devonly randomonium

Sugar-coated effery and shenanigans.

Hipster Love Affair

Source: Blipsters

I heart hipsters.

Why?

I like some of their snarkiness , but I love them more for their fashion sense.

Years ago, I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to wear skinny jeans. I also couldn’t understand why it was necessary to wear a scarf year-round. Hipster fashion just didn’t make sense to me. I thought some of it was too costumey and mainly a way for people to draw attention to themselves. But there were some elements of it that I actually liked.

I remember flipping through Lucky magazine and seeing the trendy hipsternistas in funky tights, peasant skirts and dresses, and motorcycle jackets. I loved their sense of style, but I was too afraid to try some of their looks.

Now, I  love with hipster fashion. I don’t mind seeing a guy in some skinny jeans and a striped cardigan. I also think high-waisted, Ikat print miniskirts with bright tights and long cardigan vests look cool. It’s refreshing to see something a little different in OHIO. Lord knows that I am tired of seeing people Hollistered or American Eagled up. Let’s face it people. We are nowhere near California. So isn’t it time to give up the UGGS and the faux O.C. look?

When it comes to hipster fashion, Blipsters has been a great resource for me. This tumblr site is well done and features photos of blipsters (black hipsters)/hipsters from the past and present. The site also features music videos and other gems.

Another site I like is DapperLou.com. This blog was created by Ludget Delcy. Delcy worked as a freelance stylist and events writer for Essence.com. He created DapperLou to  “showcase the work and style of innovative men by publishing daily editorials and street styles. ” This blog features great photos of men in some pretty unique and fly outfits. Many of these men were spotted on the streets of NYC. I don’t have a man, but if I did, I wouldn’t have a problem with him dressing like some of the guys on DapperLou!

I think it’s time for me to let my inner blipster out. I’m not in full American Apparel, gold spandex pants mode, but I know I sure can rock a pair of tights!

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Me and Mr. Banana Legs Part Three: Whipped to Perfection

Last month, I told you all about my adventures with the Mr. Banana Legs cake. Ok, I’ll admit that the Italian Meringue Buttercream icing made me its byotch. But I’m proud to announce that after 12 over-ripened bananas, six boxes of  extra-fine sugar and half of a bottle of Bacardi Select, I’ve finally nailed this cake.

Mr. Banana Legs

The cake was not hard to make at all. The recipe was super easy to follow, the ingredients weren’t hard to find and the end result is worth the effort. But I was not crazy about the Italian Meringue Buttercream icing. The first time I made it, the flavor was not good. After chilling the cake, the icing solidified and tasted like a stick of butter that was soaked in rum and sugar. The second time I made the icing, it tasted a little better but the consistency was still bad. It was like the icing had curdled or something.  When I look back on the process, I realize that it’s probably better to make the icing with a standing mixer.

Why?

Take a look at the recipe and I’ll break it down in a minute:

Italian Meringue Buttercream

From cakelove: How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown

Ingredients

egg whites (large), 5

extra-fine granulated sugar, 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups)

cold water, 1/4 cup

unsalted butter (room temperature), 1 pound (4 sticks)

1. Separate the egg whites into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment.

  • Measure 1 cup sugar and the water into a 1-quart, heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Gently stir to combine.
  • Measure the remaining 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl and set aside.
  • Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and set aside in a medium bowl.

2. To make the sugar syrup, place a candy thermometer in the saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-high heat. Partially cover with a lid to capture the evaporating water-this helps to moisten the sides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals from forming.

3. With the mixer on high speed, begin whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks. When the peaks are stiff, you have a meringue.

4. Keep the mixer running and pour the 1/4 cup of sugar into the meringue.

5. Raise the heat under the sugar syrup to bring the syrup to 245 degrees Fahrenheit. When the syrup is at 245 degrees, remove the thermometer and slowly pour the syrup into the meringue.

6. After 1 to 2 minutes, reduce the mixer speed to medium for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the meringue is cooled. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the mixer speed to high for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.

Here’s where I screwed up.

I have a hand mixer and it actually works for this recipe up until step six.  When I started adding all of the cubes of butter, the icing falls apart. I realized that this was due to me over mixing it. With a standing mixer, you can add one cube of butter after another  and each cube will be fully incorporated. So with a standing mixer, step six can be completed in eight minutes or less. With the hand mixer, I probably got close to the 10-15 minute mark and my icing started to turn into butter again.

Here’s where I redeemed myself.

This time, I decided to be less ambitious. I also wanted to make a lighter icing. Even if I nailed the Italian Meringue Buttercream, it would have been too sweet and rich for the cake. So I did some research and decided to go with a whipped cream icing. But not just any whipped cream icing would do. No, I needed one that would hold up for more than just a day. So I found a great recipe for a sturdy whipped cream icing  on AllRecipes.com. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  1. Combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until smooth. While the mixture is still whipping, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl a couple of times while you continue whipping until the cream can hold a stiff peak.

