Thursday, April 29, 2010

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Blogcast: Kindness and Karma Week

I'm a tad ashamed. I haven't been taking Kindness and Karma week nearly as seriously as I'd initially hoped! Tuesday proved to be a horribly wretched day where every little thing seemed to go wrong and then yesterday was a of lobsters, the making of lists and dreams of ink. But today, today I focus! And, due to my slackerness, I'm going to have to force several days of kindness into one. But I have faith that I can do it!

Following along with the Grumbles' posts I have about three days worth of kindness to catch up on...

1.) The Internet kind...doing nice things for people via the Internets. So far I've made a little bit of progress already in this department. I thanked the Grumbles for her invention of Kindness and Karma week (via a comment on her first comment on her blog), I thanked a fellow Sbuxer who switched swifts with me this week (via a Facebook message), and I put a little love note up on my mom's Facebook wall. It's crazy how just doing those minute things has improved my own mood and made me feel even cheerier!

2.) As for the real kind of kindness or being kind to people, namely strangers, in real life...I'm working on that. This is a tricky one for me, as well as for the Grumbles, since I'm usually not one who would approach a stranger and talk to them...ever! However, I do have some stuff in the works for non-strangers. Some of that will occur this weekend and other things will happen tonight and tomorrow (stuff like little love notes and phone calls to my parents, who I haven't talked to lately because I've been so busy). And as far as the stranger thing goes, I guess I'll wait for an opportunity to present itself and see if I have the guts to follow through!

3.) Onto the importance of keeping it in perspective, or remembering what exactly you're trying to do here and not get wrapped up in all the messy stuff, which, as I've stated, is harder than you think. But...I'm taking care of that right now! I realized I was a moron and got too wrapped up in all those shitty little problems and forgot the bigger picture, and now I'm acknowledging my moronicity (I know that's not a word...except now it is...BOOM)!

So, I'm going to re-watch the pale, blue dot video and remember why I wanted to participate in this K&K week to begin with! Now I'm going to leave you to do some kindness for myself and for others! And if you want to join in of the kindness-fun remember it doesn't take much to make a person (including yourself) give it a try!

I Love Me Some Ink

As you may or may not know I've got a little thing for tattoos. I've got two and Antoine's got six (one of which he's getting worked on/expaned today...part of the reason I've got ink on the brain!). I've always thought they were intriging (and I've always found them attractive on the opposite sex), mainly the idea of wearing art on your skin. Plus, they're! Then when I was 20 I got my first tattoo, a small celtic symbol on my left wrist...
It wasn't until I started thinking about this tattoo that I realized that these physical pieces of art could also be tributes to the people who mean the most in my life. When contemplating my first tattoo I considered something related to one of my favorite songs, either Blackbird or At the Bottom of Everything, but nothing seemed to click. I wanted something small and simple that would mean a lot to me, so I thought, "why not do something to represent my family?"

As with many people of Irish descent looking for a tattoo design (particularly for their first tattoo) a celtic symbol entered my mind. So after research I found the triquetra... of the most popular of all the celtic knots (and I'll admit, not the most original thing in the world, but oh well). It's also known as the Trinity knot because in Christian tradition it represents the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But before that it represented Body, Mind and Spirit, among other things (and many many centuries later it would come the first thing you see on the intro for Charmed. And, yes, I get asked pretty frequently if I really like Charmed). But at it's core it represents three...and that's what made me choose it. Three has always been somewhat key in my grandma always used to say, "Good/bad things happen in threes". Also, it seemed like the perfect way to incorporate the three most important people in my life at the mom, dad, and sister. So there's the story behind the first one.

Now, onto the second. I completed my second tattoo about a year ago. It had been something that had been in the works about a year or so after my first tattoo (when I got the "itch" for ink). I had a general idea of what I wanted, but I didn't have an artist (which wasn't that big of a deal for the first one since it wasn't that intricate) and I didn't have the money (big tattoos cost big $$). But I knew I wanted another family related tattoo (this time representing the important women in my life) and one that included flowers. I finally decided on a group of four flowers, a flower to represent each woman...their favorite flower or the flower that reminds me of them. I ended up getting a rose for my grandma, an iris for my mom, a lily for my sister and an orchid for myself.

My first sitting for my second tattoo was in February '09, just before my 24th birthday. This sitting set up the outline...
Even after that first sitting I was indescribably psyched by this tattoo. Not only did it mean so much to me personally, but I knew that with the artist I had chose that it was going to turn out beautifully. What I didn't predict is that it would take nearly four months to finish.
The slow progress was frustrating, but at the same time it was so wonderful to see how the tattoo progressed and to experience how involved other people got into its progress. Co-workers would ask about it, tell others about it and be generally amazed. Near the middle of May '09 I had my fifth (of six) sittings and it was finally coming together...
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the finished product (or at least I can't find it), but it's pretty close to this. I love it! But unfortunately it's only made my itch for ink worse. Now I've got a wide variety of ideas for at least seven additional tattoos, one of which includes making this flower piece into a full sleeve (having the flowers progress into greenery and then a koi pond with two koi fish). Crazy, I know!

Right now I'm trying to resist the urge for ink, however strong it is, since there are more practical things that I should be spending/saving my money on/for. But it's always in the back of my head! Plus, one of my friends Sarah (a former Sbuxer and the wife of Jake, the artist who did my flowers) will shortly be apprenticing to become a tattoo artist and I've already been promised some free practice ink! Yay!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

...Hear That?...That's the Sound of My Heart Melting!

So, I'm a freak and I love making lists. Not just lists about what I need to pack for a trip or what I need at the grocery, that'd be too normal (although I make those too!). I'm talking about lists for what specific things I need to do in an evening. Here, let me give you an example:

Go to Findlay -get Dojo and veggies
Make dinner
Do dishes
Antoine mow the lawn
Jessica make pizza crust (for Thursday's dinner)
Paint toe nails

No joke...this is actually a list I wrote (including the "relax" part)! My lists are generally on post-its and usually there are two versions, the first is the sloppier "just jotting down ideas" note (that later gets tossed) and the second is the nicely written and more chronological/geographical list (i.e. if it's a general list then I'll write it in the order that things need to get done and if it's a grocery list I usually write it in the order that things would appear as I walk through the store). Sometimes there's an occasional third list when the second one isn't neat enough or if I'm using a pen and have made a spelling error (God forbid there be a freaking spelling error in my grocery list!).

