wednesday rec: doll divine

Tell the truth: when you were a young webizen, did you spend hours on dollmaker websites, crafting the perfect alternative Goth angel version of yourself to put in your sweet forum signature (or "siggy," as they say)? I sure did! I also was a huge fan of playing with paper dolls as a little girl...I even tried to make my own more than once, though it never worked out very well. But of course, the time to play with online dollmakers is long since past. As an adult woman, I have much better things to do with my time.

The Tudors Scene Maker

KIDDING, OBVIOUSLY. Dollmakers are awesome! They're so much fun, and I'm honestly mystified by the level of customization some of them offer. You could get lost for hours in these things...

Hipster Girl Dress Up

Hogwarts Student Maker

Adventurer Maker

Marie Antoinette

For this one I mostly made dolls that looked like me (except for Marie Antoinette, which is probably my favorite of all of these. You can customize literally EVERY clothing color!), but dollmakers are also great for making character mock-ups. Maybe those of you who won Nano (congratulations!) can reward yourselves by creating some dolls of your fabulous cast to inspire you in your revising! Or, y'know, just spend an afternoon playing dress-up with virtual dolls; I know it made my Wednesday a lot cheerier!

If you do go play on Doll Divine for a while, I'd love to see the dolls you create! So leave 'em in the comments; it'll be like having a playdate across the internet.

winter wonderland: nantucket cranberry pie

I hope all of you had a fabulous holiday! It was a time of much eating and enjoying; the feast my grandma created was, as always, amazing and delicious. She's promised to send me the recipes for my two favorite Thanksgiving dishes: stuffing and the cranberry Jell-O mold she makes every year. Saturday night was Thanksgiving: The Reheating at my house, supplemented with some fresh treats. We made mashed potatoes, corn, and I knew I needed to whip up a dessert that could stand toe-to-toe with the pumpkin and Dutch apple pies we were served on Thanksgiving.

Yep, this is my Saturday night hobo cooking gear: a drama camp t-shirt, an old peasant skirt, and my apron

This is the Nantucket Cranberry Pie from Pioneer Woman (my all-time favorite recipe blog! I have never been disappointed with anything I made from one of her recipes...every time I try a new one, I'm sure it's going to be delicious. Do you have a blog like that?) It's tart and sweet and fresh and super easy. Plus, ultra seasonally appropriate!

My mom picked up my camera while I was making it yesterday, so I have some actual in-progress shots of the highly technical process.


First, add cranberries and some chopped pecans to a buttered pie plate. Be liberal with sugar! My family thought this looked like a winter scene, and I totally agree. Slap that on your holiday card!


Then, mix up a delicious batter of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, and a bit of salt and almond extract. Sniff heartily, then go around the kitchen and make sure all of your family members (including those on the phone) check out how good it smells.


It'll be thick! Pour it in ribbons over your delicious berries and nuts, then spread it over any holes until it looks like this:


Mmmm, lumpy! Don't worry, it'll cook up justttt fine. Place in your preheated oven, and bake for 45-50 minutes, or just under 40 if you've recently replaced the heating coil and your oven is now a Super Oven that burns anything you don't keep an eye on. I didn't get a photo of this one, but a few minutes before you take it out, sprinkle some sugar on top to make a tasty sweet crust on top. Let cool slightly, and serve with vanilla ice cream. Magical!

Oops, I forgot the most important step!


Make sure you have a Very Interested dog to keep an eye on you while you cook.


(Don't worry about Beau, anybody! He's been having some skin problems, which is why he's missing fur, but he's on medication and has been feeling much better.)

And that's a Nantucket Cranberry Pie! It was really delicious, and my dad actually suggested that I send my Grandma the recipe in exchange for the ones she's sending me! Obviously, my family thought pretty highly of it if it could be considered worthy of a family recipe. I definitely intend to make this one a classic in my house; I'll probably make it again for the Thanksgiving III: Electric Boogaloo I'm throwing for the immediate fam in December. Maybe even for Christmas!

Nantucket Cranberry Pie
From Pioneer Woman

  • Butter for greasing
  • 2 cups (heaping) cranberries
  • 3/4 cups pecans, chopped
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a pie or cake pan. Add cranberries, chopped pecans, and 2/3 cup sugar. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, eggs, butter, almond extract and salt in a mixing bowl, then pour over the nuts and berries. Spread gently to cover. Bake for 40-50 minutes, removing 5 minutes early to sprinkle with 1tbsp sugar before returning to the oven. Let cool slightly, and serve!

happy thanksgiving

Nothing quite warms my heart like family recipes. It's the taste of every holiday in your childhood, when the lights were sparklier, the trees were bigger, and the bow on top of a present was just as exciting as what was inside. My grandma has hosted Thanksgiving every year, and I'll be heading for her house around noon. I hope to collect a few more of her recipe cards -- having handwritten index card recipes makes even me, a digital girl down to her hard drive, feel warm and fuzzy and connected to a tradition that's much bigger than me.

I hope those of you with family today don't fight them too much and those of you not with family still feel warm and loved. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

winter wonderland: sequins

Today I'm back after an unexpected hiatus, but don't worry, I brought something sparkly with me! I think it's fair to say that we're waving goodbye to fall and hello to winter as we near the end of November. Sad as it is to see fall go, I'm definitely looking forward to the holiday season! There's something so unmatchably cheery about this time of year, and I intend to keep a song in my heart and a smile on my face, even as I enter the holiday season as a retail worker. I'll be smiling my way into a 5:30AM shift on Black Friday, and I'm one of the lucky ones! The store is opening at midnight, so I'm glad to at least get a little sleep before I have to go and face the hordes of bargain hunters.

