Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hello, cupcake

I have a few passions. Mostly they relate to shoes and food, cupcakes in particular. Love the cupcakes.
I spent a recent Saturday night home alone with these.
Have you heard about Cold Stone Creamery's cupcakes?
The idea is pretty brilliant, actually. Layer cake with fudge, a fat scoop of ice cream and top it with light-as-air whipped cream frosting and stick the whole shebang into an edible chocolate cup.
Sounds great, doesn't it?
Which is why I obsessed about them for days after spying the sign in a window at a Cold Stone in Phoenix. When I got the opportunity, I brought home a six-pack.
You've got three options — sweet cream ice cream paired with vanilla cake; cake batter ice cream paired with red velvet cake and chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream.
After sampling, I'd give them a resounding, "meh."
Now, I realize that Cold Stone peddles ice cream, but still these cupcakes need more than a paper-thin layer of cake to go with all that ice cream. C'mon cake and ice cream are the perfect pairing. I found myself shattering the brittle chocolate shell and trying to scoop up a little with each bite of ice cream because it just needed something.
While I'm typically not a fan of whipped topping frostings, it worked well in this case because one of the worst things ever in a frozen dessert is rock-hard icing.
Apparently, the cupcakes are only available for a limited time, probably while Cold Stone gauges their popularity and whether it's worth it to add 'em to the regular menu.
The "cakes" sell $9.99 for a six-pack. In their current incarnation, I'm not rushing to get another batch. But, if Cold Stone tinkered with the cake-ice cream ratio, I could be lured back.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fashion's new low

Just when I was thinking that maybe — MAYBE — rompers might not be that bad, this Anthropologie e-mail pops into the in basket.
At first, the outfits on the left and right look like cute, printed dresses.
Look closer.
See the tell-tale sign of romperdom? There are elastic bands circling the knees. Shudder.
And I didn't think anything could be more horrifying than MC Hammer pants.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Shopping is my therapy

Shopping is my most favorite thing to do. Ever. Lately, I do it almost exclusively online. While I shy away from most technology (except the TV and my tourmaline blow dryer) and especially anything computer-related, Internet shopping is the best. I'm quite proficient at it. Just ask my husband.
I love going into actual stores, too, but you see, I have children. As a general rule, kids and shopping don't mix. On those rare occasions that I do take them into a store, I usually just want to plunge the credit card right into my heart. There's nothing quite so mortifying as pulling a kid out from beneath a rounder-rack where he's scurried for one-person hide-n-seek (no one's actually seeking him) and he's covered with dust bunnies. Niiiice.
But yesterday, yesterday was glorious. I got out to shop without children.
Hit Stems for its annual sale. I was good — I loved the right-from-the-crayon-box cut-out wedges by Jessica Bennett and the gorgeous green Me Too wedges, but I only bought bronze Klub Nico flats. Since my right shoe, for at least another month, is that clunky black boot pictured at the top, that made the most sense. It sure is purty, isn't it?
After the shoes, we popped in to Sigi's Boutique. I fell in love with the strapless Tea and Honey washed silk dress. It felt like buttah and had pockets. Pockets! I love pockets — almost as much as I love shopping. Now, if I could just find a $100 bill in one of 'em.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In praise of Clarisonic