Anyway, so all day today I was dreaming about having the next three evenings off from Sbux (with Antoine...exciting I know!) and thinking of all the things I needed/wanted to do during my nights off. So, of course, I ended up writing three separate lists on three separate post-it notes and sticking them to my computer screen. After doing this I realized...I'm a freak! A big giant freak! Did I really need a list to tell me to make dinner? Or paint my toe nails? Or freaking relax?? Apparently I do! And apparently, at least to Antoine, I'm not all that crazy for it...

[an AIM conversation between Antoine and I]

me: so, i'm weird and I've made lists for the next three evenings

atran: oh yeah?

that's awesome!

i love your lists!

me: really??

why would you love my lists?

atran: i dunno

cause it's cute!!

Awe!! How freaking sweet is that!? Now I definitely know I've found my lobster (like I didn't already know that!)!

Update (4/29): I now have four post-it note lists stuck to my computer screen. One for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I can't help myself! I have a problem! Are their psychotherapists that specialize in treating list makers!? It's like a drug...I finish a list and I kind of feel like I just smoked crack or something (not that I know what that's like, but I can imagine)!

Kindness and Karma Week: Letting Your Freak Flag Fly

Yesterday morning I took some time to peruse the pictures of People of Walmart. Now, this isn't one of my go-to sites...I only check it maybe every six months or so, kind of like fail blog. As funny as PoWM is, I always feel a little guilty looking at it, like I'm judging people. It's definitely not the nicest of websites and it obviously does poke fun at unsuspecting people. But you have to wonder...are all these people really that oblivious? Some obviously are, but others...I'm starting to wonder if a number of the subjects in these pictures know exactly what they're doing and either like the attention or just don't care? And then I realized, as a civilization we are all a little messed up...some of us are just better at letting that be known (aka letting our freak flag fly). Everyone has their own quirks and eccentricities and you have to wonder if the people of PoWM are just simply trying to reach out to their fellow human beings (through mullets, crazy bright clothes, leopard print jumpsuits or a lack of pants) because in the end, we are all we have. And for those with possibly unnoticed stains, bad tattoos, and revealing clothing that may not be intentional...they're only human. We're only human! We're all prone to mistakes, it's our nature. So, try not to judge...too much!

Anyway, here's some of my favorites I found while looking at PoWM yesterday...

How freaking adorable is the little old man!? I'm totally making Antoine wear a hot dog hat when we're old and gray!

This lady makes me smile! And for some reason reminds me of Mama's Family...which is awesome!

Now I want to watch Tombstone! This guy is wicked cool!

I'm going to try to be more like this guy this week. No, not meditate in Walmart. But I'm going to stop and breathe when I'm starting to feel stressed. If we would all just do that, this world might be a little less crazy.

As someone who loves cows (yes, I LOVE cows...I think they are so adorable. FYI: they are my favorite barnyard animal!) I'll say it...this picture is awesome! Power to ya strange cowboy guy for having the balls to ride your steer to Walmart...if only we could all be that free!

Now, I must go talk to Antoine and convince him that getting a cow makes so much more sense than getting a dog...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Update on Kindness and Karma Week...

So far my adventure into Kindness and Karma week hasn't been going very well. My attempt to focus on the good has been annihilated by a mounting pile of shitty occurrences. However minor the occurrences have been, the fact that it's all happened in the matter of six hours seems to be the root of the problem. First, I overslept this morning, then I freaked out on Antoine because he forgot to tell me we were out of bread for my lunch (and because I was running late and sleep deprived), then Buddy started throwing up, then some other random crap that I don't feel like divulging here occurred. It was not a pleasant morning, and as much as I wanted to wake up and embrace kindness and karma my emotions just weren't having it. Then, after a small breakdown of momentary tears (due to construction and an inability to find parking) in my car on the way to lunch I decided...this is stupid. I scolded myself, "who cares that things aren't going exactly as you want them to, you need to realize that you can't control everything (as much as you'd hate to admit that) and deal!" So, I decided to shake it off...

[Shake, shake, shake]

and have a nice relaxing/de-stressing lunch with Antoine! And that's just what I did. And then after our pizza at Balboa's we walked over to Bon Bonerie and I got a lemon square to put myself in an even better mood! Which totally worked! And now I'm trying to focus on breathing! All the things that have happened in the last six hours have been inconsequential and minute compared to all the wonderful things in my life! For instance, my inability to pack my usual PB&J sandwich for lunch allowed me to meet up with Antoine for pizza! We tried a new place and got to see each other before 11:30pm when we get home from work tonight! If we had had bread this morning that wouldn't have happened. So maybe I should just calm down and let things happen the way they're supposed to! I need to stop thinking that I can control everything...that's not healthy! But of course, pizza and lemon squares are healthy (duh!).

So, bare with me as I attempt to sit back and breathe! It's harder than I thought it would be. If you don't believe me, go ahead and try it yourself!

Kindness and Karma Week

Yesterday I read a post by a fellow blogger that really inspired me, so I decided to share it with you. She (the Grumbles) explained how recently she's been in a funk, feeling worried about all the pressure and anxiety life puts on her...letting the bad stuff get the best of her. Then she watched this video (and I think you should watch it too) and realized the insignificance of all that worry and anxiety and how letting it consume her wasn't going to do anything to improve her mood. When we have so many wonderful things in our lives (family, friends, love, a home, etc.) should we really be focusing on the negatives? Her answer was no...and so she put an end to her funk then and there and decided to focus on what she could do to not only lift herself up, but also lift those around her up as well. So, she challenged her readers to join her in this little experiment and participate in Kindness and Karma Week (her own little invention/experiment)...

The reason why her post was particularly compelling to me is because up until this weekend I've felt a little lost, a little disconnected, and a little over-worked. I believe the prime cause of my funk was my string of illnesses for the past 2 months. Being sick seems to take you away from yourself and your life, make you more exhausted, and make everything seem just a little off. And while I was aware that things were off, I wasn't exactly sure how to fix it. Yet this weekend everything seemed to fall into place. I was starting to feel human again and any disconnection I felt in my home, with work, and with Antoine seemed to mend itself. Still, even though everything is peachy keen right know I know that it would only make things better to stay conscious and aware of all those amazing things in my life and let them be my focus rather than the negative stuff. So, I'm going to take a note from the Grumbles and do my part (for myself and others) during Kindness and Karma week!