But forget all that stress: I have something shiny to show you.
Yes, winter is the season of sequins! The season brings twinkling lights, shining silver bells, endless drifts of snow that sparkle in the moonlight, and you too can be a sparkly thing this winter. The cold weather makes it all the more important to keep your look "merry and bright" as you go dashing through the snow. (Can you tell that they've been playing Christmas music at work for a month already?)

I have to admit that I've always been afraid to rock the sequins. They're so glamorous, I was worried I wouldn't know where and when to deploy them for maximum sparkle effect without getting too tacky. (And since we're talking about sparkle, I hear that Breaking Dawn thing is going be honest, you couldn't get me into that movie with an entire drag revue's worth of sequins, but lets see how many errant Googlers I can ensnare now that I've mentioned the Twilight saga and Edward's cold glittering body.) But this year, I couldn't be restrained any longer; I went shopping on Friday, and tried on a sequin tank top "just for fun." Is it any surprise that I came home with two of them? Oops.

A sequined tanktop seems like a suspiciously versatile piece of clothing (and yes, I do feel ridiculous saying that). It's obviously appropriate for a holiday party (particularly the red one), and the champagne one will be great for zhushing up a "girl's night out" look. I can even wear it to work, provided I cover up my shoulders, which I would do anyway...have you been in Wisconsin in the winter? Brr!

In order to convince you to start sparkling this winter, here's a set I made with some of my favorite sequin-y statement pieces:

tis the season for sparkle

As you can see, I'm a big fan of sequined accessories. I find an all-over sequin look to be a little overwhelming or at least too much of a statement for most occasions. A sequined cocktail dress would be great for New Year's Eve or a particularly formal holiday party, but you'll get plenty of mileage out of a sparkling clutch or scarf. And who could resist a pair of glittery pumps? Okay, I can, but I really wanted to take them home with me too! There's only so much sparkle a girl can justify in one day's shopping trip.

Do you love to make yourself part of the winter wonderland with some sparkly fashion? Are you afraid (like I was) of looking "tacky" in sequins? I haven't debuted my sequins yet, but I'm actually really honestly excited about wearing them...isn't that just the best feeling?

job-o-rama and marc anthony

Like many unemployed fashion fans, I have now joined the ranks of retail workers! It's just part-time seasonal for now, but it's at one of my favorite places to shop (woohoo employee discount!) and really isn't too bad. It's only my second day, so I'm sure there will be drama in the future, but so far my biggest problem is getting used to standing for 6 hours. All of the customers have been quite friendly, and I'm still in "buddy training" so there's always someone at the next register I can ask for help. So, basically, sorry if I get a little out of whack; I've never worked a job that had such variable hours, so it's a bit of an adjustment!

In completely unrelated news, the menswear-enjoying readers of this blog should definitely check out the Marc Anthony collection at their local Kohl's. There are some pieces that I'm totally in love with, but really, there's a great feel to the whole collection; it has a really easy sophisticated feel, perfect for the guy (or otherwise!) who wants to look great without feeling overdressed.

Oh yeah, so cool. Image via Zimbio, more pics at the source

The Kohl's website isn't super helpful with the embedding and photo sharing (it's like they don't want bloggers to pimp their stuff!), but if I had to pick one stand out piece, it would be this cardigan. There's nothing about military-inspired fashion I don't love, and I'm pretty tempted to try on one of these myself! Especially since I'm spending a lot more time in the store for...reasons.

I do think it's kind of funny that someone whose red carpet appearances are...variable, to be kind, has his own line of clothes, but hey! I don't care whose name is on the label as long as it looks good. And these are definitely looking good.

the 2nd annual nanowrimo commemorative writer's accessories post

It's that wonderful cuckoo time of year again! Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month aka The Intrepid Writer's Best Friend/Worst Nightmare/Month of Mayhem) will again be upon us tomorrow. I haven't decided if I'm officially participating this year, but I'm definitely using Nano as inspiration to break myself out of a creative rut and get some more work done. Last year, I did a post on accessories for writers; twice makes a tradition, right?

This year, I have a few decorative accessories, and a few that are totally crucial to a writer in his or her natural habitat.

On the necessary side, take your novel with you wherever you go with this adorable owl-shaped USB drive. There is nothing quite like the exquisite agony of losing the precious words you worked so hard on, so please: back it up! It should be easy with such a cute storage device!

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

Yes, last post I did feature another piece by this fabulous Etsyian. And no, I still don't own one of these rings. But I'm lusting like nothing else, especially after the semicolon one shown above. The semicolon is my very favorite punctuation mark! Clearly, this is a match made in heaven.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

As winter is coming upon us, fingerless gloves become invaluable for those of us who want to type/write without our hands freezing. Plus, gloves that are as cute as these are enough of a fashion statement that you can totally rock them with your late autumn/early winter outfits.

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

If you're a funky type who wants to wear their writerly identity like a badge of pride, this scarf is a big step in the right direction. It's a scarf that's a pencil! What more is there to say?

Source: via Jennifer on Pinterest

And while you're slaving away over your magnum opus, why not wear a little bit of a good luck talisman: a writer you admire, resting right over your heart. Sometimes when I'm working on a project, I feel a bit like the above famed recluse, JD Salinger.

Are any of you doing Nanowrimo this year? It's not too late to sign up -- if you power through, you can definitely make up the words! What are your "must have" when you write? I almost always write on my laptop, but I love having a Moleskin notebook around in case I need to jot something down. It makes me feel very official!


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