Monday, December 28, 2009

Ringing in the new year

I know that I have pretty much been gone since September with Pride Week. I must admit that was never my intention. However, I had no idea how much I was taking on when I got involved with Pride. I am so glad I did as I have made some really amazing friends as a result of my involvement. And, sadly instead of constructively using my time blogging online when I do have free time, I find that have become sucked into the worlds of Farmville and Cafe' World on Facebook. With the new year all too quickly approaching, I am in the resolution mode. I have decided one of my resolutions will be to get back to blogging. I would begin right now, bu as I am away petsitting, I have no access to my own computer with my photos etc. I look forward to reconnecting with many of my bloggy friends.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Miss Fredericksburg Pride Pagaent 09

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today only: Free Panera Samples

At participating bakery cafes, Panera is offering free samples of their new fall products like their new napa chicken salad sandwhich or bbq chicken salad both pictured above. And, right now with purchase of half dozen bagels or a loaf of bread, they will make a donation to a local charity. Yummy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Pride Week aka Good Stressful Days

I have a feeling I will get little posted this week, but I do have a ton to share. So far, I have over 600 pictures. I am stressed over things left to do like hmmmm my Alice costume. I am congested and tired but having a wonderful time. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend and great week. And, yep that's me with the camera taking pics of the fab queen Betty while I am wearing way too much stage makeup.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Freezing Cakes

Sponge Bob Squarepants Home Cake by Funky Bundt Lovin owned and operated by my dear friend John Lee.

For next week's boat ride, John Lee has taken on the task of creating Mad Tea Party themed cake. Actually, he is planning on doing a couple of shaped cakes since the boat holds up to 120 people. I think he will need approxiamately 12 cakes. Unfortunately, we have so many things to do in the days leading up to the boat ride that it would impossible for him to bake all those cakes the day before. So, he asked me for ideas of how to bake them ahead and store them so that all he will be left with is putting them together and decorating them the day before and day of the boat ride.
I immediately suggested freezing the cakes allowing us to begin them as early as this weekend. He was nervous about this as he had bad luck with freezing cake in the past. When I was in college, I worked in the bakery department of a grocery store. We always froze our cakes. The waiting for a cake to cool and set so that you can ice the cake is often the lengthiest time of the baking process. Freezing the cake ensures a cool enough cake every time. If you think that is the reason bakery cakes tend to be dry, you are wrong. They do not use enough fat. A moist cake requires a lot of fat generally in the form of butter, mayo, or oil though applesauce and other lowfat options can work well. Lowfat cakes using applesauce or other fruits will not freeze as well. The higher the fat, the beter the cake will freeze. If you are concerned about your cake being dry, add extra fat it probably needs it anyway. (hehe) I will freeze just about anything I can. My freezer currently has an odd mix of items in it including 2 blueberry loaves, biscuits, flour, cornmeal, and soups as well as your usual packaged frozen fare like tater tots.
I also recommend freezing cakes undecorated as not all icing freezes as well not will it be as fluffy as I prefer when it comes back to life.
Here's my process for freezing cakes and other baked goods like the blueberry loaves.
  1. Allow the cake to cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Placing a warm baked good in the freezer will cause the temperature to raise and possibly compromise your other frozen goods.
  2. Prewrap your cake with plastic wrap to seal in moisture and out air.
  3. Wrap in another wrapping or container which is airtight to prevent odor from leaching in cause this will definitely ruin your cake. I recommend either aluminum foil then a plastic freezer bag or a plastic container such as a cake carrier.
  4. If you use a plastic container, you can avoid this step. I recommend placing the cake on top of a solid sheet like a piece of cardboard. My freezer has wire racks and the last thing you want is to discover wire lines on your cake when you go to decorate it. The plastic container will prevent the need for this and also prevent any damage that might happen if someone knocks into the cake while in the freezer especially in the first few hours before the cake is frozen solid. However, I know this is not always a possibilty like with the numerous cakes my friend will have to freeze.
  5. Do not freeze your cake for more than 2 months as it will definitely begin to dry out at that point.
  6. When you go to thaw out the cake, simply place at room temperature on a solid surface until thawed. The time to thaw will vary based on the size of the cake from 2-5 hours. Do not try to force the cake to defrost faster by microwaving or reheating the cake. This will ruin your cake.
  7. After the cake is thawed, decorate as desired.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spacing issues

I apologize in advance for the spacing issues that I had with the Anna Sui preview posts. I am having difficulties in blogger and am hoping some of my bloggy friends might be able to give me some advice. Every time that blogger saves my posts including auto saves it adds another line between my pics, paragraphs, etc. Since I was having problems making any changes to the Anna Sui posts since they were apparently too big, I kind of gave up. Anyone know how to stop this other than just manually removing these extra lines? Thanks in advance for any advice.

today's free stuff 9/3/09

I know it has been a while, but I am back with freebie posts.

Free Betty Crocker Potatoes

Free Stayfree Ultrathin Overnight Sample

Next Wednesday, September 9th for Good Neighbor Day in store only FTD will be offering free flowers while supplies last as well as possibly other goodies.

