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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Follow the Red Brick Road…

This is not my usual post.

No yummy treats for you.  Sorry.

Instead, I want to share with you a delightful trip I took to one of the most amazeballs cities ever.

Recently, I visited Boston on business.  Because that’s the kind of person I am now.  Someone who goes to Boston on business!  I’m a total adult now, it’s no big deal.

I work for a research institute at a university and our primary activity is an annual conference.  One of our future conferences will be in Boston, so my boss sent me there to look at hotels.  In between my meetings, I was able to see quite a bit of the city and absolutely fell in love with it!  It’s basically a wonderful land made of brick and I want to share it with you.

I stayed at the Omni Parker House, located in the heart of downtown Boston.  It falls directly on the Freedom Trail, across the street from the King’s Chapel.  It’s one of those super historical hotels that make you feel like you’ve walked into the lobby of the Tower of Terror (minus dust, cobwebs and plummeting elevators).  It’s actually the longest continuously operating hotel in the U.S.

Lobby of the Omni Parker House

Super important people have stayed there.  Like Charles Dickens and Emeril Lagasse.

Guess what else?  They invented the Boston Cream Pie.  Actually invented it.

And because I was such an important guest, they had one waiting for me in my room when I checked in.

I’m important enough for Boston Cream Pie. True Story.

Walking around Boston is a like stepping back in time.  Only next to every aging brick building is either a glass sky-rise or a Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts is a big deal there or something.  They are everywhere!

I did the requisite walk along the Freedom Trail (which is a literal red brick trail that winds through Boston hitting all the historic landmarks).  My favorites were Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere’s House, and the creepily old cemetery at King’s Chapel.

This is Faneuil Hall – complete with statue of Samuel Adams (who I dutifully thanked for all the beer).

Paul Revere’s House – I didn’t go inside but enjoyed looking at it from the cobblestone street.

It’s creepy and old. Like, seriously old.

Every day I was there I managed a stroll through the Boston Common, which was beautiful because leaves were just starting to turn!  On the day I visited the Park Plaza Hotel, I walked through the Public Garden and yet another creepily old cemetery (because seriously, creepily old cemeteries were everywhere).

Boston Common – Makes me miss fall!

Boston Public Garden – usually there are Swan Boats here, but I assume they fly away for the winter 🙂

Near the Public Garden was a landmark I knew I had to visit while I was in Boston.  On Beacon Hill, across from the park, is Cheers.  The outside is the same as the show, but the inside is completely different.  I didn’t care – I had myself a couple beers (Sam Adams Oktoberfest) and a cheeseburger and enjoyed listening to bartender rant at customers in his Bostonian accent.

Fact: There are two Cheers locations. One is on Beacon Hill and has the original entrance featured on the show. The second is at Faneuil Hall.

One of my final outings was to visit Harvard University.  I took the subway, which is an amazingly efficient way to get around and made me deeply ashamed of our public transportation here in California.  Seriously, why don’t we have Subways?

I didn’t take any pictures because I was trying to walk around as though I was a genius who obviously attends Harvard and has super-smart ideas about art and politics.  So when I decided to sit down at a café across the street at a table next to some guys talking about economic theory, I tried to hide the fact was actually reading Fifty Shades of Grey on my Kindle.

I did buy myself a Harvard t-shirt!

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Brushed Embroidery Cookies

For the past few months, my husband and I have been attempting to buy our first home.

Maybe it’s just me or maybe it’s just the current market…but house hunting so far feels like some form of cruel punishment for crimes I swear  I didn’t commit.

It’s been the same thing every time.  We look at a house and I completely fall in love with it.  I spend most of my spare time on Pinterest and dreaming up ways to make my new house absolutely perfect.  I have every room planned and paint colors picked out…

And then we don’t get the house.

Because investors keep using their piles of cash to steal my house.

It’s frustrating and super depressing.

And then my husband is all patient and logical and says things like “it wasn’t supposed to be our house” and “our house is still out there” that make me want to kick him but domestic violence is frowned upon so I don’t.

Instead I just pout about it and he cuddles on me until I love him all over again.  And then we watch Doctor Who and have a wonderful evening where I’m not thinking about evil investors with piles of cash who keep steeling my house.

Since I can’t decorate my house yet, I have to settle for decorating cookies.

Recently I’ve discovered brushed embroidery.  This is basically a fancy shmancy method to creating delicious little works of art.

 

My very first attempt at brushed embroidery

The basic technique involves piping icing and then using a damp paint brush to brush the icing.  The resulting effect is pretty stunning.  I will admit this is a time consuming project since each cookie has to be decorated one at a time (each cookie took me an average of 2-5 minutes once I got the hang of the technique).

 

For these, I added additional piping to create a more ornate look

I used two tutorials in order to learn this technique:

I used the recipes for the cookies and icing from The Decorated Cookie.

For the base icing, you must let it dry completely before doing the brushed embroidery (I let them set overnight – about 12 hours total)

Here a couple excellent examples of extraordinary brushed embroidery on other blogs:

from Sprinkle Bakes

From Sweetambs