Growing up, my mom always instilled the basics: Always wash your face before bed; you're never to young to start using eye cream; take care of your skin now.
Naturally, I didn't pay attention.
Except for that no face full of makeup part. I have never, ever gone to bed all tarted up. That's just gross.
I've always been good about taking care of my skin, but close to my recent birthday, I began obsessing over it. Am I seeing the start of lines? Are there age spots I hadn't noticed before? Am I getting it clean enough?
Some co-workers had raved about the Clarisonic and on a rare, very rare, facial about six months back, the aesthetician used one. I liked it. The gizmo was soothing and my face felt so clean and tight afterward. Getting that "facial feeling" at home on a daily basis was enticing. But, if you've ever priced Clarisonics, you know they ain't cheap. Well, I scraped together my birthday money, saved and found a deal on Amazon.com — with free shipping to boot. In a few days, I had my Pro Clarisonic.
My thoughts: It does get your face really clean. Before, I had this long, involved routine that involved baby wipes, makeup remover AND soap, and I'd still get grime on the cotton ball at the toner stage of the cleaning process. My face is pretty spotless after using the Clarisonic. I think my skin is clearer and smoother. And — this is an unadvertised bonus — it does a cracking good job at painless stitch removal. I had one in my face before I Clarisonic'd, but I didn't have one afterward and never felt a thing. This is more than I can say for the nurse in my dermatologist's office who removed previous stitches.
My only disappointment is I'd expect better results in the blackhead zone. But I've never encountered anything to battle those bad boys.
Is it worth it? I think so. And really, it's your face. You only get one shot. Unless you're willing to go the plastic surgery route. Since I didn't marry for money, I'll have to do the best I can naturally.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jersey Girl

No, not the 2004 movie of the same name — which, if I remember my celeb gossip correctly, was the beginnings of the dynamic Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez pairing — but rather, soft, jersey fabric.
Probably 95 percent of my wardrobe is jersey. Forget J.Lo, I am the original jersey girl.
It's soft, moves well and washes clean in the machine. No ironing required.
Right now J. Crew has the yummiest jersey dresses.
I love how the ruffles dress up a basic T-shirt dress. My friend bought the sleeveless v-neck on a recent trip to the Crack den. You did know that people often refer to the Crew as Crack, right? It's a reference to how people get amazingly addicted to the brand's clothes. (Honestly, have you checked eBay? People go NUTS and pay the most outrageous prices for mass-produced clothing.) We've decided there's some sort of pheromone in those crazy plastic tags that have to be removed from the clothing. That can be the only explanation. Well, plus the designs are really cute.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mommy musings

Sad but true: This blog is the most technological thing that I do.
It's something of a miracle that I can link and post photos since I'm beyond inept when it comes to computers. Or, anything electrical, for that matter. I needed so much rescuing at work that one of our computer gurus told me that if he wrote a book, an entire chapter would be dedicated to my screwups alone.
If someone sends me an attachment, I usually can't open it. I can't download. I don't even know where the "on" switch is.
I can barely use my cell phone, let alone text.
A few weeks ago my 4-year-old begged me to play Wii with him. After about 5 minutes, I realized that despite all my gyrations and button pushing, I wasn't even playing.
"You stink, Mama!" he yelled.
So, all this is backstory for my sad tale:
I'm home alone on a Saturday night. All the kids were spoken for at assorted sleepovers and campouts. My husband had a poker game.
Since my right foot is broken and not drive-worthy, I was stuck at home. With four TV remotes. All I wanted was to catch up with "What Not to Wear." Couldn't even turn the damn thing on.
I called my husband on his cell, "Don't give me any s***," I warned, "I can't get the TV to work."
He tried to walk me through it. I gave up.
On the other end of the technological spectrum, my 7-year-old — just days ago — managed to get onto the Mac (which she's not allowed to use), make her way to itunes, buy $25 worth of Hannah Montana music and download everything onto her brand-new ipod. I can't even do that.
I can shop online, though.*
Addendum: As further testament to everything I just said, look at this wonky post. I can't even figure out how to not have a skinny column of copy. Sigh.
*Explanation of photo: One of the coolest things about parenthood — second only to finally being able to say, "Because I said so!" — is that you can torment your kids by dressing them up in silly outfits. This is my trio as three French hens. It was for a recent Christmas card.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bacon rocks!

