Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Too good not to share.

As it turns out, repairing my computer would cost... a lot, so I decided to deal with my screen problems and save some moolah. I popped online for a few minutes tonight and saw a quick and easy updo tutorial for New Years' Eve that I couldn't keep to myself. Follow the link for the video diy.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday favorites

This week, I ran a ton of errands, cleaned up after a successful party, hung out with one of my uncles, packed up for our trip to my hometown for the holidays, and had a wonderful evening with some lady friends talking about geeky stuff.

The best of the internet this week, all happy warm fuzzies edition:

Addressing gender inequality in Bihar, India with bicycles? You betcha.

Two great DIY hair tutorials: Cutting your hair and trimming your bangs.

I love looking into people's homes - this collection of photos looks at homes, their residents, and inside their fridges.

7 things to do with holiday cards after the holidays.

Two cute, funny articles about happy marriages: My Marriage is a Gumbo and I Was Supposed to End Up with a Passionate Man.

Finally, a New Years' resolution that I'm considering: a Spending Fast for 2012.

Now that the holidays are upon us, I'm going to visit my hometown with the husband and the kitties. I'm so excited to see friends and family (and visit the best thrift stores in the world). My computer, meanwhile, is going to the shop to get repaired, so I won't be around to comment or post new entries. I hope everyone has a lovely rest of the year, and I'll see you all in 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The best SCD birthday cake.

This year, I knew I wanted a bonafide birthday cake. I had adapted a clementine cake recipe for Thanksgiving, thinking that if it passed muster I would make it again for my birthday. When I was talking to my mom about it, though, she seemed really intrigued, and I decided that the clementine cake would instead become my Christmas dessert while I was visiting, which left me free to figure out a more birthday-appropriate cake - something with layers and frosting. After much deliberation, I finally decided on this recipe for yellow cake with chocolate ganache (check the comments for the ganache recipe).

It didn't start out quite like I was expecting - the batter was quite frothy, and I only had one pan, so I baked a layer before lunch and one several hours later. I was worried that the "lift" would be affected for the second layer, but it actually rose much better than the first.

I changed the ganache recipe around a bit. I used lactose-free cream and not as much chocolate - 240 grams instead of 340. I added crystallised fructose because the chocolate was very dark and I wanted to be sure it was sweet enough. The ganache separated a bit when I chilled it. We ended up warming it closer to room temperature and whipping it in our standing mixer so we'd be able to frost the cake.

 The final product was delicious. A friend of mine had to leave early, so she had a slice before we actually sang happy birthday. My husband used this to his advantage...

The cake barely lasted through Sunday. On Monday, there was one solitary chunk left, but it soon vanished...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blanket fort party!

My husband is pretty much the best person ever. He made me a huge birthday blanket fort almost entirely on his own (in my defense, he built it late at night for the most part, while I was asleep). After many hours of solid work and trips to the Salvation Army for more sheets, he had created a masterpiece. We celebrated with an awesome birthday party.


Monday, December 19, 2011


{I could use a nap, like these guys...}

I had an incredible weekend - on Friday I ran errands, got a birthday haircut, and stayed up way late cleaning the apartment (too excited to sleep). On Saturday, my uncle Dale paid us a surprise visit and took us out for a birthday lunch (complete with a dessert mimosa, yum!). When we got home, we cooked and cleaned some more until a record number of guests arrived and got the party started. At the end of night, new friendships had been born, plans had been hatched, there was a friend sleeping on our couch, and a pile of stuff needed to be cleaned up and put away.

Sunday was spent recovering and hanging out with said friend - playing video games, manicures, a bang trim, eating birthday cake, and a loooooooong chat on the couch. Then there were phone calls and a Skype session and cuddle time with my husband.

In the whirlwind, I took an insufficient number of fort photos, so I'm fixing that tonight and doing a post tomorrow. Today I've got a pile of chores and dishes to plough through... wish me luck!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday favorites.

This week, my uncle came to visit for a few days. The husband and I ended up performing on the spot at last week's open mic and we're now practising more songs. I had a crafty day with a girlfriend and conquered a challenging video game level that has haunted me for years (seriously).

Tonight, I'm playing dancing games with a friend who's been sitting down all day. Tomorrow is my birthday! In the day, I'll be perusing Megan Nielsen's new winter collection, and in the evening, we're having a potluck. What are your plans this weekend?

And now, a more-verbose-and-nerdy-than-usual list of the best the internet had to offer this week:

How to feel classy in three easy steps.

Do you like "The Hunger Games" and fashion design? Here are 12 designer renditions of Katniss' debut dress. My favorite takes are Nicole Miller's and Charlotte Ronson's.

