Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wizard Rock & Dinosaur Cake

One of my most awesome nerdy loves is Wizard Rock.  Oh, you've never heard of Wizard Rock?  It's cool, let me explain.

A Quick (and probably inaccurate) History of Wizard Rock:
I'm fairly certain that you can call Led Zeppelin the Godfathers of Wizard Rock.  If I have to explain that to you, we are no longer friends for at least 3 reasons... But that was back in the day.

In the early 2000s a band called The Switchblade Kittens wrote a song called "Ode to Harry Potter" which was from Ginny's POV in Chamber of Secrets.

A little while later, in 2002, two brothers somewhat jokingly formed a band called Harry and the Potters and wrote a bunch fast and sloppy songs about the first few Harry Potter books and from Harry's POV.

After that, the world exploded – Wizard Rock caught on BIG TIME and now along with Harry and the Potters and their evil counter-parts, Draco and the Malfoys, you can find tons and tons of other Wizard Rock bands (there was even a Wizard Rock EP of the Month Club for a couple of years and Christmas CDs and everything)!

And now you know.

So, anyway, the champions and reigning kings of Wizard Rock are still Harry and the Potters.  At some point their cute, few-lined, silly songs turned into really good, introspective, interesting, and often hilarious songs.  They're pretty good and are super fun to watch live (Boyfriend said that if they practiced they might be really good, but he also said he wants to join the band and play bass as Cho Chang, so I'm not sure I can take him seriously anymore).  They get so into the songs and into the characters (one brother plays as HP year 4 and the other as HP year 7) and there is tons of bantering and Wizard jokes.

I saw them for the second time this weekend at the Sunnyvale Public Library.  It was hot, outdoors, and there wasn't a huge crowd.  Still, it was a good show in the way that a show is good when a lot equipment gets knocked over and one of the Harry Potters is wearing his sweater backwards for half the set before noticing. 

They played a lot of the songs off their earlier albums which was fun (though "Power of Love" is hands-down their best album). And their drummer apparently keeps changing his identity at each show – at our he was Sirius Black. They also made a Pog joke that kinda fell flat, but I suspect that's because 3 of us in the crowd were old enough to know what Pogs were... And Boyfriend was stoked over their many Back to the Future references, too!

Also, before the show I bought their super awesome, punk rock 12" vinyl record "Live at the New York Public Library" (I collect records, too) and met the band – brothers Paul and Joe.  My dear friend, Kate, has been friends when them for ages, so she insisted that I go introduce myself at the show (she had warned(?) them that I would be saying hi when she saw them a few days earlier in San Diego).  I was wearing my Pterodactyl dress in preparation for the next part of my night and the boys – in a moment of absolute hilarity – tried to invite themselves to the Jurassic Park Party I was going to next, then realized they had another show to play in Santa Cruz.  That, my friends, is the drawing power of the dinosaur.

Which brings me to later that night...

My friend Peter, aka The Mayor, had been putting off his birthday for so long that I decided to swoop in and declare it a Jurassic Park Themed event.  Unfortunately, this didn't really work as Boyfriend and I were the only one who stuck to the dinosaur theme (my dress, his t-shirt)... Oh, and our friend maRk did bring dinosaur toys, so there was that.

But, not realizing that everyone would be total Flounders, I had spend the morning getting dinosaur type goodies ready for Peter: some candy that looked like dinosaur eggs, chocolate rocks, dinosaur toys, and a dinosaur cake, which ended up looking more like Reptar from Rugrats than the actual cake tin (because I frosted it backwards)...  Still, we had a good time at dinner and then went and drove go-karts before eating the dinosaur cake.

All in all, awesome Saturday night.  Did you do anything amazingly awesome, too?

Also, find out more about Harry and the Potter's Ride the Lightening 2011 summer tour here!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fashion Friday: June 13 – 17

This week felt pretty fast probably because I had a few things to look forward to: Fellowship in theaters and a photo shoot with the lovely and talented Barb – I hope to share the photos when I get to see them.  So this week's wardrobe was all over the map, including a purple Hawaiian-esque dress I wore with pearls on Wednesday that I managed to not get a picture of (which is OK, because it means I can wear it again and you guys will never know).

I love this dress.  It's from Target and is actually more of a coral-orange than the pink it look in this pic.  It's cotton and drapes like a dream and has enough detail to keep it interesting; the sweater is another Christmas gift is is probably from Nordstrom or Macy's or something; the shoes are Tom's wedges which I live in (I think I wore them 3 times this week... is that a valid reason for buying more pairs?); the belt came with a skirt and the earrings are also Target.

