Just a little snippet from December.
Just a little snippet from December.
[Steve] also taught me that the joy is in the journey, which was a revelation for me. And he taught all of us that life is fragile, and that we’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so give it everything you’ve got. – Tim Cook on Steve Jobs
I force my friends to take photos. I do. It’s because I like them. They probably don’t like it but too bad. I like it, and I want photos and I want to keep them.
My entire childhood was meticulously and almost obsessively documented. My mom kept almost all of my school work and my dad took thousands of photos. So I’m just used to having an abundance of things to remind me of what happened and how it happened and where and with whom. It’s probably why I like having blogs and multiple Instagram accounts, and videos on YouTube and all of that. A published record of existence in multiple forms.
I also completely get wanting to fall off the face of the planet and have hermetic alone time. But looking at these memories when you’re alone is what makes them so special. Because you know you’re not alone.
A lot of people, without knowing it, struggle with the idea of immortality; how will I be remembered. How will I leave a legacy. Careers and accomplishments – who is that really for? It’s to show off to the world what you’ve done and what you can do.
I spent so much time growing up thinking “I’m going to do THAT and make all this money and be rich and have everything” and it was a waste of time because even though my dad was capturing it all on film, there’s a lot I don’t remember. I forgot to appreciate what I had, and the people that matter in that process of being immortalized. What’s the point of having everything you’ve ever wanted when there’s nobody there to share it with?
That’s why I spend so much time documenting things. I want to remember things just as they happened, with the people it happened with. It all goes back to seeing happy things – if you really look, you’ll see so much you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. The world has a lot of secretly wonderful things if you take the time to look for them.
2014 was a very strange year. A lot of ridiculous ups and downs and moments I would never have guessed would happen. 2014 Was a learning experience and a year that I needed for myself, without really realizing it until it happened.
2014 is ending on a pretty good note.
I had my Friendsmas and it was the best. And I made all my friends take photos and it was silly but it was worth it. It was a poignant moment where I knew and felt that these were the 3 people that I made the right choices about; after a long week, there were no other people I would’ve rather spent time with.
I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 and wonderful holiday season 🙂
2015, here we come.
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General rule of thumb: don’t cook while you’re sick.
My whole Christmas plan this year included making everybody (whom I deemed worthy… lol) a Cake In A Jar.
Ace of Cakes was a show on the Food Network about 6 years ago that was one of my top 3 favorite shows produced by the Food Network. Pretty much, Duff Goldman (and his #2 Geof Manthorne) are the original kings of TV Cake and I love them. I bought the book. They made the coolest cakes and had some of the most talented artists. The show was all about their cakes, not about the personalities in the bakery. It was authentic and fantastic and I have all the seasons on DVD (no shame). I tried watching other shows like Cake Boss or whatnot, and nothing compares. Ace of Cakes being cancelled was the worst news of my Food TV life.
Since Ace of Cakes was cancelled, I’ve followed Duff on his social media just to see all of his cake stuff. Again, he’s the best.
Recently he was on Popsugar showing how to make one of his newer products, the Cake In A Jar. It’s a super cute video and you can watch it down below:
It looked so easy and so cute, so I bookmarked it with every intention of making these as Christmas gifts this year (back in August, when I watched this – I’m a perpetual future-planner.)
As Christmas rolled around, I got everything ready to go and then got the flu. Like, the worst flu. That flu that takes everything out of you, literally.
Sick people shouldn’t cook.
But, I have a Person. And her name is Kate. And she likes to make Cakes. And I call her Buttcakes. And she’s my Person. And she helped me make all these Cake In A Jars.
For the actual jars, I picked up just a case of 12 Pint Sized Mason Jars at Michael’s (I got them on sale for $12.99, but I believe they’re usually $15.99). I also picked up some Washi Tape, festive Ribbon Stickers and customizable labels. All of these you can purchase to your own liking – I just picked the red patterned ones because they were cute. At home I already had glitter, Elmer’s glue, colored sharpies and festive ribbon.
