Friday, January 29, 2010

Containers and A Soup Swap

I found an interesting blog called Garnish. It's has great ideas of how to put together packaging for special presentations. For example, the Soup Swap.

How do you host a soup swap and what supplies will you need? Garnish will tell you how to do it and if you need supplies, they are available for purchase too. Very ingenious. I love the Soup Swap idea.

I have always liked the containers Ina Garten uses or it could be I just like her kitchen or her clean frig that only has the current episode's food items in it or her gay husband, TR! I think I want them all!

Here are Ina's containers from Cassandra's Kitchen with the little band of vertical stripes around it. Ina also links to this site on her website so they are exactly what she uses. My local Thai restaurant ('Rice and Spice', for my RSM readers in the Antonio Pavilion center) use these and they are much stronger than the usual containers you'd get at the deli. I had a hard time getting the lid off. Great for soup. I found them online along time ago from the manufacturer but I'm sure you'd probably have to buy them in bulk which means more Thai food for me!

And when was the last time you saw paper straws? Remember how you'd have to tear off the end? How cute would these be for a 'tween girls slumber party/movie night with old-fashioned coke bottles and tubs of popcorn or for a birthday party? The photo op would be darling!
These are also from Garnish.

I'm looking for any reason to plan a party!

Plan on a terrific weekend. See you Monday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Personalized Fortune Cookies

I have a soft spot for the beachy babes of the Dana Hills High School Girls Varsity Soccer Team and although I've never been to one of their games, every year at the end of the season I am connected to them.

Four years ago, I began making decorated cookies for the team and it has turned into a tradition for them and me. The mom who has ordered them every year told me some girls chose not to eat them as they have become 'collector's items' of sorts, or so I'm told.

The first year I made a big soccer ball for each girl. The second year I made their school's logo. Last year, I made these.  I had finally decided I should take some pictures.

I needed a different design this year. I thought fortune cookies that I could personalize with soccer sayings would be fun for them and a change for me.
The only trouble is, I only know two soccer words - David and Beckham.

Enter Odum: Party of Five to the rescue! I read on her blog that her daughter plays soccer. I wrote to her and asked her if she could help me with ideas for soccer-esque sayings.

She was wonderful and such a help. Go visit her blog.  She is such a sweetheart! A HUGE thank you! I think the team would have gotten quite bored if they kept opening cookies that read 'David Beckham.'

The recipe I used was Martha's and it was easy to work with and absolutely delish!  Full of almond flavor.  I had to use restraint not to dive into the batter alone.  It's that good.  I used Silpat mats and could only make 2 cookies at a time because they hardened very quickly so making over 105 cookies plus the ones that came out a little too crispy at first took a long time but I staggered the baking sheets (I used 3) so the continuous production line was the way to go.  Since the cookie sheets did not cool off adequately (the cookies only took 6 minutes to bake), I took the Silpat mat off the cookie sheet to apply the batter then slid it back onto the pan when it was time for it to go into the oven.  You'll find your rhythm with timing.

Even top-notch athletes need some bling! I brushed white chocolate on some of the cookies and sprinkled my big contraband silver dragees over them.  I used red, white and blue jimmies and blue nonpareils on two others.

I then tinted the white chocolate with blue gel color, brushed it on the two remaining cookies and sprinkled one with white pearl dragees and the other, with white nonpareils and opalescence glitter.

I bought Chinese food containers at Party City for .99/each. They are not as substantial as restaurant quality but since they weren't holding Kung Pao Chicken, it was okay.  I liked the rope handle as it had a nautical feeling to it which is what Dana Hills is all about.

In goes the sizzle pack in the school's colors and 5 of the over-sized cookies!

21 boxes all ready to be shipped out with grosgrain ribbon and a nautical topper ribbon.

Congratulations, ladies, on a winning season and the very best to the seniors as they go onto greener fields!  :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Confectionery Contraband

Did someone have an unhappy birthday party as a child?

