12 December 2014

Gingerbread Biscotti

I have such a backlog of posts, it's not even funny. I have things I need to post from Halloween! I actually think that's part of the reason I haven't posted much lately, I'm so paralyzed by how behind I am. The other reason is that I have a photo album on Facebook I've been using to document the holiday season. But, I made some really awesome biscotti yesterday, and figured that would be any easy way to dive back in to my blog. I found the recipe here on Smitten Kitchen. I made pretty much no alterations to the recipe.

Biscotti done and cooling.
Gingerbread Biscotti
2 cups + 2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
7 Tbsp butter, melted and cool
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup nuts, white chocolate, or dark chocolate (opt.)
1 large egg white

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line one large or two small baking sheets (I used two) with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, spices, pepper, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, butter, two eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients and any nuts and chocolate to the dry mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined. (I used about 3/4 cup of toasted almond slices and no chocolate in this batch.)

3. Divide dough in half. Using floured hands, put each half onto the baking sheet and form it into a slightly flattened log about 11 inches by 2 1/2 inches. Whisk the egg white until a little foamy and loose. Brush the egg white over the top and sides of each log.

Logs shaped, brushed with egg white, and ready to go in the oven.
4. Bake logs until golden brown all over, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool about 25 minutes, until lukewarm.

They were definitely most pretty right when they came out of the oven.
5. Use a sharp serrated knife and cut logs on the diagonal into 1/2 inch wide slices. Arrange the slices, a cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until golden underneath. Turn each biscotti over and bake for another 6-8 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

6. Enjoy with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

Note from experience: In step 5, when you're baking the individual slices, be warned that it is the bottom that is browning, not the top. I totally left them in for over 15 minutes because I couldn't see a noticeable color change on top. Little did I know the bottom was cooking away. I almost burnt them! When checking for done-ness in that step, pick it up and take a glance at the bottom.

Biscotti are a great thing to make around the holidays because they can keep at room temperature in an airtight container for weeks.

And just for fun, here is a picture of me being the SS Christmas Elf at work. (SS technically stands for Secret Santa, but one of the actors got confused and thought of Nazi's, hence the helmet plus the holiday hat.)

27 October 2014

Halloween Shopping

As usual, I did the grocery shopping today since it was my day off. I also had to pick up a couple things for the theatre. And, since it is Halloween, I also picked up some supplies for the holiday.

I got these little guys at Walmart. I usually make cookies around Halloween for the cast, but I only have three fall themed cookie cutters, and they're on the large size. These are a much better size, though I have a feeling the bird will be more trouble than it's worth.

Lashes, chalk, and white cream, oh my!
The little lip balm and hair chalk I got at Sally Beauty Supply on clearance for less than a dollar each. The lashes, white cream make-up, and the foundation brush I picked up at Walmart. I was ecstatic to see that Walmart is now carrying e.l.f. products- it makes my life so much easier! I also was excited to see the cute lashes they had. My plan is to do at least two looks for Halloween this year, a less extreme version for Wednesday and then a full out look for Thursday. There's a costume contest before the show, so I'll fit right in. I haven't decided what I'm doing for the actual day of Halloween yet, but even if I just stay home, I'll probably do something fun just because.

Lastly, when I got home, I discovered my order from Payless had come in. I've been in desperate need of a pair of black pumps and a nice pair of brown shoes I could wear to work. I got both of these on sale using my birthday money from Bamma.

Black shoes are these and the brown ones are these.
I think the brown ones will be part of my costume for Thursday. Haven't decided what shoes I'm wearing on Wednesday yet.

I also got a wig and a dress from Savers and a crafty item from Michaels for my Thursday costume. But I'll wait to share those until the look is all put together!

24 October 2014

Birthday Beauty Haul!

I have had quite the birthday this year. I got lots of amazing presents from Mike, my parents, Lilly, and even my friends at work. Rather than show all the amazing stuff I got, I decided just to do a post on the beauty goodies I got. Some of these were presents, some of them I got for free because it was my birthday, and some of them were part of my mini-shopping spree on the day after my birthday.

