Monday, October 29, 2012

Severed Finger Necklace

So my family is macabre to say the least...for example, my aunt turned 50 this year (well technically she turns 50 this upcoming Sunday) and one of the gifts she asked for was a toe necklace like Johnny Depp had in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies...the one where he's captured by cannibals.

Anyway...that's what she wanted for her birthday and as the best niece in the whole world I did what I could to get her what she wanted. 

I entered every combination of words imaginable on Google... "toe necklace", "johnny depp toe necklace"... I even started to look for toes that I could make into my own necklace "toy severed toes", "halloween toe props".... NOTHING!

So I started scouting out Halloween decorations and stores. I found toy fingers and ears, wind-up noses and ears (ears are apparently popular) but NO TOES!

Come on people! Where are the toes!!

Finally, this last weekend I found rubber severed fingers - bloody with parts of the bones exposed. It'd have to do. So I went to work creating a finger necklace for my aunt.

Because after all, nothing says "Happy 50th Birthday" like a necklace of fingers.
Here's my little DIY

sew a thread through the finger
lace them all up on a black cord

I had my mother deliver it to her today at work. She loved it and said she's going to wear it to work on Wednesday!

Hooray! A success.

Best. Niece. Ever.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Pinspiration

Okay so this wasn't exactly inspired by a Pinterest post... I found the original here on our 31 Days of Fright link up!!

...I think...

Truth be told now that I said that I can't seem to find the original anywhere. :(

If this was your idea and I stole it please give yourself credit in the comments below.  It was such a great idea I had to do my own version but wanted to give "you" full credit.  I'm just glad it wasn't a massive Pintrosity.

Anyway all that aside here was what I did tonight.

Candlestick, moss, crow and mini skulls

create moss bird nests
arrange on surfaces
fill with heads and a crow
now display proudly!

What have been some of your favorite pinspirations?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Custom Crochet Autumn Giveaway

Holy Smokes have I been a bad blogger lately. With my boss having been out of the country since the beginning of the month my work load has doubled, and then this week I started taking on tasks for another Dean that was on vacation.

How many hats can Morgan wear at once?

Speaking of about I make up being a bad, bad, blogger by giving you an amazing custom crocheted hat??

A dear old friend of mine (and loyal follower) has an Etsy shop where she makes the most adorable crocheted items. She's agreed to team up with me for an Autumn Giveaway by donating a customed crocheted butterfly hat (this is her daughter modeling...I was going to model the one she made me but Maggie is way cuter).

Not only do you get to pick the color but she'll also make it whatever size you want!

Need a newborn hat for the winter?
No problem.

Need a Christmas gift for your brother's new girlfriend and have no idea what to buy her?
Problem Solved!!

You can enter every day until the raffle closes on Halloween night!! The winner will be contacted and announced the next day!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black Cats

August 17th is officially Black Cat Appreciation day but what is a Halloween themed month without a blog devoted to the BLACK CAT?

Now I just don't understand how some people can be afraid of black cats just because of their coats...that's feline prejudice right there!

Poor babies. 

Well when I started the Halloween themed month I did promise a few "historical" pieces about my favorite holiday. So I thought it'd be fun to share my love of black cats.

First, it is not a "universal" belief that they are "bad luck". It is very much a western superstition tied to roots in witch trials and the beliefs that witches had demons at their beckoning and disguised as black cats. Well let me just tell you a little piece of history many aren't taught....during the Middle Ages killing of black cats meant to an increase in the number of rats in villages, which in turn meant...THE BLACK PLAGUE! Killing cats = the plague. Sounds like a good reason to keep them around if you ask me. Haha. 

Many cultures find them to be good luck. Even though the "witch" and "bad luck" history is very much a western belief England, Scotland and Ireland have beliefs that black cats bring good luck. 

Ancient Egypt has Bast - a goddess known as the "Cat Goddess" - and believes that by hosting a black cat in your home you gain favor of Bast. 

There is a Norse Goddess, Freya, who had a chariot pulled by cats with coats blacker than midnight. 

In Germany if a cat crosses your path left-->to-->right it is a good omen (reversely right<--to<--left is a bad omen however).

And some believe a woman with a black cat will have many suitors. 

Again, why not keep black cats if they bring all this good luck (and suitors).

*               *                *

My love of these gorgeous creatures started long ago. For a while that's all my family had was black cats. 

I came across this on Pinterest and thought it was a cute promotion of why you should have black cats. 

It's true. Because of some antique belief system (reminder this is the same one that would throw a woman in a lake, if she could swim she must be a witch, if she sank..whoops) an entire color (not species nor breed...just a color) is less likely to be adopted. 

