Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The World of DSLRs

I splurged (seriously).

I got a DSLR. A Canon EOS Rebel XS, to be exact. Because 1) it was a mad good deal, and 2) my friend has one and I'm obsessed with it.

She was at our place for dinner last weekend, and I wound up taking about a hundred pictures on her camera.

The food was good. We originally wanted it to be a BBQ, but since none of us had a grill, it turned more into a Panini Press Party.

There was beer. And grapes. And paninis.
There was, at one point, wine.
And cake! Yum.
Due to the plethora of lunch meat and cheese on my kitchen counter, we closed Bailey in the dining room while we were eating outside on the back porch. She was not so happy about this, and since one of the dining room windows looks out onto the back porch, she made sure to let us know of her discontent.

Hey guys what are you doing?
Oh I see. I don't get any. Thanks.

Pretty nice pictures, right? All taken with my friend's DSLR. And now I have one. I have entered the world of DSLRs. Sadly the battery is charging so I haven't taken any quality pictures yet. Soon though. So soon.

And the Daily Artsy!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Dessert Friday #8

Was actually enjoyed on a boat out on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Nick's company reserved one of those Chicago architectural tour boats tonight, and I got to go. I was a bit worried Dessert Friday was going to have to turn into Booze Friday (I knew drinks were involved but was unsure about food), but they had adorable (and delicious) cupcakes on board.

Red Velvet! My favorite!

I may have gotten seconds. And some other stuff.

No, those are not strawberries on steroids. That's a mini cupcake (so it's okay that I ate two) and a slider. Teeny portions.

Multiple, teeny portions. It's all good.

The cruise was fun and the weather was great. All photos were taken with my phone, so quality is not guaranteed.

I forget what the water cannon was for. Something historical. They didn't just want to water the river.
Blue skies!
And I even snagged a Daily Artsy picture.

Story of Chicago, 6 months of the year.
Construction: ruining the skyline, making me look artsy.

Bailey was kind of emo when we got back. I think she was upset we were home a little later than usual.

Do you guys even love me?
Yes we do Bay, but what's with that lump of fat on her front leg hanging off the windowsill? Do I need to cut back on the wet food here?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I've been feeling uncharacteristically tired recently. Monday after work I went and got a mani/pedi and kind of dozed off during the pedi part, and almost kicked the lady who was working in the face from a muscle spasm. Oops. Yesterday I left work two and a half hours early because I was basically falling asleep at my desk and had a nagging headache, went home and plopped down on my bed and watched...four straight episodes of Gossip Girl between dozing off and chugging Emergen-C.

Don't judge me.

Recap of my weekend:
  • I finally saw Harry Potter 7 Part 2. It was fine. I'm not obsessed with it and I didn't hate it.

  • I went to the beach to make up for the failed beach outing last week. It was gorgeous weather this past Sunday, not a single cloud but not so hot that you could see heat waves on the surface of the sand. I give you...

    The Daily Artsy. From the beach.

  • Bailey spent the entire day being fascinated by the sunlight on the ground. No joke.

    What is this?!
    Umm, okay.

  • And then she took up room in the papasan.

    Okay naptime now.
    She uses that chair more than I do. I essentially spent $150 on a cat bed. Super.
And I don't remember what else I did, so it must not have been very important or interesting.

Today I felt a little less tired, after my 9.5 hours of sleep last night. I was dragging a little until...I got to play hairdresser.

Oh yes. A friend of mine at work mentioned that he cut his own hair, recommended clippers, and Nick was inspired to do the same. This entire set (the clippers, about 500 guide combs, scissors, some stuff I haven't identified or figured out how to use) cost around $25, which is a few bucks more than what Nick pays for a single haircut.

If all else fails in my life, I'll become a barber.

Also it was really amusing midway through, when I basically gave Nick a bowl cut (it was not my fault, the instructions said work from the bottom up).

See the puff of hair at the top? Hahahaha.
I have a picture from a better angle. He won't let me put it up. Booooo.

But the end result was pretty darn good.

