Thursday, October 27, 2011

DIY: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Big Red Kitchen.  Their recipe was just 2 ingredients!  But I wanted something a bit...snazzier!

Here's what you'll need to make my version:
1 yellow cake mix
1 15oz can of pumpkin
1 16oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
not pictured:
vegetable shortening or nonstick cooking spray
confectioner's sugar

STEP 1.  Preheat your oven to 350F.
STEP 2.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together. (I forgot to take a pic of this step)
STEP 3.  Add the pumpkin and mix until smooth.  You will have a thick batter. (Oops, forgot to snap a pic for this one too!)
STEP 4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Your batter should now look like this: (I really shouldn't have used that color bowl!)
STEP 5:  Lightly grease a muffin tin with vegetable shortening or use cupcake liners.
STEP 6.  Fill with cups with batter 2/3 full.  (for an average sized muffin tin this should make 12-15 cupcakes.  I used a Pampered Chef extra large muffin tin, so I only got 6).
STEP 7.  Bake for 15-20 minutes for average sized cupcakes, 20-25 minutes for extra large.  Muffins are done when they are starting to get golden brown at the edges and are spongy to the touch.
STEP 8.  Remove muffins from tins after about 10 minutes and cool completely.
STEP 9.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.
STEP 10.  Gobble away!

Band Alert: Oh Land

Nanna Oland Fabricius, better known by her stage name Oh Land, is a Danish singer, songwriter and producer.  The daughter of an organist and an opera singer, she began her career as a musician after an injury ended her career as a ballet dancer.
Oh Land is opening for Katy Perry on her 2011 American Dreams tour and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  Her single "Son of a Gun" debuted on the Billboard Top 200 and peaked at number 184.
Oh Land is currently touring in Europe, but will be back in the states in December. 

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
Oh Land's music is available on iTunes and at Amazon.
All photos taken from

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween: Jack-O-Lanterns

One of my favorite things about Halloween is carving Jack-O-Lanterns.  I consider myself to be pretty good at it, if pumpkin carving can be considered a skill!  I went looking around the internet today for some ideas of what to carve this year and realized I'm really not so good at all!  Have a look at some amazing pumpkins I found.
The following are a couple pumpkins I have carved in the last few years.  This year I'm hoping to successfully carve one like the two pictured above where the skin is peeled off and the flesh is carved with woodcarving tools.
This Jack Skellington I carved from a white pumpkin I grew myself,
and is one of the top ten carved pumpkins on DeviantArt!
This is one pumpkin that I carved Harry Potter and Voldemort on.

I will post this years pumpkin(s) on Halloween.  Have fun carving!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Today I wish I was wearing...

I am in love with Polyvore!
i wish i wore tues oct 25

St John s Bay shawl collar sweater
$20 -

Ann Harvey plus size top
£7.25 -

A.N.A slim fit jeans
$30 -

Madewell shoes
$40 -

Lucky Brand suede hobo handbag
$189 -

Feather jewelry
$18 -

FOSSIL leather bangle
$38 -

Lucky Brand gold plated earrings
$32 -

Etsy Favorites: Zombie Edition

In honor of Halloween, please don't eat my brain for loving these zombie themed items!

These special edition "Zombie Ate My Keds" women's slip-ons from PeikkoKasvot are a bit pricey at $97.99 but are surely worth every penny because of their amazing detail and durability.  These are made to order.
This is technically a Christmas or Hanukkah item, but it goes with the zombie theme so I'm including it.  Plus, it's my blog, and I'll do what I want, so there!  This pack of 20 holiday cards from TinaSeaMonster come with plain white envelopes and are sure to surprise your Great Aunt Gertie this holiday season.  They are $16.00.
These wall clocks, by MoralMustache, are made from vintage vinyl records and are made to order.  They are priced at a modest $37.50 and are perfect for any zombie or horror lover.  They're even great for decorating at Halloween!
This 8 x 10 inch letterpress poster from A Pair of Pears is perfect for Halloween decorating or for your favorite zombie lover and at $18.00 it won't break the bank.  So, you'll have money left over to pay for supplies for the apocalypse.
Love zombies?  Love garden Gnomes?  Well then, this rotten little guy is the perfect addition to your lawn.  DougFX casts them out of garden statuary stone and paints these little guys by hand.  They cost $49.00 and are 14 inches tall.
Have a growing little zombie brood of your own?  These family decals are the perfect thing to represent both your ever expanding crew and your gruesome taste.  They are available for $18.00 per family from tawnyamdesigns.
Speaking of gruesome taste, with this shirt, you can outfit the whole family.  Available in sizes ranging from onesies   0-3months all the way up to adults XL, everyone from baby to grandpa can have a shirt.  Perfect for a zombie family reunion, perhaps. No?  You can grab one from Whatever Fits for $19.50.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Whaddaya Got In There?