I figure I'll do whatever I have to to bring myself and those around me a little more joy! I'll set aside any bad feelings about having two jobs, my lack of sleep, kitty hairballs on my comforter, or aggravating coworkers and instead I'll focus on what I can do to make those bad feelings go away. Whether that's an extra hug, a little love note, a deep breath, a milkshake, or a phone call. Already, this very morning, I can sense the universe is testing me! The morning was a little rocky, I overslept, found out there was nothing to pack for lunch, and the cat was vomiting as I was trying to leave, but I have to just shake it off. Instead of focusing on all that stuff I'll be conscious of the fact that I still made it to work on time (showered and everything), that even though I have to work tonight I'll have Wednesday and Thursday night off with Antoine, that after tonight I don't have to work again until Saturday and that I've got some fun little projects/events in store for this week! So, I'm letting the kindness and the karma take control of me this week and I think only good can come from it! And I hope you'll join me...even if in your own small way.

Here's a brief list of some things I have in mind to bring myself a little joy this week:

-Dojo gelato for dessert Wednesday night
-try my hand at some cooking...
-caramelized onion and prosciutto pizza (a PW recipe) - for dinner Wednesday or Thursday night
-set up plans for a pedicure with the girls
-spend mucho quality time with Antoine
-eat dinner out on the patio with Antoine
-some kitty snuggling
-work on my two books I'm currently making

You will notice that I have not listed anything that I plan on doing to bring a little joy to others. Some of the "others" I plan on doing things for read this wouldn't be any fun to let them know what's in store, would it? No, it wouldn't! So, that is all for now! I'll definitely keep you posted on my progress with Kindness and Karma week! Take care!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Etsy: Blue Monday

As you all's Monday! And I've got a case of the Monday blues somethin' fierce! I just can't seem to wake up this morning. I'll chalk it up to the rain and the fact that I was spoiled this weekend and got to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday! Monday, you are a cruel, cruel mistress! So I figured what better way to deal with the beginning of the work week (aka waking up before the sun) than a blue inspired Etsy post. Beware's a very random Etsy post today! Little bit classy, little bit funky and little bit weird...

Gorgeous peacock feather fascinator for $16

Adorable deer handbag is a little pricey at $66, but I'm sure it's worth it!

Fun build your own cover design Lego book for $37

Intriguing shampoo ball with a personalized scent called "monkey farts" for $9.50

Kick ass fairy cat cameo ring for only $12...I'm speechless!

I hope you enjoyed that! Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Like Sundays...

I can't describe how much I love days off! Especially beautiful days off. Unfortunately there's a chance of rain and thunderstorms today, so in an attempt to presude the forecast to change here's some photos I took of another beautiful Sunday a couple weeks ago.

We grilled out (what we hopefully will be able to do tonight since our friends are coming over for dinner), drank some beer and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was so nice out we decided to let Missy out to explore the backyard in her harness.

Here's hoping for a relaxing day of sun, good food and friends. The sun is the only real aspect that I'm uncertain about!

Update: Well, the sun disappeared around 2pm or so yesterday and it rained/drizzled most of the evening. But we still had a great Sunday with our friends! And we enjoyed some delicious shish kabob for dinner (and I have left overs for lunch today...yay!) and brownies for dessert (YUM!).

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love Story: Part Four (aka Best Date Ever)

Note: This is part four of my little love story. If you have not been following along you can catch up here with parts one, two and three.

Before I begin my tale of love though, a little musical interlude for you. I couldn't resist since it is Friday and this is a post about love! Enjoy!

So, at this point in the story Antoine and I had just had our first date. It went well, despite a nervous Antoine and a sleepy Jessica. But as far as first dates go, it was pretty okay...I mean, where can you go wrong with fondue, right!? So, naturally planning for the second date began shortly thereafter. Antoine already had something in In our email conversations the month before I mentioned that I grew up going to Indians games with my dad, but I'd never been to a Reds game. And early on Antoine had asked if there was I reason behind why I hadn't been to a game yet. I said no, I just had never had a real opportunity to go (i.e. no one had ever said "hey, let's go to a Red's game)...until our second date that is! Antoine took it upon himself to get us tickets, and pretty good ones too (not nose bleed seats).

One late May evening he picked me up at my apartment (late, but nowhere near 40 minutes late like the previous date) dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and a pair of Adidas a la Run DMC (it's a very typical look for him and a look I like very much). [Sidenote: Antoine's somewhat known for wearing cute/quirky t-shirts...we're both big Threadless fans! One of my friends has even coined the phrase, "that's definitely an Antoine shirt"!] Somehow this didn't seem like the same guy I had encountered on the first date, he was much more confident and much less this more casual attire suited him and my personal style much better! Again, he opened my passenger door, my heart fluttering, and we made our way downtown. It was a nice evening, not too hot, not too cold. I was excited, not about the game because even though I grew up watching the Indians I've never been what you could call "a sports fan". In fact, I generally wrinkle my nose to most sports. Watching them on the tv seems like the most ridiculous thing to me, however I've been known to go to a baseball game or Xavier basketball game and actually enjoy myself. So, it's fair to assume that the butterflies in my stomach had nothing to do with fly balls or outfielders (see, I told you I wasn't a sports fan).

The night was pretty relaxed. I can't remember who the Reds played that night, if they won/lost, or anything about the game...because really, we weren't paying too much attention to the game. We sat next to one another chatting and was magical. Half way through the game Antoine left to go to the restroom and when he returned he had a Reds foam finger in tow. My heart leaped. I probably had the stupidest grin on my face at that moment when he presented it to me. You see, in all those Indians games I went to with my dad I was always mystified by that illusive foam finger. The concept of a foam finger makes no sense, really...but still, I've always wanted one. And Antoine knew this through all our email discussions. So, being the sweetheart that he is, he got me a foam finger! It is, to this day, displayed in our dining room on our bookcase and every time I see it I think fondly of that date.

The other thing about that night that sticks out in my mind were the fireworks (and I'm not just talking about the fireworks between Antoine and I, zing!). I can't remember why there was a special fireworks show at the game that night, but it was fantastic. Unfortunately, I was, yet again, starting to fall asleep during the end of the game. But as soon as the fireworks started I was giddy. There's something magical about's that element of being in awe...the colors, the sparkle, the designs. It was the perfect end to an amazing evening!

