Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Yummy Time

I always get into the baking mood around Halloween. I have my favorite things that I like to bake for Halloween, but this year I went a different direction after seeing these adorable candy corn cupcakes on a few blogs. This is my version~
I decided to bake these to bring along to a Halloween party tonight. I don't like to show up for a Halloween party empty handed. Besides, I needed to make up for the fact that my costume was, uhm... just a hat.
This is a better snap of the actual cupcake. It was difficult to get a really good shot that showed the colors of the cupcake. I just tweeked a box mix to make it yummier (add sour cream), and then split the batter. I mixed in orange coloring to one bowl, and yellow to the other. Next, you fill the bottom of the white paper cupcake cup with about a tablespoon of yellow batter. Add about a tablespoon of orange batter on top. Bake and cool. I frosted the cupcakes with a mock whip cream frosting, but you can use whatever white frosting you prefer. It just needs to be white, to carry on the yellow-orange-white look of a candy corn. Garnish cupcake frosting with a candy corn and... viola! You've got a cute, simple Harvest/Halloween cupcake! (I have fallen in love with these gummy candy corns from Target, so that's what I used.)
Last weekend I brought these simple, yummy oatmeal cookies to a Halloween party. The recipe is no big secret~ it's printed on the inside of the lid on the Quaker Oats box. They're called "Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies". They are soft and chewy, just the way I like them. I added craisins, raisins, and golden raisins to this batch. I love walnuts in them also, but left them out for this party batch.
Just a little show n' tell here... no photo styling here folks. I've totally enjoyed having these pumpkin trees in my kitchen window. I found them at Trader Joe's and I love, love, love them! I sorted through all the bouquets in the store to find the perfect batch. I like when they have a few green "pumpkins" on them.
Well, I've got to get going. I hope that you have a wonderful Halloween weekend~ stay safe and have fun!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dot. The world's smallest stop-motion animation character shot on a Noki...

Okay, my miniaturist friends~ you've got to check this out!

I. Love. This.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Nesting...

I don't know about you, but fall has always been my favorite season. I love how the light changes, the air is crisp, and I start feeling the anticipation of all the upcoming holidays. I also love the nesting. My mom has always loved decorating for fall and the holidays-- and I think she passed that love onto me. So, this past week I've been doing some fall nesting... both inside and outside my home. In this post I'll be showing you what I've done inside...
Do you love this combination of flowers, or what?? I love love love Trader Joe's for flowers. They always have fun, interesting combinations. This combo just makes me warm and happy inside.
This is my little dining room. My little nest is... little. But it's mine, and I have learned that whether you have a little 200 square foot studio apartment (my first place) or a grand mansion (no thank you- too much for one person) you can make it home. My home was built in the 1980's and it has some quirky architecture- hence the double-sided fireplace. One side is in the dining room, the other is in the living room (that's "lounge" for you friends across the pond).
I got a little crafty with my white pumpkins that are shown on the left side of the mantle. It was a really easy project. So easy, that a tutorial isn't really necessary. All you need is some white faux pumpkins (if you can't find white, paint an orange one white), glue, black glitter, and some bling (I used Designer Jewels by Stampin' Up). Paint and glitter the stem of the pumpkin, and adhere the jewels (instructions included) and viola!
... a little gothic glam! I'm sorry this isn't a great photo. It really does look better in person, as does everything in the post. I just don't have the lighting and the photography skills to get a better photo. The architecture of my funky little house does not lend itself to good photostyling. It seemed like every angle had too many distractions in the background. Oh well, this ain't a magazine shoot. Fifi, where are you?
This is the other side of my funky mantle. I kept the slightly gothic glam look going... and yes, that is a shrine to the Twilight Series there.
I do love me some Twilight... and mercury glass. The silver mercury glass is there year-round. I just change out color accessories throughout the year. I add red mercury glass at Christmas, turqoise/aqua in the spring/summer. It's kind of a strange area to decorate. If my style was mediterranean, I could through some large scale pottery up there, but that's not my style.
This is my tiny entry-- which is actually in the dining room. (Did I mention that my house is little?) Oops. I should have tucked that lamp cord in. Oh well. Okay, back to the photo-- this is my Harry Potter shrine. I needed some kind of dresser scarf/runner so I just bought some burlap, cut it to size, and unravelled the ends to make a more interesting edge.
Yes, this is a Sorting Hat. You can really see the face of the hat in this photo--- you've just gotta' love it! I have friends who have actually sat the hat on their head to "get sorted". (Hello, Lisa!) The hat actually talks. I'm not joking! It talks and moves it's mouth, just like the one in the movie.
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this little peak into my little nest. I also hope that you've had a chance to do some fall nesting of your own. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Road Trip: The Wild West Tour 2010

Welcome to Road Trip: The Wild West Tour 2010! Disclosure: Long post, lots of nature.