I am feeling the effects of the dragee ban in our environmentally conscientious state as my stash dwindles.
We all love and grew up with these festive confections but it's illegal to sell the pretty little metallic coated sugar balls that I use with abandon on my decorated cookies and cupcakes. It's also prohibited to ship them into the state so I cannot buy them online! Something about minute traces of heavy metal. There has never been any documented health problems from ingesting these jewels. Why we are allowed to have gold and silver leaf up the wazoo I do not know.

I wonder if I would be stopped at the airport going through security or if the new b
ody scanners would pick up the small suspicious cylinders in my waistband. I could never be late to catch a plane, however. I would sound like a percussion band running to the gate. I can see it now - airports teaming with well-manicured, dragee-sniffing, poodles all named 'Fifi' or 'Popeye Doyle' for flights bound for LAX. I could claim 'Baker's Profiling' and be on CNN with Anderson Cooper! Gloria Allred would be my attorney, if she's not too busy with Tiger's mistress. Larry will have his people call my people (ok, my answering machine guy) and set up a definite maybe for studio time with those little dragee looking lights all lit up behind me ... 'Go 'head caller you're on the line with Pink Martinis and Pearls. What's your question?'

Dear Mr. No-Fun Napa Lawyer,

Get a grip! These candies are not eaten by the handful and every label I've seen says they are for decoration purposes only and they are still not considered toxic. People all over the world, in many cultures, for hundreds of years have happily and joyfully eaten dragees and still do except in California where apparently you are the only one who sees them as evil. I ask you to find your inner child. Make peace with the clown.

Look in your own backyard. You live in Wine Country, for Pete's sake, where this beverage is readily produced, sold and consumed and is, in itself, considered toxic and addictive to countless others. Mercury in the seafood? I'd start there over dragees. The entire state does not require protection from crunching a few silver balls of sugar on a cookie or cupcake. The time spent on your consumer crusade must have taken months if not years to have strong a
rmed the legislature. Regression therapy would have been a better use of your time and money.

This is what the therapist would have told you ~
'Now inhale a deep breath and take your index finger and thumb and flick yourself on the forehead, pour yourself a nice glass
of a full and fragrant Napa Merlot, hang a fang on some California cheese made from happy cows, and enjoy your patio and beautiful surroundings.'

You have embarrassed me to tell fellow bakers I am a Californian!

As I write, my confectionery contraband is en route from my out-of-state
dealer and will be arriving in unmarked packages so the feds don't get wind of it. It's good sh*#. I'll be selling it on the street for whatever the market will allow. You'll find me in the alley. Look for the metallic flash under the street light.

To find out what I'm doing with my favorite 'for decoration purposes only' confection...

"Takin' It To The Streets" ~ Doobie Bros.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Blogger Tip :)

Being on the west coast and usually a late night poster, I LOVE opening my email in the morning, or anytime for that matter, to find you have left me a comment and I equally enjoy sending you a comment right back but sometimes I can't because your comment email says 'noreply.'

Have you ever wondered why is it that when someone leaves you a comment that is forwarded to your email that sometimes you see an email address you can reply to and other times you see a "noreply-comment...?"

It's because of your settings on your blog as a commenter and although you might prefer it this way, but if you don't or didn't know about this little feature, it's so easy to change if you want to.

Here's what you do:

1. Go to your Customize tab on your blog page.
2. Go to Dashboard then Edit Profile next to your icon picture. Click on it.
3. You'll see a Privacy section and check the box that says "Show my email."
4. Scroll down on the same page and you'll see an Identity section. You can put in any email address you wish in the Identity section. I use my 'gmail email' account which I have set to automatically forward to my private email so I don't have to go back and forth between the two.

Whether I send you back a quick email reply or acknowledge you in my comments section when I get a spare moment, it's this connection that I truly love about blogging! :)

It's not surprising to find out I used to be called "Chatty Cathy", is it?
I was sent to the principal's office in third grade for talking too much.
Some things never change. :)

And BTW, I have my namesake on a shelf in my garage and Chatty Brother too!


"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" ~ Stevie Wonder

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Appearances. Appearances. Appearances.

sorority guidelines.jpgThis morning, I was forwarded six pages worth of dress code requirements for Pi Phi’s Cornell chapter.