It's fatty, it's bad for you, but it tastes soooo good. I'm talkin' bacon.
My food obsession started when I read a blurb last week about a maple bacon doughnut offered at an LA diner. It's crazy popular and understandably so. Basically, it's a raised doughnut, glazed with maple frosting and sprinkled with bacon. Sounds good to me.
But alas, when I went to the store ready to pimp out a ready-made maple doughnut, the tray was empty.
I ended up consoling myself with "pig candy" — a term I found on the glorious Internet, which is so gross but sounds so funny at the same time.
My version of pig candy involved mixing up about a tablespoon of brewed coffee and spooning in light brown sugar until the combo made a nice, drizzleable syrup. Stick a finger in it to see if it's sweet enough or coffee-ish enough to your taste and adjust accordingly.
Next: Set the oven to 375. Cover a cookie sheet in foil or waxed paper (this gets messy, people). Put a rack on top of the baking sheet. Spread as many strips of bacon as will fit across the rack; it's OK to overlap a little. Drizzle the coffee-brown sugar glaze, but make sure you save some for the flip side.
Put the bacon in the oven and cook for about 10 minutes, until it's looking crisp and done on the one side. Flip it and drizzle the rest of the glaze. Cook for about 8-10 minutes.
When you're done, you'll have bacon that's crisp with a sweet, crackly crust, a whisper of coffee and the perfect salty finish.
Proceed with caution — I'd say you can eat four strips before your stomach threatens rebellion.
For my next bacon adventure, I'm going to crumble up bacon and stir it into pancakes.
Perhaps a future blog will detail my angioplasty.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cheap beauty

Lip products are my crack.
I am seriously addicted. Seriously.
Love 'em. Cannot get enough. Lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss, lip balm. I have more of these in my tackle box-sized makeup kit (which is still not big enough and requires two supplementary makeup bags) than anything else.
Lately, I've been into tinted lip balm. It's moisturizing, easy to apply (no mirror needed) and usually the cheapest beauty item a gal can buy. I just discovered Nivea's tinted lip balms, and I love.
Overseas, Nivea is branded as Labello. Its no-nonsense formula and so-basic-it's-chic translucent blue packaging make it easily identifiable. A friend brought me a tube back from a trip to Europe. It was awesome.
Now you can find Labello in the U.S. as Nivea. Apparently, it's the same company. I picked up a tube from Target, and it sure seems like the same formula. The tints offer the same hydrating stick but with a touch of color. There are three scents/tints: a pearly rose, which is a little too B52s for me (very frosted and light); a purplish berry passion fruit and cherry, which smells like the fruit and gives the barest red tint. I have fairly pigmented lips, and the cherry just brightens things up a bit, like I ate a raspberry Tootsie Pop.
Find Nivea at drugstores. The cherry tint I scored at Ulta (love the Ulta, the cost-conscious girl's Sephora).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cut it out

The look is kinda '80s, very Stevie Nicks rocking platforms in a video with her long hair and billowy dress blowing behind her. And yet, there is such appeal to cut-out shoulders.
It's unexpected — that peek of skin in an otherwise conservative top.
The elbow-length Left Coast by Dolan top, from Revolveclothing.com, is a more casual, modern take on the trend. The cowl-neck, short-sleeve version, from Urbanoutfitters.com, is a touch more elegant.
Either would look fab with some skinny jeans or even a pair of shorts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Holy cow — this just in: Jimmy Choo is designing a line for H&M. Sooooo exciting.
Just read this on one of my favorite sites, People.com.
Now, there isn't an H&M in Arizona, yet. Allegedly, one will appear — about fall — near Kierland Commons in Scottsdale. Originally the store was set to open this spring, but the last time I bugged the PR folks, I was told fall.
So, here's to hoping that the opening is just in time for the Nov. 14 Choo debut.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ooooh, you Lush

