devonly randomonium

Sugar-coated effery and shenanigans.

Laugh Through the Pain

This year has been a roller coaster ride for me.  There have been extreme highs, and there have been extreme lows. But despite it all, I’ve managed to hold on to my sense of humor. In fact, I think my sense of humor has been my saving grace. If I didn’t have it, I would probably be somewhere counting lint balls, or collecting rats like Glen from Hoarders. Believe me, I was pretty close to getting my own Lady Commander Whitehead at times.

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I was doing an impression of this zesty cat that I love. (Yes, I said zesty. I think the cat has a Logo card too.) After my friend was finished laughing, she said, “Devon, you always manage to find the humor in things.” And I do. Honestly, I’m not a serious person. Sometimes, I feel like I’m still in junior high.  I’m still at recess cracking jokes, and talking about the raunchy parts of a Sidney Sheldon novel. But that’s okay because I’m not somewhere popping pills, or snorting up booger sugar.

I know it’s cliché, but laughter truly is the best medicine. You could spend hours crying, but all that does is make your eyes red and puffy, and it ruins a fabulous makeup job. Then when you try to talk to people, they think you’re touched in the head because you can’t seem to form a complete sentence. And the snot thing is kind of gross too. So I’ll take laughter for the win any day.

If you’re going through a difficult time right now, feel free to contact me. I feel your pain. I can also guarantee that I will find some special way to turn that frown upside down. I can find magical gems on YouTube for you, I can do impressions and I can even sing the song at the 4:15 mark for you:

Source: YouTube

So call me. I’m the highly opinionated, chunky girl who loves to laugh and loves to have a good time. And I’ll be that girl all day, every day until my last day on earth.

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Nom, Nom, Nom: I’ll Crumble For Ya

Sadly, our season four True Blood Supper Club ended on September 11. Finally, us fangers, howlers, witches and potential mediums got a solid season finale. I now have a slight case of separation anxiety because I don’t get to meet up with my girls on Sunday nights. But woo, woo, woo. Don’tcryformeArgentinapointblankperiod.com.

We wanted to go all out for the season finale. We talked about doing a Cajun menu weeks before. But when the night finally rolled around, we decided to go with a considerably lighter menu. That meant chicken Caesar salad and wine of course! At first, I wanted to get all fancy and make a bananas foster creme brulee or chocolate-strawberry crepes. But once the menu changed, I went with a simple fall dessert. I was too lazy to go to the store, so I decided to make an apple crumble. I already had everything I needed to make it. So done and done!

If you’re not a baker, crumbles are right up your alley. They usually require you to plug-in a mixer, chop some fruit and cut in some butter. If you can’t do this, I don’t know what to tell you. (Actually, I’ll just say a prayer, and ask Baby Jesus to give you common sense!) But this recipe I found on About.com is super easy to make, and it will serve about six people.

I decided to tweak this recipe a little, and make mini crumbles in ramekins.  I added about a 1/2 cup of old-fashioned oats to the crumble mixture along with some ginger and nutmeg. I didn’t add water to the apples. Instead, I cut up my apples, seasoned them with cinnamon, nutmeg and dark rum, and added lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. I let my apples chill out in this mixture in the fridge while I made the crumble. Before I assembled the mini crumbles, I added about a tablespoon of potato starch to the apples so the rum and juices would thicken up as the crumbles baked.

I recommend baking the crumble for the full 45 minutes. The crust came out perfect. I also recommend that you have vanilla ice cream and extra mini crumbles on hand. Our hostess for the evening (Dana) really enjoyed the dessert and said, “Damn Devo, you really have a future in this!”

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter

Preparation:

Place apples in a lightly buttered baking pan or dish, about 10 x 6 or 9-inch square. Add water. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the apples. Bake apple crunch at 350° for 35 to 45 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve apple crumble warm with ice cream, if desired.

Apple crumble serves 6.

 

So happy chopping, baking and crumble making!

