March 16, 2012

Alleys are not toilets, people! Trust me, I know.

Reflecting on tomorrow's all important and poignant holiday, St. Patty's Day, I realize that I miss bars, and expensive watered down drinks, irritating people whose elbows constantly graze my forehead, and noise.  But mostly the drinks.  And the bars...  The people...  Noise.

I miss the obnoxious, self-satisfactory, ego mania that ensues when my imperviousness to bar lines takes full effect.  Shaaaaah!

I miss the thrill of standing on the foot bar of the bar stools to be tall enough to get the bartender's attention for yet another tasty adult beverage.  I long for the days when bartenders would tell me by name to "get off the goddamn barstool again, Nicole!" and the sheepishness mixed with delight of my new [diluted] Captain and Coke.  I miss knowing that even though my fingers weren't crossed, my acquiescence was a sham and that bar stool was my stage and I was going to stand on it as long as I had legs.  Leglessly kerschnickered or not.  In fact, especially when I was leglessly kerschnickered.

Kerschnickered.

As I sit here, with Nug-meister all tuckered out, I sip a homemade bev and I contemplate the status of my life.  Despite my now very typical, very worn in yoga pants and pony tails, I clean up pretty nice, and my husband annoyingly (and quite pleasingly) looks good in anything he wears (men).  I think we need to nut up, get a sitter, (mom?), and do the DAMN THANG.

We have to go OUT.  Where people are.  With noise and elbows.  And bar stools.

Happy St. Patty's Day, bitches.


March 7, 2012

Pish's Winter One*derland!

You're invited...
front of invitation
back of invitation
Last month was Vienna's first birthday.  Some said I went a little "overboard" but Lil' Miss Pish had quite a one-derful day.   Lots of lovely people attended and we would have had more if our condo had expanding walls!  The invitations were the spring board.  As soon as I finished the design on them, I went ballistic.  It was a snowflake frenzy up in here.
I started prepping for this party two months in advance.  I knew my free time was a hopeless commodity and I also took into consideration that every winter based decor item was flying off the shelves on sale.  It was the perfect time to plan a winter wonderland party.  
I wanted to showcase how much she's changed in the past 12 months, so inspired by a month-by-month frame we received as a gift and by a Christmas card display my mom used this past season, I gift wrapped a large painting in our dining room and pasted pics of the growing nugget.
 
The paper snow flakes I made took many a late night hour, but they were elemental in the Winter Onederland party theme and went every where!  I also used tissue paper poms and Christmas garlands all over the house.  
The banners were so fun.  Picking paper and drawing and cutting out the shapes took lots of time, but the result was fabulous.  My hand is still cramped, but it hurts to be beautiful.
 

Happy First Birthday!
Vienna's Winter Onederland!
I made the sugar cookies... slaved.  Premixed dry ingredient bag and a god sent snowflake shaped cookie pan.  Only had one- had to bake these bad boys in batches.  Say that three times fast.  Did you know they have spray paint for cookies?!  I bought the silver and tagged everything edible that day.  The things they have these days...
I made these pastry stands!  Bought sturdy, funky goblets, flipped them upside down and hot-glue gunned plates to the the stem.  Chic, cheap, chaaaaah!

How often do you order a huge party cake for a million dollars and are left with 70% of it post-party?  It either ends up in the dump or adding junk to the trunk.  Not satisfactory.
Cupcakes are the clear solution.  I had my mom make confetti cupcakes and I frosted, decorated them and ever so lovingly placed the snowflake cupcake toppers [that I made] on top.  We then put them on a lovely cupcake stand fit for a snow princess.  The take out containers took care of left-over distribution minus paper plates and diabolical plastic wrap.  Done and done. 
To make the cupcake stand look like Onederland castle, I wrapped paper towel rolls with scrapbook paper and blinged them out with rhinestones, glitter and paper snowflakes.
Smash cakes are supposed to be chocolate so that when the child destroys it, the chocolate gets everywhere and the mess becomes a masterpiece.  Well.  Not in this house.  Not only do we all know the panic that type of disaster would put me in, but Pish takes these ladylike little bites hardly making much of a mess any way.  I went with a pink strawberry smash cake with white frosting, speckled with coconut to add a snowy effect and topped it off with white chocolate snowflakes I made from the favor pop chocolate.  I just melted chocolate, poured it into a baggie, snipped a corner and drizzled out a few snowflakes.  Voila!
We decorated a white christmas tree with pink and silver glittery decorations and, of course, with snowflakes.
Notice the high chair skirt??? :)  Tulle and ribbon is really all you ever need when you have a little girl.  I stapled sparkly snowflakes to the hanging tule.  
 Daddy made a beautiful video of Vienna's first year that we played during the party.  Little weepy, I can't lie.  I pretended to take out the trash.  I get awkward when I feel emotional in front of people.
Vienna had a lovely time playing with her amazing new toys, friends and family.
For me??!
 

 Making the snowflake pop favors was fun but working with melted chocolate requires a type of finesse that requires practice.  Practice I didn't have before, practice I have now.  Place your orders!  Making the favor tags is something I can do, no problem.  A lil' snowflake stamp, a tag punch, some ink and lots of bling...

 

Someone was a very happy birthday girl!
Thanks to the aunty Shannon for taking lots of great pictures!  
Pish's day was One*derful!! Thanks to all who were there to add to the sparkle!
Have to have thank-yous that match the invites!  Any self-respecting toddler knows that.  Vienna would like to thank her mother's obsessive compulsions. 
The end.

p.s.  Feel free to contact me with any party planning questions or requests. 









