28 July 2014

The Baker: Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

The backstory to why I like baking and how I got started is not exciting enough to share with the internet. What's important here is, that it's summer. That means two things: 1) berries galore! and 2) it is way too hot in our little kitchen to be baking in this 106-degree weather. But I do what I want. And I wanted to bake. And I had a boatload of blueberries in our fridge that needed to be consumed before they turned icky.

I found this recipe from Foodnetwork but made some timing/temperature modifications while baking (as is normal since not all ovens are created equal). Also, I think my pan was 8" instead of 9" so I had to experiment with the temperature and oven rack position in order to fully cook the center of the cake without burning the top crumblies. Because let's face it, we're all in this for the crumblies. 

Now for your viewing pleasure (and because another one of my many hobbies is watercolors), here is the illustrated recipe (click to embiggen):

I'm still working on writing in straight lines so stay tuned for that milestone. 

Full disclosure: the cake was good, but I messed up my measurements so here's the lesson: read the entire recipe before even starting and make sure you have all the necessary ingredients and equipment. Also, I named the cake differently than the original recipe it but that doesn't really matter, does it? If you end up making the cake, let me know your secrets to success. Thanks :)

21 July 2014

Just Move Forward

Oh heyyyyyy. About that. Well, we're here now, so let's just move forward.

I want to say life is fantastic but I don't want to overhype anything. Everything's been pretty regular. Except for the everyday epiphany that I have no idea what to do with my life and a constant fear of wasting my "prime years". Woah. Too personal, too fast? Just use a trite but somewhat true phrase that pretty much covers everything? Be vague but honest? "I'm still figuring things out."

During my figuring sessions, I remembered something a friend and I simultaneously yet separately concluded in our college years: We have too many hobbies. We dabbled in anything we found entertaining: from animation to spoken word to custom shoe design to bread making. I think he then decided to focus on a couple hobbies and hone his skills to turn it into a career. I, on the other hand, just kept prancing around. I never got "really good" at anything. I kept pursuing the stable career path I set on pre-college because I was so deep into that hole it didn't make sense for me to climb out and start digging another one. If you think this story is going to turn into a "but I worked hard and now I'm doing what I love and loving what I do and making enough to support my small family" kind of post, spoiler alert: I'm still figuring things out.

I thought I wanted to work towards turning my artsy and crafty skills into an income-producing full-time gig, but I just couldn't see it happening. Not now, at least. So while I'm hurting my brain trying to grow at my day job, I'm still prancing around after hours. You bet I'm tired. But am I enjoying life? I'd like to think so.

All this to say that I'd like to share my hobbies with you. There's a bunch. And I feel like the list is growing so I need a way to articulate and organize my interests (hence, the blog). Not interested? Thanks for listening so far. Interested? Until next time, friend!

04 March 2014

A Full Heart

1. My car - it's not like top of the line or anything. It's pretty much economical. But with some company and a little caffeine, I can go most anywhere.

2. Bacon donuts - If there was a donut shop in town that sold bacon donuts, I'm pretty sure my life would become very unhealthy. But kudos to whoever thought them up.

3. Reunions and unions - Don't you love those kinds of friends who even if you haven't seen them in a while it's so easy to reconnect and pick up where you left off? Maybe I'm at that age where you just don't have time to be awkward. Or maybe my friends are just that awesome. Hey there, I'm talkin' about you. What I'm saying is... The Mister and I traveled to Los Angeles for a night to celebrate a friend's wedding. I caught up with people I did not expect to be there and it was simply heart-warming. I don't know how else to describe it, but my heart still feels full from the weekend. Maybe I just needed a break from routine of work-dinner-television-sleep. I know some people can live off of that social-diet, but I require healthy servings of chillaxing and meaningful conversations. Thank you, lovely people, for a refreshing weekend. I'll see you soon.

19 February 2014

Vitamin C, Human Contact, & Smarts

1. Orange Juice - It is so delicious in the morning, particularly the "Simply Orange" brand.

2. Non-TV time - We only turned on the TV once today. Call Guinness, we hit a record. It's a bad sign when you can't remember what it sounds like without the TV on. Today it was just our conversations and it was nice.

3. Second chances - Specifically with home repairs/DIY decor. I'm so grateful that The Mister is such a problem-solver. The chair cushion we are re-upholstering started out kinda lumpy. I'm not talking about you-wouldn't-notice-it-unless-you-were-looking-for-it-kinda-lumpy. It was one of those kids that you wouldn't wanna play with on the playground. I fussed and whined because I thought we'd have to go back to the craft store to buy more materials but The Mister found a way to de-lumpify the cushion. It turns out that the tension of the fabric affects the shape of the cushion it covers. And tighter is not always better. I'm so glad he got his applied mathematics degree at a four year university for this. Now my $7 mid-century accent chair is starting to come alive. Can't wait for the end product. A little tip for those tackling a home project: try until it dies. Like really dies. Don't give up on lumpy cushions!

18 February 2014


1. Reddit - I'm revealing some of my geekiness here, but there is some great stuff on Reddit. Exhibit A, Mr. Bill Gates. I'm always skeptical about these "celebrity" social media accounts but either way, props to the PR team on making me look up to a millionaire nerd.

2. Marie Callendar's Pie sale - the double cream blueberry wins this year; sorry banana cream.

3. Overwhelmed by Joel Weldon - This song is an old praise song that I learned when I was in high school. The lyrics always remind me of what's important to me: God. Recently, I've been overwhelmed by many things--unexpected finances, stressful work hours, disappointing social situations... How strange to describe a relationship with God as overwhelming. I wouldn't group being in God's presence with the things previously listed. When I imagine how small I am and how great He is, it is overwhelming. On top of that, He calls me to be with Him. Doubly overwhelming. But better to be overwhelmed by love than stress, right?