Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Cookies

So I went on a bit of a baking spree this week. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, and brought it to a few Christmas events, I don't know how well they went over. For the most part I never was there long enough to see if they got eaten, and I heard one snide comment made to someone who was willing to try my delish vegan goodies!
Argghhh! I wonder if I was such a narrow-minded twit when I was a full on carnivore... Oh well, back to the issue at hand - COOKIES!

The first cookie was from my new fave cookie cookbook. I tweaked it a bit. It was supposed to be a sandwich cookie, but it looked a little flat and sad, so I dunked it in chocolate as directed, but then added peppermint sprinkles to the top and then packaged them up individually. The presentation made them all the more adorable!

Who wouldn't love these?

Then I did a little twist on the Egg Nog cookies that were such a hit at Thanksgiving. I added festive red and green to the rum-laced icing and attacked the cookies in a manner that would have made Jackson Pollack proud!

I felt like an addict always going back and sneaking 'just one more' ...

Then, I made yet another of Kelly's chocolate chip cookie recipes, this time it was Candy Cane Chocolate Chip, soft and melty and ooey and gooey and...mmmmm. 

I probably gained a few pounds, because I couldn't stay away from my own cookies! I gave away so many tins but I had an extra here for a friend that has been away. Needless to say, those cookies are GONE. I will have to make another batch for her in a day or two.

As I am trying to get healthier this new year, I don't know how I will be able to stay away from Kelly and her yummy creations! Each time I make a new recipe, I expect it to suck even a little, but she hasn't let me down yet. Oh, well. Everything in moderation right?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Through New Eyes

Photography is one of my "things"... and I personally have too many things - far as interests are concerned!  But getting a camera in your hand and trying to get a shot that you can marvel at for days, weeks, months, even years to come is now my obsession! 

I am learning that the shot is more interesting if it is somehow 'off' in the sense of it being an angle you wouldn't have thought of without the camera

This amaz-balls shot in St. Croix of my niece is not mine, it is her mom's, but the color and quirkiness of it was too much to pass up. I love it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cake Pops...Mmmm

So I have visited this site called Bakerella quite a few times and wondered how I could veganize the treat. I did it once, but the crazy hard chocolate shell gave my jaw a workout! I haven't given up on my vegan cake pop quest just yet, but with Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to do something fun for my most amazing godchild, Syrai. So I went about the massive task of making these bad boys, and must say, they turned out pretty well. Although I did not get to eat my masterpieces, I was told they were great, and Syrai's smile was more than reward.

It is funny that the Chocolate Covered Mint cake from my Sinfully Vegan recipe book (I removed the mint and added almond...yum) and used vegan frosting, but the darn candy coating isn't vegan and I just gave in. 

I don't know if my vegan card will be revoked ;) but since it wasn't something for me, I decided not to fight it. The vegan life, is there ever a day without ethical and/or moral dilemma?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vegan Thanksgiving Part 1: Cookies

Thanksgiving Rocks. Period. Best Holiday Ever. No "gimme - gimme" commercialism pressure, no stress about finding the right gift to show how much people really mean to you. (When the love is real, you do show it EVERYDAY, yet this holiday makes us all feel insecure, stressed, and crappy, YUCK.)

So anyway, Thanksgiving will always be tops for me. Even though this is my second Thanksgiving as a vegan, I don't miss anything really. My plate might be missing some of the old traditional, but I still walk away full, satiated, and slightly tipsy, with a burgeoning sugar induced food coma waiting in the lurks!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Free Printable Mailing Labels

Wow. I amaze myself sometimes. 

Official Free Wedding Template - Really

In my quest to figure out how to create printable PDFs, I have aged, cursed, and may have teared up a bit in frustration.  For me, nothing - nothing - is every as easy as they say it will be in a tutorial when computers are in the mix. Never. Ever.

Monday, November 14, 2011

V V Monday

A quick summary of some things going on in the world of the animals...