To start with, here are the beauty goodies that were in the box I got from my family:

I got some Clinique staples from Lilly- Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Moisture Surge Intense Skin Hydrator, Lash Doubling Mascara, Different Lipstick in Angel Red, and of course a super cute make-up bag. My mum sent me a Bath and Body Works pump soap and two samples of Victoria Secret perfume. The perfume Noir Tease has notes of black vanilla, frozen pear, and blooming gardenia. The perfume Fearless has notes of black currant, purple diamond iris, and orris. I'm excited to try them both out.

At Sephora, I bought this awesome liquid liner from the Sephora Collection called Colorful Waterproof Eyeliner 24hr Wear in 08 Eccentric Diva. It is a lovely bright purple color. I haven't worn it yet, but I've tested it on my hand and it does not move once it dries. It's super smudge and waterproof. I'm going to wear it on Saturday I think and see how it does. The birthday gift this year from Sephora was a two piece set from Make Up For Ever.

Inside is the Smoky Extravagant Mascara and Rouge Artist Natural lipstick in N9 Copper Pink. Haven't gotten the chance to try either of them just yet, but I'm super excited to. I especially want to see how the mascara compares to the Clinique and Benefit ones I use.

Sally Beauty Supplies had mailed me an amazing $10 of $20 purchase coupon, so I swung by there to stock up on hair dye. I got this whole pile of things for just over 12 dollars!

I got three boxes of Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Color- my tried and true Red, the Fuschia which I've been wanting to try, and I went out on a limb and got Aqua. I have no idea how well the Fuschia or Aqua will go over my natural color, but I was willing to give it a shot. I also decided to get a Beyond the Zone Color Jamz which is another semi-permanent color, because the color Candy Apple Red was on sale (perhaps because they're discontinuing it). I don't know much about it, but figured it was worth trying for under five dollars. I also picked up a minty chapstick and a Sally Girl Mini Nail Polish in Mint that was on sale for $0.99 to make sure I was over the $20 for my coupon. I could not believe how little I had to pay for all of this. I have enough hair dye for months!

The last place I went to get some beauty supplies was good old Target for some e.l.f. products. Mostly it was to stock up on some things I'd run out of, but I also grabbed a few new things to try as well.

The Neutrogena hand cream was something I randomly picked up since it was on clearance for $0.63. I also got two packs of the Shine Eraser blotting sheets as I was completely out. I also got a Clarifying Pressed Powder since they don't always have it in Ivory. The two things I took a chance on was the Tone Correcting Concealer and the Eyelid Primer. I don't have a liquid concealer, so that seemed like a good thing to get, and I'm always willing to try a new, inexpensive eyelid primer. Did I mention that ll the e.l.f. things I got were only a dollar each? I'll report back if I think they're great (or if they turn out to be rubbish).

Some of the other wonderful birthday presents I got were a flask from Mike with the comedy/tragedy masks on it, also from Mike the full set of buttons from Q2Q comics, a super cute hat and scarf from Lilly, a Jack Skellington shirt from Mum and Sir, and a few stuffed animals from Mum and Sir, one of which I've been carrying around and another which the piggies have adopted (it's a doughnut). Like I said, it was quite the awesome birthday and I'm having so much fun trying out all my new goodies.

05 October 2014

Happy Fall!

I know it's technically been fall for a little while already, but it's really been feeling like it lately, and just last week, the leaves started to change.

I have been decorating inside:

The chocolate eye balls were a big hit in rehearsal.

And nature has been decorating outside:

All that to say, Happy Fall!

03 October 2014

Outfit of the Day

I had fun getting dressed this morning, so I wanted to do an outfit of the day. Sadly, my phone died right as I went to take a picture at the end of work. Therefore, you get the outfit in two parts:

Hat and cowl Ravelry pages here and here.

I'm wearing the hat and cowl I knit, the red dress I got from Lilly (you can see the whole dress in this post), patterned thigh highs from Victoria Secret, and my black boots from Payless. As it's rather cold, I also wore my leather motorcycle vest and cream wrist warmers when I was outside. I felt very much like I was dressed as my alter ego.

