Sunday, January 05, 2014

2013 in review

Oh my, poor blog. 
I still enjoy blogging.  I do.
I just don't always have computer access, and it's a bit tedious to blog from my phone, especially when blogger makes me use a gmail address, and I have a different gmail address for YouTube, and a yahoo address for email...it's a pain.

And, to be honest, I keep in touch with people more often via Facebook.
But I still do like my blogs, so I want to keep up the tradition of reminding myself of good things that happened in the last year.

What happened in 2013?
I have three older brothers, but when I was a kid, my oldest brother's friend Jerry lived with us.
So I consider Jerry my fourth brother.
He came to visit last January.  We hadn't seen him in 10 years.


I continued to be alert to photo opportunities.
I saw the Wiener Mobile up close

I stuck my toes in the water, so to speak, and I created an online profile on OkCupid, an online dating site.
Unfortunately, my experiences were crazy enough to write a magazine article about (something I may do), even though I never actually went on a date with anyone.
I deleted my account.
I did go on a date with my mechanic--the first date I had with a man other than the man I dated on and off for 12 years.
Well, we dated five years over a twelve year period.
Long story.
But that was a huge step forward for me, even though the mechanic was all wrong.

I took a 12-week course learning the book, The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.

I recovered from knee surgery.

I ordered a case of oranges from Chaffin Orchards.

I made lemon bars for the first time.
I also cooked with culinary lavender for the first time.

In March, I met a blog friend (Jen Wallin of The Felt Mouse) at Bahooka, a tiki bar that was closing.
This was the first time we met in person after communicating online for eight years.



Then we got together again  in August
for the annual Tiki Oasis.
We ate Dole Whip
We watched burlesque (turn the sound off)
Listened to poolside DJ's spinning lounge tunes, rockabilly bands at night.

She introduced me to hotel "room crawls"
(sadly I can't find the pic of the crowded hotel corridors).
It's like a frat party for people over 30.
It was amazing.



I took a class at Gledhill's vintage furniture to learn how to refinish pieces.
Then I took another.
And another.
It all started when I bought a mid-century sewing cabinet.
I love furniture! I love mid-century and beach chic.
Tommy Bahama meets the 60's.
I'm thinking perhaps I might incorporate this interest into a future business.

I did FINALLY get my logo finished.

Initially, when I graduated from nutrition school in 2012, I was going to go into health coaching, and the logo said
Wishing Wellness.
But I'm not a salesperson, and I didn't want to go out and try to find clients, so I just gave up on that idea and decided I could more easily see myself selling vintage collectibles, repurposed furniture, and giving art classes.
So I renamed the business Retro Siren.
After much thought and multiple tries of names that were already taken.

In April I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market for the first time.
I went on a bus trip with a local college.
It wasn't as awesome as I had hoped.

I took "selfies"

I discovered The Wish List, in Carlsbad

 I saw yarn bombs in South Park




I discovered Craigslist freebies, and got a bunch of cool stuff to improve my mom's house, including a pair of vintage front doors with a cool brass peep-hole



In June I went to Melrose Trading Post (another flea market) and bought a large midcentury oil painting of seagulls.

That same weekend, I went to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles (an outdoor amphitheatre) and saw Ben Folds
and my favorite band, Barenaked Ladies.


It was an epic night under a "super" moon and warm temps.  Perfect.
My friend Mark and I drank yummy margaritas.


I stopped in Huntington Beach on the drive home, and had a Mai Tai at Don the Beachcomber.
First time ever to go to a bar by myself.

In July, I took a staycation at a lovely home where I was dog-sitting.

I bought my first tiki mug, commemorating a party at "Tiki Hell" at Tiki Oasis (a room party that was so much fun).

Then my second mug, from Ballast Point, a San Diego brewery.



In September, I made sunflower cupcakes for a ten-year-old girl's birthday.
She talked about them for a week.

I visited the Mission San Luis Rey, in Oceanside, and (pretty sure I was inspired by Andrea, but I can't find her images) took photos in the cemetery



I dyed my hair ombre.
Then toned it down to a dark red
Then back to strawberry (I identify myself as a redhead, not a blond).
Then I got bangs.

I went on a "yarn crawl".
I visited eight yarn shops, one mobile truck, and two alpaca farms.


I want to get back into knitting.
I bought some alpaca socks for Christmas gifts (one pair for myself).

At Thanksgiving, I met another blog friend, Laura of RickRackRuby, and her daughter Kaitlin, for our traditional movie and photobooth pic.


I continued my tradition of taking pics of my friend Jen's kids in some memorable way.
It started with cookie mustaches, to wax lips, to gopher teeth.
This past Christmas it was dog and cat noses.
 How cute are they?!

The point here is to learn to remind ourselves of new things we tried, our adventures, people we met, places we visited...our accomplishments versus our short comings.
Here's hoping yours and my 2014 will have many memorable moments.


Monday, September 02, 2013

Sunflower Cupcakes

It's my friend Jen's daughter's bday again, and I want to continue the tradition of baking something fun for her.
You can see the cupcakes that looked like her I made previously, and the cake pops.

I decided I wanted to try sunflower cupcakes from the book, Hello Cupcake.

Callie likes pumpkin cake, so I tried Martha Stewart's recipe (lots of spices!)
And rather than buttercream, I chose a stiff cream cheese frosting.

Green cupcake liners would have been cute, but I opted for something more colorful, though less representative of the real flower.

Using black decorator gel with a toothpick, I painted red M&M candies to look like ladybugs.
This video tutorial was super helpful.  She added antennae (super cute, but I skipped that step).

The cupcakes were initially frosting in green, then topped with oreo cookies.

Petals got piped around the cookies, though the cream cheese proved too soft, so next time I want to do some piping, I think I'll use buttercream.
Then the M&M ladybugs were added, as well as leaves cut from fruit leather.
Some cupcakes got mini oreos added for additional blooms.
Pretty simple, with a wow effect.

Voila!



I tried to get a pic of the birthday girl, which turned out more difficult than you'd think!