Anyway, recently I flew to Boise, Idaho to visit one of my dearest friends, Debra. We've known each other since- well, since I was born. Our mothers were best friends when we were growing up. Deb suggested we take a road trip up to Yellowstone, and I was all for it. I'd never been there and thought it would be fun to just go for it. I'm trying to be more spontaneous. Yep, I am. So here we are, hitting the road after a stop at Starbucks. We had our coffee, Cher blasting, and we were ready for adventure!
First attraction: Craters of the Moon, Idaho. It's all volcanic rock, and yes- it looks like the moon.
Here's Deb at Craters of the Moon. She's very excited to be at Craters of the Moon.
She was so excited, that she did the moonwalk at Craters of the Moon. Oh, Michael would be so proud.
Next stop: Arco, Idaho. The picture says it all. I'm not being snarky. It's a very, very small town, and this is it's claim to fame... atomic power.
Hillside at Arco, Idaho. Hey- I see an '84. That's the year I graduated from high school.
Okay, I couldn't resist. It's a potato truck, and people sorting potatoes. Idaho is famous for their potatoes.
We stopped at Lower Mesa Falls...
...and Upper Mesa Falls. It was really beautiful.
This is a lovely... rock formation. It reminded us of, uh... nature. Yes, uh...nature.
Another beautiful shot of Mesa Falls...
Next... we drove through part of Montana. This was a surprise for me. When I saw the "Welcome to Montana" sign, I said, "Oh my gawd, Deb-- we're in MONTANA!" I did not know that we were going to Montana. I thought Yellowstone was in Wyoming. Well, apparently West Yellowstone is in Montana. I did not know this. My first thought was... "Montana... where are you Tristan? Sigh..." (Reference: film Legends of the Fall)
The above photo is of a bison. It will from now on be known as a totanka. (Reference: film Dances with Wolves.) This was my first totanka.
I was surprised to notice that his hair-do is very similar to my Hagrid's hair-do. I think I have a new nickname for Haggie now... Totanka Boo Boo.
Oh, Tristan... where are you?
More totankas. Near the cars. Look how HUGE they are. I think this is the most cars we saw on roads in the park at one time. The park was empty. We were told that normally, this time of the year they have about three inches of snow. We were so lucky! I never even had to wear a coat. The weather was absolutely perfect for us!
Bye-bye, Totanka!
This is the beautiful, historic Old Faithful Inn. It really is beautiful. The lobby is stunning, with all the lodge pine wood beams, and the huge fireplace. We didn't stay there, but we had a wonderful dinner there. We stayed at The Snow Lodge, right next door.
We parked the car at the lodge, and took a little walk down to the geo-thermal pools. I'd never seen anything like it. It was bubbling hot. I felt a little urge to throw some spaghetti noodles into the "big pot". But I didn't. (I must have been getting hungry.)
Okay, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without seeing "Old Faithful". This geyser erupts about every 70 minutes. Here it goes...
... and goes...
And here it is, in all it's full glory. Everyone went, "Ooooooh! Ahhhhh!" I noticed that it sounds pretty much the same in all languages. There were people from all over the world standing there together for this fabulous nature experience. I love being in locations where you hear the various languages of people from other countries. I think it makes the world feel a little cozier.
This quote was on the wall in the newly opened Old Faithful Visitors Center. I thought it was kinda' cool.
We drove towards Yellowstone Lake, and crossed the Continental Divide. I'm still not sure what it is. I think I'll google it...
Here we are, at Yellowstone Lake. It's a very peaceful lake. The surroundings seemed so surreal to me... like a big science experiment... but in nature.
More thermal pools, but with streams leading down to the freshwater lake.
The colors and formations were amazing...
I'd never seen anything like this before...
I felt kind of like I was on another planet. This is so different from the Sierra's.
Isn't this color amazing? This looks like a tropical ocean to me.
Each pool was very unique... lots of different colors.
Then we got back on the road again. Now we're headed for...
... and here we are!
This was my first sighting of The Grand Tetons once we entered the park. It really is a gorgeous mountain range.
The colors were changing into all their fall glory. Lots of gold Aspen trees...
Getting closer... we arrived close to sunset. It was absolutely beautiful. We stopped by Jackson Lodge and ate outside on the patio. We had a great view... and then we were off to Jackson Lake.
This is one of my favorite photos. I love the reflection. Do you see the cowboy? I couldn't exactly ask him to move out of my picture, so I worked him in. I like to think he's a real Wyoming cowboy. For all I know, he's some guy visiting from Los Angeles and bought a cowboy hat. I'm just going to believe he's a Wyoming cowboy though.
Here he is again... Tristan, is that you??
We saw lots of these fences... lots of beautiful ranches too.
Moose sighting!! My first moose sighting! It was a bit of an ordeal to get this photo. The other photos looked a lot like those hokey photos of Big Foot. Oops. I mean this photo.
I snapped this photo as we crossed the river. That moose is HUGE. And that tourist is STUPID. Hello, have you heard of a telephoto lens? Zoom?
Obviously, he did not see the signs about approaching the wildlife.

Next stop: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. If you've ever been here, you probably recognized this arch immediately. There's one on each corner of Town Square. They're made out of...
Anteliers! I'm not sure what kind, but it was kind of cool. By the way, no animals were harmed in the making of these arches-- that I know of, anyway. Apparently the animals just shed them at some point.

This is the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson. I wish that I had been able to get a photo of it at night. It's much more fun at night, with all the lights on and everything.
This is inside The Cowboy Bar. Yes, the bar stools are saddles. I did not sit on one. I should have. I could have yelled, "Yee-haw! Giddy-up little... whatever!" Or perhaps sung "Rawhide". But I didn't. Deb must have had the forsight to keep me off of them.
Later, we left Jackson and returned to Idaho...
Idaho really does have it's beautiful areas. I loved how the trees were changing color.
This is the Snake River. It seemed like it wound it's way around us the whole way home.
When we returned to Boise, we met up with Deb's daughter, Chelsey, and had a late lunch at the restaurant that she works at-- Locavore. The food is totally awesome. I wish we had one in my 'hood. If you ever go, tell Chelse-Woman I sent you. (Look for the stunning red-head.)
After lunch, it was off to the airport! Let's see, five states in five days... California, Idaho, Montana (bonus!), Wyoming, and Oregon (layover in Portland... does that count??). I had a great time, saw some beautiful nature... and I'm now glad to be home.
Home, sweet home.
If you've made it to the end of this post, I'm stunned and amazed. Thanks for hangin' in there. Next up: Fall decorations!