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Drugstore Dimepiece

I use to think that higher-priced cosmetics meant better performing cosmetics. So instead of going for the $7 mascara at the drugstore, I went for the $23 mascara at the beauty counters of _(insert name of department store here)_.  Hundreds of dollars and a truckload of regrets later, I’ve kind of turned my back on department store makeup. To me, it seems like you’re mostly paying for the slick packaging and the name. Now there are some department store products that I absolutely love. In fact, I’ve mentioned some in previous blog posts.  But recently, I decided not to be so quick to give the department store brands my hard-earned cash.

If you are a department store cosmetics stan, it’s time for an intervention. If you have the money to spend on luxury products, more power to you. But if  you’re trying to look great for less, keep reading. My fellow divas, you can find great products for a fraction of the price at Tarjay or your local drugstore. And even though I’m not crazy about the staff at my local Ulta, I’ve found some products there that I absolutely love.

So here are some of my favorite drugstore products:

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm

Burt's Bees Tinted Balm

Source: Burt’s Bees

I picked up the tinted lip balm in Rose a few months ago and I really like it. The shade is pretty close to Clinique’s Chunky Cherry Chubby Stick. The Chubby Stick’s color payoff is a little better, but Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm is still a great alternative. It’s half the price of a Chubby Stick, and it smells (and tastes) great. To me, this balm is perfect for daily use. It also won’t make you look like you just finished drinking a glass of Kool-Aid.

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm will set you back a whopping $7 at Ulta.

L’Oreal HiP  Eyeshadow Duos


L'Oreal HIP Shadow

Source: Target.com

You can pay $15 for a MAC eyeshadow, or you can pay $7 for a HiP shadow duo. Why should you get HiP? These shadow duos offer two richly pigmented colors for a reasonable price. The shadows come in five different finishes: bright, concentrated, crystal, matte and metallic. These shadows last a long time, and give you the MAC look for less. I’ve even visited the MAC counter with HiP shadows on, and the artists have mistaken them for MAC.  One even told me, “They’re just trying to copy us!” Well that’s fine by me because I can get four shades for price of one MAC shadow. But watch the drugstores and Ulta for specials. Sometimes they offer HiP products BOGO free or BOGO half off.

HiP shadow duos cost between $6.79-$7.99.

L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara

Source: Drugstore.com

I never liked the original Voluminous. It clumped and because of this, it was hard to build layers. But a few years ago, I decided to try Voluminous Carbon Black. It’s now one of my favorite mascaras. I like it because it has a big teddy bear brush. It’s goes on easy and clump free, and I have no problem adding coats throughout the day. If you decide to go with the waterproof formula, make sure you have a good eye makeup remover because it doesn’t come off easily. But if you’re going to be par-tay-ing like a rock star all night, that’s probably a good thing.

Voluminous Carbon Black costs between $5-$8.

neaclear Liquid Oxygen Anti Acne Facial Moisturizer

Description from neaclear:

This anti acne facial moisturizer caters to the delicate needs of acne-prone skin. specifically made with a non-oil base, you can rest assured it will not trigger acne breakouts. this product will absorb quickly and gently moisturize your skin.

Infused with Oxygenated Purified Water to introduce a powerful boost of oxygen into your skin’s cells as you use, this product will leave your skin feeling clean and energized.

I bought this product on a whim from Ulta. I was looking for a good moisturizer that wouldn’t clog my pores, or irritate my skin. So I made the mistake of asking the sales associate who kept following me around the store to make sure I wasn’t stealing. No joke. That’s how they get down at Ulta. Anyway, as I expected, she didn’t know squat. So I ignored her suggestion for a face wash. (What the eff broad? I asked you for a face lotion. Why don’t you go steal some skills and product knowledge!) I spotted the neaclear facial moisturizer in the acne aisle, and it was only $5.99. I was kind of worried at first since I wasn’t familiar with the line. But then I figured spending $5.99 to try it wouldn’t kill me. So I bought it and I don’t regret it. It’s a thick cream, but it feels really light when you put it on. It is also very moisturizing. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have sunscreen. But if your foundation has one and you’re not going to be outside for long periods of time, you should be golden.

neaclear Liquid Oxygen Anti Acne Facial Moisturizer costs $5.99 at Ulta.

