Monday, December 18, 2006

Things I've finished

  1. My finals.....HOORAY! I thought I'd never finish them. They just kept looming overhead stressing me out and stunting my full enjoyment of the impending holidays.
  2. My party. It was so awesome. By the number of photo ornaments we made everyone make when the came we had about 45 people pass through our door. I made almost all of the treats I posted before. The favorites were the little red and green sandwich cookies (they practically melt in your mouth!) and the cherry crescents. Who would have guessed?
  3. My Christmas shopping...all except for my mom. For some reason she is proving difficult for me this year. It's not that she's hard to shop for at all....she'd be thrilled with almost anything. I just love to get people the perfect gift so I agonize over it until I feel inspired. Now I'm just waiting for all of my lovely things to arrive in the mail. I love Christmas shopping online because it feels like I get a present too when it comes to my little box.
  4. My after-party dish pile. Holy cow was this huge!!!! Even though we only put out napkins, somehow there ended up being an overflowing sink. Saturday I buckeled down and scrubbed my poor little fingers to the bone.

Wow, writing that list really made me happy. I love to cross things off my list!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Not a Night Owl

Being the first person to fall asleep has never been cool.

When I was little and went to a slumber party I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to stay away and I'd end up with a frozen training bra or my hand in a luke warm bowl of water. It never happened, but the fear was real. I've always been the first to fall asleep.

As I grew older I started realizing that this little quirk of mine was going to seriously hinder my social life. In college I struggled every night to act alert and alive at 2 in the morning but really I was pining for my bed. When everyone else was laughing and screaming around the dorms I was straining to stay away from the zombie-like state to which I was naturally disposed.

Unfortunatley for me I am in love with a night person. He wants to stay up late and I tend to drift off around 11. He's even accused me of thinking the rest of the world doesn't exist when I'm tired.

However, last night we had a role reversal.

After work I started cooking. I was baking and humming and got into a rythm and when I checked the clock I realized it was alreay past midnight. I came up from my powdered sugar cloud haze to see that everyone around me was exhausted. I was filled with energy and hopped up on all the requisite sampling that holiday cooking entails.

Finished with my cooking, I took one look at the huge, beautiful Christmas tree and realized that we really should put the garland on before our tree-trimming party on Thursday. With silver beads in hand I looped and adjusted with assistance from my worn out boyfriend and roommate. After I'd satisfied myself with the decorating job I looked down from the landing of my stairs onto a scene I'd never before expierienced.

My roommate was passed out on the couch. The ear doctor was dozing off on the lovesac. The glow of the Christmas tree filled the room and I was awake. I was the one who got to have that moment. And I'll have to admit, it was pretty awesome.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Today I was making my usual daily stop over at Design Mom. Her give-aways of the day have completley engrossed me for the last month and I'm sad they'll be ending this week.

Anyway, today's give away are really pretty earrings hand-made by a designer named Peggy Li. The earrings are really breathtaking, and so is a lot of Peggy's other work, but that's not why she inspiried me to post.

In her bio it says that she was a Chemical Engineering major at UC Berkeley before she competley switched gears and started her own jewlery design company.

When people do stuff like this I am blown away by their bravery. It takes serious guts to give up a career that may have been lucrative and "stable" in the eyes of the rest of society and decide to start making jewelry.

It made me want to throw in the engineering towel, head down the the Culinary Institue and start my new life as a pastry chef....

...or maybe I'm just thinking like that because it is finals week?

Probably the latter.


...wouldn't it be awesome to be able to make desserts for people that just wipe away the hardness of their world, the badness of their day, the banality of their life in one scrumptious bite?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Random Act of Christmas Kindness #7

Today my boss put up some Christmas lights in the office. He put them around a doorway that I have to walk through a bazillion times a day. He had his minions help him get the lights up. This makes the office feel very festive and puts a bit of a bounce in my step.

But that isn't really the kindness.

The real act of kindness is that my boss took a picture of his boss, the big boss, and photo shopped a Santa hat on his head and hung it as the focal point of the light display.

And thus we see why I have the coolest boss and job in the world.

Time to Vote

Exercise your right to vote. Glory in the freedom you have.