The Western Black Rhino is officially extinct!  Whoo hoo, yes, idiotic hunters of the world unite! (This wasn't how I'd intended to start this entry, but the stupidity of these people that hunt an animal to extinction blows my mind.)
While I wasn't exactly on a Western Black Rhino watch, at the end of the day, it is sad that these poachers have done what they did. I wonder, as that hunter had the last rhino in his (or her) crosshairs -- or whatever they use to kill, did the thought of "I am eradicating something permanently from the face of the earth for its measly horn," ever cross his/her mind? Of course not.
Everyone has to make a living, (even those who poach illegally,) but they just hunted themselves out of a job. (I guess there is a slight silver lining to the story.) 
I thought the purpose of hunting was to maintain population control. Mind you, Mother Nature has never called on us to help her with her job in that respect, but we take the task on anyway. I guess that is the lame excuse used to justify the carnage.
How long before out only connection to the wild and these amazing animals will be through pictures and documentaries on cable tv?

Friday, July 8, 2011

V V Friday 1

There is always some good news related to the vegan lifestyle and animals rights. I think once in a while it is emotionally rewarding to hear about them. This is a little section I think will be my "Vegan Victories" segment. If you are a carnivore, it's okay. I won't tell anyone you read it! I've found even the most die hard steak eater would try to take down IronMan if his/her pet Fluffy was in danger from him.

The first news story that was a feel good, was about hens...
     A slightly better life is in store for factory farm raised hens. There will be new regulations (agreed upon by both the United Egg Producers and The Humane Society of the United States) for these animals. Currently, factory hens are crammed into cages for the entire existence of their sad, short lives and don't even have enough room to open their wings to stretch. (If you are a New Yorker or have ever been there, think rush hour -- in the summer -- every minute for the rest of your life!.... I will wait because I am sure you just had a mini-attack at the thought of that. We have conniptions when the train is stuck for 5 minutes in a bloody tunnel!....)
     Anyway, there will also be regulations on force molting hens - which is basically starving them for up to two weeks in order to shock their already drained systems into producing a few more eggs before they are slaughtered. These "enriched colony cages" as they are called, are almost 2 decades away as I understand it from being fully implemented, but this is nonetheless huge. More space per animal means less stress so hopefully they won't attack each other and need to be debeaked (very painful - no anesthesia) and maybe won't need as many antibiotics pumped into their systems because their environment may actually be cleaner. I know it is a long shot, but I can still dream.

The other news is not so good...
     There were protesters at the premiere of "Zookeeper"  because one of the animals, a giraffe named Tweet died during production of the movie nearly two years before. Tweet was found eating tarp that covered his enclosure, but his trainers when notified, did nothing. While I understand the frustration at the senseless death of such a beautiful creature, going after the star at the premier may not be the way to 'win friends and influence people' so to speak. Target the trainers who blatantly let an animal under their care die.
     Personally, I am torn about using animals in movies. I know there is the risk that some are not treated as they should be (I believe the "Water for Elephants" movie is dealing with some allegations of abuse now too). We want to trust that they were trained without abuse in the years before they got to the set and that they were treated well during production. Some of us only get to see animals on the big screen; that is where we see them in all their splendor... It is a tough call. This will continue to be a problem as long as Big Brother can't be everywhere...yet.

Anywhoo, that was my first entry.  Upon reflection, that second story really ISN'T  a victory, but maybe the attention it garners will move us one step closer to another victory for humane treatment like in the first story. Little by little does the trick, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Additions to the Store

Life is returning to normal and I am adjusting to the title of "wife." (Still sounds odd.) Anywhoo, the creative juices are flowing again and with a slew of baby showers recently I have come up with these little tags on my Etsy store...

Are they practical? I think so! I love the detail of the present and it's presentation. While I'm no Martha, I think these babies are up there on the sophistication scale, no?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gone Too Long

Okay, it has been a long, long, LONG break-- but I am back.
The wedding is done and was amazing!  It was a fun destination wedding that truly went by way to fast!  There wasn't even a do nothing day for me and the hubby. (Well, I think he got slightly more chill time, but not that much more.)

We got over 40 people to get on a plane to paradise (St. Croix, USVI) and partied like rock stars! All my DIY's are over and there were many that I just couldn't do.  I realize I am a lot more anal that I thought and wished I had been slightly more bridezilla at points... oh well.  Our guests all thought everything went off without a hitch (-little did they know- and thanks to my wedding planner --I missed some near disasters too!)

The wedding weekend and the weeks leading up to it actually had quite a few accidents... I can laugh about them now, but before I was a bit of a neurotic mess. I will recount the many small catastrophes in my next post.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words... I'll share and stop talking about the beauty that is St. Croix! (Not in any particular order....)

