Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm still recovering, but thought I'd throw up a few pictures from our weekend Halloween party!

A little calm before the storm...

Trader Joe's choco cake mix, yum!
Thanks to three separate shopping malls and many of your suggestions, I finally found a yellow jacket (clearance section of Macy's) and some yellow tights (Charlotte Russe)! And, by the way, colored tights are a lot of fun. I think I need more of them in my life.
Friend E, cosplaying 20th Century Boy's in the above photo, brought a bunch of silly sodas from Rocket Fizz.  Everything ranging from banana nut to bacon and in between.
Yes, even "Dear Leader" sodas.  Despite the label of "terrorizing taste", it had a fantastic orange cream flavor. :P
Other guests brought yummy salmon dip, and a new treat I've never had - halva! Which I can only think to describe as a more cake-textured Abba-Zabba.
Nut-topped salmon dip to the left, halva to the right.
For dinner we made a gigantoid pot of curry, and ordered a humongously-too-large tray of chicken katsu.  Add rice and some Riesling wine and we were all full of warm curry goodness.
I'm not kidding - party favors for everyone consisted of quart-sized bags of leftover chicken.  It was that much.
Frog-turtle puppeh.
Cousin T brought Hello Kitty Halloween tattoos and set up a parlor.
Everyone was required to get some kitty love. Even the manly-man-dudes.
Left to right, top to bottom: we had a bandit and a sheriff, a Norman Rockwell Peach Crop gal, a Cheshire cat, two psyducks, a crazy man, 20th Century Boys Friend, two pandas, two kimono gals, a frog-turtle and Storm Shadow from GI Joe.

Fun times! I died around 3:30 AM.  That's kind of embarrassing, but I'm no longer the college kid I used to be!
sleepy pandas!
By the way, I would definitely recommend the movie Bad Ronald.  It's very strange. Good in a bad way.  Or bad in a good way?  But you knew that - it's from the 70's, after all!

Hope you all have a great Halloween today! I'm hoping for lots of Trick-or-Treaters so I can hand out bags of fried chicken! ;)

Friday, October 28, 2011

DIY Pie Stencil

Interrupting the normally scheduled Asian Dessert Friday with a more seasonal sweet - pumpkin pie!

Yeah, I wouldn't get too excited either, it's just a cheapy one from Safeway.

But let's jazz the plain pie up!
Cut out a simple stencil and hold lightly over your pie.

Break out something powdery, be it sugar or cinnamon.
Sift onto the stencil!

And remove!
Pumpkin Pie Pac-man ghost stencil!

Tips from my mistakes:

- Use more powder for a good even coverage.
- Don't use powdered sugar on "wet" pies/cakes.  It..melts.  Cinnamon is probably a better choice.

Anyway, it's a fun, five minute way to jazz up a plain pie, and the ideas are limitless! You can print out words or pictures too for a more professional looking stencil as well!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Scary Movies

People, I am so ready to bust out the popcorn and candy this weekend. Sak and I stormed through three libraries on a quest for some horror movie material, and I think we came back with a fairly good haul.  The idea was to get enough movies for guests to vote on, but not necessarily have to sift through hundreds of movies on a streaming service.  Some choice, but not too much that we waste the whole night deciding on something to watch.

Ten movies, of which we'll probably watch three?

The Host - 2006 South Korean movie about a Loch Nessy thing that eats people.

The Lost Boys - 1987 classic vampire movie set in "Santa Carla" (Santa Cruz), with the hot vampire Kiefer Sutherland.  This is the only movie I've seen before out of the 10 we rented, because it's just that awesome.

Primeval - 2007 Giant deadly crocodile?

Shutter - Another ghosty story from the makers of Ju-on and The Ring.  English version, 2008.

A Flat - 2010 Indian film about a guy stuck in his flat with a ghosty.

Of this set, I'm voting for A Flat or Lost Boys.  I have a feeling most of my Otaku guests have seen Shutter already, given the popularity of its predecessor films.

Vanishing on 7th Street -  The dark...kills people.  Yeah, I dunno about that premise, but Anakin Skywalker's in it. 2010 film.

Bad Ronald -  1974 film about Ronald the killer teen locked in a house.

Piranha - 2010 throwback to Jaws, or something.  It's labeled as both horror and comedy.

Pandorum - 2009 sci-fi thriller about two astronauts stuck in a deadly spaceship.

The Day of the Triffids - 1981 BBC throwback to the 1962 original about man-eating plants.

Of this set, I have a strong feeling that Bad Ronald will be the front runner, given one of our guests is named Ronald.  Plus, horror movies involving teenagers are always the best.  A good mix of fear, stupidity, and cheesiness.

Do you have your Halloween movies lined up?  Have you seen any of our library picks? Which ones would you want to watch?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Psyduck Cosplay Dress

Blasting one of my Star Wars soundtracks late into Monday evening, we finally finished my duck dress.  (Note to self - stop waiting until the last minute to do these things!)