Contrary to the title, I'm not advocating alcoholics. In fact, this post isn't about drinking at all, but rather lovely beauty and bath products.
Allow me to introduce you to Lush. So, my three fabulous friends who read this blog, meet Lush.
Or, more specifically, Lush.com since the closest store is in Scottsdale. I've been there. It's awesome. But, back to the joys of Lush.
So, Lush is this funky Canadian brand that uses natural ingredients and stays away from preservatives. The packaging is cute — many come in what look like ice cream tubs, and the labels include the names of the employees who lovingly handmade what's inside. Nice personal touch.
What I love is that the stuff really works. See, I am a total beauty product lemming — if I read about it in a magazine, I must have it. Now, sometimes the item lives up to the hype, but a lot of times it doesn't. I have many, many half-used jars in the bathroom that attest to this.
But Big, one of Lush's best-selling shampoos, is the exception.
Vaguely lemon-lime scented, Big has fat salt crystals throughout. The idea is it pumps up fine hair. It really works. Big gives that beachy, tousled look that's oh-so-popular. Plus, those nubby crystals feel good as they rub into your scalp and dissolve. It's not the kind of thing you use daily because it is a little drying, but I refuse to live without this shampoo.
Right now Lush has a special offer called the "Big Hair Affair" — get a set of sample-sized hair products for $15. This is an awesome way to try out Big along with other good stuff. I ordered mine and made sure it included Trichomania, a coconut-scented solid shampoo.
Some other personal faves: Retread, a fabulous conditioner that makes my wavy hair cooperate and the shampoo bars, which are great for travel (no worrying about the 3-ounce liquid rule). It's a little odd rubbing a bar onto your head, but they last forever. Forever.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Suit up

When jumpsuits started appearing about a year ago, I figured it was just the fashion powers-that-be messing with us. I mean, adult onesies? C'mon.
But here we are in 2009 and all my favorite fashion Web sites list "Jumpsuits/rompers" as one of the categories.
I've resisted this trend because A)I really do think this is a style best left for toddlers and B)so many look so goofy and most importantly, C) I've had three children — my bladder isn't what it used to be. Not that it was much before. If I have to pee — really have to pee — I would lose critical time just trying to get out of the thing. This is the fashion equivalent of a Chinese finger trap.
So, no, I will not be jumping on the jumper bandwagon, but I will admit that I have seen a few suits that have made me consider wearing one, just for a minute. Here's one of 'em. The Sunner silk jumper (at Shopbop.com) is bare and flowy, like a maxi dress. Don't you love the low pockets?

Friday, June 12, 2009

True love

There is just nothing else like love.
It's exciting, empowering, all-consuming.

Love is just plain amazing.

You can't control this tsunami of an emotion, all you can do is enjoy the bumpy ride.

Tom Cruise in "Jerry Maguire" summed up love best when he told Renee Zellweger, "You complete me."

That is truly love — when you find the one who makes you feel whole. Happy. Utterly at peace.

Well, these short boots complete me.

They're handsome, the most beautiful color. Too light to be caramel, maybe they're better described as amber. But amber that has lived — they've got that gently worn, distressed thing going on. It's the shoe equivalent of the start of laugh lines or a little graying at the temples. Signs that you've lived a little. And loved.

The Jessica Bennett boots — made in Italy and at Stems - A Shoe Boutique — are very Sandra Bullock in "Hope Floats." I can see them paired with floaty, short spaghetti-strapped dresses, cut-offs, even a fancy, ruffled LBD.


I know there are women out there who have fewer shoes than they have fingers. These women are traitors to their gender. And, I just don't get them.

There is nothing like a new pair of shoes — especially a pair you've lusted after from afar and then one glorious day, you bring them home.

Before The Boots (it just feels right to capitalize such wonderfulness), the previous object of my affection was Michael Michael Kors Brookville platforms. I had gone into Stems with another pair on my mind. But, my eyes locked onto these babies voguing in the window, and, well, I knew they were the ones.

They're sexy, sleek but the platform makes them doable for me, a high-heel wimp to the highest degree. Heels, for the most part, represent unrequited love for me — I so adore them and appreciate them. They, however, don't feel the same about me.

Before the Brookvilles, there was a take-your-breath-away pair of matte goldish-nude Stuart Weitzman gladiator flats. The Gladios flirted with me shamelessly. I finally made them mine.

There will be other pairs. Of that I'm sure.