The best part about this project is that if you like to do crafty projects, you’ll probably have the majority of these things at home – you can even make your own labels with ties, you don’t have to buy them. Or you can simply decorate the jars in whatever fashion you’d like. It’s actually a fairly inexpensive gift to DIY.
On the labels, I just wrote “Merry Christmas” and drew a little tree. Then on the back I added some glitter accents – I just made little designs with the glue, dump a ton of glitter on top and waited for it to dry. 😀
On the jars, I put just a piece of Washi Tape all the way around, and stuck a little bow in the middle. The Washi Tape is great because you can put it on and it looks seamless since the tape is so thin. It also doesn’t take away from the look of the Mason Jar – I like the rustic look of Mason Jars, so the simplicity of the Washi Tape adds a little bit of fun without going overboard.
The ribbon stickers were also something I added to just highlight that it’s a Holiday gift. They’re not over the top or gaudy either, which again I chose just to keep everything looking simple.
The labels were just tied on to the top of the jar with a bit of ribbon or string I had from last year.
Each jar is actually different because the bow stickers came with various patterns in the package, and the string/ribbon came in combo pack of different patterns as well. It was one of those $1 aisle purchases at Target – you can find small packages of ribbon at Michael’s too. The ribbon itself is only like 2 feet long, with like 4 variations of ribbon, but since they’re for the circumference of the jar it was perfect for this particular project. It’s an easy way to vary the look of multiple jars, say if you’re giving multiple to a family, without having to go and buy 4 different Washi Tapes or whatever. Buying combo packs is the way to go for projects like these 🙂
Now, I 100% recommend decorating the jars after filling with frosting and cake. The frosting and cake can get a bit messy, as Kate and I experienced over this whole, first-time process. While the cakes are baking and cooling, there is enough time to make the frosting as well as make the labels so there’s enough time for the glue to dry, should you be doing this completely on your own.
If you’re doing this with another person, like I did, you can prep everything for the jars, but I’d still say wait until the jars are filled to decorate them. Just in case.
Now for the actual cake and frosting, I pulled two separate recipes. Then handed them to Kate, on a cryptically written post-it and said “welp, that’s it. Figure it out.” lol. The flu and I are not friends.
The cake recipe was taken straight from the Popsugar video:
We doubled the recipe and had more than enough for 14 jars. Kate had 2 extra jars at her house which we filled, in addition to the 12 I brought over.
We also made some of the batter without the sprinkles, just because I have friends who don’t like funfetti cake (boooooooooooooooooo).
Also, if you make them into cupcakes, they’re easier at the end to cut into even sized disks and fit into the jar. The top of the cupcake you can actually cut off and then use as the last and top layer of cake in the jar.
The video calls for buttercream frosting but I wanted chocolate so instead, I thought, “why not make the most decadent mix of chocolate and cake ever” and told Kate “we’re making that chocolate trifle thing you made once.”
The rest of that recipe is in the link above, this is just what we used of it.
Kate added in the whipping cream to the chocolate mixture and it turned into a more mousse-y texture which was perfect.
At first we decided to double the recipe, then didn’t have enough. So Kate made another quadruple batch, which was a lot. And probably too much. But again, we filled 2 extra jars. With the chocolate, you just have to eyeball the amount you need. Luckily it’s a pretty straightforward recipe (as far as I can tell, Kate made it lol).
I randomly found a little piping bag at my house and brought it over, and I will say it’s probably the easiest in order to get the frosting into the jar, but find as large of a bag as you can because it’ll get messy otherwise. There was a good 10 minutes there where chocolate got everywhere. On Kate. I have dirty hand syndrome – I can’t handle dirty hands in the slightest. Obviously, cooking is an issue for me, like all the time. And gardening. But anyways, I was in charge of the cake. So I was basically chocolate free. Poor Kate. 😉
For the jars we made, I specifically cut off the crunchy crust parts of the cake (which totally defeats the purpose of what Duff says in the video, I know), because it just made for a better bite of cake. If you choose to use that part of the cake, then you’d have A LOT of cake left over. The part of the cake I used, I just cut into small pieces that were easy to fit into a jar.