You may recognize this outfit as it was peaking out behind me polishing off a pizza before LoTR the other night.  I really like how this came together... The blazer is actually an awesome red lined with white polka-dots on blue and it's cropped so you roll the sleeves; the shorts are super high wasted and I thought it was a skirt at first, though I also thought the pattern was bunnies (they're deer) – both items are from H&M; the shirt you can kinda see blue and from Anthropolgie and I've worn it before; earrings are from a Kate Spade sample sale and you can't see them but, you guessed it, Tom's wedges!

So, this is something that I had wanted to try for a while now: shorts with tights.  I think it kinda worked.  The tights are from Target and the unseen boots are Cathy Jean; the shorts are H&M and I adore them because a) they are purple and b) they were under $20; the shirt is from the Van's Outlet which I used to pass all the time driving between the Bay Area and Monterey, and it's paird with a boring Old Navy tank top underneath; And another mysterious Christmas sweater – it matches the one in the above post because it was given to my sister who traded it to me for another sweater I got.. now I have twinsies!

 I guess I'm inadvertently doing a monochromatic thing if I ditched the sweater.  I didn't actually realized that I own this much navy blue nor did I intend to wear it all at the same time...  Anyway, we see a repeat of my favourite Genetic jeans and – oh wow! – Tom's again (but at least they are flats this time); the shirt is shirt is Jones New York from Ross and the sweater is from Nordstrom; you can hardly see the necklace but it's this awesome beaded mess which I discovered in the communal jewelry drawer at home! 

To round our this busy week, I have band practice tonight (actually it's happening right now in the other room).  Boyfriend and maRk are playing with some amazing sounds in Logic and I'm polishing off a bottle of wine and writing melodies.  And that's just the start of this weekend that will be full of awesomeness – I'll be seeing Harry and the Potters for the first time in a few years and going to a Jurassic Park themed birthday for my dear friend, Peter! 

Any else have awesome plans this weekend?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fellowship of The Ring

Tuesday night, Boyfriend, some friends, and I went to see The Fellowship of The Ring extended edition in theaters – a special event to coincide with the extended Blu-ray release.  I think I have mentioned my love of The Lord of The Rings before, but Fellowship is hands down my favourite movie in the trilogy.  If my calculations are correct, last night marks the 9th time I have seen it in theaters (the 10th will be this fall when we see the film with a live orchestra playing the score!).


Before the film the regular pre-movie trivia was replaced with LoTR trivia (a bit spoilery if you ask me, though, as Boyfriend pointed out, you probably didn't go to a special showing of the extended cut if you haven't seen/read the trilogy to begin with. He has a point.) and there was an introduction by Peter Jackson.  The theater was packed!

During the three and a half hours of awesomeness the I did the following:
  • Point out my favourite facial expressions (notably the little Hobbit girl when Bilbo is telling the Troll story; Legolas after they exit Moria)
  • Wave my hands around during exciting bits (read: all of the movie)
  • Point out my favourite pieces of the score (The Bridge of Khazad-dûm)
  • Lean over to tell Boyfriend some trivia he already knew ("Did you know that the scenes at Weathertop were the first scenes Viggo shot because he was not the first person cast for that part?")
  • Lean to the other side to tell the friend the same trivia and in the hope he didn't already know ("Did you know that the scenes at Weathertop were the first scenes Viggo shot because he was not the first person cast for that part?")
  • Recite lines in a dramatic whisper ("The trees are strong, my lord. Their roots go deep." "Rip them all down.")
  • Count how many lines Orlando Bloom has (around ten, I think)
  • Laugh at things that are now funny because of memes ("One does not simply walk into Mordor...")
  • Cry at all the sad bits (the breaking of the Fellowship; "I'm glad you're with me, Sam.")
Yes, my friends, watching The Fellowship of the Ring with me is quite an experience. 

Also, despite my love for movie theater treats, I figured the effects of my 6 mile run that morning would hit hard somewhere around the Council of Elrond if I didn't get some proper food in me before the movie.  Boyfriend was nice enough to pick us up a gluten free Tony's Special from Tony & Alba's.  It was meaty and messy and, as you can see, I loved it.

photo by Nicole – instagram'd my me

Monday, June 13, 2011

Last Week's Outfits

When I decided to post my outfits, part of the motivation was to force me to update this more often.  However, I worried that posting outfit posts daily would bother people, so I started Fashion Friday – which lasted about 2 weeks before life got in the way.  I figured no one noticed, but believe it or not, I've had a few request to bring back those posts – apparently people like them.  So my question for you, Dear Readers, is this – weekly photos? Daily photos?  Only photos when I really love an outfit?  Some other option?  I want this place to be a representation of me and all of my interests (hence random stories, recipes, clothes, etc) but I don't want to bore you...

Well, until I get some feedback, I think I'll try some daily posts and see where that gets me.  This was, after all, partly a New Year's Resolution to write more, so here we go!