Now, there was nothing earth shattering about that second date. It was relaxed and perfect in its simplicity. All the nervousness was gone from the first date and we just clicked...and both of us could feel it! There wasn't a moment in our conversation that night that wasn't natural or giddy. I can't explain just felt right. Looking back, Antoine and I will still note that as our favorite of all our first dates. He remembers little things like the Chucks I was wearing and my smile and I remember that foam finger and the way his down-to-earth and slightly silly nature just won me over. And that was that. From that date on, I was hooked! Dates to follow included movies at my place, home cooked meals, and a surprise Modest Mouse concert. In fact, there were a myriad of surprises (Antoine loves surprises) on my doorstep, special dinners, etc. I think I really lucked out...he was and is the greatest man I have ever known...caring, loving, affectionate, strong, committed, protective, intelligent and funny (and perpetually late for everything)! And I'm just crazy about him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Making Books

Today's a quiet one in the department. One of my coworkers is our sick and my boss will be out most of the day. Also, Antoine's friend is in town visiting and staying with us for a couple of days so Antoine took today and tomorrow off from work to hangout and catch up. Awesome for Antoine, stinky for me. With Antoine off from work that means zero communication from him most, if not all, of the day. I know for most this would not be that big of a deal, but for us it is (well, at least for me since I'm stuck here at work). See, during any given day Antoine and I communicate via aim or email nearly all day. There's even an occasional phone call here and there, sometimes multiple calls in one day. What can I say, that's how we roll! So, feeling a little left out and abandoned (I know, I'm such a drama queen) I decided today might be a nice day to work on the bench and starting making a book or two.

Now, anyone who knows me really well knows that I love making books...this may or may not be evident from the handmade book(s) you have received from me for either your birthday, Christmas or any other significant day in your life. Fact is, I like making books...creating something from scratch and personalizing it to a specific person's tastes and likes. The process of folding the pages, choosing endpaper, and assembling the cover relaxes and excites me at the same time! Monday and Tuesday our department dyed linen and cloth, using a polymer base with inks and/or arcylics added to it, to use to repair and restore old books. We also took the opportunity to create/design cloth for our own books. I went a little nuts and dyed a ton of cloth that I'm really looking forward to using. I've already got two books in mind...maybe I'll post some pictures once they're done!

Anyway, back to bookmaking...

*Update: Antoine called me about 10 minutes ago and I just got off the phone. Now I'm happy (not abandoned)!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's Call It Spring Cleaning...

As you may or may not have noticed there's been a couple of changes to the blog. Okay, more than a looks completely different! The reason for the change? Well, I'm a girl who likes change anyway, but I was also concerned that people might have trouble reading white letters on a blue this was the fix!

Also, I've added some new pages at the top, just under the header. Hopefully they'll make your life a little bit easier!

Let me know what you think? Did you like it better the old way? Is there anything that isn't visually appealing that you think I should change as well?

Anyway...happy Wednesday!

An Interview with Antoine

I'm a copy cat...I can't help myself! Antoine blames me of copying him all the time. It's a disease. So when I see a fellow blogger do something interesting, I can't help but copy it. What can I say, I guess I don't strive to be that original!? Anyway, in the past I've seen bloggers such as Pioneer Woman do interviews with their significant others. And I thought to myself, "Ooo, that's neat! I ought to do that!" I figured why not interview Antoine and make him participate in my blog since I'm constantly mentioning him on here (cause I guess I like him or something) and he's a contributing factor in making my life a "wonderous clusterf#@k" (hint, hint...he's directly responsible for the "wonderous" part).

So, without further ado I give interview with Antoine!

(This interview was conducted via AIM yesterday. Antoine had no prior knowledge of said interview.)

Me: I was wondering if you'd be willing to participate in a little interview for my blog?

Antoine: sure!

Me: It'll just be a bunch of random questions and you just answer them honestly!

Antoine: okay!
(Yeah, that's right...I've converted him to the darkside! Instead of typing ok, he now types okay! Yay, I win!)

Me: Ready?

Antoine: sure!

Me: Do you like my blog?

Antoine: yes!

Me: Why?

Antoine: it's like an inside view to your brain!
(Awe! And, kind of creepy!)

Me: If you could have one thing right now, what would it be?

Antoine: an engagement ring!
(Double awe!)

Me: Ninja, zombie, pirate or vampire?

Antoine: ninja
(I'd totally pick zombie, but at least he didn't pick vampire! Eww!)

Me: What's this thing called?

Antoine: bone folder
(I'm so proud!)

Me: What one thing do you really want to do this summer?

Antoine: i guess...enjoy our house?

Me: What's your favorite thing about our house?

Antoine: it's the best kept secret in Cincinnati
(That's what our neighbor told us when we moved in!)

Me: If you were stranded on a desert island with one of our cats, which one would you choose?

Antoine: gui!
(Me too)

Me: Do you think it's weird that we met online?

Antoine: not at all

Me: Of all the things we've done together in the past two years, what's been your favorite?

Antoine: hmm
there's been a lot
i'd have to say Jamaica!

Me: We've been to several concerts together in the past two years. What was your favorite and why?

Antoine: modest mouse
it was our first concert
i dunno
i just enjoyed it
even though bogart's was crappy

Me: Were you trying to impress me by buying tickets to a sold out show I really wanted to go to?

Antoine: i don't think i was trying to impress you but i knew you wanted to go and i like going to concerts, so i figured why not

Me: Well, you did impress me! I thought "this must be one awesome guy to go to all this trouble after just a couple of dates"!

Antoine: really?!

Me: Yes!
When someone is coming over to the house, you know how I get all crazy and start cleaning and yelling?

Antoine: yes

Me: Would you say that it's scary, funny or endearing?

Antoine: all of the above!

Me: How crazy do I get (since most of my fair readers have no clue)?

Antoine: [on a scale of] 1-10...8!

Me: Did you ever think we'd have mushy nicknames for one another? (Yes, we have mushy nicknames for one another...go ahead...mock!)

Antoine: no, since you thought it was gross that chris and michelle did
(Chris and Michelle are my bro-in-law and sis! Sorry guys!)

Me: Would you be embarrassed if anyone found out our mushy nicknames for one another?

Antoine: a little!
(Me too!)

Me: What are we having for dinner tonight?

Antoine: maybe pizza?
i'm not sure!
(We did have pizza and it was delicious!)