But, that's OK because when it comes to shoes, there's always enough love to go around.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Instant polish

Never fails — no matter if I do my nails or get them done (which hasn't happened in, oh, a good 10 years), I immediately smear the polish. Immediately.
So, I pretty much skip the manis.
But Sally Hansen has this Insta-Dri nail color that has me rethinking my no-polish-on-the-fingers stance.
It's supposed to take a minute to dry, but I clocked it at closer to 2 minutes, which is still snappy. After that, you really truly can touch it without causing any smudges.
I'm sold.
The polish, which costs about $5 and can be found at Target and drugstores, comes in a wide range of colors. You can find everything from an angelic pink to a shield-your-eyes yellow. The darker colors are deep enough to warrant just one coat.
Check it out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday blahs

I am so uninspired today. No particular reason. Perhaps I have not yet consumed enough caffeine.
Sometimes, when you need a pick-me-up, you need to look no further than the oven. A little something sweet — with chocolate, of course — is enough to snap anyone out of the doldrums.
So, here's one of my easiest, yummiest recipes.
In junior high, my friend Heather and I would stay up all night and at exactly midnight, would make these cookie bars. Then, we'd go back to trying to dance along to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video. Good times, good times. 
This recipe comes together easily, and it's a nice bonus that you just spread the batter all in a pan rather than pull cookie sheets in and out of the oven.
Our basic version called for chocolate chips, but I like to pimp them out with Oreos, too.

Midnight Cookie Bars
1 cup butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

12 ounce package chocolate chips

About 12-15 Oreo cookies, cut into quarters

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and baking soda. Mix well. Stir in oats, chips and Oreos. Spread into well-greased 13 x9 pan. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Boots? Now?

 I could have sworn that I just read retailers — because of the economy circling the drain and all — were going to do away with all that silly, season-ahead marketing and concentrate on the present. You know what I mean — it's the dead of winter and resort wear comes out.
Well, I just got this in my e-mail today from Neiman Marcus.
Boots? It's barely June — here in Tucson we have, sigh, several months of triple-digit heat ahead of us. If we're lucky, it might cool off enough to wear long sleeves in, oh, November.
So, here I've been so happy wearing my little summery dresses that I'd forgotten about and now I've got thigh-high boot fever. They do look quite sexy when they go over the knee, even when they're flat.
I had the chance to go to a Vegas shoe show in February of 2008, and I LUSTED after these Sam Edelman boots for months until they finally arrived. In October.
I snapped 'em  up at my favorite shoe store, Stems- A Shoe Boutique, as soon as they came in. My boots are a color called "ice." Translation: a dapply gray. Really, this photo does not do them justice. They are the coolest boots ever. Ever. They look really good on. Whenever I wore them last winter, I got so many compliments.
This week promises cooler temperatures — 90s — maybe I can just pretend? Just crank the a/c down and dream of cooler months. I've been stockpiling cardigans, too, that I'm anxious to wear. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

T-shirts gone wild

I live in T-shirts.
If it's possible to have too many of 'em, then I think I do.
When it comes to those soft-as-a-whisper, throw-in-the-wash tops, I'm an addict — I stockpile like there's no tomorrow. I've got burnout styles from Target; pricier, filmy Kain tees (and a spot-on Forever XXI knockoff); tons from my favorite brand Daftbird; funny graphic tees (gotta love Localcelebrity.com); even a T By Alexander Wang v-neck. They're in a rainbow of colors, too, so they go with everything.
And, while I'm so happy to have them, they're kind of, well, boring.
I do what I can, doll them up with accessories and pair them with fancy skirts (is there anything cuter than a plain tee and a flirty skirt?). But, I still can't help but wonder if there isn't some style that's easy-wearing but has just a little more flash.
Perhaps this Left Coast By Dolan v-neck from Revolveclothing.com is the one? It's got ruched gathers on the side, so that adds a little extra somethin' somethin'. It's made of rayon, so the shirt's softer than soft. AND — perhaps the most important part — it's hand-washable, which is a must when you live with children since boogers and grime are a way of life.    