Because it’s Friday, and they’re outrageous, I’m sharing.

What does one wear to rush? If we had a sorority our rule would be there are no rules - we’d welcome vintage flannel and Dior couture heels in equal measure, but Pi Phi’s rush chair’s a bit more specific. Her strictest rules, below. (UPDATE: We’ve attached the whole thing at the end, by popular demand.)

On Clothes

— Denim leggings are appropriate as long as it’s done right: aka, not from American Apparel and worn with chic, cool, chunky boots over them and a longer top.

— No satin dresses. No one looks good in satin dresses unless it’s from Betsey Johnson or Dolce & Gabbana, you weigh less than 130 pounds, have three pairs of Spanx on and it’s New Years Eve.

— No Frumpy.

On Shoes

— Yes to nice flats: Tory Burch, etc. More evening-ish, understated, patent leather good. I’m thinking mid-height Mary Jane heels, or mid-height chunky Kate Spade.

— Booties ok if you can pull them off, aka probably not.

On Jewelry

— I expect everyone to be wearing accessories. This is an important part of every outfit and can make or break any ensemble.

— Bangles need to coordinate. I’m not saying you have to wear a Harry Winston wreath, but I am saying I won’t tolerate any gross plastic shizzzz. I love things on wrists and I demand earrings if your ears are pierced.

Pink Martinis says ~

I can understand putting one's best foot forward but I also strongly believe being true to one's self will put you where you will feel most at home.

Going through rush can be a brutal process for many girls and it was for me at one point. It is extremely judgmental, can shake your confidence to the core and make you think and rethink everything you said, wore and coiffed. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat because of what my sorority gave me in return, but I also remember the feelings of inadequacy I felt concerning my wardrobe during rush. I was not prepared for the extreme fashion shows I encountered and although I had already been on campus for a year I was completely naive about what to expect.

I had a successful rush at this one particular house that was one of my favorites, which shall remain nameless. I was even someone's 'rush baby' (rush baby - where a member of the house takes you under their wing, introduces you to others, always finds you when you return for subsequent parties). I was nearing the end of rush week when I was at what was to be my last visit to this particular house. I was asked about the dress I was wearing. I was so proud of the fact I had sewed this darling blue and white sundress over the summer and told them I had made it. It was met with blank stares with the up and down look (you know the one), with no comment. I knew immediately, at this moment, my fate was sealed with this house and I was going to be dropped.

The next morning confirmed I read the situation correctly. I was rejected outright for what I felt was blatant snobbery but I was also confused how this decision could have been made by not embracing my creativeness and individuality. It was painful and came as a hard blow. So painful in fact that it didn't allow me to enjoy my own bid experience at the end of rush.

Of course, there is no 'perfect' house. When participating in a large group there are going to be people you like and those you don't. Sometimes there might be someone who just doesn't like a summery darling blue and white sundress. I'm thankful I found a home where they did.

"Vogue" ~ Madonna

Friday, January 22, 2010

January Decorated Cookies Of The Month

A bit of the bubbly. The stuff that tickles your nose.

And YES! It has to be pink!
It's mere existence announces in the grandest of styles a new beginning, an achievement, an event to remember.

It celebrates life with us.

Love. Marriage. Birth.

It let's us take a moment to say hoorah for you, hoorah for me or hoorah for all of us!

"Please, Save The Date"
It wouldn't be the same without you.

"Congratulations on your new promotion... to dipper duty."

"Happy Birthday!"
You don't look a day over 30!

Let's Celebrate!
I found a shape I liked though Google search, enlarged it, printed it and made a template.

then baked the cookies a little longer to brown them more because of the rainy weather here.

I used 2 types of dragees ~ pink metallic and pink pearls but not together.

Since I didn't have pink sanding sugar and I thought that look might be too heavy for what I had envisioned anyway, I mixed clear edible glitter with red glitter and ground them up with my fingers to make finer grained sparkles. If you put glitter on wet icing it will dissolve. When the icing is dry, make a mixture of meringue powder and water and brush over the pink champagne part avoiding the dragees.