Me: Anything else you'd like to add before the end of our little interview?

Antoine: i miss my [insert mushy nickname here]

Me: Awe! I miss you!
Thanks for answering my silly questions!

Antoine: of course!

Me: I think you must like me or something!

Antoine: eh!

Me: WHAT!?!?!?

{end of interview}

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bad Days

Well, as usual, I worked this past Saturday at Sbux. And, to my dismay, it was an 8 hour shift on a very busy Saturday morning. I think it was hands down one of the worst days I've ever had at Sbux in the 2+ years I've been there. Sometimes I can walk into that place half asleep without any breakfast in my belly and I can turn around and make drinks like nobody's business! There are days when I'm on the register in the morning and I'm just so "on"...brewing coffee, marking someone's drink before they've even told me their order and grabbing 5 pastries out of the case simultaneously. Then there are days like this Saturday. I start off on register...messing up peoples' drink orders, forgetting about their brewed coffee or pastry, telling them the wrong total, and generally stumbling around like an idiot. Luckily, I wasn't the only one. Amy, our resident sweetheart who knows nearly every customer's name and just recently became our district's employee of the month, was also having a bad day. She was on bar and kept spilling things and messing up orders. It wasn't long before our frustration became evident, so we decided to switch places, in the hopes that that might help. It did not. I spent most of my shift Saturday on bar spilling hot beverages on myself (namely my hands), messing up orders, knocking over entire pitchers and cups of liquid onto the counter and making what seemed to be like 1 million frappachinos (any barista's nightmare). There were a couple times during the day where I nearly started crying...and I don't do that! So, needless to say I was glad when 3:30pm came and I got to leave!

My plan for this weekend was to work and clean the house. But after my horrible shift at Sbux on Saturday I was exhausted, physically and emotionally! So cleaning was the last thing on my mind. Instead I went to my best friend's house to feed her cat, got a shower and tried to recover by watching tv. Sunday was even less successful, I woke up before 7am for some reason (maybe because my two jobs have conditioned me too) so I went downstairs, ate a bowl of cereal and watched tv. At noonish Antoine left for work and I fell asleep. I woke up over three hours later. But still I was so very exhausted so I laid on the couch falling in and out of unconsciousness before my sister called and invited me to go get ice cream and hang out with her for a little bit. Needless to say, I didn't get any cleaning done Sunday either. Our house is completely trashed and we have a guest coming in from out of town on Thursday. So that means I have Tuesday and Wednesday night to clean, because tonight I have to work at Sbux again. Yay! (note the sarcasm) I'm not sure how much longer I can do this whole two jobs thing. Sometimes it works out ok, other times I want to rip out my hair I'm so exhausted. And unfortunately, I'm really starting to hate/resent that place. Ugh.

People tell me to "just quit Sbux" if I'm not happy/exhausted, like it's the easiest thing in the world. Hell, Antoine just told me this morning that I should quit. And while that idea is's not practical. We need the extra money. My income from Sbux basically pays for my student loans, without it I'm not sure where that money would come from. So, it's not just a simple, easy decision to make. In order to be rid of Sbux something would have to change, either in how Antoine and I spend money (and frankly there's not much we can take away at this point...we don't have cable or anything extravagant like that) or Antoine would have to get promoted (with my day job it's not possible for me to get promoted). But until something happens I don't foresee the possibility of being able to quit my part time job. It's just that simple. Sad but true.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


No, this will not be a post about Bernardo Bertolucci's odd and incestuous film starring Henry from Dawson's Creek, I promise. Or, "sorry" for those of you who are Dreamers fans. Don't get me wrong, it was a decent film...just a little messed up (okay, a lot messed up!).

By dreamers I'm referring to Antoine and I. I've always been a dreamer of sorts, usually a practical dreamer (if that's possible). I really don't dream very often at night and when I do I almost never remember what my dreams were about. Instead, I've become an avid daydreamer. When I met Antoine and discovered that he too was a daydreamer I knew that this just might work out! And since then we've been dreaming our little dreams together. We imagine where we'll be in 5 years, what home improvement adventure we'll conquer next, what our special day will be like (and yes, I'm talking about that "dun, dun, dunnah" day), and even what we'll do and where we'll travel when we're old and gray! It's a fun little activity and I think it brings us closer together.

One of our common daydreams involves us getting a puppy. Ever since we bought the house, and even before then, we've dreamt of getting a puppy. Usually the dream involves
a great dane
but occasionally
a mini-dachshund
or a french bulldog
will make an appearance. [Don't those puppies just make your heart melt?? Geez, it's just too much!] But before this little dream can become a reality I've set up a list of goals we must accomplish first.

Goal #1: Both of us must only be working one job each, no part time jobs. Puppies need love and attention and we have no time to give that to them when we are both working 60 hours a week.

Goal #2: We need to install a privacy fence in the backyard, so that the puppy has a space to run and play without concern for its safety. This would be particularly important for a great dane, since they grow to be so massive (p.s. I heart great danes)!

Goal #3: We need to be a little more financially stable. This means having enough money to buy said dog and everything that goes with it such as food, vet bills, a kennel, etc.

These are realistic goals, ones I believe we can achieve in the next year or so. But even though reaching these goals isn't in our immediate future that doesn't stop us from daydreaming and looking at puppies online. I occasionally check the Cincinnati classifieds for puppy ads, as well as, which is how we found Guillermo. A couple days ago I was browsing petfinder when I came across this little guy...

A seven week old dachshund-yorkie mix who was rescued from a puppy mill. Look at that face!!

I immediately sent the link to Antoine and he too fell in love with this little guy! Throughout the day I kept opening the link and reading the description of Patrick. He wasn't a great dane, but man was he cute! And look at those eyes and short little legs! That night Antoine and I talked about Patrick...a lot. We thought he was super cute (of course) and how he would be just the right size and temperament for our household and the cats. And that getting him, versus a great dane, would mean that maybe we wouldn't need to fence in the yard right away, that a small, free standing chain link fence might do the trick. We talked and talked, looking at his picture and dreaming up names for him (because, really, who calls a dog Patrick!?). Then we decided that we wanted him, that we were in love with that face and we could picture him in our home. I even concluded that I could change up my nights at Sbux so that someone would always be there for him in the evening.

