Category: General

GeneralAround the Warehouse: New Year’s Resolutions


Anybody see where 2011 went? I seem to have misplaced it . . .

This year has gone so fast! Seriously, it seems like no time has passed, but then I realize how much really HAS happened and it’s a bit daunting. I finished grad school, moved to a new house, traveled the world, and learned how to surf…and yet, there is still so much I wanted to do! 
 
Luckily, the new year brings a new start and another chance to do new things. I polled some of the girls around the warehouse to see what they were resolving to do in 2012.
 
* * *

Brittani:  Live a little! Not go to bed at 9 and experience life. And learn to speak French.

Liz:  You know who you are. Get over my ex.
 
Lindsay:  Be kinder to people and not let the little things get to me.
 
Amy:  Strengthen current relationships and meet new people.
 
Katie:  Get up early with my boyfriend and walk our dog before and after work. We have to get in shape for Portugal!
 
Kellen:  Work on my green thumb. I want to learn how to garden for our new yard! 
 
Rene:  See Neil Young one more time before he stops touring
 
Karen:  Learn how to teach English in Prague.
 
Caitlin:  Continue to maintain my resolution to never make a resolution.
 
Annie: Read more books!
 
Sienna:  Carry out what I hope to achieve.
 
Valerie: Walk at least 30 minutes a day.
 
Cara:  Visit New York! It’s been forever, and I miss it dearly!
 
Stephanie: Love unconditionally, everyday.
* * *
 
Not sure what your resolutions are going to be? Maybe this list of the top 2011 celebrity resolutions will help inspire you! 

GeneralFestive Holiday Drinks

Whether you’re playing hostess, or just arriving with a gift in hand, these yummy drink recipes will impress and delight. Mulled wine can be made days or weeks ahead of time and heated up at your friend’s party. As for the cocoa, I like to make it just before I leave the house and pour it into a pre-warmed Thermos. That way you can offer up your concoction without having to raid your friend’s kitchen!
 
  
Mulled Wine (per bottle)
3/4 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Water
1 Bottle Red Wine (Cabernet or Merlot work fine)
12 Whole Cloves
1 Large Cinnamon Stick
1/8 tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
2 Lemons (cut into wedges)
1 Orange (cut into wedges)
1/2 C. Orange Juice
 
Directions: Boil the sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients squeezing each lemon and orange wedge a bit to release the juice and oils. Simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the wine is warm and flavorful and you just start to see steam. (Be sure not to boil!) Add sugar to taste if you desire.
 
Strain and serve, or cool and pour back into the bottles and refrigerate. You can reheat any quantity you like, and your mulled wine will keep in the refrigerator for weeks!
 
 
Hot Chocolate with Irish Cream (Makes 2 Cups)
 
2 C. Milk (any kind)
4 Tbs.  Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/4 C. Irish Cream
Freshly Grated Cinnamon

Directions: Place milk in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in chocolate powder. Heat until scalded. Whisk in vanilla and pour into two mugs. Stir in the Irish Cream and finish with freshly grated cinnamon.
 
*Feeling elaborate? Serve with homemade peppermint marshmallows!
 
 
Poinsettia (The Easy Method)
 
Champagne or White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay work well)
Cranberry Juice
 
Directions: Add a splash of cranberry juice to your champagne or wine. Simple and delicious!
 

Do you have any special drink recipes for holiday times?

GeneralBest Christmas Cookie Recipe EVER: Ribbon Cookies

 
There is something very magical about Christmas cookies. In my family, they come out at the end of November for our annual Christmas tree chopping expedition and are retired around the beginning of January, allowing us a magical month of sugary delight that remains unspoiled by year-round availability.

As a kid, I was, of course, far more interested in seeing how much sugar cookie dough I could eat when my mom wasn’t looking than I was in baking, but now I enjoy baking them even more. This recipe of my mom’s is one of my all-time favorites, and it’s really easy to make. Plus, it has a few redeeming features like fruit (jam) and protein (an egg) to offset the necessary and delicious butter and sugar.



  Ingredients
 
Cookie  
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
jam (any flavor) 
 
 
Glaze
  1/2 cup powdered sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon water   
 
Instructions
 

1. Beat butter and sugar until the mixture is creamed well. Beat in the egg yolk & vanilla. Mix all dry ingredients in gradually.                      

2. Shape dough into ropes about 3/4 inch in diameter and as long as your baking sheets; place them about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. With the side of your little finger (or a wooden spoon handle) press a long groove down the center of each rope. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.    

3. Remove from oven and spoon jam into the grooves. Return to oven for 5  to 10 minutes or until firm and light golden brown. While hot, drizzle with powdered sugar mixture.  Cut at a 45° angle into 1 inch lengths. Let cool briefly on sheets, transfer to racks, and let cool completely. Makes 4 dozen (Just enough for meee!!)

Tip:  if you like them a bit softer, cook only five minutes the second time. Cook the full ten minutes the second time if you’d like a crispier cookie.

Drooling yet?

GeneralSite to See: Microwhat

Stuff + Microwave = Microwhat
 
Remember watching marshmallows expand into gelatinous zeppelins as a child? Our newest Site to See, Microwhat, features the microwave as an artistic process where random stuff is set on a clinical-looking white plate and nuked for a documented amount of time.
 
But what makes microwaving stuff so cool? Well, you’ll just have to see for yourself!
 
Snowballs
 
 
Bubblegum Jawbreakers
 
 
Lipstick
 

Mints
 
 
Starburst
 
 
If you think this is cool, check out the Microwhat blog to see what a bar of Ivory soap does!
 

GeneralDIY: Transform Your Ugly Christmas Sweater

When it was announced that we were having our very own ugly sweater day in the warehouse, I decided to do a little tinkering with this awesome “Mistle Toads” sweatshirt. In the style of some of the oversized, off-the-shoulder tops we carry here, I picked up my scissors and went to town. This method is easy, quick and no-sew, and will last at least a few wearings without hemming the edges.
If you want to get a little more advanced, you can create a matching bow from the leftover sleeves. With the sweater AND the bow, this project took me about 12 minutes. Serious.
So let’s start with another Xmas culprit:
1. Cut off one sleeve to desired length. Start long and work your way up if you have to.
2. Fold the sweater in half, match up the sleeves and cut the other sleeve using your first as a template.
3. Cut out the neckline. Start by cutting just below the ribbing or your neckline may get CRAZY BIG!
4. Rid yourself of that unflattering cinched waistband. Again, cut just above the ribbing; if you want it even more cropped, cut higher.
Now you have a cozy, more contemporary look.

To make the bow you will need to sew, but if you’re at all handy with your sewing machine, or nimble with your thimble, this won’t be a problem.
1. Cut out the following shapes by folding your leftover sleeve ends in half. You will need two of the bow shapes and one rectangle.
2. Place the bow shapes wrong sides out and stitch along the edge, leaving about 1 1/2 inches open in the very center.
3. Turn the bow to right sides out.
4. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise (wrong side out) and stitch along the side.
5. Turn the tube right side out.
6. With the seam facing you, wrap the tube around the middle of your bow and sew the end together. Twist so the seam is now on the inside.
7.Use bobby pins to pin this bow into your hair, or sew on a hair clip if you’d like!
 
 xoxo