Please tell me which of the following I should make for my upcoming Christmas party. Everything I serve has to be finger food because I don't want to do dishes.

Mint swirl bars. Chocolaty, cakey, minty goodness.

Almond Puff Pastries. Don't these look yummers?

Chocolate Baklava (I have some leftover phyllo dough that I need to use up)

Delicious Cherry Crescents. So festive! (If I serve this I MUST have that cute green cake stand)

The cute maraschino cherry garnish on top of these cheesecake bars are perfect, don't you think?

Pretty standard sandwich cookies with a raspberry jam filling. The piping work may be more work that I want to invest.

These cookies are so cute, but might not be really tasty. It's just frosting on graham crackers with pretzels, red hots and chocolate chips. If I can find a little sleigh to display them in I think I just might have to make these.

Just cute Christmas sandwich cremes. Sugar cookies with vanilla frosting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Random Act of Christmas Kindness #6

Last night my wonderful roommate made dinner for 9 people...that's right 9.

I don't think she was intending to cook for 9, but people just happened to show up at our house right around 7:30, so what could she do? Feed some and let the others stand out in the cold with their frozen noses stuck to the ice covered windows as they looked on at the warm and homey scene unfolding just outside their reach? She's not really that kind of person.

So, with open arms, she stretched her dinner.

She fed the two missionaries who have so little money this winter that they're afraid they won't be able to heat their house. She fed the guy who happened to stop over after this guitar lesson to get a pot he left at our house. And she fed me, the girl who hadn't eaten all day because stopping to eat meant loosing precious working-like-a-made-woman-just-before-finals-week moments. She was amazing.

After being filled with teriyaki glazed chicken, mango salsa and enough laughs to literally bust a gut I helped her with the dishes. Without a prompting. Without a complaint. Without reservation.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Random Act of Kindness #5

This didn't happen to me, but I thought it was so nice I had to share.

Why Jes has a great man!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Random Act of Christmas Kindness #4

Friday night was our big Christmas dinner for all the women at my church. I was in charge of the food. I was really excited to be in charge of the food because I like cooking and consider making a really great dinner for 30 people an exciting challenge.

Anyway, I worked really hard to make this awesome meal and even had a chance to sit down to the table with friends to enjoy the fruits of my labors.

Just after everyone had finished dinner and the Christmas program was starting I was totally floored by someone's Christmas kindness.

A girl who I thought had nothing but cold distaste for me approached. She and I have history and, despite my recent efforts to smooth over the past, she has ignored my very existence. Well, she sneaked up and threw her arms around me in the biggest, most grateful hug. She whispered a thank you for the dinner in my ear. Before I had a chance to respond she was gone.

As I sat in my chair slack jawed and amazed, tears of gratitude started to cloud my vision. I was so touched by her heartfelt well-wishing. For so long all I have wanted was to feel her forgiveness and she chose to express it in a way that completely shocked and overwhelmed me.

As I stepped out into the 8 degree chill I felt released from the hard knot of coldness that I'd so tightly held in my heart. I fell free to love, and despite the frost covered windshield and stiff frozen leather interior of my car I felt warm to the tips of my toes.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Someone, make this coat mine!

Random Act of Christmas Kindness #3

Tonight I'm helping host a church women's Christmas party. I'm in charge of the food for about 40 people, and I'm half excited half terrified at the prospect. I've written out my lists of what to do in 10 minute increments through the whole cooking time. I saw someone do this on Top Chef and thought it was a great idea, and since I take most of my great ideas from stuff I saw on TV I decided to give it a try. I've also written out two lists for my potential kitchen helpers.

Last night I had 4 things I had to do before I could go to bed. As the minutes ticked later and later I started to get worried. I had to get SOME sleep before this big day.

Then, the ear doctor and my roommate LINDZ came to the rescue! Without me even asking they spent 2 hours peeling oranges and carrots. They made what would normally have been a dull and tedious task into a fun game. They were pretty much Mary Poppins to my lazy and depressed Banks children. They even invented a ninja chopping game when it came time to chop the carrots up. Glorious.

So this isn't so much a random act because they do this type of stuff all the time. Neither is it anonymous, but it meant SO much to me that I just had to share it today.