27 September 2014

Saturday Shopping

It is slowly becoming habit that when I have an extra long break between shows, or between rehearsal and a show, that I run to a craft store and CVS. There is a Michaels and CVS just down the street from Stoneham Theatre, and a nice big Joann Fabrics and CVS about fifteen minutes away. Last week I picked up yarn for a few projects (at least one of which is a gift). This week I went more to browse, and got a few really fun things on sale at Joanns. I got this yarn on clearance for only $1.97.

You can never have too much 100% Acrylic, Super Bulky yarn, right?
I don't have any specific use in mind for it, but I liked the color, and Super Bulky weight yarn is nice to have on hand because you can whip it up into something really quickly.

I also got these amazing eye lashes to wear for Halloween. Well, probably actually the day before, since I work on the 30th, but not the 31st.

Little Miss Muffet, sat on her tuffet...

I realized when I took a picture, that I probably should have been more choosy when grabbing them off the shelf, as it looks like I may need to trim this pair, but I'm still super excited about them. They're freaking spider webs! You can find them on the Joann's website here. I also got a few other fall themed items, but they were gifts, so I can't tell you about them.

I then went to CVS and was a rockstar at working their coupons/extra bucks. Here's the bottom of my receipt:

That's right, I saved more than I spent! Everything I bought was either on sale or got hit with my 25% off coupon, and then I also had $5 in extra bucks.

Important fuel for the weekend.
All the Arizona teas were on sale 2/$1, which always makes me super happy. I bought some Dickenson's Witch Hazel, because I'm nearly out, and it's what I use as toner every night. It also happened to be on sale, which was awesome. And then lastly, I decided to put the extra bucks towards trying out a new hair product I've had on my wishlist for a while.

Love me some de-constructed style.
I got Garnier Fructis Style De-Constructed Move It Manipulating Gel (what a mouthful!). The description says it "gives you roughed-up looks with texture and body, that are not sticky, stiff, or weighed down. Rough up and texturize yourhair for 24 hour deconstructed style that looks done yet undone. Get touchable control with a subtle, satin finish and ultra strong hold." It got good reviews in something that I read (I want say it was Glamour) and since I'm usually going for a messy, textured look, it seemed like a good product to try. I'll report back later on how I find it. (And I promise I'll get around to doing review of the two Not Your Mother's products I bought a while ago.)

Now I think it's time for a nap and then the second to last performance of Doubt!

22 September 2014

Ion Color Brilliance: Take Two

Spurred on by how much I loved the Ion Color Brilliance Brights in Red this summer, I decided to try out the Magenta. Before I dyed my hair, though, I decided I need to take a bit of length off. So I ran to Supercuts, and got it cut.
Fresh cut hair, but not yet styled.
There are many reasons why I've been digging the Ion Color Brilliance Brights line, not the least of which is the fact that the color is cruelty free (in addition to be ammonia and peroxide free).

When I squirted it out of the tube, I could tell that the Magenta was different in more than just color. Colorwise, it was more purple-y than the Red had been. It also didn't stain random surfaces in the same way as the Red. It also rinsed out SO MUCH EASIER. Of course, this reduced pigmentation resulted in a much subtler color.

Not the best picture, but I was trying to get what it looked like under sunlight. (You can also see my purple scalp.)
 It doesn't have the punch of the Red, but my hair definitely looks dyed in the red/magenta family. It didn't do as good a job of covering the roots vs previously dyed bits to an equal intensity, but that's to be expected.

Indoor shot- this one shows the color a bit better.
I feel like the color looks a bit more red than either of these pictures show. I was a disappointed when I first did it, but it has been growing on me. It's not the crazy color I got before, but it's actually a really lovely color nonetheless. I can't decide if this makes me more or less hopeful to try the fushia or another similarly odd color. On the one hand, if they blend like this, then even if I don't love the color, it doesn't scream. On the other hand, I do want the option of crazy hair. I have another box of the Red already bought, so when this fades, I'll just have to decide it I want to do that again right away, or try the Fushia.