Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Funfetti Cake



Literally the best cake mix in a box. The concept is simple: vanilla cake mix with sprinkles in the batter.

Personally, I like to just eat the cake batter.
Taking the time to actually cook it requires patience, none of which I have. The sprinkles are crunchy, the gooey batter- delicious. Complete with raw eggs- salmonella is the last thing I am worried about... Sitting down with a spoon and a bowl full of funfetti cake batter can complete any Saturday afternoon.


However, on the rare occasion when I do take the time to actually bake the batter, the outcome is glorious. The fluffiest and most delicious looking delicacy on the face of the planet. Topped with frosting, this cake can cure any disease, malady, or horrid mood. It's a journey back to childhood coupled with an explosion of flavors, a symphony of taste in your mouth.

So, on those days like today ,when the clouds roll in and the rain cascades down from the heavens, blanketing everything in the soggy moistness of water, bust out the Funfetti and Mulan. Your day will turn around in no time...


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Burt's Bees

While on my plane ride back from the depths of time, I forgot to put my lip balm in my carry-on bag. That journey = longest plane ride of my entire life.
Anyone who uses lip balm religiously knows that your lips get the driest when you know you don't have any accessible stick of chap. Your lack of soothing wax taunts you, torments you until you become desperate enough to ask a companion for a swipe of their choice brand.
(I never, ever do this. I would rather feel like my lips have been scorched by desert's sandy winds and the sun's persistent rays than use another person's chapstick.)
I've experienced the Bonnebell plethora of flavors, the Chapstick chapstick, and generic balms, but none have compared to the minty simplicity that is Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm.
All natural, no animal testing, and, according to my tube, 30% post-industrial content.
Good for my lips, good for the Earth.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby Mammals

Let's be quite honest. Small things are extremely cute. Furry things are extremely cute. And everyone loves new things.

Mix these three together, and you get baby mammals. I was going to say baby animals, but human babies are too adorable to leave out of the classification. (And I feel bad calling babies 'animals' in the same way I feel bad for referring to a baby as 'it.')
There is a modern fetish of obsessing over cute things, and I am completely prepared to buy into it right now.

If you are prone to cavities, you should stop reading here.
If you have a super-sweet tooth, continue on, dear reader.


Baby hedgehogs are quite possibly one of the cutest species of baby mammal. I love the big floppy ears next to his little face and impossibly tiny nose. He looks ready to snuffle, which is both the sound hedgehogs make and also an adorable action of the baby hedgehog.

The universal appeal, though, may lie in the contrast between the spiny back and the impossibly soft little tummy.

Yes, I said tummy. So sue me.


Yes, there is a little baby mammal in this photo. It's like the "Where's Waldo?" of cuteness.

See it? See it? Adorable.

Too bad most cats really don't like me very much.


Puppies, on the other hand, puppies love me. These puppies are snowy, too, which adds an entirely new dimension of heartwarming love to this photo.

Can't you just imagine them frolicking in the snow under fir trees, chasing snowballs that disappear when they hit the ground and being confused? Eating the snow, maybe? Rolling around, nibbling each other's ears with their sharp but harmless milk teeth?

Have you noticed how much I love puppies?


This is my protegee/goddaughter. Check out those cheeks. And that pout. And her eyes. And her eyelashes - sorry, you can't really see them here. She's a snuggly little joy of a toddler.


"Aristocats," anyone? This one is about the tiny paws and the fact that the kitten's fur is all over the place.


Farm animals can also be extremely cute. These particular lambs were at The Farm in Door County. If you know what I'm referring to, you understand that The Farm is where cute reaches extreme levels that are slightly overwhelming to amateurs (i.e. people who weren't desensitized to the cuteness by going to The Farm every summer since they themselves could be classed as baby mammals).

The appreciation of cuteness in baby mammals by other baby mammals may be the purest and highest form of cuteness in baby mammals. This photograph may have more love in it than any other in the world. And also more cuteness.

(Disclaimer: I took some of these pictures from various websites, stole one from an acquaintances facebook and one from my dad's Shutterfly, and took a few of them myself.)

ETA: A very cute song for all of you to download. Be Gentle With Me - The Boy Least Likely To.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Her Morning Elegance



There is something about this video and song combination by Oren Lavie that just gets me.