Since I am fresh out of ideas today, I'm going to do something I've seen on some other blogs.  I'm going to give you a voyeuristic little peek into my purse!  I was a little surprised at some of what was in there, and it gave me an excuse to throw away approximately thirty old receipts.  They are not included in the photo!
Here's the bag, itself.  It looks gray in the photo, but really it's black.  It's from Nine West and I got it last winter at TJMaxx.  I don't tend to spend a ton on purses because I like to switch really often.  I am, however, drooling over so many of this season's Coach bags!
And, here's the contents.  I'll start in the upper left corner. 
1.  Apparently I've got a thing for lip glosses and balms because I found 6 in that red and white pouch, 4 Burt's Bees, and 2 from One. 
2.  Tiny Owl Notepad - for jotting down measurements, grocery lists, phone numbers, etc...
3.  Black and White Vinyl Change purse.
4.  Nightmare Before Christmas Mirror.
5.  Swiss Army Knife from Dad.
6.  Vera Bradley Frill Clutch that holds Benadryl (my epipen expired and I have yet to get a new one.  Shame on me!), Pill Case (Meg got me in England), Hair elastic, yet more lip balm - this one from Pangea Organics, and Purell hand Sanitizer.
7.  Old Samsung Magnet Phone.  I'm living in the stone-age.
8.  iPod Touch.
Back to the Left!
9.  Altoids.
10.  Wallet from Nine West.
Back to the Left!
11.  Keys with Vera Bradley lanyard and Dad's old key fob.
12.  Checkbook I never use.
13.  My trusty planner.  I wish it was a Filofax, but I just can't part with that much $$ for a planner.
14.  Mini Moleskine for thoughts, blog and etsy ideas, etc.
Usually there's also a water or soda bottle, my camera, and sometimes a book in there.

What's in YOUR bag?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

DIY: Halloween Food

Looking for something fun to serve at your Halloween party?  Well, look no further!  Here are some fun recipes and tutorials from around the web!

These cakes from Living Locurto will make your stomach squirm!
Follow this link -->Brains in a Jar Cakes<-- for a tutorial.

Halloween wouldn't be complete with out some monsters from Better Homes and Gardens.
Follow this link -->Green Monster Cupcake<-- for a tutorial.

For the adults, try a cocktail from Martha Stewart.
Follow this link -->Bloody Scary<-- for a recipe.

While you're at Martha Stewart, take a look at the caramel and candied apples!
Follow this link -->Poison Apple<-- for a recipe.

Try this graveyard dessert over at My Recipes.
Follow this link -->Dark Chocolate Graveyard Pots de Creme<--for a recipe.

Here's another cocktail. This one's from Fun and Food Cafe.
Follow this link -->Creepy Crawler Martini<-- for a recipe.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mama's Boy

Oscar went for approximately four million walks today, along with his cousin Ringo.  Here's the evidence...
See you tomorrow!

Living with Fibromyalgia: Books I Recommend

Living with Fibromyalgia for over 15 years, I have read my fair share of books on the subject, some good and some bad.  The following are some books that I would recommend to get yourself and those around you better acquainted with your illness, to gain some tips for making your life easier and more comfortable, and for making dealing with multiple doctors easier.
The Fibromyalgia Advocate
Devin J. Starlanyl, M.D.
This is THE book on dealing with Fibromyalgia.  I read this book over ten years ago, and it familiarized me with the illness and helped me to better understand what I was in for.  Dr. Starlanyl is a fellow sufferer of Fibromyalgia, and I think that is part of what makes the book so revolutionary.  She knows what she's talking about from a technical and personal perspective.  This book explores both traditional and alternative approaches to treating the syndrome and also includes "data sheets" to take to individual doctors or practitioners.  These "data sheets" make applying for disability easier, I have heard, due to their specific nature and the fact that Fibromyalgia is not on the Social Security Disability schedule of diseases so one has to qualify on individual symptoms.  This book also offers advise on dealing with legal aspects of the health care system and with Social Security.  The Fibromyalgia Advocate has an extensive bibliography that can be referred to for additional information, as well.
The Fibromyalgia Advocate is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Fibromyalgia & Chronic Myofascial Pain: A Survival Manual
Devin J. Starlanyl, M.D. and Mary Ellen Copeland
This second book by Dr. Starlanyl, who works with another author this time, is also a must-read.  This book is more about one's personal battle with Fibromyalgia.  It offers tips for identifying and evaluating one's symptoms and trigger points.  This "survival manual" includes a guide to medications, though it does not include the newest medications because it was published in 2001, tips about bodywork, a guide to a nutritional program specific to Fibromyalgia, and other lesser known programs.  Also included are tips on coping with work (if you're able to work), dealing with family and friend situations, a guide to getting support and more.
This book is available at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Dr. Starlanyl's new book, A Practical Guide to Trigger Points, written with co-author John Sharkey is due out in the summer of 2012.
The Fibromyalgia Cookbook: More Than 120 Easy and Delicious Recipes
Shelley Ann Smith
The Fibromyalgia Cookbook advocates a diet with no red meat, processed sugars, white flour or nightshade vegetables, avoiding heavy and starchy food, low in sodium and fat, and soy butter, extra virgin olive oil and flaxseed oil are pushed.  It is not the perfect diet for everyone and I will fully admit that I don't always follow it.  I fall off the wagon regularly, in fact.  However, I do find that eating a mostly vegetarian or vegan diet and adding what the book suggests greatly improves how I feel.  This book has over 100 recipes, and while I haven't tried them all, the ones I have tried were very good.  It is worth a read.  This book is out of print, so it is very cheap.
The cookbook is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Those are the big three for me.  I haven't read a lot of the newest books on the subject, but I do intend to, so expect more book recommendations in the future.  I would also recommend The Idiot's Guide to Fibromyalgia and Fibromyalgia for Dummies to anyone who is new to the disease or to family or friends of someone with Fibromyalgia.  You should also research as much as possible online.  The more you understand your illness, the more in control you feel.  That is my experience, at least.  Also, I would say steer clear of anything that promises to cure or reverse the syndrome.  They're either deluded or just plain lying.  There is no research to suggest that Fibromyalgia is reversible or curable.  People do go into remission, there is that possibility, but as of yet, there is no cure.

Happy reading and I hope you have a pain-free week!
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