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Nom, Nom, Nom: Vanilla Nice

Thanks to our True Blood Supper Club, I’ve been spending even more time in my kitchen.

Am I sad?

Nope.

I look forward to spending Sundays with my friends, and tasting the dishes they prepare for our gatherings. I’ve hosted two Supper Club nights so far, and it’s been  fun planning the menus. I’ve especially enjoyed making the desserts.

When you bake a lot, you never really pay attention to ingredients that you use on a regular basis. Well, that’s been my experience for the most part. You know you’re going to crack a few eggs, cream some butter and dump in some sugar. That’s usually the holy trinity of baking. But lately, I’ve been paying more and more attention to vanilla beans and vanilla extract. I used to just buy imitation vanilla extract because that’s what I grew up on. It was much cheaper, and you got more in the bottle. But I stopped being cheap and started using the real deal.  And I’m glad I did.

I made two desserts recently that really put vanilla in the spotlight. One dessert was peach and vanilla puff pastry pies, and the other was a grownup version of cookies and milk. I found the peach and vanilla puff pastry pie recipe in the August issue of the gospel according to O.  And the “milk” in the grownup cookies and milk combo was actually a spiked vanilla milkshake. I found that recipe on 20something cupcakes. Both of these recipes were simple, and the end results were crowd pleasers.

Here are the recipes:

Peach and Vanilla Puff Pastry Pies

Serves 8

Source: O Magazine

1 vanilla bean pod, halved lengthwise
3 large peaches (about 1 pound), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2″ chunks
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 (9″ x 16″) pieces frozen puff pastry, thawed but still very cold

Directions
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Preheat oven to 400°. Run a paring knife down the cut sides of the vanilla bean to remove the vanilla seeds, and transfer to a large bowl. (Discard vanilla bean pod, or save for another use.) Add peaches, sugar, cornstarch, and vanilla extract and toss until well combined; set aside.

Working on a sheet of parchment paper, cut 1 piece of puff pastry in half, and then roll each half into a 10-inch square. Using a bowl, glass, or cookie cutter, cut 4 (4 1/2″) circles out of each half. Use the circles to line the cups of 8 muffin tins, positioning them to form little pie shells or baskets. Save any remaining dough scraps to re-roll and use for step 4, as needed.

Spoon peach mixture evenly into the muffin cups lined with the puff pastry shells; set aside.

Arrange remaining pastry on a sheet of parchment paper and cut out 8 circles, approximately 3 inches in diameter. Place 1 on top of each muffin cup, folding the edges of the bottom pastry over the top and pinching tightly to seal each pie.

Bake until pies are puffed and deep golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Carefully run a paring knife around the edges of each pie and immediately transfer to a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

My Thoughts

This recipe was fairly easy to make. I decided to use turbinado sugar instead of regular sugar. I also used a combination of white and yellow peaches for the filling, and added about a tablespoon of dark rum to the mixture. The pies turned out well, and I served them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I suggest that if you try this recipe, cut the baking time down to 25 minutes or so. I baked them for 35 minutes and they were a little browner than I wanted them to be. I baked another batch of these the next day, and found that they were perfectly golden brown at 25-28 minutes. Also, make sure you keep your puff pastry ice-cold. It’s hard to work with when it’s at room temperature, so if you find that it’s sticky and hard to roll out, pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes. It should be good to go!

 

Vanilla Milkshakes

For the Milkshakes:

4 cups of good vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Assorted Spikers:

Grand Marnier
Jim Beam, or other Bourbon whiskey
Kahlua
Bailey’s Irish Cream

In a blender, combine all milkshake ingredients until smooth. For thicker milkshakes, add less milk. For thinner shakes, simply add more milk.