Mr. Banana Legs Cake sliced

How simple is that! And it takes less than 10 minutes to make. I recommend not letting the cream cheese come to room temperature, or putting it in the microwave before mixing it with the sugar. Just mix it right out of the fridge. Also, use a metal bowl and pop it in the freezer to get it really cold. To keep it cold, I sat my bowl in an ice water bath while mixing the ingredients together.  And since I’m not a fan of almond extract, I just left it out. The texture is light and fluffy, and the icing tastes great. It’s a perfect match for Mr. Banana Legs.

So I delivered some slices to my friend this evening. I just hope she likes it as much as we do!

 

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Current Fixations

And now it’s time for another exciting edition of Current Fixations. Since it’s supposed to be spring (I say this because it’s still slightly wintry in Ohio), I’ve decided to switch to brighter lip and nail colors. Right now, I’m all about corals and hot pinks.  So here are some products that are in my current rotation:

MAC Cremesheen Glass in Double Dare

Source: MAC

I love gloss, but I tend to stick with the peachy/pink colors. I’ve tried to venture into red lip gloss territory but when I wear them, I always look like I just made out with the Kool-Aid Man. Oh yeah! Anyway, I was feeling adventurous before my birthday so I decided to try a bright color again. I ended up trying on Double Dare and I fell in love with it.

MAC describes Double Dare as a “coral-red.” I think that description is just about right. In the package, it looks like more of a berry color. But it’s very vibrant on. The color actually reminds me of strawberry Runts candy.

The Cremesheen Glass isn’t sticky and the staying power is pretty darn good. I ate sushi and a sundae, and it stayed on my lips. I only remember touching it up maybe two times during my night out. Double Dare is my new favorite color and I am so glad I bought it. I love it so much that I even swiped some on right before taking my driver’s license picture!

Cremesheen Glass sells for $18.50 but is worth the investment. It’s perfect for those that want the creaminess of a lipstick and the shine of a gloss.

OPI’s Too Hot Pink to Hold ‘Em

Source: Amazon.com

This color is part of OPI’s Texas Collection. The collection is made up of 12 colors, and six of those colors have a “sorbet-like finish” according to the company. Too Hot Pink to Hold ‘Em happens to be one of the sorbet colors.

I am often drawn to OPI because of their range of colors, but sometimes I am disappointed by the wear of their polishes. OPI polishes can cost between $5-9.50 depending on where you buy them. I figure if I’m going to pay $8-9 for a bottle, the polish should not bubble or chip off within a few days. This has happened to me before with OPI so when I find color I like, I’ll check out China Glaze or even Zoya to see if they have a similar shade.

But for some reason, Too Hot Pink to Hold ‘Em kept calling my name every time I walked past the Texas Collection display at Ulta. So I finally bought it a couple of weeks ago. The color is a cross between a cherry red and a hot pink. It goes on well and has a creamy finish. It does seem to be a little sheer though so I had to apply about 3-4 coats. I also covered my nail tips with it and topped it with Seche Vite. The color held up well and lasted about a week and a half. As for my toes, it’s still going strong.

OPI’s Too Hot Pink to Hold ‘Em sells for $8.50 at Ulta.

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Mom’s Makeover

My Mom is a phenomenal woman. As a principal, she is very devoted to helping her students succeed. As a daughter, she has taken on the role of being a caretaker for my 93-year-old grandmother. She is constantly on the go. And because of this, she often forgets to take time out for herself.

My Mom has degenerative disc disease and suffers from chronic back and hip pain. But she doesn’t let this get the best of her. She just started using a cane to help alleviate some of her hip pain. So my Mom wanted me to help her with her makeup so she could have a fresh look and be the “hottest woman on a cane.”

On Friday, I took my makeup bag over to the ‘rents house and worked my magic. It was kind of weird because I remember sitting in the bathroom when I was younger and praying that my Mom didn’t poke me in the eyes while she was lining them with that red, wooden Maybeline eyeliner pencil. And she was a pro with using lipstick as blush. She still does that today.

So I showed her some different looks for her eyes, gave her some new lip colors and knocked off about 10 years in an hour. When I was all done she said, “Wow, I look like I’m in my 40s again!”  But the one thing that really amazed her was when I filled in her eyebrows. She couldn’t stop looking at herself in the mirror. She was so happy and I was glad that I could help.

Who knew that a little bit of MAC, a little bit of Clinique and a little bit of L’Oreal could bring me and my Mom closer together? But the experience was fun and it allowed me to let my inner makeup artist out of the closet. And Mom has been practicing what I showed her. Now she can’t wait to get some brushes and new eyeshadow colors from Tarjay.

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