Printable coupon for a free small coffee at Borders

Free Taylor Lautner poster from Teen Vogue

Free sample of Huggies Little Movers

Free Full Sized Fekkai Advanced Shampoo valued at $23 when you bring in an empty bottle of your current shampoo brand to one of the partcipating Saks 5th Avenue locations on September 17th

Free Moviecube dvd rental with code ETUX9A9

Printable Coupon for free 12 count CankerMelts at Walgreens or Rite-aid good thru Sept 15th

Printable Coupon for a pair of free panties at Aerie stores any Thursday in September

Free canister of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for teachers

Free sample of Kotex Ultra Thin Overnight Pads with Wings

Printable Coupon for a free bottle of Racetrac brand water at Racetrac locations

Free Maplesoft Math Posters-great for teachers

Currently, several companies are offering targeted freebies for becoming fans via ads on your sidebar on facebook. Be on the lookout for the likes of Rockstar, Texas Pete's,and Chick-fil-A.

Free Scrubbing Bubble Gift Pack

Free sample of Bear Naked Granola

50 free prints from Shutterfly with promo code GETMYPRINTS-you do have to pay shipping

Free sample of exederm intensive moisture cream

Free Brain Facts book or cd for educators. This book is pretty cool and informative especially to me with the addiction and mental illness section from a highly scientific standpoint.

Free sample of Tampax

Free green firming facial cream from aveda with promo code organic cactus and free sensory ritual at aveda spas with the page printout

Free condoms from Love 4 for individuals and 1000 for organizations-I know this one works since we received them for Pride.

Free full sized tube of Badgal Blue mascara at Ulta on September 15th when you bring either a printout of the Seventeen homepage or the October 2009 cover. This mascara retails for $19. Each Ulta will have 12-24 tubes of mascara to give away.

Free Fancy Feast Appetizers for cats

Free sample of Dinovite pet food

Free solid food starter kit from Beech Nut foods

Free Always Flexithin style liner

Free Starbucks beverage on your birthday

Free Hallmark card

Free sample of Emergen-c cherry

Free sample of Zyrtec

Free sample of Prilosec OTC

Free sample of Tena protective underwear

Free sample of No-Doz

Free sample of Playtex Sport

Free download of Aaron Shust's song Take Over

Free Kotex and FDS sample kit from Walmart

Free Cornwall recipe book

Pride books are out

We have begun distributing our Pride Books to local merchants thankfully chocked full of advertisers. This means (eeek) Pride Week begins next week. Since we only have printed forms of our books, I thought I would share a few pics.

This is the cover featuring a picture of our historic downtown. Of note, P.R.I.D.E is actually an acronym at least in Fredericksburg which stands for People Recognizing Integrity, Diversity and Equality. As an organization, we are not just centered around gay friendly events but those which seek to promote understanding and tolerance of all minorities. We are mandated by our bylaws to be a community organization which does events throughout the year, but next week is our big week.

This is the week's schedule which will keep me quite busy. Sunday evening, I have the honor of judging the drag pagaent. I may not have ever been a beauty queen, but now I get to play a role in crowning one. Monday is the picnic where I will not only be bringing a covered dish which I promise to blog about, but I am also going to be manning the grill. Tuesday and Thursday being karaoke events you can bet your bippee will involve some singing for me. Saturdays festival means an early start as I am event staff and have been told I get to begin my day there at 6:45 am with setup. In addition to being staff, I will be selling wares at a booth and performing. Sunday at the tea party, I will be Alice in Wonderland as well as our emcee for the tea-riffic boat ride. So, I expect either I will have lots of posts next week with pics or no posts as I drift away to sleep each night completely exhausted.
I got lots of great mentions in the pride book, 5 to be exact such as this one listing me as an ad coordinator.
My listing as a Board Member for the upcoming year.
The only place where my name was misspelled was in one of the thank yous.

Better Pics of My Thrifting

I know I promised better pics once I could take them of the shoes I acquired from Goodwill on Sunday. As promised, here they are.

Anna Sheffield for Target

Anna Sheffield's Jewerly Line for Target debuted at Target Stores on August 30th. The collection fuses both an eclectic mix of vintage and contemporary styles featuring keepsake pieces with a range of delicate drop and playful stud earrings, charm bracelets and necklaces adorned with multi-chains and stones. This collection provides beautiful sterling silver and vermeil jewelry at reasonable prices.
Since the Sheffield line has already debuted, I will just give you a few of my favorite highlights.
Neckaces $29.99-$49.99
I think the scissor pendant might be perfect for some of my crafty friends.

Hearts & Thoughts Hoop Charm Earrings

Earrings $29.99

Part 3 of the Anna Sui for Target Preview

Plaid Vest in Black/Gray $29.99
Tee with Lace Sleeves in Black $29.99
Plaid Cropped Pants in Black/Gray $34.99

Silk Jumper in Black $59.99

Herringbone Dress in Gray/Black $59.99

Metallic Bouclé Dress with Sequin Feather Detailing in Gray $69.99

Leather Jacket in Black $149.99

Satin Striped Shift Dress with Belt in Black $59.99

Part 2 of the Anna Sui Preview

More of Anna Sui's New Line

Silk Off-The-Shoulder Striped Dress in Ivory/Red/Black $59.99

Tulle Tie-Front Top in Black $19.99

Tattersall Skirt in Red $29.99

Hole Leggings in Black $19.99

Lace Halter Dress in Black $69.99

Silk Labyrinth-Border-Print Tunic in Red/Black $49.99

Ruched-Front Hooded Nylon Jacket in Black $79.99

Silk Sleeveless Wrap Dress in Geometric-Bandana-Border Print in Black/White $59.99

Metallic Houndstooth Jacquard Dress in Purple/Black $69.99

Foulard Printed Dress with Elastic Belt in Blue $44.99

Long-Sleeve Tablecloth Dress in Ivory $69.99

Metallic Jacquard Dress in Multicolor Circles $59.99

Short-Sleeve Sheer Dot Jacquard Dress in Black $44.99