My Thoughts

You probably think that making a milkshake is not rocket science, and you would be correct. But I’ve had some pretty disappointing shakes over the years. Some were watery, others were like a milk Icee and some tasted really artificial. This is a very solid milkshake recipe. It’s creamy, super delicious and very grownup. I didn’t use an expensive ice cream either. I used some French vanilla ice cream from Aldi. And I spiked the milkshakes with dark rum. The rum really complimented the vanilla. I served the shakes in chilled martini glasses and garnished them with some freshly ground nutmeg.

Yummay!

 

 

 

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Life’s a Drag

This is Chelsea Pearl. She rocked the show!

I went to Essence Beauty Mart the other day, and I ran into a gaggle of drag queens. So being the drag queen stan that I am, I started a conversation with them. After chatting, they invited me to their show that night. I was so excited.

I love a good queen. I am always impressed with the ones who have fabulous hair and over-the-top wardrobes. I’m also super impressed if they can beat the hell out of their faces (that means they have a great makeup game).

I went to their show that night, and I wasn’t disappointed. The outfits were glamorous, the hair was awesome and their faces were beat to death. I was so happy that I decided to go. It turned out to be a fun night.

As I drove home after the show, I started thinking about why I loved drag queens. I realized that my love for them went way beyond makeup and glitzy, glamorous costumes. I think that I’m like a drag queen in some ways. No, I don’t have to tuck my meat, or wear booty pads to make my booty pop. But I think I am just as sassy and funny as a queen.

I think what I admire the most about drag queens is their confidence. That’s where the difference between me and a drag queen comes in. I’m confident in my people skills, but I’m far from confident about my body. Don’t cry for me Argentina. I’m actually getting better. I’m not pleased with Baby Miguel (my gut), but I am loving my legs right now!

Anyway, most of the queens in the show were plus-sized. But when they got on stage, they worked it like they were supermodels. They weren’t tugging at their clothes to make sure their muffin tops weren’t showing. They weren’t pulling at their body shapers to make sure their rolls weren’t showing. They got up on stage and gave it their all. And that’s what I love about drag queens. I applaud their fearlessness. I also applaud the fact that they don’t care what others think of them.

Who would have thought that I would have an aha! moment after meeting some drag queens? This doesn’t mean I’m going to start wearing wigs, feather boas and sequin ball gowns every day. But I am going to be a little more fabulous than I already am, and work what I have.

 

Image Source: http://www.missshiningstar.com

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Current Fixations: Red Red Wine

I may be a big talker, but I’m not a big drinker.

When I do get my drank on, I tend to stick to the sweet or fruity drinks. Drinks like buttery nipples, margaritas, Japanese slippers, peach or raspberry lambics and Three Olives grape and Sprite. Not a mind-blowing selection by any means and that’s ok. My goals for going out are usually to listen to good music, dance and socialize. I’m not there to be the annoying drunk girl who falls down stairs, pukes everywhere, gives random BJs in the parking lot and professes her love for everyone in the bar.

Lately, I’ve been on a sweet red wine kick.

For years I believed that sweet reds didn’t exist. Well, I’ll take that back. I knew about the communion wine that we would pretend to be buzzed on as kids. But when I would go to restaurants and ask for one, servers would look at me like I was touched in the head. So I gave up hope and just stuck with my Moscato d’Asti .

Last month, a friend introduced me to a semi-sweet and a sweet red wine. Those wines were Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz and  Debonné Vineyard’s River Rouge. I’m not a wine connoisseur so don’t expect to read about acidity, aromas, structures or  textures. I will give you info from the label and my honest opinion.

Chalet Debonné River Rouge

Chalet Debonne River Rouge

Source: MidAmericanWine.org

Description: SEMI-SWEET RED WINE
Light red with classic grape flavors and aromas from predominately Native American grapes. 3% residual sugar.