 Hotel where we stayed, great staff -- very poor management. Hindsight is 20/20.
The guests still had a good time.
 My (new) family walking around Christiansted.

 My hair and make-up all done (wedding day)!

 Me and my best friend, also one of my Ladies in Waiting.

 My other Lady in Waiting & Saving Grace!

 Coming back from the Buck Island snorkeling tour.  God, look at that water.

 One of my beautiful sorors, pregnant and looking FLAWLESS when the rest of us looked...not so flawless!

Looking down from our TanTan (crazy adventure ohmygodamIreallydoingthis) Jeep Tour, looking at another resort, The Carambola. The jeep tour was tons of fun, not to be missed if you are fortunate to get to St. Croix, and I am so glad I did it.  It was really an adventure that day...

This pic does not capture the beauty of this beach.  All covered in rocks and some coral, when the waves recede, it sounds like applause! Mother Nature is grand.

Me and my sweetie -rehearsal dinner/party.

Me and my Daddy!

We did it!

Be vewy's an iguana.

These pics barely begin to cover the jam packed days of the wedding was AMAZE-BALLS!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Surprise" Bridal Shower

This past Sunday was my "surprise" bridal shower.  I say this in quotes because my beloved mom-in-law tried so hard to keep it quiet and have me be totally didn't happen.  There were a few dropped hints along the way.  Sorry Mrs. C! I do thank her for going above and beyond to make everything so wonderful.

Even though I knew what was coming, walking into that room was still completely shocking.  When you see all these people you love, that love your hubby, and family and friends that usually don't get to mix, you truly feel blessed and humbled that they would be there.

I actually had a mini panic attack a few days prior worried about what I would eat at said event.  (As a vegan, your love of life and the animals comes with a price!)  I was taken care of and even had my own cake from my fave bakery here in New Jersey - Papa Ganache.  So freakin' good, not only is it all vegan, it knocks the socks off ANY bakery vegan or non that I've ever eaten from.

The gifts were creative and touching and perfect and some embarrassing!  I wish I had the ability to take a picture with each person who gave us something.  It would have been nice since there were some new faces and people I have heard so much about that I'd just met for the first time.

Sadly, I was in the pics and didn't really get to take many.  I will post some later on as they come in!  Is there anything better than a party where all the gifts are for you?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wedding Tutorial: Monograms (easy)

Here is a simple project that I am using for my own wedding with the favor boxes.  If you have tons of labels lying around, this is a nice way to incorporate them at no expense to you!

You will need:
computer and printer
decorative hole punch

Go into your word processing program.  I use Microsoft Word. Under Tools, click on Labels and be sure that you select the correct code for the labels that you have. Decide on what font you want to use.  If you want more variation than the fonts you already have, go to a site that lets you download fonts for free.  I like  You can also download cool symbols as well that you can use like butterflies and beach themed shapes for whatever your celebration might be.

I have chosen to just use the "C" in the wedding colors of red and teal.

Once you have selected your font and made your labels, print them out.

Here, to punch out the monogram, I am using a circle punch with a diameter of 1 inch.

Once, you are done, affix to the box and you are done!

Now, you can get even more complicated with this by adding other embellishments.  For me, I wanted to keep it clean and simple. ( I have a lot of these little buggers to do!)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Store

This is my Etsy store started only a few months ago.  Getting an internet based business off the ground is truly hard work!  It has been a roller coaster and some days I am up, and other days...not so up.

I definitely feel envy from people who have just one passion or interest screaming their name.  I feel sometimes like I have multiple personalities and each one has a different craft or medium or idea and EVERYONE wants to be heard!  In time the store will find it's voice.

For now, I have a lot to do to refine it so that the voices can calm down!  I do have favorites in the store and sometimes feel like a "bad mom" for not giving the other babies the same love and attention! I wonder if other Etsy artists feel the same or I'm just crazy...

Here are some of my likes...

The bookmarks are based on my art, I love single fluid lines...

These two are lock charms that can be worked into your hair for a dangling design!

 These are my "get 'em talking" wine charms...Fun, no?

These are some of my polymer clay creations....

This is another item based off my artwork, in hammered copper wire...

My "works of art" wine charms...

What do you think? Am I just schizo or do they all work somehow?  Helpful comments are ALWAYS welcome!