Sprinkle the glitter over the wet pink icing, lightly press and turn over and tap the cookie like you would for real glitter. It is done!
Brush on pearlized powder over the white icing for a luxurious glow.

Celebrate at every opportunity!

If you have any questions, I will be happy to answer in the comments section. :)

"Celebration" ~ Kool and The Gang
"Pink Champagne" ~ Pink & Evelyn Champagne King

Update: Just got an email from son1 who heard from Stanford minutes ago. He is "in" for the PhD program next year for Chem E. Just so happens he planned a dinner outing for 10 tonight in Boston's north end and I know he will have a great time. Mr. P. M. and I are going out for sushi to celebrate ourselves! Celebrate at every opportunity! :) Yippie!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

He's Got My Vote!

Holy Moly!

Looks like Massachusetts became a red state Tuesday night.A red HOT state!

And they're talking about this guy's truck??
(insert obvious manual transmission or stimulus package joke here)

Unfortunately, I was only enlightened yesterday or I would have taken more interest in his senatorial race.
*sigh* I love politics.

So what if this spread is from 1982?

Thank you Lady Kate for sending this to me.
Really. Thank you.
(But I did add the star. A great. big. star.)

The Cookie of The Month post has been bumped to #302.
It was a toss up.... a photo of a hunk of dough or a hunk centerfold.

"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" ~ Rod Stewart

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"May I Have Your Autograph, For My 300th Post?"

How cool is this?

Grab it if you'd like. :)

January Cookies of The Month post #301!

Have a great day.

"We Go Together" ~ Cast of Grease
"Wishing You Were Here" ~ Chicago

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


In 1976, my sophomore year at USC, I shared an apartment with three girls. Jana was my roommate. Nan, who shared a room with Sherry, had planned on marrying at the end of the school year and had asked Jana to be one of her attendants. She was thrilled and soon they began planning the wedding together. They talked about the usual stuff, dresses, travel plans to northern California, the parities that would ensue. They were both very excited to share this day. I was going to attend too.

This excitement abruptly changed one evening. Jana sat on the edge of the bed where she was having a difficult time catching her breath. Little white clumps of tissues surrounded her to catch her emotions. Between the gasps for air and some assemblance of control, she was able to voice she could not be in the wedding. I asked why. "The club is restricted." I questioned her as to what that meant. "They don't allow blacks in!" As I reached to hold her, her face contorted back into the tissues and I went numb.

We sat and cried, both feeling confusion, anger, and hurt. It was my first close up look at racial prejudice and it was beyond awful. This moment changed everything in our apartment. I was disappointed in Nan that she did not stand up for principle and friendship. Heartbroken that someone I loved suffered so much hurt.

Unfortunately, there are still restricted clubs for race and religion.
I looked it up.
I hope I never step foot in one unknowingly.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coming Of Age at Sav-On

It was any Saturday in the late 60's. I would open the top drawer of my dresser and pull out the stack of silver quarters my father had given to me from a recent trip to Vegas. Nancy was coming over and picking me up on the way. She lived at 1115 and I, at 1128. She liked Ringo. I liked Paul. A few years earlier we both had to be transferred to afternoon kindergarten because we couldn't get up in the morning which all meant that we were destined to be best friends growing up.

It was a weekend ritual, once we woke up, to walk over to Sav-on and hit the cosmetic wall. This is where my transformation into womanhood began. Cover Girl, Bonne Bell, Yardley of London, Maybelline. We were still captivated by the invasion of the British in music and in fashion.

Of Mary Quant's Mini Skirts and Go-Go Boots.

I swooned to Donovan's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven" as I knew I must have resembled Ali McGraw as I luxuriated myself in Love's Baby Soft.

I actually preferred Love's Lemon Scent.

I was a Bonne Bell girl.

From 10-0-6 in the jug, to bronzing gel and red check stain.
I bought Yardley's Pot o' Gloss in frosted white.
Maybelline eye shadow in ocean blue.
Cover Girl foundation in beige.
Although what I was trying to cover up I will never know.