I’ve never been to Debonné Vineyards, but I used to hear commercials for it on the old one-oh-seven-three, the waaaave. For those who don’t know, 107.3, aka The Wave, was a smooth jazz and R&B station. When I was in high school, I went through this David Sanborn-Boney James phase and I would listen to the waaaave a lot. They also had a great Brazilian jazz show called Sounds of Brazil that would come on Sundays at midnight…ok, rambling.

Back to the wine.

Anyway, I’ve heard that Debonné Vineyards has nice jazz concerts, so I might check the place out one day. As for the wine, I thought it was pretty darn good. It was smooth and not syrupy sweet. It also went well with the fruit and cheese we munched on that night. It’s only $8.49 on the Debonné website so you won’t break the bank if you decide to try it.

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz

Source: CapeClassics.com

Description: This fresh, fruity, semi-sweet wine displays aromas and flavors of ripe blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with dark chocolate undertones. Refreshing and approachable with a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, it pairs equally well with meat dishes, cheeses, and desserts. Best served slightly chilled, Jam Jar offers luscious, fruity goodness in every sip!

Yup, that’s about right.

I guzzled this South African wine down with my Fourth of July feast. It went well with ribs, mac ‘n cheese and my red velvet cupcakes. I was surprised because my first encounter with a Shiraz was not a good one. I remember it being very acidic and bitter. It practically burned a hole through my chest.  Jam Jar was sweeter and much better. I’ll definitely be buying more of this one.

Both of these wines can be found at World Market.

In closing, I leave you with this:

Source: YouTube

Stay thirsty my friends. 🙂

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Nom, Nom, Nom: Red Velvet Cupcake Smackdown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately I’ve been seeing red in my kitchen. For the last few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with red velvet cupcake recipes. I tried the Buttah Queen’s (Paula Deen’s) recipe, and a recipe from the Joy of Baking (JOB). Now I thought that I would automatically like Paula’s recipe because she doesn’t hold back on the sugar and fat. I was wrong. I actually liked the JOB recipe better.

Here are the two recipes:

Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

_______________________________________________

Joy of Baking Red Velvet Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular unsweetened or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners’ (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping cream (35-40% butterfat content)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and line 12 muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

In a large bowl whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.

Working quickly, divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 18 – 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and them remove from pan. Let cool completely before frosting. Either spread the frosting with a knife or offset spatula, or use a large 1M Wilton open star decorating tip to pipe the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to pipe. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

____________________________________________________

Even though the recipes are quite similar, I liked JOB’s better. The only thing I liked about the Buttah Queen’s recipe was the icing.

I need this mug in my life.

With Paula Deen’s recipe, the cupcakes were kind of greasy and reminded me more of a corn muffin or something. To me, the vegetable oil was a bad call. I think I would just use butter or way less oil if I ever use this recipe again. If you want to take a stab at it, I recommend baking these for 18 minutes instead of 20. If you go over 20, they might be dry and hard from all of the oil. I also recommend adding a tablespoon or two of cocoa powder instead of 1 teaspoon so you can actually taste the chocolate.

With JOB’s recipe, the cupcakes were lighter and fluffier. They didn’t taste greasy and they weren’t too sweet. I didn’t make the whipped cream, cream cheese icing for these because Paula Deen’s icing was almost orgasmic…no joke! C’mon, butter + cream cheese + powdered sugar = automatic win! But the whipped cream, cream cheese icing would work too if you want a much lighter icing. I also recommend baking these between 18-19 minutes. I baked them for 20 minutes, and even though they weren’t dry, they weren’t as moist as I wanted them to be.

Despite my criticisms, my friends enjoyed both versions. But I’m going to keep tweaking things until I get this recipe just right!

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Can You Really Forgive and Forget?