I tried to get Boyfriend to get pics of all of my outfits last week.  We successfully captured 2 and I managed to use Instagram to get my more interesting accessories...  It's a start, right? Right!

Now that it's finally feeling like spring, I've taken to wearing nothing but skits and dresses.  This skirt is from H&M; the shirt is from Nordstrom Rack; the sweater from Target.  I got the necklace at a gem & jewelry show.  I don't know what shoes I was wearing, but I do know that I'm in front of the washing machine because I was on a mission to get a diet coke from the garage fridge when this was taken.  Mission accomplished, in case you were wondering.

I didn't get a full outfit pic on Tuesday, but I was wearing this purple dress from Target with this fantastic dragonfly necklace, that I think might be from Chico's – my sister and I are the youngest people that shop there, but only for jewelry; their jewelry is fantastic!  And, hey, my hair actually looks OK in this pic – it's been up most of the time recently because I've been running before work and can't be bothered to get up that much earlier just to do my hair...

I decided to be slightly whimsical and went with a bow theme.  Who knew I had this many things with bows?  The dress is a Betsy Johnson that I got on crazy clearance a few years ago; the shoes were an impulse buy via The Daily Candy's Swirl; the sweater was a Christmas present and thus of unknown origins; and the earrings are pink with little heart-shaped bows, which I borrowed/stole from my mom and they're Channel.  Also, no I'm not wearing white tights, thankyouverymuch.

I didn't end up getting a full outfit pic again, but you can see all of the important elements here.  The dress is from Anthropologie, again something I picked up on super clearance when I used to walk past the store every day to and from work... It's full of these bright flowers and it has pockets, which is the best!  The sweater is a TJ Maxx find, I think?  It has those patches over the elbows like a tweed jacket, so that's fun.  But the best part of this is the necklace – this is from an open market in Málaga, Spain.  I spent a week in El Costa del Sol with Si in 2003 pretty much drunk constantly, eating pizza, and bumming around with buskers we met.  It was awesome.

On Friday, I felt like crap and due to a mix up at 5:30 am, I forgot to bring the right shoes to change into after the gym.  This left me in jeans and a t-shirt, which is something I do not like to wear to work, even on a Friday.  But, what are you gonna do?  And since I left work and went to bed for 2 hours, I didn't get any outfit shots.  It's OK – you aren't missing much.

So, here's to sticking to keeping this updated a little more frequently.  Please let me know if you think I should do more or less.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stomach Problems that led to Delicious Cookies!

If you've known me for say more than a year, or if you've ever had a meal with me, you probably know a little bit about my stomach issues.  If not, then the shortish version of the story is this:

Since about the middle of high school, I've had tummy aches.  It got to the point where one of my Besties didn't want to eat with me anymore because she knew that I would immediately complain about my stomach – this put a damper on our friendship slightly since the two main activities we did (and still do) together are eat and shop.  But, yes, I was vocal and, ok I'll admit it, probably very annoying about it. 

Over the years, the intensity of the stomach aches have varied.  There were times, particularly in college, when I hardly noticed them.  And then there were times when it was unbearable.  And over the past year or so, they had become much more frequent and much more intense.  I was sick all the time and afraid to eat – one night I cried in Boyfriend's arms because I was so hungry but so afraid to eat anything.

About this time I was interviewing for my new job and Big Computer Company so I thought that the discomfort might be stress related.  And then I got the job and nothing changed and it started effecting my work.  So, I started making appointments: I saw my general physician, an allegorist, a dietitian.  We ran tests (they were inconclusive), I kept a food journal (it wasn't very useful), and finally we decided to start cutting things out.

And that's when we finally discovered the root of the problem: Gluten.

I know, I know.  It seems like everyone is suddenly Gluten Intolerant.  And this works towards my advantage because suddenly there are Gluten Free products all over.  I don't have Celiac Disease (thank god), but my body definitely cannot handle gluten the way it used to when I little and lived on Goldfish Crackers.  One thing we've wondered is if it isn't the genetically modified wheat products that are causing the problem... Whatever it is, I haven't had a stomach ache since cutting it out of my diet.

Meanwhile, I met a new friend at the Hip Hop Class I was taking here and, as luck would have it, he works just down the hall from me.  Matthew is awesome at making anything anyone says waaay more awkward than intended.  He's also crazy allergic to nuts of all kinds – he has to test food on his arms first and he once gave me his EpiPen and then promptly took it away because I was "too excited" at the prospect of having to use it.  As a result of this allergy (and other friends) he's done a lot of allergy-free shopping and cooking.  He picked up some allergy-free (no nuts, gluten, dairy, etc) energy bars and trail mix and left some at my desk for me to try.  And he made me a gluten-free variation of this amazing cookie recipe.