The song is honest and poetic in my favorite way - the most is said between the lines, in what gets left unsaid. This is sounding super pretentious, especially because it's not some ground breaking musical or lyrical work. It's just a good song with an intriguing video.

The video, which is really the reason for this post, is striking and simple, complementing the song and actually adding quite a bit to it.

I'm not articulating within this post very well, but hey, I've been pretty verbose in the last few, so I will just leave you with a link to full details on the video from Oren Lavie's MySpace. I read them for you first, and I would say they are worth your 5 minutes.

Then be like me and spend a significant amount of time watching the video.
Again.
And again.
And again.

Here's the song: Her Morning Elegance - Oren Lavie.

After Dinner Mints



After a delicious meal out on the town, I am always craving that little something extra. And luckily, the high caliber restaurants that I frequent know exactly what I desire- an after dinner mint. Now, we're not talking the standard after dinner mint which I do occasionally enjoy: the pastel and fluffy delicacies with their light and airy mint flavour. Sometimes, however, the situation calls for a real mint. Straight up.


So many varieties, so many options.

Depending on the level of class your chosen restaurant possess, your mint options can range from the quotidian miniature peppermints all the way to the ever elegant chocolate mint. Don't get me wrong, the delectable melt-in-you-mouth velvety sensation of the chocolate mint is hard to outshine, but sometimes the good ol' down to earth peppermint is just what I am craving.

It is at these moments where I find myself incredibly grateful for these little packaged wonders so graciously bestowed upon us, the customers. Basking in the after-dinner glow, the time is right where a minty sensation can only perfect the essence of an already excellent meal.

It is therefore fitting to conclude that the after dinner mint is one of nature's most precious and glorious gifts; to be enjoyed to the fullest extents of our human powers and to be savoured in the majesty and magnificence it deserves.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Boys

There is this crew of boys who tend to just be around. I'm not quite sure how I fell in with a group of such hooligans, but I guess they're okay.


William, Intensity, and Sam are classy dudes. Except Sam, who looked like the lovechild of Juno and a hoodrat today.

Will got a tattoo of the NMH aeroplane today. If you needed proof that he's a legitimate person to hang out with, that should be enough. Kid is legit. Also, he likes my sister's hamster. I also like my sister's hamster.


Sam had a long, interesting day today. I don't think I'm quite at liberty to tell the tale. Otherwise I would, since it describes Sam really well. We also sit together in our Physician in History lecture. I don't think either of us are totally sure what's going on in there at any point in time.


J. Ash really is classy. He was really sleepy since he stayed up incredibly late for no real reason yesterday with Intensity and I. John is really good at school, I think. Also, he was part of the monster truck fiasco, which makes him markedly cooler than many other people.


Pictured above is Brandon, aka Intensity. Intensity has really good taste in music and also wears some pretty sweet Chucks on a regular basis. Intensity is also our most dedicated blog reader, so big ups for that one, kid.

Thumbs up to these three and also Todd, who wasn't here this afternoon and so didn't get in the body of this post. Kid is cool, though, and I like him, too.

Passion Pit - Sleepyhead

Over winter break, not only did I reach absolute zero, I also journeyed to the center of the Earth. No, I don't have photographic evidence because technology gets funky in those sorts of conditions.

I had to decide on where I want to go for spring break (read: SPRING BREAK 2009 WOOOHOOO!). Space exploration was out of the question because I'm not of age to get rental vehicles. Out of body experiences are so 1950s Twilight Zone/Contact. And I've already been to Hogwarts like a gazillion times.

So, what's a girl to do?

Clearly, I have to time travel. Since the future is right now and now and now and now, I figure going into the past would be the best option.

And yes, I'm going solely to frolic with dinosaurs. That's it. Why else would anyone time travel?
Before I hop into my DeLorean and get my Jurassic Park on for the next week, I leave you with not one, but two presents to hold you over until my return, faithful readers (read: Intensity).

Passion Pit - Sleepy Head
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead (Wallpaper. Dio Remix)
Such a good song. Such a good remix.

Get busy to it, commoners. I'm off to ride a Gigantosaurus!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hot Air Balloons


There is something totally awesome about hot air balloons. Think about it: huge flames are filling delicate sheets of colorful fabric with hot air to lift them into a clear, blue sky. And only clear blue skies because if it's crappy outside, you cannot fly a hot air balloon.

