss his features, and hear about the moments leading up to his birth. And I was very interested, and excited.

But the sadness I feel isn't neccessarily that I want my own bouncy bundle at the moment. But instead, it makes me wonder: How did the parents get to that point in their lives where they felt ready to become parents? Ready to tackle those tough questions, ready to heal every wound, ready for the sometimes sadness and grief that comes with being a parent.

"There's never a perfect time" keeps ringing in my head. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times. But, what if that's just something parents say to keep the regret of not having waited at bay? Surely, there is a more perfect time to become a parent. But to each his own. And my time is not now.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Snowday in August

Love making paper snowflakes? Try making a virtual one...it might be better than the real thing.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The end of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the magically creative series, is done—at last. Finished. I was one of the thousands who waited for the stroke of midnight on the 21st to find out the fate of Harry Potter. While others dressed as evil Umbridge, wise Dumbledore, and even the weepy Whomping Willow, I stood, in my Muggle best, waiting...for what, I did not know. Would Harry live? Would Ron and Hermione? One thing for sure, Voldemort would surely die.

The book was fantastic, even deserving a second, more thoughtful read. Although I'm sad to see the journey has ended, it'll always be on my shelf, should I want to experience it again. It also serves as a reminder at what we can accomplish if we set our minds to it. J.K. is a true inspiration.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Parent for the day

I don't have children. And I don't plan on having them for a couple of years. It's not that I don't like children, but somehow I feel like I don't know anything about them (I hope that feeling changes).

Currently, I'm watching my nephew. He's the cutest and smartest boy in the world, I think...for a (almost) one-year old. But it's hard to meet the demands of kid who can't talk yet. He's gotten good at communicating some things, such as when he brings you something to open and whines a little, he saying, "Open this." In my mind, there's a please at the end of it.

Serving up lunch was fun. Sweet potatoe and bananas. Real sweet potatoes, but the bananas was a Gerber jar. Giving real food to a person learning to use their mouth full of teeth scares me. Will they chew it up all the way? I hope so, I don't know anything about infant first aid.

Being a parent (even for the day), is tough stuff. I definitely know I couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. Not because I think it's boring, it isn't, it's just exhausting...more so than my job.

I salute all those parents out there. Good job.

Monday, July 9, 2007

A few of my favorite things...

that I want for my guest bedroom.

(Top left: Crystal Ball Lamp from JCPenny; top right: printed botanical wall art from west elm; bottom left: illusion panel from z gallarie; bottom right: printed poplin pillow from target.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The skirt that turned into a purse

I have this skirt that I bought back in college. It was always on the short side, but I loved the pattern. But I've put on a few pounds since then, and well, the skirt just doesn't fit. No loss. It's becoming my purse.

I've already pinned it to see what it would look like and what shape I'd want. I just have to cut and sew the thing. Add some wooden handles, and Viola! I found a great trim site that offers all sorts of purse handles for crafticians such as myself. What else can I construct from the no-longer-wear-can't-seem-to-get-rid-of items in my closet?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

My ink and paper self


Anyone who knows me, knows I have an obssession with paper crafts, and even more importantly, you know my favorite paper/rubber stamp sources: Paper Source and Impress Rubber Stamps. If you don't know, I give to you the source to (almost) all my craftiness. Never underestimate the power of a hand-crafted card...is there a better way to tell someone thanks?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ommmmmm....

I like working out. I used to run, but ever since I was hit with the MS stick, I've shied away from hopping back on my treadmill and flying for two or so miles.

Instead I've taken up yoga. Currently, I'm taking a Iyengar yoga class at the Lawrence Arts Center. I'm seriously hooked on yoga. I tell everyone I meet with a ailment or adversion to breaking a sweat...take yoga. Seriously. I can go into a class with a headache and leave with the greatest sense of self-worth, relaxation, and calmness...headache gone too.