In the explosion between 1967 and 1968 Nancy and I found boys.
Our trips to the wall also included visits to other aisles.

She liked Mickey.
I liked Davy.
We were still best friends.

Then slowly, things began to change.

She liked David Cassidy.

And I?

I liked making out with Kevin L. in the library.

I began shopping alone at Sav-On.

I gave all my Monkees albums to Nancy.
We are still friends.

"Wives and Lovers" ~ Jack Jones

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not "The Big One" but ...

...big enough!

I am sitting here on my (black and white) laptop because I drank Mr. Pipp at 8 PM and I haven't gone to bed yet. It is now 4:10 AM and we just had an earthquake. It was the kind I hate - a hard fast jolt that makes the house sound as if it could come down at any moment. No swaying of chandliers or roller coaster rides just sudden and harsh, the kind that tends to really bother me. Mr. P.M. went back to bed. Not me. Not yet.

4.3 - east of us. 14.8 miles deep.
I have no idea what the significance of the depth means but I do read the USGS site and look at the boxes.
Odd how there was a same sized quake recently in about the same area that we didn't feel. It was only 10 miles deep though so I am guessing depth makes a big difference.

Want to see California in all her glory?
click here.

Thanks to you Ronda, I did go out and buy water yesterday. :)
Better safe than thirsty.

Hang on tight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Sweet Honeybaked Hamm....

Never mess with perfection.
Never. Ever.

... and if you need a second helping of Hamm on your plate this weekend.....

The three season's soundtracks are awesome.

Leaving you with a pleasant thought for the weekend. :)
Have a good one, my friends.

Music tracks from Season 1
"Babylon" and "Lipstick"~ David Carbonara

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Connections To Haiti

photo found on graphicsfairy

My heart goes out to the lost souls in Haiti.
Of those who survived, those who did not and those whose fate is still unknown.
Their plight particularly touches my heart.

Living on a fault line with the trepidation of 'the big one' in California always comes to the forefront of my mind when we have a shaker or when a significant one releases so much damage and heart break anywhere in the world.

Growing up, I had heard my mom recall the rolling sidewalks in 1933 in Long Beach and the history of my grand-father's bed being pushed to the other side of the room in San Francisco in 1906. My first experience was in 1971. The 6.5 Sylmar quake had me running from my bed meeting my mom in the hallway. In 1989, my son slept in his a cradle as the World Series Quake gently rocked him. We were safe hundreds of miles away but and I will never forget the moment of pause waiting for it to increase in intensity. I knew it had to have been bad somewhere. To this day waiting under an underpass makes me uncomfortable after seeing the freeway overpasses pancake in the bay area. In the 1994 Northridge quake, I foolishly ran to the window on a top floor in the Ritz-Carlton to watch the transponders spark over Pasadena. I had become too complacent. My husband's concerned words brought me back to realizing how dangerous and irresponsible my actions were in my excitement.

I no longer take this risk for granted though I'm not as prepared as I should be. My EQ containers are empty and I need bottled water on hand and fresh first-aid supplies. I read where alcohol would be a most valued commodity - for numbing effects. One area I have prepared, is if we should have to abandon our cars. There is a survival kit in each one.

I talk to my boys to try to get them thinking of what they would do if a big one should strike when they aren't at home. Son2 is mere miles from the San Andreas. I asked him to find out how his college is prepared. He said 'if it gets bad' he will come home. I told him if it's that bad, he won't be able to get home. I suggested a bag he could grab on his way out; a flashlight and extra blanket like we have at home. It fell on deaf ears, 'okay, mom.' Youth.

I hope people find it in their hearts to be generous to the Haitians in their profound chaos. It's not unlike a sudden death. The shock of this magnitude must be unbearable and I understand this could happen here, to me, to those whom I love. I run through my mind of places to hunker down in my house, where the arm of the couch meets a table for adding strength, how to turn the gas off, of quickly filling the bath tub for water or how to get home if both bridges that cross the arroyos leading into my community are down. I would have to walk through some steep, rough areas to get back home. It is surreal to contemplate when thinking of basic survival.