Temperamental, just like me. Love it.



My love of hot air balloons began as a child in Lake Zurich, IL, quite possibly the classiest of the northern Chicago suburbs. Or not. But in the summer we lived there (yes, singular, just one summer), a couple hot air balloons landed in the yards and park of our neighborhood, which was incredibly exciting. We got to check the balloons out as they deflated and talk to the hot air balloon pilots - which, seriously, how awesome do you have to be to fly hot air balloons? Pretty flipping sweet, if you ask me.



Upon consultation with the one and only John Ash, it has been confirmed that hot air balloons are a pretty extreme and alt form of transportation. That's all the support I really need to legitimize my love of hot air balloons.

I think John Ash might be the HRO or hypemachine of transportation methods. Or maybe not. I'll have to Think About It.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning)- Vertical Horizon

A blast from the past, this oh-so excellent song came up on random on my iTunes.



Although the cheesy lyrics proved moving during my freshman year of high school, they still manage to make me think, mostly of my awkward nerdy years. Those were the days. At least I had better musical tastes than all of the other kids in my school. I am slightly ashamed that I had such a fondness for this song, however, it could have been much much worse ie Insane Clown Posse or Dashboard Confessional.

Cheers.

Bagels

No need for me to join eHarmony anytime soon, as long as I have bagels in my life, I have plenty of love and warmth and carbs.

I've always had a spot in my heart for baked goods but never realized my infatuation for bagels until I went to Einstein Bros. Bagels for the first time. I mean, there are a near infinite amount of combinations for bagel and schmear choices and they toast your bagel, how could you go wrong?! Some favorites of mine: blueberry bagel/honey almond schmear, good grains bagel/blueberry schmear, and, a reccommendation by ZoidBerg, potato bagel/tomato basil schmear.


I know, I know. Nationwide chain. "What about those little Ma and Pop stores, D. Bade,what are you, are an unpatriotic heathen?
Simple answer: uh-huh.
Einstein is the closest bagel supplier to me. I'm sure there are other bagels worthy of a home in my tummy from homegrown shops, but until I accidentally go to one or someone gives me a good bagel tip, I will continue to blindly follow the Einstein Bros.
Maybe even drink their Kool-Aid.
Or rather, eat their Kool-Aid bagel with cyanide schmear.

At some point Sir Cross talks about bagels (squagels, actually).
Listen to him, he's godly.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oversized Sunglasses

Oversized sunglasses often get a bad reputation because of women like this:

(I actually like J.Lo.)

But before that, the oversized glasses had the potential to ooze class and charm.
Please reference the two following pictures.



I think some girls get closer channeling Jacqueline Onassis/Audrey Hepburn than Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie, but it is definitely a challenge. This girl seems pretty classy:


Most of the reason I say this is because I personally have a penchant for oversized sunglasses. I have been known to shed tears over breaking them, and I am also known for breaking or losing all my possessions. So those tears over sunglasses add up.

I also say this because I purchased these gems for $5 this weekend:


When I wear oversized glasses (like the above), I look neither like a young celebutante nor a vintage beauty. I look like a bug.

No, I don't care.

Nooka Watches

By far the coolest watches ever invented.
Not only are they super hip, they actually serve a purpose- if you can figure out how to read them. Nooka watches do come with a steep price tag, but a small price to pay for the infinite popularity you will find while wearing this superb piece of artistry. La pi├Ęce-de-resistance of the watch world, Nooka watches are the sine qua non of any fly outfit.


Even the hip Mr. Kanye West sports the very limited glow in the dark version of their popular Zub watch. By very limited, they mean only 15 were produced. Of these 15, nearly all were given to Mr. West himself after concluding his glow-in-the-dark tour.

Get One. Your outfit will thank you.



Panasonic RP-HTX7 Headphones

You really don't know what you're missing until you use a real pair of headphones to listen to your jock jams.
Brigid and I are both fans of the Panasonic RP-HTX7. Affordable, good sound quality, comfortable, and badass.
I have the red pair, Brigid has pink. If Hannah got a white pair, her headphones and my headphones could make Brigid's headphones.
Yes, I passed kindergarten art with flying colors. (PUN!)