The downside is that yoga isn't cheap. One class can cost anywhere from $10-$15. But I try to keep the price in perspective. Most instructors spend years learning. Why shouldn't I pay an instructor well for a gift they've taken years to perfect (or close to, as we know that perfection is the end to all things, possibly even life)? But on a cost-saving note, I'm trying to create my own home practice. Going to a class is easy. Staying at home and creating the same calmness within yourself while sitting in the midst of what's bothering you (dust bunnies, laundry, bills, etc.), well, that's exactly what yoga is all about...reaching beyond yourself and letting go.

Namaste.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Oh sweet edamame

I've been eating a lot of edamame recently (a.k.a soybeans). I love the flavor, the crunch, and the vibrant green color.

This is a new veggie for me. I was first introduced to the green beans in their pod form as an appetizer to sushi. It wasn't love at first sight, but when I spied the shelled frozen version in my supermarket, I figured I should try em (a girl can only eat so many carrots). I was hooked.

This super bean got me to thinking...what meals could use a little dolling up with edamama?

My next quest is to take recipes I think could use a bit of crunch and flavor of the soybean. My first thought is a salad, so I'm starting there. I'll let you know what I cook up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The reluctant hostess

I've never "entertained" before. The mere word frightens me. How can I, a homebody, book-reading, card-making, TV-aholic knitter, entertain anyone? I look to be entertained. So, when I came across Amy Sedaris' book, I was intrigued. Maybe that's the exact approach I need to take to entertaining.

The In Laws keep asking when I'm going to have them over for dinner. Maybe a slight alcohol buzz would make the whole ordeal easier to bear if I didn't take it so seriously. I'm buying this book. I hope it gives me the courage (liquid or otherwise) I need. What could go wrong? Well, they could always remark on my dingy, stained carpet...

Monday, April 9, 2007

Briefly a model

On Saturday I became (and probably never again) an underwear model. I thought I'd chicken out, or feel really self conscious when I arrived at the photo shoot. But the underwear covered more than my swim suit, and everyone was really nice and professional. Of course the wine helped, and went straight to my head, but I cut myself off at half a dixie cup (I'm a lightweight.).

I ended up wearing a pair of undies with a horse patch on the front. It made me think of Amigo, the horse I rode while honeymooning in Kauai. Ah, Amigo...I even sang him a little diddy. I think we bonded. So now I'm christening my whitie tighties The Amigo in honor of the first (and probably the last) horse I ever rode.

Twitteringmachine (the ingenius creator of the undies) even gave me a pair of Scotty Dogs for my galloping efforts during the shoot. I only wished I had had a stick horse and a cowgirl hat.

Friday, April 6, 2007

In the name of friendship, and free underwear

Tomorrow I'll be igniting my modeling career, or rather my butt will be. Don't worry M.O.M., I'll be wearing underwear.

A friend at work is taking her creative prowess to the next level and starting up an Etsy.com business, selling her decorated under duds to the masses. And those in her circle who lack the prudishness will be helping out as models. Me and 15 or so girls will be stripping down to whitie tighties all in the name of friendship. That and we get to keep the said garments as our own. Score! I hope to model the Scotty Dog emblazoned underwear. Classy.

Friday, March 16, 2007

In my 25th year

It's official. I'm 25. Well, as of March 13th.

My mother-in-law gifted me with another great cookbook: Fix-it and Forget-it cookbook for my crock pot. I haven't used my crock pot, well, since the first time I used it after buying it some four or five years ago. I'll have to get the dusty pot from the top of my kitchen cabinets, and find some place with room and a plug in...hmmm, maybe the laundry room? I'm a huge fan of roast, so this is sure to provide my fill of juicy meat and tender veggie recipes.

One of my sisters also sent me magazine boxes from seejanework.com. I've had my eye on them for quite some time. Now I have the perfect spot for Yoga Journal, Self, and my collection of must-keep mags.