Things that make putting the pieces flat into a jar easier:
For the actual assembly of the jar (frosting, cake, frosting, cake, frosting sprinkles) I just followed the video.
The number of layers you put of each thing will depend on how big your jars are, how much frosting you use and how thick the cake layers are. We ended up doing 4 layers of cake.
The total time to decorate, bake and assemble with the two of us was about 4 hours. In the middle we also left to get more cream cheese. There’s a bit of down time as well with the waiting of the cakes to cool and for everything to set.
It’s for sure more fun with another person – especially another person that’s the best at baking.
Holiday DIYs are sort of the best because it’s 100% customizable to what you have available to you. Plus I think they’re fun. I like crafts and stuff. And again, it’s a total bonus that My Person likes baking.
I hope you guys all have a lovely holiday – and a lovely winter solstice! Happy shortest day of the year lol 🙂 It just means that every day is getting longer now, and that means more sunshine and more opportunities for great things.
I’m the most sick right now. Well I was the most sick on Thursday and Friday. And now I’m just massively headachey, and exhausted, and body achey. Moving is currently the least enticing action I can think of.
Which is great, because I’m just sitting at work. But I also just want to lay down forever.
It’s flu season!
Actually my doctor said to not go to work today or do anything, but I couldn’t find a sub, so here I am. So responsible lol.
I have 6 more hours of this shift and I’m dying.
And all I’m going to do is just go home and pass out.
But it’s Christmas time! And I should get into the holiday spirit. If I think it, I will be. How very existential.
Hope you’re all having a better day than I am 🙂
Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life – Hozier
The idea that you slowly die when in love is sort of perfect; it makes sense. And no, I’m not in love. Not at all. I haven’t been for a long time. I don’t even think I really was with my last few boyfriends or “whatevers” – the non-official, “we’re not labelled” dudes.
But you see yourself as one person in the beginning and then everything disintegrates. If you look at yourself from the other person’s point of view, you’re not even remotely who you thought you were. The person you were died. You just have to learn to evolve.
Thing is, I really like where I am right now. I’m also in no way saying I’m totally perfect, but, I just like where I am.
A lot of things changed this year. At the time, it felt like things were just constantly catastrophically doomed to fail. It was months of a haze of misery. And then one day, it all just didn’t matter. My issues were not even that bad, considering. To me, they were at the time, and it was important to feel that. But it was also important to wake up and keep going. It was important to realize that it’s just not that bad.
Feeling like I won the misery games – 18 year old me needed that. 19 year old me needed that. So did 20, 21, 22, and 23 year old me. 24 year old me didn’t. I was anxious, tired, annoyed, cranky, and just unhappy. And it felt like there was no way out. Being miserable was something I accepted to be, and was something I expected to feel forever.
And then one day, it just stopped. New people came into my life, and those point of views just snapped reality back into me. Not harshly. Not harshly at all. It was actually really gentle. That snap made me gather my shit and realize I needed to change in order for things to get better. I couldn’t be dependent on somebody else to make me feel better.
Fighting with friends, hating myself, expecting the worst – that was 90% of the first 8 months of this year. There were a lot of good moments, but I concentrated so hard on being angry that I didn’t experience them quite as fully as I should have.
At this point, it’s all starting to sound really repetitive – that you have to believe in the good. But I keep saying it here because even though I may not need it, somebody out there probably does. Or maybe I will in a few months. Who knows.
Anyways, I just like where I am right now. I’m happy with where I am. It feels stable. And I know I’m going to have bad days mixed in there, but I can bare them now. I don’t really want to move on from this place yet because it’s brought a lot of good. I’m not in any place to say that I can control what happens. I just – I just don’t want to lose where I am right now. It’s asking for a lot – to ask nothing to happen just so I can be in this place, at least for a little while longer. But I don’t want somebody to come into my life and kill the person I am now. Even if it may be for the better. And it’s purely for selfish reasons. And I should embrace the fact that more change and constant evolution is good. I’m just happy right now.