March 4, 2012

Insider trading?

I don't care.  She was probably just preemptively figuring out what her portfolio was going to hold so she could organize it beautifully.  Presentation is everything anyways, right?

Martha Stewart makes clutter and crap look purposeful and elemental in decor.  No easy task.  In our small condo the constant influx of new toys and items demands perpetual reorganizing and reevaluating of current storage systems.  Also, no easy task.

And because of this, I thank Martha Stewart for creating ways for me to accomplish this in my home in ways that please me aesthetically.  Thank you.
Just bought these chalkboard labels for my new clear glass dry baking ingredient jars in my newly organized cabinets.  I must say, I do feel a sense of self satisfaction every time I open them.  

March 2, 2012

I'm a ginger with a fin.

Call me a paranoid delusional schizophrenic, but I am a 16 year old red-headed mer-princess with a voice like an angel.  Call me what you want, but I have reasons to believe this shocking allegation.  Let me start from the beginning.  

First I shall say that pretty much any octo-footed life forms I can think of are scary and disgusting.  'Tentacles' is a word I find as uncomfortable as 'moist' and 'supple.'

I don't believe in coincidences so it should be no surprise that the Disney villain, Ursula, is an octopus that steals voices.  (It should also be noted that any word with 'pus' in it tends to eek me out as well.)  I have lost my voice in the past.  And, this is the clincher, I'm losing it again.  

Da, da, DAAHH!  

No?  Not funny?  

No kidding.  At least Ariel's life's dream was granted in exchange for her voice.  I got jack crap.  I would have even settled for a talking pet crab named Sebastian...   Who am I kidding, that would have been AWESOME.

All hilarity aside, I have a history with some pretty major vocal issues, not the least of which involves two surgeries trying to remove bi-lateral cysts that compromised all of my hopes of singing or talking normally ever again.

I was 'giving concerts' as a toddler and preferred to do so through high school.  It was in the end of high school and into college that laryngitis became a consistent ailment until it became the norm.  I didn't talk comfortably for over four years.  If I was out one night, my voice would be gone for the next three days or more.  I waited till after college to do the surgeries because I was scared shitless of the potential outcomes.  It was either success, no change or no voice.  But years of this forced silence and pain can make anyone crazy, especially me whose tolerance of bullshit is always at an all time low.  I went in for one surgery and came out having the doctors say they could only do half because the cysts were so huge that they couldn't risk the amount of scar tissue doing both sides at once.  After the first surgery, my result was no change.  I had one cyst still in there and my symptoms were the same.  So the next year, I went in again.  But this time the results were beautiful.  

I had no vibrato/head voice.  My vocal control of the alto range was at a point where it seemed like I never trained vocally in my life.  But I had something!  And I could speak clearly and without pain.  I was so relieved and felt so blessed especially because over time, I could sing again.  The coolest part that I hadn't even bargained for was that my ear- the ability to hear harmonies and assess pitch- was vastly improved.  I had to completely relearn my range and how to sing with my new voice so I was forced to look for notes and sounds that I could work with.  It was like doing scales with my ears.

The second surgery was in 2007.  And, after last year and this winter I'm paranoid that I'll be going in for one again in the next year or two.  Singing Itsy Bitsy Spider is a long shot for me lately and there is nothing more depressing that being alone with Vienna and having to click my tongue or snap my figures to communicate with her when I'm on vocal rest.  She looks at me like I'm a total moron and then proceeds to compensate for my lack of sound by adding her own loud sound effects.  I'm so worried for her that this problem is genetic.  Every time she yells like any toddler would, I have a minor panic that she's overworking her vocal chords.  The thought of her having to go to a otolaryngologist to have a scope inserted into her nose and down her throat makes me want to cry.  And then I remember I actually do have to go and do that and I really have a lump in my throat- no pun intended.

I have to admit that I've been a bit in the dumps these past few months cause my instinct is telling me it's happening again.  I've been on a few short term self-imposed vocal rests, have isolated myself a bit and sometimes have to go into work and teach using white boards and posters.  The kids think it's great and inventive- but all I want to do is go home and hide under my covers.

I hesitate to publish this because it sounds like Miserable Mary's having a pity fest and who wants to evoke all the Lamenting Lucinda's or Salty Sally's of the world?  I prefer to be miserable on my own- the last thing I want to do is be miserable around company.  But this is a fact of the Mama's life no matter how it feels to admit it or how lame it feels to whine via blogger.  Truth is, there is nothing more stifling or feels more like claustrophobia than being five feet tall out at night or around people at anytime without a voice.  I may as well be invisible.  Or stuck unda' da' sea while there is a whole other world of people out there that don't have this to deal with.  I want to be part of that world.  I want to talk and speak and go out like a normal person not scared of the repercussions or without having to remind my husband to tell me to be careful with volume or frequency of vocal use so I can conserve my vocal health.  Where is King Triton to destroy the villainous Ursula so I can get my pipes back again?  They should name a laryngologist office Triton.  What a branding idea.  Whoever uses it has to fix my chords for free.

"Whens it my turn?  Wouldn't I love, love to explore that shore up above, 
Out of the sea, wish I could be, part of that world."     

K.  I have to go play with my gadgets and gismos aplenty.  Bye.