I've never "bought" a pet before. I've been taught that there are so many unwanted animals (not just cats) out there that needs homes why support an industry of breeding mills when you can go to your local shelter and adopt one (although these days they charge for these adoptions too). All of my girls were adoptions or rescues in some way (off the street, from craigslist or taking in a kitten from an unexpected litter). 
Luna as a baby. Always a bad kitty

My black kitty (Luna) was rescued from the street when I was in high school. There was a family across the street that left their cats outdoors and did spay/neuter them - so there were always litters everywhere. One day my little sister (who was probably about six or seven years old at the time)  saw this fluffy, sweet, black baby kitty wandering in the yard, went over, scooped her up and brought her home. 

Now only about a week earlier, we had adopted ANOTHER kitten from near my grandmother's house. This one had been pushed out of the litter by her mother and wasn't old enough to be weened. So when my sister arrived at the door with a black kitten and said "Look Mommy", my mother said no and told her to put the kitten back. Well instead, she sat on the front stoop and played with the kitten for hours. Finally, when it was time for dinner my mother opened the door and said "Oh just bring her in here."

Over time Luna adopted me as her momma and she is just the love of my life:

Still not sure how she got up there.

That her "sister" that was adopted a week earlier.

Her whiskers are starting to turn white.

I call her "Mommas" too because she is such a Momma's Girl

Always into something....

So if you have a black cat go give them love. 
if you don't have one, what are you waiting for?

Happy (almost) Halloween

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin spice Paradise

As soon as Starbucks (and other coffee houses) start making pumpkin spice drinks I'm in heaven. I wish they'd carry it all year round. Truth be told I'm in love with anything "pumpkin spice" - cakes, cookies, drinks, bread, etc. So I thought I'd share with you a few recipes (links) of pumpkin spice goodies I can't wait to try out. 

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake
(thank you Chocolate, Chocolate, and More)

...and last but not least...

Are you as addicted to Pumpkin Spice as I am?
Do you have seasonal favorites?

Please feel free to share.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Doing My Civil Duty

This last Tuesday I reported for a jury summons at the Federal District Court. 

Seems when I tell that to most people they curl their noses and say "I'm sorry". I can understand, I suppose. It can possibly disrupt your daily routine, delays projects at work, and (for those that don't get paid by their employers for participating) possible loss in wages.

For me though it was an interesting experience. I appreciate that we live in a country when the average Joe on the street is invited to be a part of our judicial system - and not because s/he is the defendant. It really is every American's Civil Duty, I believe, to be take part. 

Yes, it took all day long and in the end I wasn't selected (or even asked questions) but the case is (going to be) a big-news worthy federal civil case and I look forward to following it in the news. 

It was also nice to be able to get out of the office and spend the day downtown. I walked a few blocks and ate lunch outdoors:

Even when inside the building we had a beautiful view:

I would like to sit on a jury someday. 

Have you ever been on a jury? What did you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

AIDS LifeCycle challenge

Dear online community,

A dear friend of mine is participating in the AIDS LifeCycle challenge this June (2-8). For those of you unfamiliar the cycling marathon starts in San Francisco and ends in Los Angeles...that's over 500 miles folks.

Any donations go right to the San Francisco AIDS foundation and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center.

If you can please go to the link here and help donate by supporting Jackie (and others like her)...skip that one (or twelve) lattes this month and donate to a worthy cause.

"Every year we have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS. Over the past 10 years, we have raised over 66 million dollars. 

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation develop and implement innovative programs to prevent new infections and provide those living with HIV access to medical care, counseling and housing. 

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center rely on the funds from AIDS/LifeCycle to continue our work."

I've already made a donation and I hope you will too.

All my best,

Fashion Friday: Dressing Up Casual

This last Monday I was having an issue with laundry not being dry - new bras that I'd hand-washed were still soaking wet, pants legs were just wasn't going to be an easy start to the week. Luckily I can wear jeans to work but I always try to dress up something so casual.

This is what I came up with on Monday.

The Grecian style blouse I got from Fashion Bug a few weeks back.
I just love the jeweled detail on the color that sadly you can't really see in this picture. 

Twisted both sides of my hair before pulling it back into a braid.
And finished it off with a statement ring and fishtail earrings. 
How do you typically dress up something casual?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Rustic Apple Pie

The best part of Autumn is it's finally cool enough to turn on the oven and bake! A while ago I found a post about things to do with apples... while this wasn't one of those it did make me want an apple pie. So last night after dinner I whipped this up:

It made the whole house warm, toasty and smelling like apples and cinnamon (even this morning when I woke up I could smell it in the house). So delicious and simple to make. 

I used Golden Delicious apples because they were on sale. Haha.

I leave the peels on for the added vitamins.

The browned butter/sugar mixture really added the special something.

Because I used a softer apple it only took about 10-15 minutes to soften them down.
Wrap it up in a pie crust and you're ready to pop it in the oven.

It just screams for vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Here's the recipe:

2 TB unsalted butter
1/4 C packed brown sugar
2 TB granulated white sugar
4 1/2 cups sliced apple
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and white sugar; cook 2 minutes or until sugars dissolve. Stir in lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss in apple slices. Cover and reduce heat, cook 10-20 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 

2. Preheat oven to 400 while apples cool. Set oven rack to lower third portion of the oven. 

3. Place rolled out dough in a pie pan (don't press down). Spoon apple mixture inside and fold over the edges of the dough to the center (dough should only partially cover the apple mixture). Bake the tart at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown. 