Things fall apart. You just have to find a way to put them back together with grace.
I am sure there is Magic in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us – Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
The semester is almost over. And holidays are coming. And Angry-Holiday-Feelings are here. And my Tired-I-Hate-School-Game is strong. And all that from last week is still a thing. But, the semester is almost over. And I love celebrating holidays. Making holidays special for another person is one of my favorite things.
This past week was a strange mix of high-highs and low-lows. Like, of the good things that happened? Real good. The shitty, “I HATE ALL THE THINGS” part? I had the MOST hate for this week. And again, it’s all relative, so really, comparing to like parts of April or May, they weren’t even that bad.
I just had a busy week. And I guess that’s how I made sense of it.
I got an iPhone 6, then I had to deal with more work-shit that I can’t go into detail about but it was annoyingly bad, then I got to spend time with my favorite kids ever, then I had to deal with family stuff, then this thing happened that I never really expected to happen, and I got to have Chinese food with my peoples and then other things happened. That was all so vague. But I can’t really talk about some of it. Either way, it was a roller coaster of good-bad-good-bad-good-bad-REALGOOD-bad etc.
This post is quickly turning very annoying. And it’s so vague. But I’m in sort of a fog today so I don’t really have the mental faculties to straighten it all out right now.
For the past 9 or so months, I’ve been getting an average of 4 hours of sleep every night. 4 hours rounding up. For the last 3 months, it’s been almost exactly 3 hours and 34 minutes every night. It’s the strangest thing.
There have been a handful of nights where I’ve been able to just zonk out and sleep for like 14 hours but most of those were when I was sick or when I finally just collapsed, emotionally and physically.
And for the first few months I – (OH MY GOD I’M SITTING IN THE COMPUTER LAB AT SCHOOL WRITING THIS AND I LOOKED OVER TO MY LEFT AND THE GUY SITTING NEXT TO ME IS WATCHING MUSIC VIDEOS AND LIP SYNCING ALONG AND SORT OF HEAD BOBBING WHAT EVEN) – was for sure not used to having so little sleep that I was cranky all the time. And then over the summer I just got used to it. And the sleep would just come whenever – some days I’d fall asleep at 8:30 in the evening and some days I’d fall asleep at like 5 am. And now I’m on a schedule so it just feels normal. Even though it’s so severely not normal.
I know 80% of it is because I’m not dealing with situations or emotional things that I know I have to confront. Which is why sleep aids don’t work. But anyways, my sleeping problems aside, I’m in a weird mood and feeling very up and down and I can’t wait until this semester is over so I can just collect myself for a while again.
I’m just tired.
Anyways, I wasn’t planning on sounding whiny this morning. I actually don’t even feel all that whiny. That all just came out. I’m relatively in good spirits. The good things that happened last week positively outweighed the negatives. Quite possibly because I sort of “reached goals” this past week, personally or whatnot. (So vague).
And actually now that I’m thinking about the bad things, after it all happened, I’m ok. They were shitty to immediately deal with, but now I’m good. How wishy-washy of me. Again, I’m in a weird fog. That December, “What’s even going on right now” fog where you have to buy gifts and finish tests and plan for the future. That weird “What shows have ended for their mid-winter break, and what shows are still going on, WHAT’S HAPPENING” sort of feeling.
At least the other day I was able to turn off my phone for like 4 hours and center myself. I haven’t had time for that in a long time. That was one of my good things from last week. I sat outside, in the overcast weather, in my backyard, with my roses (which are still blooming, thanks to that ever-so-lovely California drought) and just zoned out for 4 hours. It was great. Of course after that I was in crisis mode. Because everything is a-OK or a Red Level Catastrophe.
During my 4 hour break from the world though I got to re-calibrate my stance on the world and review, literally re-view, how I see things. It was nice. There really is magic out there, you just have to look for it. It’s as simple as waking up to rain, or finding twenty cents on the ground.