My friend, Lady Kate, had a dream she was standing on a road watching panicked people run by her. She woke confused thinking we must have been having an earth quake. She felt somewhere in the world as she slept, during the night, there was a devastating quake in the world.
There was. China.

We are all connected.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For The Love of Monograms

I don't need new china but I wouldn't mind getting my "just dessert(s)" plates.
I know. I don't deserve them after that bad pun.


A stowaway tear sheet from my treasure chest of wishful interiors.
Tailored navy and white.
Can't you just feel the spray of the ocean on your face?

Look familiar?

The chair looks soooo much better with my monogram superimposed on it, don't you think?

Thank you Preppy Paper Girl!

I love monograms and I know you understand! ;)

Note: My laptop which I write my posts from, fell off the edge of the couch ~ hard. The latch that closes the top broke and my screen is now in black and white and it takes a long time to upload. I may be out of service for a few days until this is fixed. It's not fun being Grey Martinis and Pearls. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Toe Tappin' Tuesday Tunes" (I totally made that up)

The new Vampire Weekend CD comes out today.
You can listen to it in its entirety here.
And purchase it here.
Makes for a happy Tuesday.

I love their premiere album.

Explicit lyrics and all.


"M79" & "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" ~ Vampire Weekend

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Report

I have finished Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story.

It was not what I was expecting. It was much better! Yes, they apparently did have a loving, physical relationship and were relatively open about it. The press corps of the 60's were very different and little information would be considered mainstream like we know of things today. Every fact was quoted by name and cited. Footnotes and citations at the back of the book were extensive.

I think readers might find it interesting to see the dichotomy that history and limited knowledge affords against the reality of living persons who were young, in their 30's, and who continued to live life off of the pedestal others placed them on because they were human.

One thing about Jackie I kept wondering about were her choices of leaving her children for large amounts of time to cruise the seas, go to Europe or to Mexico. Sometimes she would take the kids along only to drop them off back in NY and take off again on her own. I can't imagine having this kind of lifestyle but when back in town she would personally take them to school and pick them up herself. I also found it interesting that she had no photos of JFK in her apartment in NY but only a large framed portrait of RFK which was lovingly signed. It appears that RFK was the love of her life although they obviously were not exclusive to each other.

The span of time this relationship took place was from her widowhood until RFK's death which by the way, she was the one who made the decision and signed the papers to take him off life support because no one else could bring themselves to do so.

We have this imagine of the prim and proper Jackie because we were given it and it's what the country was comfortable with at the time. This book shows a real person who purposely stepped down from that pedestal with lovers, a dissatisfaction with her role in history, and thoughtfully marrying Onassis whom she clearly did not love to free herself financially and to distance herself from America and the Kennedys. As for Bobby, we're given more insight into his persona, a pit bull; someone who, like his older brother and father, had a propensity for relationships outside of marriage but also a capacity for a deep relationship and love with Jackie. All very fascinating and highly recommended if you want to get all the dirt.

Rating: 3.5 Pink Umbrellas out of 5.

What can I tell ya, I like the trashy stuff.

Good beach read or cozy up by the fire read.

(I'm too lazy this morning to figure out a way to make half an umbrella.
Mr. PM was up last night with food poisoning so that meant I was up too.)

I'll be passing the book along to my friend then I think I will offer it to a lucky follower if someone is so interested so let me know if you are and I'll have a little private give-away.

Enjoy the rest of the day! :)

Friday, January 8, 2010


I loved having this in my nest for the last couple of weeks ~

Now it looks like this ~

* sigh* I need to find something to fill it.

After the holidays and paying two college tuitions by the end of the year, there is less padding in the nest, that's for sure ~

I'm not picky though.
I like shiny things too.
"Here goosey, goosey, goosey!"~

But what is good for the goose, is good for the gander, and what I'm planning to feather my nest with is definitely good ~
for everyone.

The thick caramel icing? I am chirping with joy.

"Rockin' Robin" ~ Bobby Day

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