It’s no secret that I enjoy watching reality television shows. My life is fairly tame and normal, so of course  I want to see the foolishness that goes on in someone else’s life.  Most of the shows are scripted, cut and spliced for salaciousness. But who would want to watch an hour of someone working, washing clothes or paying bills? Not me. I’d rather create dryer lint art  instead.

Thanks to the big O’s channel, I have discovered yet another reality show. This show doesn’t have catfights or drunk Oompa-Loompas from Jersey, but it does have real people with very real problems. The show is called Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal.

Unfaithful Logo

 

Unfaithful features two couples that have dealt with infidelity in their marriages. The cheaters and their spouses tell their stories through confessional-style interviews. These interviews are also accompanied with re-enactments of the ordeal. Overall, I think Unfaithful is a solid show. What I don’t understand is why the couples always get back together. I don’t understand how you could love and trust someone again after they have violated you and your vows.  Sure the couples on the show have gone through counseling, but in the end, is that really enough?

I’ve had some pretty rotten things done to me over the years and it’s still hard for me to totally forget about some of those incidents. I try to do the Christian thing and turn the other cheek, but sometimes I feel like the offenders are getting off easy when I do this. I know what you’re thinking. If you were here, you’d probably tell me that being mad won’t make the situation better.  You’d also say that those people could care less about me sitting and stewing in my anger. Yes, you would be right. But I guess I would feel better if someone would find those people and punch them in their guts or smack them in the back of their heads because they are  shitty people. In other words, I want instant karma for those losers.

I’m not a bitter person, but I do have a super low tolerance for selfish people. These people don’t care about anyone but themselves. They also don’t have a problem trampling on others to get what they want. I’m sorry, but if had my own episode of Unfaithful  featuring the crappy people in my life, we would not  be holding hands and strolling in the park at the end. Instead, I would get them in a small room and light them up with a paintball gun.

 

 

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Nom, Nom, Nom: Blueberry Yogurt Cupcakes

If you don’t know by now, I love to bake.

It’s funny because when I was younger, I hated being in the kitchen. I didn’t have the patience to make pound cakes, sweet potato pies or truckloads of Christmas cookies. On the other hand, my sister loved it. She would sing cheerfully and hum while icing cookies or filling pies. All I wanted to do is go outside and find weird bugs or play video games.

As I got older, I started to appreciate baking. It was fun. It usually involved as Paula Deen would say, “buttah” and sugar, and it became a release after a stressful day. So now I try to bake whenever I can.

Alrighty then. Time for today’s recipe. This recipe comes from the May 2011 issue of O almighty’s magazine (The Oprah Magazine).  This Blueberry Yogurt Cupcake recipe was featured in an article called Cooking Up Friendships by Howie Kahn. Cooking Up Friendships is about a group of food bloggers, brought together by the recipes of food writer and cookbook author, Dorie Greenspan. You can read the full article here.

This recipe is a fruit-inspired twist on Dorie Greenspan’s French yogurt cake created by French Fridays with Dorie member Joel Brown.

Blueberry Yogurt Cupcake Recipe

Serves 12

blueberry yogurt cupcakes

Source: Oprah.com

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or, if you’d prefer, omit and use another 1/2   cup all-purpose flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
Grated zest of 2 lemons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup canola oil
1 package unflavored gelatin, bloomed according to directions
1 (16-ounce) can blueberry pie filling

Directions
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: About 45 minutes

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter a cupcake tin and place it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, ground almonds (if using), baking powder, and salt.

Put 1 cup sugar and zest of 1 lemon in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar. Add 1/2 cup yogurt, eggs, and 1/4; tsp. vanilla and whisk until the mixture is well blended. Whisk in the dry ingredients. Fold in the oil. Pour batter into cupcake tin, filling cups about 2/3 of the way.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes begin to come away from the sides of pan; they should be golden brown, and a thin knife inserted in the center should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then run a butter knife between the cupcakes and the sides of the pan. Turn out cupcakes and cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, mix together 1/4; cup sugar, zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups Greek yogurt, and gelatin. Spoon over cupcakes and chill. Top each with a spoonful of pie filling.