I decided it was time to repay the favor and since I still had the tupperware that Matthew had given me the cookies in, I thought I should return it to home equally full of cookies.  So, my goal was to make a delicious batch of cookies that both he and I could eat: gluten-free and nut-free.  And, man, I need to work on my cooking pictures (maybe using more than Instamatic) and I'll have to remember to take pics at each step instead of getting distracted by licking the beaters...

Gluten Free Sunflower Butter Cookies!!

It's a pretty basic and easy recipe, and obviously you don't have to make it gluten-free either.  Sunflower butter is exactly what it sounds like, a peanut butter substitute made of sunflower seeds.  I think it tastes awesome.

Here's what you need:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sunflower butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend/flour of choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Mix the sugars and butter together until it's all creamy.  I do this in a kitchen-aid while I'm getting the rest of the stuff ready.


2. Add the sunflower butter and the egg.  Mix until it's totally combined.

I always like to remind people here that you can pretty much mix the wet ingredients till your heart's content.  It's only when we add dry ingredients, that you run the risk of over-mixing.

3. In a smaller bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 

I used the Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend, but I could have used just soy or rice flour or whatever – the Red Mill brand is easy to find and easy to use, so there's that. If you're making the gluten-free variety, and you have it on hand, you'll want to add Xanthan Gum at this point too.  You can get a big bag of Bob's Red Mill brand Xanthan Gum and since you need so little at a time, it'll last forever.  On the other hand, when I don't have any around, the flour blend works pretty well without it.

4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones until they are fully combined, but don't over mix! 

5.  Put the dough into some plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a few hours. This'll harden the batter up and let all the ingredients meld together.  If I can, I even try to make the dough the day before and let it hang out over night.

6. Have some wine while you wait. 

This one was an impulse buy near the checkout and I was sold on the fact that it's called Red Velvet.  It was OK considering I make all my wine based choices based on labels (I think that's how wine should be listed in restaurants, too...)

7. Preheat the oven to 350〫while you get your cookie trays ready.  I always like to use parchment paper so that a) the cookies don't stick and b) I don't have trays to wash.

8. Roll your dough into small balls and place as good intervals on the tray – they expand!  You can also do the fancy fork marks if you like.  I did this, but mine didn't really show in the end...

9.  They take a little longer to cook than regular peanut butter cookies. About 15 mins for chewy cookies, 20 for harder ones.

Let cool and enjoy.  I ate like 20 already.  Good thing I've been running. :)

*adapted from this putter butter cookie recipe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Pink Prom 3-D

Did you hear?  My friends, sisters Diana & Megan, threw a totally awesome party for a totally worthy cause: Pink Prom 3-D, A Benefit Dance for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

This is the 3rd year they've put this event on and the second year that I've gone. This year Diana, Megan, and I all had the same hair cuts and we all wore strapless pink dresses.  How awesome?  Maybe it's a side effect of knowing someone since like 4th grade...

Last year, I went with my friends and asked Mr. Orlando Furioso to be my "date" because Boyfriend was visiting family.  Orlando bought me copious amounts of gin & tonics and I spent the drive home reciting everything that I had ever read on Wikipedia about roller coasters.  Seriously.  Roller coasters.

This year, I had Bear, Boyfriend & and a Betsy Johnson dress.  And I didn't drink too much or rant and rave about amusement park rides.  I did however dance the night away and I had a rediculiously awesome time in the photo booth they had set up.

Allow me to take you through the night in pictures – all photos by the fabulous Gary Sexton Photography!

Our Prom group shot: Me & Boyfriend, Peter & Marian, Bear & Mwongola.  Aren't we all pretty in pink – you see what I did there?  

Here's our first "couple" picture.  Note that Boyfriend keeps sticking his head into the frame with the 3-D glasses – I think it looks like R2D2.  This is before drinks and I'm still jumping into him...
We had to make sure to get an awesome sister picture.  In case you're wondering, me and my sister will challenge you and your sister to the K12 any day of the week.  Just say when.
Then we met a couple and started chatting.  Then decided to take pics with them, like you do.  I also, at some point, started talking about how I used to play Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show hence the sign.  And I decided that the bird Boyfriend his hold is the Maltese Falcon (no one knew what I was on about. How sad).

At some point in the night I started channeling Cha-Cha from Grease when, at the dance, she cuts in on Danny & Sandy to win the Hand Jive competition.  What I'm doing in that last picture is shaking my dress, which was fluffed out with tulle, like she does when they win.  This seemed like a good idea.  Also, Boyfriend started doubling up on glasses...

And then Boyfriend gets artsy and my eyes get wonky.  That last frame is so amazing, I know you are wishing you could be so cool. 
I had a total blast at the party and it was for such a good cause.  Trust me, the photos are just a snapshot of the awesomeness.  And you can check out the website and see the rest of the party pics, too.

So, thanks Diana & Megan.  You ladies rock.