Maybe in my 25th year I'll be organized and my crock pot will make a comeback. Maybe.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

On a roll again

Last weekend granted me three whole days to whip up some recipes I've been itching to try.

First off: peach-glazed pork chops (Thanks for the recipe Amanda!). I never knew that pork chops could be so rich, but when you have the syrup from a can of sliced peaches and peach preserves mixed with Dijion mustard, well, you get the idea. They were so good that dear husband wants me to make them again. That's what I call a hit!

To accompany the pork chops, we had sea salt and lime fries. These are by far the best, tastiest fries I've ever eaten. Did I mention they were easy too? Just slice up a pototoe into wedges (pick desired number of pototoes), coat with olive oil, season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and bake. After that, season to taste (the more pepper, the better). I put my fries in a cute square Pampered Chef dish. I wedged a lime and squeezed the juice over the top and sprinkled with parmasan cheese. I used the two remaining lime wedges as garnish. The were very sophisicated, scrummptious fries. I owe 101cookbooks.com a large thank you for sharing such a treat.

Last, but most important of all: I finally made chocolate ganache. What did this rich topping top? Peanut butter-filled chocolate cupcakes of course! (You can find the recipe here, but I warn you: It's not for the faint baker heart.) I baked all day on Monday (my poor aching feet). I was determined to get these right and share with my coworkers, especially after the cake catastrophe. They turned out perfect. At least they did when I remade the entire batch because I added just a touch too much baking power to the first bit of batter. It was good practice, but I have to say, I don't think I'll be baking anytime soon this month. Next month, I'll be making dessert for my mother-in-law's birthday. Hmmm, what to make, what to make?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Spanakopita recipe

Because I loved this recipe so much, I wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

Ingredients
Two 10-ounce packages of spinach, thawed
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 scallions, chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
14 sheets (about 1/2lb.) frozen phyllo, thawed
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
Mixed greens, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Place the spinach in a colander and squeeze out the liquid. Chop the spinach and place in a large bowl. Add the cheese, scallions, and eggs and mix until well combined.

3.Trim the phyllo to fit a 9x13 baking pan. Brush 1 sheet of dough with the melted butter. Arrange the phyllo in the bottom of the baking pan. Repeat the process with 6 more sheets of phyllo, buttering each one. Keep the remaining phyllo covered as you work.

4. Carefully pour the spinach mixture over the filling. Repeat with the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo and the remaining melted butter.

6. Bake the spanakopita 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares, transfer to serving plates, and garnish with mixed greens.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

I'm not a Foodie

The cake was a bust. Actually, only the creamy mocha frosting was a bust. The cakes were beautiful...as you always hope your first homemade cake would be (maybe somewhat lopsided), but I think the frosting gods were pitted against me. What did I do wrong? Maybe a foodie reading this can tell me:

I heated my heavy whipping cream to a boil and added my chopped chocolate, bit by bit, letting it melt into the frothy cream. The recipe said to cover it and place in the fridge for at least two hours. After at least two hours (I'm sure it was longer because I fell asleep on the couch with baking exhaustion), I placed the mixture into my electric stand mixer. This is where I think my skills, or lack of, failed me.

The recipe said to mix it until thick. Well, I love my stand mixer. I love recipes that call for using the said appliance, so I was overjoyed thinking I'd be making frosting in it. But, I think in my overexcitement, I overmixed my creamy mocha frosting. Combine that with the fact that I think my chocolate wasn't melted enough (Nestle you be damned!), and you get a lumpy, glumpy mess.

What a letdown. But I will not give up. I will try again (maybe not creamy mocha layer cake) until I have succeeded, and I can bring it to work, where I will be heralded as the next Foodie. (Actually, I know this will happen because my work loves a cook, especially one who shares the fruit of her labor.)

In the end, though, I didn't make it to the New Year's party. I let my food frustration get the best of me, but I learned, and I think I grew. Now I want to rewind time and bring my cake to the party.