Friday, May 31, 2013

Sick and Tired

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately... I've been battling a cold and now a sinus infection for over a week. 

That, coupled with working full-time hours this week because of my new job orientation and I'm falling asleep on the couch at like seven every night. I'm hoping once I can kick this illness and get a routine down with the new job, that I'll be able to post more frequently. 

So as of Tuesday the cake decorator I'm interning for is quitting the bakery. I'm not sure what that means for my internship. Will they find another decorator who will want to intern me? As of right now I'm not planning on it. The owners seemingly want to hire me because I think they're really desperate because wedding season is breathing down their necks and to be without a decorator would be a huge problem. But, it's their own fault because of how they treat their employees and run their business. It's a formula for failure. 

I thought for a split second that maybe I could be their decorator and then Wednesday happened: 8 huge sheet cakes to ice and decorate alone in like six hours. For a novice decorator like myself, that's a nightmare. The one owner was so annoying, abrupt, and irritating that the though of working for them was instantly dashed from my mind. No thanks. I don't want to deal with that. 

Hopefully soon I'll be in full health and all that. Until then, just hang tight! 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Yesterday was *awesome* yeah!!! Why?

Oh... because I got to meet one of my favorite bands ever and get their autographs on their new CD that came out yesterday.

We waited in line from 1:30 pm to 6pm when the signing started and we were among the first in the door. We had our CDs in hand, our Alice in Chains shirts on, and cameras ready. 

They sold all of these!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Birthday Business

I haven't posted since last Thursday!... I had such a wonderful momentum going there, didn't I? Well, with orientation this last weekend and my first day in the bakery yesterday, I've been busy and exhausted. There's been lots of learning and feeling really stupid but, everyone hates being the new kid. I think I'm going to settle in there just fine but I couldn't see myself being there forever. I want my own bakery that will actually bake things and not just whip things out for fast, mass consumption. 

But... anyways...

I've realized that I've not posted pictures of how Russ' birthday decorations turned out. I wish I had done a little more but I think it still turned out cute for being on a budget. 

Here's the mood board I was going for: 

And here's what I managed to pull off:

Tablecloth: already owned $0
Streamers: leftover $0
Lanterns: $1.50 ea/ $3

Snacks: $4
Table decorations: already owned $0

Note to self: hot pie + birthday candles = a hot, waxy mess. I felt so dumb! (But, we all got a laugh out of it).

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Today I have a little announcement to make that I've been holding off on for a while until everything was a little more sure...

I have a JOB!

In a society where your worth is measured by material wealth, it has been SO hard for me to be jobless. When we first got married, I thought I'd surely get a job quickly at Fleet & Family or find some job that would give me a chance in the Psychological field and be on my way to a Master's degree sometime. When I heard nothing back from my numerous attempts for months, I felt really discouraged. I became even more discouraged when I took a job at Walmart and was completely miserable for about four months as I took two buses to work the hectic-crazy holiday season. After that I was limited by what I could walk to or work around getting to because we have only one car. 

I have struggled with feeling worthless, pointless, and completely stuck without a job and nothing to look forward to doing. I'm lucky to have such a great husband to support me and help me to not feel like a loser. 

But yeah, back to the JOB! I'm going to be a part-time bakery clerk at a major grocery store chain here. I'm really excited because I will be doing cake decorating and other baking- really psyched!

I haven't been doing my internship this past week because, and here's another great thing about this week, Russ came home from a two-month underway! So yeah, we've been spending a lot of time together and he's been adjusting to home and getting caught up on all the things he missed in two months. 

But, here's the couple of cakes that I did last week that I didn't get a chance to share yet:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Here's just a goofy little blogging exercise...

1.) The term "door-buster." 
2.) People who are fond of sharing too much about their children on Facebook.
3.) Touching the condensation on the lid of leftover containers that come out of the fridge. 
4.) Cords.
5.) Watching the same commercial over and over (thanks, Hulu). 
6.) Chauvinistic/homophobic/racist/ignorant internet commenters. 
7.) Touching a stranger's hand when exchanging change. 
8.) Most reality television (most especially American Idol). 
9.) Eel in sushi. 
10.) Stupid inspirational quotes and graphics:

11.) People who whine about *spoiler alerts* on social media. If you don't want things spoiled for you, watch it and then look it up!
12.) Endless posts about a workout/eating regime. Don't care. 

And I had to stop at twelve which is strange because I know I have more peeves than that! Do we have any similar pet peeves? Isn't it goofy, when you think about it, what little things are bothersome to some people and don't bother others?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Work In Progress

I can pinpoint the exact moment that began my struggle with a crippling lack of self-esteem that has followed me through life like a shadow.

“Do you know what Billy said about you?” 

“No, what?”

“He said that you’re cool but you’re fat.”

You’re fat. 

It was the moment of realization that this was what others saw when they looked at me. When you’re a little kid, you don’t have time to think about stuff like that. Before that day in fourth grade, I just thought fat was something that Disney villains were, like Ursula from The Little Mermaid. My view of myself didn’t extend beyond what I was wearing and what my hair looked like. I hadn’t progressed into further physical self-analysis beyond that. 