And then my bathtub looked like this.

He has a surprising amount of hair...

Bailey spent most of the evening being annoyed that she never got a part of our dinner.

PLEASE, just a TINY bit!
But it's okay, because in the 30 minutes that we were eating dinner, she wandered around and ate food from her bowl no less than FOUR times.

NOMMM (Round 4)
What a fatty.

Excuse me. What did you just say?
Just kidding.

She spent the rest of the evening being terrified of sound of the clippers.

And now the exhilaration of using clippers has worn off and I am exhausted. Time for bed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dessert Friday #7

Magic Bars. I'm absurd about sweets, but I can't justify spending money on cupcakes when I have about 8 servings of magic bars sitting in my fridge. I heated mine up and had it with ice cream.

And with that, I think I might have another's only 11:45pm. Midnight snack.

We went to see Cirque du Soleil Ovo tonight, and it was spectacular.

I wasn't sure exactly what it would be like, but I'd never heard anything bad about it, so when a Groupon deal for tickets came out, I convinced Nick to go. Acrobatics, dancing, comedy, it had it all. We had a fantastic time. Go see it.

Sadly photography wasn't allowed during the show, but I got a shot of the stage at the beginning.

Our seats were pretty good, a bit to the right from the center of the stage, but still a great view and I could see everything.

During the intermission we were looking at the souvenir trinkets, which were all pretty expensive (for what they were). However, I found these adorable plates that must have been on sale or something, and it was mix and match four plates for only $20. There were big ones and small ones, so I just got two big and two small since the designs were different.

Look how pretty!

Bailey's still working on the whole not expecting food when we eat it thing. She came over all hopeful when I sat down on the couch.

Do you have something for me???
No Bailey. I do not.

It's a work in progress.

And the Daily Artsy!

A trinket thing on my work desk. I keep myself amused.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Grape Tomatoes and Gouda

I've literally never had a grape tomato until about a week ago (I was all about the cherry tomatoes), when I made the Caprese Baked Egg Cups. Since then, every dinner I've cooked (all two of them) has contained them as a main ingredient. Last night was a baked egg cup repeat.

Tonight? Well, tonight I gained ten pounds.

I made Spicy Pasta Salad with Smoked Gouda, Tomatoes, and Basil from The Pioneer Woman (thank you Katelyn for showing me this website, you have no idea how much time I've spent looking at all the pictures). The  food pictures on this site not only make me drool, but also make me want to shuck out $400+ for a high-quality camera solely for the purpose of taking food pictures. Absurd? Maybe. Nick got a pretty decent camera for me awhile ago (it has an insane zoom, if you were standing a mile away from me, I could probably still see up your nostril with it), so I can't justify spending all that money on a camera when I already have a good one.

Anyway. Back to the pasta salad.

I give you now...the most quintessential picture of food I have taken, probably ever in my life.

Right down to the wooden cutting board. Doesn't that picture just make you think of summer days and relaxation with some wine and give you a warm fuzzy feeling of nostalgia? Well, it does for me. So say yes.

Did you know that gouda cheese isn't in the refrigerated section with the rest of the regular (because gouda is way up on the classy scale for me) cheese at the grocery store? I didn't. I spent ten minutes staring at the Kraft, Sargento, and Dutch Farms packaged cheese, wondering where the hell the gouda was. Honestly, I had no idea what gouda even looked like, aside from being round (right?), and I only know it's round because my friend has a shirt that says something like "It's a gouda day" with a picture of round cheese. Luckily Nick found decently priced gouda as I stared at the incredibly fancy-looking "Vintage Gouda" cheese wheel in the "Aged Cheeses" section that I wandered into, considering spending possibly $50 on half a pound of cheese (I'm making this price up, but it's probably not far from the truth).

And then we had a lot of gouda.

Toss some milk, mayo, etc., you can look at the recipe, mix with the pasta, and you have a thing of beautiful deliciousness.

