Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Off to Boca Raton

Right now, as we speak (ermmm type) I am on my way to NYC on the Amtrak Acela.  Have I ever mentioned how amazing it is? Especially in first class…just look at this meal. Also, when you have ridden this route enough you know which side to side on for the ocean views.

It is just the beginning of my I-got-a-job-and-soon-I-will-work-too-much trip. I am taking the train to New York and leaving with my sister (read her Florida post here) tomorrow morning at 6:45. YIKES. That is an early-ass plane, but that way we’ll be on the beach by Noon, with a margarita by 12:15. The reason I am leaving from NYC, instead of just meeting her there, is that Spirit Air had incredibly cheap flights and a coupon. Spirit Air brings me back to traveling on cheap airlines in Europe, where there are no assigned seats, it is every man for himself, and they gouge you for everything else—including a carry on and likely charge for oxygen.  I was going to bring cupcakes to celebrate her blogiversary, but I figured I would be charged, or other starving passengers would steal them. The irony here is that we are staying a Waldorf Astoria where arriving by yacht is one of the options after directions from the airport.  While being in Boca is preferable to being extremely untrendy in South Beach (I mean, have you seen the trip t-shirts I make for us?), we probably won’t be able to afford a drink at this hotel, and you can assume we will be stealing purse size foodstuffs from breakfast. We might be cheap and wear black, stretchy clothing too much, but we are certainly resourceful.

Just a quick aside—this attendant has a heavy hand when it come to pouring the wine.

That sister I mentioned earlier is a true gem, this trip—especially the amazing hotel part—wouldn’t be possible without her, or at least her Hilton points. She planned the whole thing, though I will take some credit for pushing FLA over Vegas or Napa. The goal ultimately was somewhere warm and relaxing, she needs a break from work and I need to celebrate the last few weeks of my freedom before work.
This trip comes in handy as it knocks off one of my to-dos and wanting to take full advantage of these couple of weeks, I made a list:

1.     Get Jen lunch (She was hungry—we both struggle with rational thoughts when we are hungry)
2.     Go to a show (concert) in Boston
3.     Go on a celebratory trip. This gets checked off and switched to Get a six-pack by Thursday - which, I was already unsuccesful at, unless there is a miracle tonight.
4.     Complete a Paint-by-number
I already finished this one

5.     Do a free hand painting

6.     Learn a song on the guitar
7.     Change my sheets (that one is courtesy of my sister)
8.     Clean my room
9.     Find a nice blazer – like the one’s J. Crew seems to have that you can fold the sleeves up a bit
10. Go to NYC
11. Go to an art museum
12. Make a nice dessert (other than cake and cupcakes)
13. Make a cat t-shirt
14. Take Gladys (the cat) into a store wearing a dress
15. Read a book: I just started reading Let the Great World Spin
16.  Finish/Start a knitting project
17. Find a work purse
18. Find some good loafers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Velvet Valentines

Valentines day was wonderful…any excuse for me to decorate cupcakes or cake is a good day in my book. I went all out since I could decorate them however I wanted. Now that I know my full potential I decided to invest in some extra decorations, but I literally had no idea where to get them – so, I obviously turned to Amazon.

First of all, fancy decoration can be pricey, but they are very neat. I wound up with some metallic silver and pink heart sprinkle (more like the consistency of sequins though) and light pink metallic food paint. The paint can apparently be airbrushed, but I really didn’t want to get that involved. SO I used it to mix with some white frosting and brushed it on top after it had hardened a bit. I also used it on my pièce de résistance, the white chocolate hearts.

I got this idea after watching my sister make some nonpareils. First of all you have to work quickly – they aren’t lying when they say chocolate is hard to work with, especially white chocolate. We got our method of dispensing the chocolate from our friend’s blog, Rachel Passing Notes. Basically used regular white chocolate chips and a little shortening, melted them at intervals of 30s at a medium power and them somehow got it into Ziploc baggies that we snipped on of the corners off of. Homemade piping!!! Luckily, I had watched my talented sister fail, so I was prepared for chocolate piping speed.  I made some purple and pink hearts simply by adding some food coloring to the chocolate before I put it in the baggie.  

The first round wasn’t quite as successful, I tried to cut the white chocolate with a cookie cutter, but it was pretty heard to get it at the right consistency, that’s when I just straight-up piped the hearts, and they turned out a little kitschy, but perfect. I admit, this time I used a boxed red velvet mix. The Duncan Hines actually yields more than the regular box, so I got A LOT of cupcakes. For the baby cupcakes I used some frosting left over from another cake, that turned out to fade in the sun – actually looked better. But the end result was AMAZING, if I do say so myself.