There were things that I knew I was: artistic, that I loved to write, I loved to sing, loved making up stories with my brother. But, fat was not a part of the equation. 

My reaction to hearing what Billy supposedly said about me? I strode up to him in the middle of our busy map-making classroom activity, grabbed him by his shirt collar, glared in his face while saying, “I’ll see you on the playground.” 

An empty threat but, he stayed away from me after that. Because of his short-sighted opinion of me, he lost a friend. And sadly, before that we had been pretty good chums. 

I wish I could say that was my first and last brush with the “f” word. But, if it was this would be a rather short piece.

Throughout my childhood, from that point on, my life was lived in between fat insults. And, I pretty much remember every one. I remember the sting of their words and it’s upsetting to know that I’m the only one that will remember it. The only person that their words made a mark on was me. And I can trace and see each one like scarred flesh. 

Fat. Elephant. Water Buffalo. Pregnant. Lard Ass. Fat Ass. Mooooo. 

Moo. I remember that one almost fondly. 

One of my favorite classes in middle school was Language Arts and Reading and one day I was doing a presentation on a board game I created for our class assignment. Mine was the prettiest one in the classroom and I was quite fond of my witty little game. As I explained the rules and held it up for the class to see, a “Moo” irrupted from the second row. 

It came from Melissa. Melissa with cute freckles, a carefree attitude the boys enjoyed, and who was also a cheerleader. 

I don’t even remember if the teacher heard or made her stop because I was so horrified by being called out for being fat in front of the class (as if they wouldn’t have noticed without her astute observation). I was especially embarrassed because the boy whom I had a huge crush on had obviously heard the crude commentary on my physical condition. 

I remember I cried to my mom about it later and received some good advice about how to deal with my Melissa problem. 

The next day in the hallway between classes Melissa was shoved violently into a locker and left to pick up her scattered books and papers on the tiled floor while I snidely smiled and said, “Oops, I’m so sorry.” Yeah, not the best way to deal with it but sometimes you have to fight fire with a blowtorch. She must’ve been burned badly because she never said anything to me after that. 

These comments from strangers on how my body should look helped shape my ill opinion of myself. From the first instance it was no longer just Billy or Melissa picking apart my body, my biggest critic became myself. And self-hatred has never gotten me anywhere. I’ve even made my own comments on how other people should look, “Oh, she shouldn’t be wearing that!” “I would never go out like that!” I’ve tried to stop myself from perpetuating the body-hate but it’s something I’m still working on. 

I read a quote about a year ago that I think about every now and then, “Hating my body has gotten me here, so let’s see where loving my body can get me.” I think that quote is very poignant and very true. I’d like to say that since reading it my life has changed and my ill opinion of my body has magically vanished, but I can’t. It’s still a struggle, especially having gained back nearly the 35 lbs I lost before our move to Washington. I still think in terms of what events I have to look forward to and how much weight I could possibly lose before then.  

And when I think back to all the rotten things people have said to me over the years, my feminist-with-attitude side comes out and rudely snaps back, “How dare you tell me what my body should look like?!” But, isn’t that true? Why is it anyone’s business what my body looks like? It’s mine and I think that my opinion on it should be the one that ultimately matters the most. From fat women to female body builders women’s bodies are critiqued. “Too much muscle!” “Too much fat!” Either way it’s other people telling you how your body should look, feel, and be. 

There is no real end to this piece- there’s no advice I can give to others who are struggling with body or self-acceptance. I'm lucky I have a man who loves me no matter what I look like but it's also difficult for him to understand why his unconditional and loving opinion can't make me like my body. I know it needs to come from within and it sucks that I've spent over fifteen years of my life hating it. I’m in no place to offer any advice but I just felt the need to get these words out of me and into the world.  
Still working on it. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Nice To Mulch You

I remember growing up occasionally I'd have to pull some weeds or do some hedge trimming after my Mom mowed the lawn. I'd watch my parents plant flowers, trim hedges, paint fences and porches and I'd think, "ICK. When I'm a grown up, I'm not going to waste my time doing yard stuff! BOR- RING!" 

And then I thought today as I was using my spare time to pull weeds, spread mulch, and plant things... I am now the boring adult that my younger self scoffed at. It sucks to grow up and get old and realize that you actually care what your house looks like. (Eleven year old Ashley is cringing inside as I write this.)

Oh well. 

Here's some pretty flower pots I planted a few weeks ago that have really gone beautifully. The white petunias were very scrawny but it looks like they're taking over now.

Our flower beds are sooooo weedy. I haven't bought any weed killer because I never think of it when I'm at the store so I've just been pulling some in my spare time here and there.

And after... still weedy- see my piles?
Fred Meyer had a sale this week that was 4 cu. ft. of mulch for $12! We bought eight bags and decided to go delicately light on the mulch because this is a rental and only surface appearances matter.