The top five regrets of the dying - a reminder to live life to the fullest.

Golden Snitch Christmas ornament DIY! Great. Now I want a tree full of wizarding paraphenalia: broomsticks, wizard hats, house scarves as garlands, S.P.E.W. buttons...

Speaking of geeky things, here are a few simple guidelines for running a tabletop RPG. I've never GMed myself, but this seems like a good way to start.

12 Christmas trees made from books. Yup.

DIY pom pom garland. I'll give this a try next year instead of popcorn.

Book recommendations! These are some great ideas for any readers on your Christmas list. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

blanket fort!

If you've ever read XKCD, you'll notice that the comic sometimes delves into adults acting like kids, just for the fun of it:

I read this strip a few years ago on my husband's birthday, January 10th. He was napping, and when he awoke I was building a blanket fort in our living room. His FAR superior engineering skills (and his grand ambition!) took over, and we created a fort that took up most of our living room and stayed up for about a month.

At the time, we were engaged and living in Nova Scotia, but John had to return to Kansas due to immigration and money issues. He was leaving at the beginning of February for at least 6 months, so we spent our last bittersweet month together in that fort, playing Tetris and watching Naruto and sleeping.

John is a Permanent Resident now, thank goodness, so we never have to be separated like that again. Now, despite how sad we were at the time, remembering the blanket fort that took over our living room is a fond memory that we've been meaning to recreate. Last week, John had the brilliant idea to turn my birthday party into a giant blanket fort party. We're collecting sheets galore to make an incredible giant project that will probably stay up for months.

If you want to try this out for yourself, this article, written by a father with extensive fort experience, has some pretty great tips. If you'd prefer to fill up a portion of your house with a ball pit, check this piece out. :)

Pictures of the completed fort and birthday party to come next week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

You can never have too many cute animal videos.

First off, here's one that made me a bit teary:

Now, let's cheer things up with some talking fellas:

Finally, here are some kittens that don't have to talk to be hilarious:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

10 things I love this week.

1. A walk outside in the crisp air.

 2.  Curling up on the couch with my cats.

3.  A warm mug of peppermint hot chocolate in the morning.
4.  My fiance's smile.
5.  Getting in touch with my creativity.
6.  Christmas music.

7.  The fact that there are a million hair inspiration photos on the internet.
8.  The fact that I'm getting a birthday haircut this week!

9.  Cooking with my husband.
10.  All the wonderful people in my life.

Monday, December 12, 2011

what's in a name?

It occurs to me that I've never talked about this blog's title.

I had read a story about tiny whales that day, so my fondness for the word "tiny" was fresh in my mind. I was also thinking about my aims for the blog: I'm a bit of a Renaissance soul, so I knew sticking to one topic was pretty much out of the question. I would just talk about whatever was going on in my life that was interesting me, be it health or fashion or cooking or photography or music, et cetera.

I'd heard people complain that blogs usually only talk about the "good parts" of their writers' lives. We don't get to read about the ugly fight you had with your partner last night or how you screwed up at work this week. I wanted to be different - I want to talk about some struggles (mainly health-related in my case), but I don't want to lay bare my private life for the whole internet to dissect, either.

All I can offer you is tiny glimpses. It's honest as I can be, and I hope it's enough.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday favorites

This week, I made some headway on my to-do list, did a CostCo run in the pouring rain,  made butternut squash soup and eggnog ice cream, grew to appreciate my husband even more (thanks to his planning my birthday party, making me surprise caramelized onions, and having a beautiful, eye-opening conversation with me (love you, honey!)), turned my fingernails into disco balls, and dressed my cats up in humiliating costumes. Those poor dears - any excuse to make them wear a dumb costume, and it's on like Diddy Kong.

Poor Conroy ran away as soon as he could.

We got Guinnie when she was just a wee kitten, so she's been dressed up her whole life. 

The hat fell OVER her head. It was sad, but kind of hilarious. 

"Can I take this off now? Please?"

Tonight, we're off to a cafe to see some friends perform at their second open mic. We might have to get there a bit early and take a romantic walk through the park where John proposed, since it's right next door. Happy weekend, everybody!

To get you started, here's my new holiday favourite song:

Now, my favorite things on the internet this week:

A neat and simple makeup trick for dramatic cat-eye eyeliner.

Yes & Yes' list of suggestions for DIY gifts that don't suck. I might try a few of these out...

Gluten-free gingersnaps, which can be made crunchy or soft. YUM.

The rules of magic, according to a whole bunch of fantasy-themed movies, books, and TV shows. WOW.

Who knew a Tumblr full of past celebrity relationships could be so interesting?