So the next morning I emailed His Hands Extended Sanctuary about Patrick, excited about the possibility of bringing this little guy home. And 30 minutes after I sent my email I received a reply that said that Patrick had already been adopted and was happy in his new home. My heart sank. I was glad that he had found a loving home, but at the same time I was super bummed that it wasn't with Antoine and I (and the cats from hell). But shortly after I sent my sad reply back to the correspondent for HHES I realized that while I had fallen for little Patrick it must not have been meant to be. In my old age (okay, I'm not really that old, but I'm older), I've become a quasi-fatalist. If things don't happen as I want them to I chalk it up to not being the right time, the right place, the right house, the right job, or the right puppy. Maybe, just maybe, things happen for a reason and there's a puppy out there (or will be one day) that is perfect for Antoine and I. I'm convinced that when we're supposed to, when it's right for us, we'll find him. I know, it's so very philosophically fluffy of me...but oh well! Things have worked out so far, right!?

Etsy: Gardening Inspiration

Since, as of late, my world revolves around gardening, or attempting to garden, I thought a plant inspired Etsy post was necessary! So here you are...enjoy!

This little succulent is called a "String of Buttons"

Egg Gourds - Grow a Gourd Garden
Oh my! I want these egg shaped gourds, but only if they come with this bunny!! How adorable is he/she!?

Organic Heirloom Purple of Sicily Cauliflower Garden Vegetable Seed
Look at that color!! Now I definitely want to try purple cauliflower!

Hens and Chicks Echeveria Succulent Garden
I love Hens and Chicks (that's the name for these cute little succulents). My grandma always had Hens and Chicks growing outside her house when I was growing up (in fact, she still does).

TROPICAL BUTTERFLY,one iris rhizome
This beautiful purple and yellow iris is called a "Tropical Butterfly". This is something I would never dare try to grow...I'd feel so bad when I killed it with my anti-green thumb!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Adventures in Gardening

Being first time homeowners this is Antoine's and my first Spring in the house. Each season seems to bring a new and exciting set of "firsts". Last night we ate our first home cooked meal outside on our little patio. We sat under the trees, beers in hand, and relaxed taking in the quiet of our little slice of heaven. It was wonderful in so many different and new ways. With each new season we fall further into the realization that this is in fact our house. It's all ours, no one elses! And each and every time we meet this realization we are reminded of just how happy and content we are in our new home! Sure, home ownership has its downfalls. When the garage door started to fall apart it was our job to fix it. When the evil cats from Hell turned off our furnace we had to call a repair man to figure out what was the cause and if it could be remedied. But, having a new house together also means dreaming about remodeling our bathroom someday, what tile we'd want and what color of paint would look best on the walls.
It means mowing our lawn with the push mower I got Antoine for Christmas (see above). It means making dinner and then sitting in our candlelit dining room enjoying a delicious and romantic meal together. And it also means planting a garden, our first adventure into the world of planting/gardening.

Important fact: I might have grown up on a farm, but I do not have a green thumb, so get that little misconception out of your pretty little heads right now! I'm infamous when it comes to killing plants. But I turned 25 this year. I'm getting older and wiser, so hopefully my plant killing days are behind me. Hopefully!

Over the last couple weeks we've been trying to prep for our garden...well, actually, gardens. Our backyard is small, but we think it has a lot of potential!
Here's an areal view of our backyard just after we bought it. The backyard hadn't had any real attention for probably more than 5 years!
Here's a picture of our patio area from a couple of weeks ago just after Antoine cleared out a bunch of the overgrowth. In the photo above you can kind of see this area in the upper right hand corner just above the cherry trees. Look at all that overgrowth (way to go Antoine!).

We're planning on planting four separate gardens/beds: three flower beds (one next to the back of the house, one next to the side of the garage, and one surrounding our patio area) and a raised veggie garden at the back of the garage. The flower beds will be filled with perennials like
black eyed susans
shasta daisies
purple coneflowers
assorted floxglove
rock soapwort
(Please note that these pictures were swiped off the internet and our flowers will probably not look this good.)
The veggie garden will consist of broccoli, carrots, sweet onions, mini sweet peppers, bibb lettuce and silver queen sweet corn. And here's the kicker: we're starting our gardens from seeds!! Yes, you heard me correctly. Antoine and I, aka Inexperienced Gardener #1 and #2, are planning on planting flowers and veggies from seeds for the first time ever! We're rolling with the punches and waiting to see if anything grows. If not, then bummer...but we'll move on. And maybe next year we'll take it easier on ourselves and start with plants or at least veggies that are a little easier to grow! But if things actually grow...SWEET!

Tonight we will hopefully be starting to plant either the flower gardens (which Antoine pre-tilled yesterday) or the veggie garden. We've got the top soil, the manure, the coffee grounds from Sbux and the miracle hopefully between the two of us we can come up with a green thumb...or at the very least a pinkie!! I'll try to keep you all posted with pictures of our progress, if there is any! Wish us luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

One Option I Didn't Consider...

Well, it's no suprise that after a month or so of sickness I'm still sick. I'm still battling the runny nose and cough of my upper respiratory infection, and now my back pain has gotten progressively worse. This past weekend I traveled north to visit my parents. And during the entire weekend my back was bothering me so I took it easy. I sat in the recliner and alternated ice and heat on my back. It didn't help. And now this morning I woke up at 2am in such severe pain that I could barely move. Looks like I'll be making another trip to urgent care today to figure out what's going on with my back.

You may recall my post last week entitled Conspiracy Theories, in which I went over all the possible causes of my sickness. It occured to me that I left out one possibility from the list...a curse! Possibly some sort of weirdo voodoo curse like the one in the Serpent and the Rainbow. Although, to the best of my knowledge, I was never buried alive and resurrected. Maybe it's a curse a la Practical Magic? Although I don't know what Nicole Kidman or Sandra Bullock would have against me!? I have never said anything but nice things about the two of them, especially Bullock, I think she's a mighty fine actress and a very pretty lady! Perhaps Damien from the Omen is tormenting me with his evil demonic powers!? I wouldn't put it past him, he's a creepy little kid! We'll go with seems more probable to me that the Anti-christ might be visiting Cincinnati and out to get me! I mean, even the devil needs some Graeter's ice cream every once in a while, and while visiting why not torture a couple of unsuspecting mortals!! I'm onto you Damien! I'll sick my cat on you if you don't watch out! [Note that if the anti-christ were in fact trying to torture me, I think the warning statement "I"m onto you" and a threat of an attack from the most sissiest of all cats (Gui) wouldn't do shit!]