I also saved some of the newspaper for a weed guard after seeing this:

I spread the mulch out on 3-4 sheets thick of newspaper (definitely need more than a week's worth!) and this is about how far I got for this evening. This was only one bag of mulch spread thinly. We got that flat of petunias for $9.99 at Fred Meyer on sale this week because they're normally $16.99 (I love that store!). 

And this little guy... I called him Mr. Sluggles, hitched a ride in the purple petunias from the Garden Center. 

He's kinda cute, huh? My brother thinks slugs are on par with spiders but I beg to differ... 

So yeah, it's coming along slowly, but I'm glad we're getting everything on sale and making this as inexpensive as possible. 

Speaking of spiders... I had a mini-heart attack when I looked over at the garage wall, and right next to the space that I'd been slipping by all evening to go from the yard to the garage, and saw THIS:

If I was a less dignified lady I would have torn off my clothes and incinerated them immediately. Let me make this clear: I HAD BRUSHED UP AGAINST THIS ALL NIGHT AND HAD NO CLUE!!! It was one of the grossest, revolting, disturbing, and DISGUSTING things I've seen in a long time and there was a possibility that some of these little hellions were on me or in my hair (no joke, I'm getting the creepy-crawlies while writing this) (another side note: when I typed "crawlies" I thought of these Crawleys. I know this has nothing to do with the post but Downton is awesome, is it not?).

Sybil's my favorite!
I like making the yard look pretty but there are some downsides:

-you're doing work
-there are bugs outside like spiders, centipedes, disgustingly-huge beetles that hide beneath weeds I'm pulling
-it sucks to sit on the ground near the bugs
-weeds are evil
-it's time consuming

And then there's this, which I find totally hilarious and true:

Well said, Mr. Gaffigan. Well said. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mother's Day Rewind

I guess I forgot to mention what we did for Mother's Day. Mom had to work the night before so I thought I'd make her a nice breakfast and bake her a cake with my new decorating skills. 

I made her one of her most favorite things I've made for her, the Tator Tot Breakfast Bake

I set her a beautiful place setting starring some pretty carnations and a clearance plate from Target ($1.24 each!). 

The cake wasn't my best work because I made some very, very stiff buttercream that felt like I was trying to pipe with cement- not fun. But it didn't turn out too badly. 

I also got to use my cute little cake stand for the first time for a cake! I still had the sticker on the bottom- $12.99 from Tj Maxx/Homegoods. 

It was a pretty low-key day because she slept through most of it but I hope we made her morning! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Birthday Of The Asian Persuasion

This coming Sunday is Russ' birthday and if you've been following me for a while you know that I enjoy coming up with his birthday themes. I like to spend a minimal amount of money on decorations and DIY something incredible and different.

In 2011 the theme was the video game, Portal. All I bought was the cheap table cloth, balloons and some scrapbook paper to cut out designs and motifs from the game. 

I painted a cube-shaped box I had lying around for the table centerpiece, that is called a companion cube, from the game. 

And last year's theme was The X-Files. I think I spent about $8 on this whole little party. I bought a poster board to paint the logo, the birthday sign and painted it black, streamers at .88 each roll and balloons which I drew alien faces on with marker. 

This year I'm going with the sushi theme that I was debating with last year. I made this mood board last year and thought it was awesome so... Sushi Birthday it is!

1.) I already own two lucky cats for decoration.
2.) I have some Japanese dishes already and chopsticks.
3.) I actually bought this poster here in WA.
4.) I have some bamboo for a centerpiece already.
5.) I already own these statues.

So... all I need to acquire is maybe a table cloth if I don't want to use the white one from last year, some cheap lanterns from our local Daiso Japan store, and some Japanese treats from World Market. Now that we live closer to a sushi place, I can get fresh sushi and we can eat it at home or we can go out and have cake/pie at home amongst the decorations. We'll see what he feels like doing. 

I'm excited, this is going to be fun!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cake Show And Tell

It's time for another cake roundup! I've been really busy at my internship, making cakes and learning techniques and taking pictures of my work. It's been great to get to have one-on-one attention with someone teaching me unlike my cake class of early last year in which I was just one of twenty-five or so students. 

This week was my first venture into airbrushing camouflage. I thought it would turn out rather weird but I think it actually looks pretty good... minus the kid's name. Not sure what that's about and yes, it's spelled correctly. 

I made the next three cakes as extras rather than orders for the refrigerated case. I left the tops rather sparse to make room for last minute writing as requested by the customers. 

And this week was groundbreaking! I finally managed to make a good looking rose after my decorator taught me using a skewer rather than a flower nail. 

I'd been trying forever to master making a rose on a flower nail like I'd seen so many people do before. I don't know, it just wasn't clicking. I could never get it to sit up right or angle my bag the right way. 

But with the skewer, it just clicked. I got it in like one try and haven't looked back since. It's been nice to finally make a good looking rose!

Ta da! I'm so proud! :)

This has been the most fun cake I've done! It was just playful and interesting and I love it.  Though I really wanted to make the background black like the actual game and the inspiration picture the client sent but we were worried about the guest's teeth turning black! 

So this week is going to be pretty exciting and busy and I'll have more details later this week!