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sneaks rock

Years ago, I was in a good friend's wedding. The bridesmaids wore cute, sleeveless bronze-ish dresses with short, flirty skirts. We actually found shoes — teetering, strappy heels — to match. I told my friend I'd tough it out through the pictures, but then I was putting my sneakers on. And, I did.
So, I loved that Kristen Stewart rocked some black Converse with her edgy cool Yigal Azrouel dress at the MTV Awards. Now that's style. She looks punky but glamorous.
As cute as I think Converse shoes are, I've never been able to wear 'em. They just feel so heavy and flat.
Simple, though, has some darling sneaks.
I just ponied up for these. You can find 'em all over the usual suspect shoe sites (zappos.com, endless.com) for just under $60. Not only do they look sweet, but the insoles pop out. So if you have bad feet (thanks, Mom and Dad) like I do, you can slide in orthotics no problem.
The pink gingham is springy and has just a bit of sheen from silk thread. The shoes'll look cute with shorts, even T-shirt dresses this summer. Come cooler weather, I will wear them like the J Crew catalog models do — paired with chinos, a dressy tee and long ropes of necklaces. My feet — and my podiatrist — will be so happy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Everything's coming up....

rosettes! Seems everywhere you look, there's flower power. Delicate little blooms are adorning dresses, cardigans, shirts, even necklaces. (The one shown here is from LaViejaTunTun's Etsy shop, and I must buy it. Stat.)

Maybe it's because these flowers take so little effort compared to the real ones (if you could see the empty flower pots all over my front and back yards, you'd know my thumb isn't so green) or because they harken back to ultra-frilly little girl dresses (but with a grownup edge) that I'm so drawn to them. I'm not alone, obviously.

I adore the J Crew cardi with the rosettes along the edges, but I'm thinking I could make my own little rosettes (did it once before with moderate success — sewed a trio onto a black tee) and attach them to a Target cardigan. Cheap and custom.

To make your own rosettes, use a filmy fabric (like chiffon) and cut it into long strips. Fold the strip in half, then hand-sew simple in-and-out stitches along the two separate ends. Once you've sewn the length of it, gently tug on the thread to get the rosettes to ripple and gather. Then, slowly roll up the fabric until it starts to form a rose. You can just stitch haphazardly across the bottom to keep the flower together.

Just beware — use narrow strips of fabric. I kept making rosettes too big. Even going down to an inch-wide strip of fabric yielded really fluffy rosettes. Maybe I'll go down to a half inch to make 'em flatter.

I'll warn you, I thought I'd lose my mind making a half dozen of these several months ago. But, I'm willing to sacrifice a chunk of gray matter if it means saving $150, which is how much that J Crew cardi costs.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mmmmmmm. Brownies.

When it comes to dessert, I really don't discriminate. Well, unless it's something overly eggy (bread pudding? no thanks) or too squishy (pudding? flan? blech). I love chocolate treats best and as much as I love a fancy dessert, I think that brownies are the ultimate sweet. Dense, fudgy with a crackly top that splinters when you sink your teeth into it, ah nirvana.
Don't let Betty Crocker fool you - it's every bit as easy to make brownies from scratch. Really. To prove it, here is Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies recipe. It's a great standby because these are all the kinds of ingredients already in the pantry and fridge. I like to use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa and then throw in Oreos that have been chopped into quarters. Don't cut them any smaller because they'll get lost in the gooeyness.

Makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
(natural or Dutch process)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cold large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven that has
been preheated to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and
sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil,
leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium
heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of
barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until
the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot
enough that you want to remove your finger fairly
quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl
from the skillet and set aside briefly until the
mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs
one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
When the batter looks thick, shiny and well-blended,
add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any
longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the
wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if
using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges
slightly moist with batter, 20-25 minutes. Let cool
completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and
transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16
or 25 squares.

° From "BitterSweet" by Alice Medrich (Artisan)

House o' Hippies

OK, last time to wax poetic about the tie-dying. Promise.
I warned you it was becoming obsession-like. So, today the kids and I made our own shirts (and a few pillow cases just to use up the dye) with a $10 kit from Michael's (and I used my 40 percent off coupon to make it even cheaper). My digits are blue. And not a cute, Smurf blue but a deep dark "I just got fingerprinted by the police" hue. 
It's not so attractive.
But, really this was a pretty easy and fun activity. We found instructions over the Internet to supplement the too-brief ones accompanying the kit. Everyone was soooo excited to see the results.
Now I'm thinking, how cute it would be to do some oversized tees? Middle child is clamoring for a dress.  So no, we're not done yet. :)