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Know It's Not Summer Yet...

...but at this point, any sort of warm weather feels like summer to me!

And summer, to me, means windows down (provided it's not 100 degrees out) in my car and good music playing through my speakers. Each year I seem to find an album or two that becomes my "summer album(s)"; the one I play with said windows down and the wind blowing through my hair (well, to be more accurate, it's more like "the wind blowing my hair into a giant bird's nest and then continuously falling into my face and temporarily blinding me"...oh, the woes of having fine hair).

In previous years albums such as Arcade Fire's Funeral and Conor Oberst's self titled album were lucky enough to earn the award of "Jessica's ultimate summer album". Every time I hear "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" I remember the year in college when I shared a house with my best friend and a lesbian couple. It was horrible, a constant us vs. them battle of epic proportions. Trying to escape the chaos of the house I'd take frequent, random rides in my car. I'd drive, with windows down of course, to the library or to my sister's house or to the park in Mariemont...with Arcade Fire blaring on my cd player. While that summer/year was not the most pleasant, I still have fond memories of the album and how it rescued me from a chilly household (really, it was freezing in there) where there were actually hamsters living on our dining room table (it's a long story, sufficive to was not ideal).

I couldn't help myself. And no, the hamsters weren't just roaming around on the table, they were in cages.

My summer association with Conor Oberst however is nothing but wonderful. I had been out of school for a year and was living on my own for the first time in my life. I had recently parted ways with my long time roomie and eternal best friend Amanda when she moved back home for the summer (okay, so that was a major bummer, but you'll see where I'm going with this). And in the Spring I had started dating a certain special someone [aka Antoine]! It was the beginning of our relationship, it was new and exciting and we were falling for each other. So it's no wonder that I reverted back to my Conor Oberst ways. I'm a hardcore fan of Bright Eyes and I'm not afraid to admit it. That emotional sound that Conor does so well made for perfect summer lovin' music, especially for someone like me who can't get enough Conor! So many songs from that first solo album remind me of that summer, of driving around with Antoine, and falling crazy in love. "Sausalito" sticks out in my mind more than any other song, in fact it's my ringtone for when Antoine calls me, but unfortunately I couldn't find a decent video or clip for it that wasn't a horribly recorded live version. Instead, here's my second favorite from the album "Cape Canaveral". Ahhh, Conor.

Anyway, you're probably thinking to yourself, "where the hell is she going with this?" Well, my fair readers I'd like to share with you what I think will be this years' "summer album" for me. I know, you're sitting on the edge of your seat in anticipation! Calm it down will ya! Geez, it's just the Gorillaz newest album Plastic Beach.

I've been a fan of the Gorillaz ever since my sister and brother-in-law, the music guru himself, introduced me to them when I was still in high school (I'm also partial to Blur as well). At first I was a little wary about Plastic Beach, Damon Albarn's third release under the character driven group of the Gorillaz. But man, it has really grown on me! I've been listening to it non-stop and I even catch myself singing snippits of it at least four times a day. While I LOVE most of the album "Superfast Jellyfish" is by far my favorite, with "Rhinestone Eyes" coming in at second (god, I love Damon's voice!). "Superfast Jellyfish" features an intro from a 1986 Swanson commercial for hot and ready microwavable breakfast; it's awesome! The vocals of Gruff Rhys and De La Soul are fantastic, however my attempt at singing the lyrics along with De La Soul would probably force them into retirement or cause them to have some sort of simultaneous group brain aneurysm if they heard me (yeah, it's THAT bad!). I'm amazed that "Superfast Jellyfish" wasn't the first single for the album, however from what I've read it is scheduled to be released as the album's second single sometime in May.

I hope you've enjoyed my little foray into summer tunes. I'd definitely suggest checking out Plastic Beach, if you haven't already! I will most likely be listening to it for the rest of the Spring/Summer. In fact, this weekend Antoine and I are heading up to my parents house and I plan on subjecting him to the Gorillaz for as long as I humanly can during the three and a half hour drive!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Etsy: Because Robots Are Cool!

I like robots. I don't know what it is about them, but put a cute little robot caricature in front of me and I can't help but smile!

Love Robot Postcards
A cute set of 3 robot postcards for $8. For some reason, adding hearts to robots just makes them infinitely cuter!

2 <span class=
Be still my heart...robo dinosaurs! I don't know exactly how you combine a robot and a dinosaur, maybe I should have watched more Godzilla growing up! Anyway, these adorable pint glasses are under $30 for the pair.

Robot Greeting Cards - THANK YOU - 3 Pack
A unique set of 3 robot thank you cards for $10. Love the binary code...makes me think of Flight of the Conchords [the humans are dead...come on sucker, lick my battery!]

Set of 12 - Letterpress Printed Robot with Heart Coasters
This 12 pack of letterpress coasters is only $8. It desperately makes me want to learn how to use a I can make my own robot coasters and perhaps robo-dinosaurs in love (the trifecta of cuteness) coasters!

Gold Robot Vinyl Sticker Play Set
Whimsical vinyl stickers for $8!

Cassette Tape Monster - American Apparel <span class=
Cassette tape monster robot on American Apparel tshirt for $18, not bad!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Houston We Have a Problem...

...with Twizzlers.

The problem is, I'm addicted! Like super duper addicted. To be fair to myself it's not just a matter of will power (or lack there of)'s a matter of genetics. The women in my family (namely on my mother's side) have a predestined condition when it comes to this delicious strawberry licorice...we can't get enough!

Exhibit A: my mother. You give her a bag of Twizzler's and in 5.2 seconds the bag has been cracked opened and she's got a Twizzler hanging out of her mouth.

Exhibit B: my sister. It's not uncommon for Michelle to devour nearly an entire bag during a movie (unless I'm there, then she only eat 50% of the bag and we're practically fighting for the last piece).

You see, the odds are against me! So naturally, while Antoine and I were at the grocery store last night it wasn't unusual for me to pull the whole "Hey Antoine, look over there" move while I snatched up a bag of yummy Twizzlers from the shelf and threw it into our basket. And it's not surprising that once Antoine and I got home I opened said bag of scrumptiousness and started shoving them IN MY FACE! And it's not the slightest bit strange that while we were watching tv last night my hand made created a choreographed dance from the bag, to my face, back to the bag and then back to my face (repeat about 25 times) with only minute pauses in the routine for chewing and breathing. And I'm not totally obsessed when, this morning, I took a handful of delightfully chewing and fruity Twizzlers as I was headed out the door for work, for a "driving treat".