Adapted by Joel Brown from Dorie Greenspan’s French yogurt cake with marmalade glaze in Baking: From My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006)

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Current Fixations

Hey kids! Time for another exciting installment of Current Fixations.

This week, I’m reviewing two more stellar products. Those products are Clinique’s Quick Eyes Cream Shadow and Essie polishes. I’ve been using both of them faithfully and I am really pleased with the results.

Clinique’s Quick Eyes Cream Shadow

If you don’t know by now, I am a born again Clinique stan. Their Superbalm is always in my purse, I absolutely love their acne line and don’t get me started on the Chubby Stick! Ok, I need a moment to compose myself. I just got my pressure up thinking about all my great finds!

On Mother’s Day weekend, I stopped by the counter to stock up on my products and was introduced to yet another magical thing. That thing was Quick Eyes Cream Shadow.

Source: Clinique

Here is the product description:

Have a beautiful eye day, all day. Light, velvety cream glides on vibrant colour that wears up to 10 hours, stays beautifully crease-proof and colour true. In pearly shades from subtle to high-lustre. Ophthalmologist tested.

Here’s the deal.

I was looking for an eyeshadow primer because I was tired of my shadow creasing all of the time. For those who might not know what creasing is, creasing simply means that your shadow is building up in the folds of your eyelids. This can happen if you use a rich eye cream, put foundation on your eyelids or have oily skin. The shadow ends up mixing with the oils and looks streaky.

Anyhoo, the beauty advisor introduced me to Quick Eyes. She told me that it worked better than Clinique’s Touch Base for Eyes and lasts even longer. I was skeptical at first because in the store, the Cocoa Shimmer shade looked waaaaay too dark. But I let her put it on my lids and it blended in nicely. The beauty advisor then grabbed some shadow from the MAC counter and put it on top of the Quick Eyes shadow.  It looked great and held up well.

I use this on a regular basis under my shadow. Sometimes I’ll even  wear it alone for a natural look. It is easy to apply with the wand but I like to buff it in with a fluffy shadow brush like Sonia Kashuk’s Crease Shadow Brush. You don’t need a lot and I just use it on the lid.

Quick Eyes Cream Shadow comes in nine shades and costs $15.50 at Clinique.

Essie Polishes

 

Source: Essie

A long, long, long time ago when I was cracked out on Allure magazine, I decided to try Essie’s Ballet Slippers polish. Allure swore this was a great natural shade and because I took their word as the gospel truth, I bought some. I was über disappointed in it. It bubbled, it chipped and I was mad that I forked over my hard-earned cash for it.  So I decided to give Essie the cold shoulder.

Fast forward to May 14, 2011.

I strolled into Trade Secret in search of the latest OPI shades. I didn’t see anything that stood out so decided to leave before I started sympathy buying. On my way out of the store, I saw a display of Essie polishes. They were BOGO, so I decided to check them out. Two bottles for $8 was a good deal but I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to pull the trigger on the purchase. I talked to the sales associate and she said that she liked Essie better than OPI. She also said that Essie actually was formulated for natural nails and OPI worked better with acrylic nails. I don’t know how true that is, but I figured spending $8 wouldn’t destroy my American dream or anything.

I bought Escapades and Lacy not Racy. All I can say is that I love both shades and when used with Seche Vite, my manicures have lasted for at least two weeks.

No bubbling and no chipping so far. So I guess my bad experience was due to user error!

Essie has a wide range of colors and you can find it at Ulta, Walgreens, Tarjay and Rite Aid. Trade Secret in my hood (Summit Mall) probably won’t carry it anymore, but they’re getting China Glaze instead. That’s cool with me too!

Once again, I don’t get any moolah for plugging these products. I’m just giving my honest opinions and sharing them with you!

Smooches!

 

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