A piece on the wonders of hanging out with fellow nerd-ladies.

A dash of cute from a hilarious blog.

Finally, Teddy the Porcupine REALLY loves his corn:

I swear I heard him say, "MY corn!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas light contest.

When I was growing up, the Christmas season involved long drives to all our relatives' houses. I would be stuck in the car for up to 30 minutes with my bratty little brother for company.

Being competitive children, we soon developed a way to keep ourselves entertained in the backseat: the Christmas light contest (not game, CONTEST). It also gave our parents some entertainment of their own (often Mom would drive while Dad would play referee). We have since shared this game with family and friends, and over the years, we've perfected the rules.

Want to try it out for yourself? Here are the rules.

1. Each player picks one side of the road (you can do this in teams, too, and they don't have to be even - we've done this with three players).

2. Count all the houses with Christmas lights lit up on your side of the road. A house does NOT count if:

a. it's on a side street - corners are fine, but the house must be right next to your side of the road. If you were driving PAST this street, only the house on the far left would count.

b. the lights are turned off. Driving past an unlit house was agony as a kid! I'm not even sure this one HAS lights... also, this game works best at night. :P

c. the only lights are the ones wrapped around the Christmas tree. The lights should be in the windows or outdoors (even if the Christmas tree is in the window, it doesn't count!!!) This one below counts ONLY because it has lights on the front porch railing.

d. it's a business. A house with a business attached is fine, but nothing in a commercial district. This game works best if the driver adjusts their route accordingly - my parents were known to drive around the neighbourhood instead of going straight home to break ties or to up the tension. Don't drive down a street like this if you can help it:

3. Each house only counts as one. Same goes for apartment buildings (we do this because it would be hard to keep track of how many different apartments are lit up).
{Yes, even if it looks like this.}

4. Generally, this game operates on the honour system. Sometimes someone will play referee (a good idea with younger kids), but usually everyone gets involved, and then sometimes you can cheat and the other player(s) won't notice. Cheating isn't nice, though.

That's pretty much it. We usually do this in a car (or a bus if desperate), but it could be done on foot, I suppose. It wouldn't be as fun, though.

Happy competition!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

“Use what talent you possess: 
the woods would be very silent 
if no birds sang except those that sang best.” 
 - Henry Van Dyke

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday favorites

This week, I had more interviews, ran errands, spent time playing video games with my husband, sent emails (and Facebook messages) to family, and did some gift shopping (I feel really on the ball - I'm usually a last-minute shopper).

Tonight, we started decorating our place for Christmas. I love decorating for any holiday, but we have a lot more Christmas decorations than we do for any other holiday. We now have lights in our living room and kitchen, and I get the feeling the new kitchen lights will stay up until we move out. My poor husband had to stand on the stove to get them on, so unless I feel like clambering onto appliances, those lights are staying where they are.

{tasty Wangsgiving leftovers - a turkey/cranberry sauce sandwich, leftover punch, and gingered butternut squash soup}

Now, the fella and I are off to see the new Muppets movie. I'm so excited! Here's hoping it's better than "Muppets from Space".

{Sorry, Gonzo. Your origin story just wasn't that interesting.}

My favorite links this week:

This woman did 38 random acts of kindness on her 38th birthday.

Canadian scientists may have found a way to reverse Alzheimer's.

Why did I have to discover this recipe when peaches are WAY out of season?

A more seasonal recipe: Sexy Cabbage Sexytime. Yes, that's what it's actually called.

The most messed-up and hilarious Tumblr I have ever seen.

Good salesman, or best salesman?

It's all about proportion in fashion.

Tragedy, ethnicity, and fashion. This is a beautiful piece.

Fashion as language, and how that relates to feminism.

This blogger is not a minimalist, and she's okay with that.

And finally, here's what clothing in the year 2000 will look like, according to a 1930s newsreel:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Two random fashion-related things.

Number one:
{Jeremy Scott, Fall 2011}

This dress exists. If I was rich, I'd be going as a sparkly sequined Supergirl next Hallowe'en.

Number two:
I went Christmas shopping last night, but I was also on the hunt for myself - hoping to find the perfect black jersey maxi skirt and a sequined top. I found the skirt (in navy, but that's still a neutral in my book). The top, however, was another story. Why are all the sequined tops either ugly, sold out, or waaaaay overpriced? If I was a better sewer, I'd just make my own. I've already started designing a few of them in my head...

Number three:
Marc Jacobs has IBD! He suffers from ulcerative colitis, which is similar to Crohn's but with a much smaller scope. He also uses diet to treat his disease, like me. It's always encouraging to hear about other people with IBD taking their health into their own hands with great results.