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Disco Dracula

One of my all time favorite Halloween movies is The Halloween That Almost Wasn't (also published under the title The Night that Dracula Saved the World). It was a 1979 made for TV movie that my folks had recorded on a VHS (yes, over three years before I was born...the whole family loves Halloween) and I remember watching it over and over again.

I mean really with Judd Hirsch as Dracula and Mariette Hartley as Winnie the can you go wrong?!! 

Yes, its a bit of a cheese-ball but it's a 70/80s made for TV movie what do you want?

Some of my favorite lines: 

Count Dracula: Igor, you did it again! How many times do I have to tell you? Keep my tomb door open at night and closed in the day. Open at night and closed in the day! 

Count Dracula: It's one of those days I wish I was dead. And stayed dead.

If you've been watching the above clips you've now seen the whole movie. Believe it or not it wasn't released to VHS until 1992 and then wasn't until last year that my family found it on DVD for me! SCORE!! 

It's not Halloween without this movie for me. 

PS. Make sure to watch all the way to the end to understand the title of this blog.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week(s) S.O.F.A.R.

Plus Size: 
First Ever Plus Sized Mermaid - a photo shoot with founder of the Modified Dolls, Holly
Plus Size Disney Princess? - I doubt it.
Can Big Girls Wear Bright Colors? - DAMN right they can!!

Bully Calls New Anchor Fat, News Anchor Destroys Him on Live TV - I don't think "destroy" is the right word but she definitely fights back very elegantly
Julia Kozerski Photo shoot - The behind the scenes of one woman's drastic weight loss
The Dark Side of Weight Loss - more from Julia Kozerski
Lady Gaga Responds to "Fat" Headlines - You don't have to like her music to agree she stands up for what she believes in

10 Great Halloween Clip Art and Graphic Freebies - My favorite is the green witch legs at the bottom

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Goodies - OMG I don't even know where to begin with this link. Yum Yum
Apple Spice Cupcakes - I'm so excited for Autumn baking
10 Ways to Eat Apples - some I already do, but then others look yummy to try (baked apples)

Fake 'Former Obama Supporter' Pranks FOX News - Too funny. He's my new hero.
Romney clueless on what "Middle Class" is - Because it's certainly not in the 6-figure income zone

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Something Missing?

Is this is not a Halloween themed post folks. We're going to deviate from the holiday festivities and jump back into reality a little. 

I am 118 days away from being thirty and while most days I'm happy with my life I can't help but feel occasionally that I'm missing out on things.

Its not a career.
I have a good job. I enjoy what I do (most days) and enjoy the people I work with. I've only been with the school two years and have already been promoted to Assistant Director. I start trainings tomorrow to groom me for the step up to Director in (less than) a year from now. I'm getting the experiences and knowledge/titles under my belt I need and want. I'm right on track (if not ahead if the game) for someone in my field, my education background and my age.

Its not my education.
I'm very happy with the Bachelors I have and the school I attended. I was able to focus on a field that I am passionate about. And I'm sure having a degree in Unity in Diversity helped me in getting the position at work of Assistant Director of Student Life & Inclusion. Yes, I've thought about going back to school and getting my Masters but mostly because I know it'd help advance me professionally. I just haven't found the right program as of yet.

It's not my love life.
Although having the man I'm dating not be 3,000 miles away in New Jersey would be nice. But we're making it work. We talk on (almost) a daily basis. We video chat. We know we love each other (<- we'll come back to this on another post) and are just trying to make the long distance work for the time being. We both have careers in our respective cities and just trying to balance work and life/love.

I think I know what it is....

It's having a family. 

I know it sounds silly considering I'm not married, am in a new relationship and don't live on my own...but really, lets be honest none of those are required to start a family. Part of it I guess is I'm tired of hearing how I'm getting "too old". 

How women should be done having kids by the time they're in their 30s. 
Of hearing things like "why would anyone want to have kids in after 30?"

Last I knew my ovaries weren't shriveling up and becoming mummy dust inside me. I don't think there's been laws past that only women 29 and younger are allowed to reproduce. Last I knew I was still in my "prime" and very capable (both physically and now emotionally/financially) to start a family. 

I'm not saying I'm going out and getting knocked up, look into adoption/fostering or even am going to be starting a family any time soon. 

I'm tired of seeing friend after friend having kids - let alone seconds and thirds. I know this sounds awful but I'm getting to the point of hiding any and all friends on facebook that have babies or are pregnant because it just makes these feelings I'm having feel worse.

I'm just tired if catching myself watching parents with their kids out in public. Of catching myself smiling like a fool at the way a parent kisses their baby on the head. 

Tired of wondering what it would be like to have a family of my own. 

I guess for now all I can do is wonder.