I would say my best delivery was to my beautiful sister. She had an early train on Monday so I left her treat where (I hoped) she wouldn't miss it.

And here is a sweet (both meanings) slideshow of my cupcakes. Lucky for you I edited it down from 52. Imagine how many photos there will be when I have children.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Last Day at the Likkah Stoah

 It has happened, nine months after I graduated from college….

I got a job! Did you expect me to say baby? Well, luckily it wasn’t, even though that last week is a bit hazy.  My surprised me with  an awesome (and fitting) mug to put on my desk.

I got an awesome job at an awesome company doing awesome things, it’s gonna be awesome. I gave my two weeks notice to the liquor store, the art center, and the gallery. Yes, three jobs, I tend to overbook myself.  If you haven’t been to Gallery NAGA, on Newbury Street, you should. Not only has it been one of the best jobs, but also it is a great gallery run by great people. Right now there is an awesome show of Peter Vanderwarker’s work. I digress…

Tuesday was my last day at the liquor store, after working there since my senior year of high school.  Working there really is like working with your family, in part because my best friend’s (go here to see her awesome photography) family owns the business. Like any small town business you have your regulars, and your characters that come in (often the same people). My favorite customer, Pete, is a 40 year-old (so he says) mechanic who lives with his elderly parents. He’s one of those people who has lived hard, as in really appreciated the drugs in the 70s (and 80s and 90s probably). He loves NASCAR and all racing, he loves rock n’ roll, he loves questionable jokes and I love him. I probably wouldn’t have loved him if I knew him in his rough and tumble days. Aside from Pete, I get to make fancy designs on the whiteboard when we have wine tastings…oh, and participate in the wine tastings. But, as I worked from 8:45 to 5 (and alone until 2) I thought of some things I wouldn’t miss.

1.   When people say “that was a good year” if the total is $19 and change
2.    When people give me bizarre change in order to get $1.05 back…and they do it after they already          gave me a twenty.
3.   People who walk in and say “I can’t find the….”, without even looking.
4.  Doing bottle returns, especially when they are moldy Coronas with limes from the boaters.
5.   Pervy older men…I don’t think I need to elaborate on that.
6.  Dusting…so much dusting
7.  We have Greek olive oil and sell it in refillable bottles. People try and fill them up to the brim…then they overflow…right at closing time.
8.   People that do loads of lottery, and have extremely complicated directions: ‘back it up’, ‘across the board’, ‘three of this two of those, this game on separate tickets, these repeated 6,782 times”
9.    The dinging sound of the door, I think I’ll continue to get angry whenever I hear that ‘ding-dong’ for years to come.
10.  Children running around the store.
11. Fighting with customers, I might not be the most patient person in retail.
12. People who insist their wine will break if it clanks in the bag and they need 45 bags between each bottle.

I will miss a job where my sister can surprise me with a visit from my cat…my classy, dress-wearing cat.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mmmm, cake!

Who doesn’t love cake? I actually prefer to bake them, as you’ll see. A Foley Family tradition was started this year – no more buying cakes. First all, you saves loads of money, but there is also something about homemade cakes – even if they are made with funfetti. This new tradition is right up my alley, I love putting things together (i.e. legos) and crafts, this brings together both ‘brains’ so to speak.

It started with my sister, who seems to love rubbing my mother the wrong way. Jen wanted a funfetti cake for her birthday, I was more than happy to oblige. My mother on the other hand NEEDS to buy cakes from White’s Bakery and we have to have a special dinner, but the special dinner has to be on her terms. I distinctly remember asking for Dinty Moore Beef Stew (if you don’t like it, go jump off a cliff) and she refused, because it wasn’t ‘nice’ enough. Karma is a bitch though, because she made American chop suey and as I was putting it on the table, the plate went where it was supposed to, but the suey went on the wall. Inertia is a funny thing.

Anyway, back to cake. It was my mom’s birthday this week and my
sister and I decided to compromise – we wouldn’t force her to have Funfetti, but she wasn’t allowed to have a store bought cake. So I made red velvet her favorite, and my first cake from scratch (aside from angel food cake). It was beautiful…and really, it isn’t so fancy, just loads of food coloring and bit of cocoa powder. I struggled a bit with the design for this, because I just had to trump my last big cake for my brother’s birthday. Jake’s cake had his favorite stuffed penguin on it, definitely a challenge. I love flowers and all, but I needed to open up my repertoire and I like to have each cake specific to the birthday boy or girl. My dad’s was perfect; you’ll see it in the slide show below.

Mom’s cake ended up being lime green frosting, nice and funky with the red velvet, with a camera. My mom loves photography, but it took me quite a while to get that shit on the cake. The end result was really masterpiece; I just sent a picture to the Louvre.