Quit looking at me like I'm crazy! I'm not crazy! It's an addiction. No, it's not just an addiction, it's a disease. One that I must face daily. And yes, I am currently seeking a support group...after I finish off the bag of Twizzlers I have at home. No point in wasting it, right?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Conspiracy Theories...

...on why I keep getting sick.

Now, I might be the only one here, but I loved that movie Conspiracy Theory with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts. You know, that one where Mel Gibson plays a lovable psychopath (much like real Mel Gibson, but perhaps more lovable because truth be told real Mel Gibson isn't all that lovable, just offensive) who thinks the spooks are out to get him. While totally implausible and wacky I thought it was a "good" film. Anyway, I'm starting to identify with Jerry, Mel Gibson's character in the movie. No, I'm not in love with an attractive woman from the D.A.'s office. No, I don't have a sudden urge to bite Patrick Stewart's nose off. But I do feel like something fishy is going on!

I've been sick for nearly a month. First, general not feeling well, stomach aches, body aches, head aches...all the aches. Then, there was the dreaded Viral Meningitis (dun dun dun). Then after that I may or may not have had walking pneumonia. Then there was the horrible back pain that kept me awake half the night, which hasn't completely gone away. Now, the mucus, the phlem, the post-nasal drip and the coughing that no over the counter medicine has seemed to help (which I now have antibiotics for). Sure all this illness could be a lack of sleep and an effect of being overworked, but I think there may be more behind this. Let's survey the possible explanations...

  • A series of unfornuate events brought on by weather change, lack of sleep and exhaustion from having two jobs. HA! It just seems too obvious!
  • Sometime at the beginning of March aliens beemed me up into their spaceship, injected me with some funky disease, and then erased my memory before returning me home. Damn aliens!
  • Same thing but change "aliens" to "Russians" and change "spaceship" to "weird, tacky club/experiment facility". Damn Russians!
  • That jerk Buddy (aka one of the "evil cats from hell") is slowly poisoning me while I'm sleepying because he knows he's my least favorite of the cats. Buddy, you're such a bastard!
  • In an attempt to prove to the people of the US that we need universal health care, Obama has infected me with 7 different diseases to prove his point. Come on Obama! If you're going to infect someone to prove your point infect G.W. (or maybe you already have!?)
  • In an attempt to prove that Obama is crazy, the Republicans have injected me with some sort of super disease that universal health care cannot fight! Damn you Republicans!
  • Puffs/Kleenex is starting a world wide conspiracy to secretly contaminate their tissues with toxic bacteria and viruses so that their customers get sick and then are forced to buy more tissues. Thus boosting their sales in this poor economy. Damnit Kleenex, I hate you! Puffs, I'll admit, I feel a little betray...but I still love you because you're so soft on my nose!
  • A world wide conspiracy has begun involving the fans of Twilight. Tired of being constantly mocked by their Sparkles-the-vampire-hating-peers Twilight fanatics have organized a mass plot against those who unabashedly ridicule their beloved vampire books and movies. Hahaha, Twilight lovers the joke is on you! Soon you will find out that half of your dreamy New Moon cast (including Sparkles and that obnoxious waif) have also been afflicted, as they are in fact ashamed to be starring in such excrement and consequently put down the movie/book to their friends every chance they get! DAMN YOU SPARKLES LOVERS!!!
  • Or it may just be bad luck! Although that's not nearly as amusing, so let's not go with that!

Whatever the explanation...I hope this upper respiratory infection is the last of it! I want to start feeling better so I can enjoy this great weather we are having!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Edible Books Festival '10

Despite being horribly sick yesterday (and still today) with what appears to be a sinus infection I had a great time at the Edible Books festival. As usual, it's fun to see what people can come up with. Sometimes the entries are cute and sometimes they're gross. Occasionally there's an edible book that's a little over the top and usually there's one or two that is a little oversimplified (ex. an empty plate with a sign attached stating "Gouda will return in five minutes"...a play on words for "Waiting for Godot"). But most of all the event is an excuse to take a break from your job or from school or whatever consumes all your time (in my case, two jobs, three cats, and a little madness) and have fun and eat some yummy treats!

Until now, I've kept my edible entry a surprise. I know, the suspense is probably killing you! But you'll have to wait a little longer, first, here's some of the other entries...

My boss, Holly, did "In Cold Blood" complete with jello, corn syrup blood and old school metal ice trays. It was awesomely creepy!

This was an entry from the Chem-Bio library..."2010: A Cake Odyssey". This was one of the ones I'll go ahead and put in the "over the top" category...since it had music and lights.

The Mad Hatter's hat. Props to her for using fondant (aka Hell on a cake).

One of the students from our department did this, "Animal Farm". Look at her cute piggies made out of starbursts and her horse made out of tootsie rolls.

The eerie zombies from "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies".

This was the overall winner of the event, "Caps for Sale".

And no, I'm not bitter this year about not winning (although I can't say the same for Antoine). Last year I thought my entry was the shit, and I will admit I was bummed when the judges didn't agree! Antoine and I had sized up the competition and we were so sure we had it in the bag. Then, out of nowhere another entry (which was cute by fairly simple and tasted gross) won and I was crushed. I was robbed and I was hurt, but after that I vowed to myself that this year I wouldn't take things so seriously. Instead, I just wanted to focus on having fun! So that's what I did, which was a good thing since this year I happen to have an upper respiratory infection which made me less than thrilled to stay up until 11pm the night before making a cat out of rice krispies.

But next's so on! I've decided that I should alternate my level of competitiveness every year. One year I'll aim for the gold (in this case, best overall entry) and the next I'll take it easy and just set out to have fun (like this year). So, without further ado...

Mini strawberry cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.

My entry: "If You Give a Cat a Cupcake" complete with a black and white rice krispie cat.

Part of the book is if you give a cat a cupcake he's going to want to put sprinkles on it, hence the sprinkles!

I had fun with it and I think people enjoyed my cupcakes. One little girl even spent a good amount of time trying to remove the cats head to keep it to take home! As for next year, I'm bringing out the big guns. I think I've already decided what I'm going to do and it is going to be awesome! I just hope I'm not sick again!