I was supposed to let it sit in the refrigerator for two hours after everything was mixed, so I decided to make these brown sugar butter bars, which I call Magic Bars (because they're magically delicious, and no, there are no drugs in them), while the salad chilled. I got this recipe from my friend Katherine, who got it from...I have no idea. It it is SO good. So I call them Magic Bars.

Don't be horrified, but this is how much butter is in them.

Well, only one of those halves is in them. So really it's just half a pound of butter. Don't think about it.

I think I just gained another three pounds looking at that picture.

But it's got BROWN sugar, so it's healthy. Duh.

Brown sugar + butter

Oh...did I mention it also has two jumbo-sized Hershey bars?


But they're healthy. Because of the BROWN sugar. It's good for you.

And then you bake for a really long time.


These are so good that I'm sharing this recipe with you.

Go make it. Go eat it. Go cry with happiness.

Magic Bars (or whatever you want to call them)

1/2 pound butter (2 sticks, don't think, just do)
1 box dark brown sugar (HEALTHY)
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 jumbo Hershey bars (make sure it's the jumbo size, otherwise it's just a mess)

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

Melt butter and let it cool. Stir in brown sugar. Add flour slowly. Beat eggs (one at a time) and add to mixture, one at a time. Add vanilla and baking powder. Break chocolate into little squares and add to batter. Pour batter in a buttered baking dish (I used a stoneware dish that was 9.5" x 12.5", I'm sure anything will do) and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden.

And then gain ten pounds.

I'm pretty sure that Bailey is starting to get really spoiled because I've been a big softy and let her lick my fingers most of the time after I eat. Yesterday when I was eating my cereal on the couch, she stuck almost her entire head into my bowl. So I'm calling it quits on the finger-licking (NICK, YOU SHOULD TOO) and hopefully she'll stop making it a habit of trying to eat our food when she sees us eating.

She was not so happy about this plan.

I will stare at you until I fall asleep or until you give me food.

It's okay. She fell asleep first.

And then she woke up and realized we were done eating, and got annoyed again.

Am ladylike yes.

Apparently that makes her lose all her grace and poise.

And of course, artsy pictures! Clearly the "daily" part of the Daily Artsy isn't really working out, but I'm still calling it that because no other suggestions have been made. So here you go.

Can you tell I commute by train?

I also found out yesterday that I can import previous pictures I've taken on my phone into Vignette and put filters on those!


Spotlight on the star!

Remember when my friend and I played with Hipstagram? There was a picture that was so close in resemblance to an album cover that I had to go ahead and just make it so. Our band name is "Waffle Iron." Just because.

Wouldn't you buy a CD with that cover? I certainly would. It's so awesome.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I Need An iPhone

Because I need to get Hipstagram. This app is way too entertaining. I spent most of my evening taking random pictures with a friend and putting filters on them on her phone. So many Daily Artsy potentials, but I think this might be the best one.

Legit art.

I found the Android version of this for my phone, Vignette (Demo, because I'm cheap). I used it yesterday for a little bit and I still need to familiarize myself with it, but it seems like it's comparable to Hipstagram. Which is awesome.

And once again...I have no picture of Bailey for the day. I really need to recheck my priorities. So here's another blast from the past.

Why won't you take pictures of me?

Although she really doesn't look that different right now, even though that picture was from almost a year ago. So, we can all pretend I took that picture tonight.

Monday, August 15, 2011


I sliced through a small part of my fingernail tonight while cooking dinner. Sad day. Thankfully it wasn't too bad, minimal bleeding, and the food was good. I was too traumatized to take any pictures, but it was along the lines of potatoes and bacon. And eggs. Breakfast for dinner.

And the Daily Artsy...

I don't know why it's so small. I downloaded a NEW app for artsy pictures, and clearly I haven't figured it out yet. UPDATE: Fixed it! Hooray for learning.

I didn't even get a picture of Bailey today, I was too busy nursing my finger. Good thing I have more than a few to fall back on.

Please don't cut your finger again.

And now I'm off to watch Gossip Girl. Dramaaa!

Don't judge me.