The long, round-about message of this post is, again, it’s all relative, and there’s something good in every day. There are beautiful things everywhere, no matter where you are, how you feel, what you’re doing. I really do believe it.
It took how long? Years, for me to come to terms with it. But at this precise moment, I 100% believe it with every fiber of my being.
Long, rambly, disorganized, vague post done 🙂
Happy Tuesday everybody.
Can you hear me, that when it rains and shines
It’s just a state of mind?
Rain, I don’t mind. Shine, the weather’s fine.
– The Beatles
It’s all relative.
No matter how bad it gets, it can always be worse. Even though you so desperately want to be the saddest girl in the world, it can always be worse.
It’s all relative.
Thanksgiving… is a thing. Thanksgiving happened and it was a pleasant reminder that I’m pretty damn satisfied with the family I chose for myself.
As far as blood relatives go? I have two left. For all intents and purposes, I have no grandparents (the one surviving grandmother, I haven’t spoken to her in three years, and she hasn’t tried to contact me, and it’s a mess), I have no uncles and aunts and cousins. They’re all gone. Or I guess I never knew them. I don’t honestly really want to know them though – right now it really just feels like it’d be more obligation followed by betrayal.
Family betrayal is the worst. That whole “blood is thicker than water” business really sucks when it turns out to be true.
Let’s get this straight, I will always be loyal to my brother and my mother. No matter how poorly I get treated, I always have to stay because they’re my family. It’s stay and bear it, or lose them forever. And no matter how much it really hurts sometimes being in their company, I always stay. That damn, thick, Japanese blood.
Anyways, Thanksgiving definitely re-focused how much I really do appreciate what my friends offer me. All of them offered me ways out. And then even after Thanksgiving, they all listened. They all put things into perspective. Because it can always get worse.
It’s all relative.
So, I’m stepping away from my own pity party (again). Until probably mid-December when I get holiday depressed (again). I love holidays – for other people. I like buying people stuff. It’s fun. It’s like a game, and I’m real good at it. I guess to put it correctly, I like everything leading UP to holidays and birthdays. I like other people’s birthdays. But not my own. I like celebrating Christmas for other people, but I’m not a big fan of Christmas at my house.
It’s the same as people hating rain. At work this morning there have already been 15 people come in complaining about it saying it’s ruined their days. Well, I love rain. The sound, the smell, the feel, the look, the way it sits on things. I love it. I’m big into weather. Re-evaluating how you see the world makes you appreciate the sky, I guess.
When I was 12 we went to Italy as a family. It was late July. It was so hot. And it didn’t really bother me because everything in Italy is unreal-pretty. Magazine pretty. Well everything we saw, anyways. And we hit a lot of non-traditionally-touristy places. I’m sure there are hidden parts of Italy that Italians think aren’t pretty (whatever, Italy, you know you’re gorgeous).
We actually went with another family and started in Venice. Then rented cars, drove through Tuscany and stayed a few nights there. Then ended in Rome. I don’t think there was a single, ugly sky on any of those days. It rained a few days, and we were in big cities and little towns and every sky was different. We chased a sunset in Tuscany, and it may have been one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced.
After that trip a lot changed – mostly in the direction of “no worries guys, I’ll just let you treat me like shit because you’ve made it clear that’s what I’m here for.” My dad and I used to spend random afternoons taking pictures for various jobs he had to do. We would drive around the city, he’d show me secret spots. We’d listen to good music. We’d have ice cream or tacos or McDonald’s and visit Amoeba. That stopped. My brother basically just stopped talking to me, unless it was out of necessity. My mother stopped putting me as a priority. I was the least important family member. And it all just got steadily worse from there because I was 14.
Years 14-23? Not great. I mean it’s still not “great” in what I would like to define as “great” but it’s better. It was definitely worse. And can always be worse.
It’s all relative.
Time to snap out of it – it’s Sunday! It’s routine day!
Here’s a pretty picture I found while figuring out how to prune my roses properly – which I will do a post on. At some point.
Happy Sunday, everyone.