Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hot Mess

A coworker of mine brought in two big bags of peppers from his garden. I'm guessing one family of five can't eat two big bags of peppers all by themselves? Crazy talk :) Since this was the second time he brought them in, I decided this go-round that I would take them home and make jalapeno jelly. What a GREAT IDEA, right? I mean, yes, it ended up being a great idea; however, there's also this tiny part where my hand turned into a ball of flaming fumes and fire. But I get ahead of myself.

I'm into this thing lately where I want to know exactly where my food comes from. I think maybe I've just hopped onto the locavore game because it seems like I'm not the only one who's back into canning and making things from scratch. Either way, I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn how to make jelly. A few years ago, I made orange marmalade (and then orange butter) from the tree in my backyard and it was really satisfying...and yummy! Talk about from cradle to grave with that one! And since I love jalapeno jelly, canning, and homemade stuff, I figured this would be a match made in heaven!

I followed this recipe pretty closely. And even though my coworker warned me that I should wear a glove, did I wear a glove while cutting these spicy beasts? No, of course not. Because I actually thought to myself, oh I don't need that. I'm tough. I don't need gloves. Well, perhaps I am tough, but I'm also an idiot because the day before I had picked steamed crabs. And if you're not familiar with picking crabs, that means that the day before I had scratched up my hands and created little crevices for the jalapeno oil to penetrate into my skin. Oh so smart. After slicing and dicing one big bag of peppers, my hand was on fire. FIRE, I tell you. As in, it woke me up in the middle of the night FIRE. As in, I had to sleep with my hand on a ice pack FIRE. As in, hot water from a shower or doing the dishes or just washing my damn hand after going to the bathroom set my fingers on fire FIRE. Please learn from my mistake and wear gloves if you're going to make this jalapeno jelly!

Anyway, my jalapeno jelly adventure worked! Not only am I am now the proud owner of six jars of jelly, but it also effectively distracted me from NOT getting a text or phone call from a stupid boy. Whatever. I have jelly and he doesn't. (I don't think you're ready for this jelly!) I'm super excited. I tried some at home last night to make sure it didn't taste like crap and it was delish! A bit runnier than the stuff I've bought at the store in the past, but still tasty. I'm assuming the honey-like consistency is because I used powdered instead of liquid pectin. I also used plain vinegar, since my convenience store didn't have apple cider. I'm pretty sure you're allowed to trade things in and out unless you're baking...which is basically chemistry...which I nearly failed. So there's always that. Anyway, I'm serving it up with some Ritz crackers and cream cheese to my coworkers today to see what non-biased people thing. But I think that this is a winner :)

Stephanie Marie

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Small Town America: Easton, MD

I have a new favorite town. And it's kind of surprising because I really only spent about a half hour walking through the main street before giving up on an available lunch place. My mom and I bought Groupons to get massages at this little salon in Easton, MD, and afterwards we planned to get lunch in downtown Easton. I won't even go into the traffic nightmare that we found on our way over the Bay Bridge; can we just say that traveling toward the beach on a weekend is just dumb?
Mason's on S Harrison Street.

Unfortunately I missed my massage, but my mom got hers and she truly loved it. So that was great! And downtown Easton turned out to be adorable. Again, unfortunately (for our lunch plans) the streets were packed with an outdoor painting competition. So, while we walked around in the rain looking for a place that didn't have an enormous wait--I'd had only a banana for breakfast and was officially cranky--we took in some of the colonial sites. 

Plein Air competition.
I just loved the colorful buildings with the inviting front porches. The flowers were beautiful and the idea of living in a place that has an outdoor painting competition? Uh, Stars Hollow anyone? 

Bartlett Pear Inn.
So, my mom and I decided that we'd just have to return in the fall, stay at the Bartlett Pear Inn, eat at Mason's, and get some more massages. I can't wait for a lovely girls' weekend! Luckily, we did manage to find a lunch place not too far away that had glorious views of the water. We grabbed a few appetizers at The Narrows and then headed back to the outlets. 
Wells Cove from The Narrows.

Found an adorable and really reasonably priced antique shop on the way where we picked up a few goodies for later. All in all, it was a wonderful day! You really can't beat mother/daughter adventures :)

Eastern Bay Trading Company.
Stephanie Marie

Friday, July 20, 2012

Making It Mine

I decided that since I'm going to be staying in my current apartment for the next 10 months, I might as well make it feel and look like my home. So last night I started moving some things around, hanging pictures up, and just putting together a plan for how I want my place to be. Here's a shot of my day bed after my updates.
Day bed update.
Here's the before shot. I exchanged the duna for a crocheted blanket my grandma made me. I also FINALLY sewed the two pillows you see on either end. They're made from Ikea rugs and pillows; I think the entire project cost me around $10. I also moved my coffee table to the side (you can kind of see it off to the right). I'll need to pick up a lamp for over there. And I also want to get a floating shelf for over the bed. The script painting, which still isn't done, will be moved to the hallway. 

What do you think? It's starting to feel more like my home, which I love! And I'm trying not to spend much money on these changes, so I'm going to have to put my thinking cap to get creative. Anyway, I'm off to a concert that my friend is performing in tonight and a massage with my mom tomorrow. Happy Friday!

Stephanie Marie

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The List of Lists: Spring Bucket List Update

For some reason, I've already moved onto fall and winter in my mind. Guess it's another part of the constant "living in the moment" issue that I have. So, I figured I'd revisit my bucket list for spring (which has also turned into my bucket list for summer) and try to continue to live in the moment.

Have you noticed that a lot of my things are really easy to do spontaneously, yet I still haven't actually done them? Must work on spontaneity too. Oh, and not over-scheduling myself, which has been SUPER difficult this season. Adding a few more things to the to-do list (e.g., tubing and outdoor movies) won't help, but whatever. If I don't get everything this year, there's always next year! I have a lot to work on :)

I'm visiting the Eastern Shore with my mom this Saturday for a massage. Maybe I'll bring a book and cross of another thing on my list. As long as this to-do doesn't become a chore, I'm OK with it. Happy summer!

Stephanie Marie

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Making a Home

I have a few things bubbling around in my life right now. And for some reason, I just don't feel like blogging. Usually for me that means that I'm unhappy. Creativity and happiness usually have a direct correlation. But that's not really the case right now. I think because my life is just do darn busy, I need some time to decompress and relax. 
 view full image
"Robin's eggs in the geranium #annapolis #flowers"
Anyway, one of the things that I'm going to be doing is decorating my apartment in Baltimore. I've signed the lease to stay another 10 months, and I think it's about time I make it my own space. I've been living with the bare minimum to get by for the past 6 months, but 10 makes it feel more like home. Bring on the culinary utensils! Come on with your full-length mirror! Hand me an iron! (It's crazy what I learn to live without!) Here's a picture of what I'm currently being inspired by for my "living room":
tiered ledges 
Anything inspiring you?
Stephanie Marie

Friday, June 29, 2012