Of course, I wouldn't mind owning a pair of Bose headphones, but I'm a real human being and cannot drop three Benjamins on noise-cancelling alien technology. Plus, they are always upgrading their stuff so it's hard to keep up with the times.

I mean, are Bose antler headphones still popular?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sudafed PE Non-Drying Sinus



Big ups to Sudafed PE Non-Drying Sinus.


Keeping me in the game as much as possible as long as I still have Kleenex within arms' reach.

(As recommended by Will Leemkuil-Schuerman. Thank you!)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Orangina



Orangina. What can I say?

I have a feeling that the reason Orangina is so tempting and delicious is the pulp. It may also be that the bottle is so pleasing to my tactile senses. To what does it compare? Orange juice? No. Fanta? No. Hi-C? Definitely not. The closest thing may be a mimosa or orange juice and club soda, but they both lack the bottle and sometimes also lack the pulp.

I cannot qualify or quantify my love for Orangina, rather like my feelings about the color gray. So instead I will just leave you with pictures, which cannot capture the essence of the delight I find in Orangina. They will have to do.






Diane Sudyka

My hero, Charles Darwin, as depicted by Miss Sudyka.

I've said before that if humans were capable of flight, I would be the Usain Bolt of the sky. Perhaps this wishful thinking is what has led to my adoration of the super-talented Diane Sudyka. Not only is she a phenomenal artist, she volunteers at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History working with feathered friends (albeit dead feathered friends).
Be still my heart.

Did I mention she's worked alongside Andrew Bird? She created the cover for the deluxe version of his latest release, Noble Beast and some gorgeous tour posters.
Here's a little insight into the collaboration.
Are you jealous yet? Because really, I would give my left foot to talk to Andrew Bird about microcosms.

It is hard for me to not plaster this post with pictures of her breathtaking artwork so I'll limit my pictoral additions to her renditions of a few of my favorite birds.
She has a website, a blog, and a store. Visit, read, buy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Suubi Necklaces



These necklaces are incredible. Not only are they beautiful, all of the money from the sales are given to non-profit organizations. The necklaces are strung with hand-rolled Ugandan paper beads made from old posters, adsvertisements, magazines, & newspapers.

Who is Suubi...
Suubi (the Lugandan word for HOPE) is a project run by the non-profit organization Light Gives Heat. Suubi is the name of the self-governing community-based organization of beautiful women that make the jewelry.



The Suubi (hope) project is about creating consistent weekly incomes in otherwise unemployable areas in Uganda through the purchasing and reselling of these hand-make necklaces. Thus, allowing for women to provide food and pay school fees for their children.


Peter Gabriel

A couple weeks ago, after finally downloading "Down to Earth" (you know, the song from the Wall-E credits), I got to thinking about Peter Gabriel.

At the time, I came to the conclusion that Peter Gabriel is experiencing a renaissance. Think about it, Vampire Weekend name-dropped him last year in one of the catchiest songs of 2008 - and better yet, Gabriel covered it himself. With Hot Chip. There was his so-so cover of The Magnetic Fields' "Book Of Love" for some terrible movie with Richard Gere, but I'm going to choose to ignore that. And of course, the previously mentioned song from the Wall-E credits.

And, lest we forget to give Say Anything credit for the most famous Peter Gabriel moment of all time, Ione Skye pulled an awesome and slightly cougar move and married Ben Lee. Not totally relevant, but come on, the being-wooed-by-John Cusack-with-a-boombox-playing-"In Your Eyes" thing? Can't ignore that.

(because FOX is a brat, I can't share that epic 80's film moment with you, so I'm going to settle with a live version without a boombox but with some sweet threads.)



But I thought about it some more, and I don't think Peter Gabriel ever went away.
Genesis might have gone away, taking Phil Collins with it (thank God. Collins can stay away forever.) But Gabriel. Oh, Peter Gabriel. He stuck around, stuck it out through the long, hungry winter.

And he's here to stay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Alexa Chung


Alexa Chung is slowly becoming my idol.
Nevermind, she definitely already is.
Idols don't have to actually contribute anything to society, right?
They just have to be pretty and dress perfectly and date Alex Turner...