Of course, we didn't follow the directions exactly, and I ran out of time and didn't make the jacket.  I am now in search of a yellow cardigan (looks straight at Cardi - "May I wear you please??") to cover my flabby arms.  It is kind of depressing to compare myself today with Penga of last year.  There's about a 15 pound difference. No one to blame but myself there, haha.

I also need to find some yellow leggings, though I do have a brown pair if yellow isn't possible.  I don't want to accidentally moon my guests, and I hate having to remember to be lady-like while lounging around on the couch.  Any leads, shoppy ladies?
When my gather stitch thread broke while putting the skirt together, we decided to pleat the whole thing instead.  Easier, really.

And I totally have to use fashion tape on the top since my chest shows when I bend over.  I don't know if that's the fault of the pattern or myself, but will probably err on the side of bad-sewing.

Overall, I really like the dress.  It's bouncy and fun to hop around in.  The material is super cheapy (broadcloth - which translates to "the least expensive stuff in the fabric store"), but I still think it's better quality than a store bought Halloween costume.  I will definitely save for future conventions, and hopefully duck it out a little bit more in the meantime.  I could use a blond wig, and a tail, for instance!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Are we the only ones?
All for under $5! 
Haha.  Over time Sak and I have really come to be morning people.  We can't stay up past midnight anymore, and rarely sleep longer than 8 AM. Another sign of getting older, I guess.  But waking up with the sun really improves my mood.  Something about "not wasting the day" (even though I certainly do waste it quite often, conscious or not).

Saturday mornings have kind of evolved into our date-time as a result.  Plus it's the only time BIL isn't awake (he keeps vampire hours).  It's just kind of sweet to wake up next to your spouse and not have to rush off to work.  To roll out of bed and lazily enjoy the newness of the day, the dewy morning air, the annoying songs of our neighborhood Blue Jay, Buddy. Just the two of us.

Usually we'll get bagel sandwiches and relax at the library.  Other times it'll be breakfast burritos and a stroll through the San Francisco Zoo.  Or just pancakes at home with some reading material.

This particular Saturday was IKEA breakfast and some thrift store browsing.

A calm, hearty time for just being together. I love Saturday mornings.

What's your usual date-time?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lollipop Ghosts & Kirigami Spiderwebs

You remember lollipop ghosts, right?  Maybe you made then in like, first grade? From simple Kleenex and candy.

You have no idea how hard it was to keep Sak from eating the Blow-Pops intended for ghosting.
Not the best method of attachment, but will do.
I hung it on the upstairs fireplace mantle. I say upstairs, because we have a downstairs fireplace too.  Not that we have used either of them yet.  It's still summer here, afterall.
And more.
But it looked...lame. And yes, I know the IKEA mirrors aren't helping matters.

Enter Omiyage Blog's instructions for DIY Kirigami spiderwebs.
So pretty..and easy!
Add to mantle with some tape.
Still a little lame (that's what happen when you do grade-school projects?), but much better.
I tried to be all artsy and chic by putting a few extra up in the dining room, but I don't think I can pull it off. It need something. Maybe a "I hate spiders but these webs are so cute" sign.

And though I don't have a big pumpkin yet, there are now gourds!

Any other ideas for mantles? What's on your fall mantle?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Shoujo: Itazura na Kiss

Itazura na Kiss
Anime Year: 2008
Made Me Cry: No
The premise - girl ends up living with guy's family - surprise, surprise, they fall in love.  Though that sounds a bit soap-opera-convenient, the anime is pretty unique in that it encompasses life beyond highschool.  Without throwing in spoilers, it goes even past college! Not too many shoujo series do that, so it was a welcome change of pace.
Unfortunately, I did not like the characters very much.  The heroine, Kotoko, follows the usual dumb, clumsy and easily influenced character type, only she doesn't really have a super strong or comic personality to make up for it.  She's weak, and her only saving grace is that she never gives up. Even when she should...
And I think she should considering Naoki, her love, is fairly abusive.  From beginning to end he demeans her verbally, only showing his "true feelings" every once in a while.  I like the "tough guy" act, but what's the point if he never changes? It seems like their love, which spans at least a decade, never really matures. Maybe it's the old-married-person (ha!) in me, but if the characters are going to grow up, their emotional maturity should as well.  (I should say that I though the "Jacob" (yes, Twilight reference) character in the series was much, much better suited for her.)
(source) Even looks like Jacob..
Anyway, lest I turn anyone off from this anime, the entire relationship trainwreck is worth watching for the sake of Naoki's mother.  She is amazing, and will make you wish she was your mother-in-law!  She is nothing but supportive and gung-ho for Kotoko the entire time, helping set up dates and deterring love rivals.  Great lady, and hilarious too.  And I admit I secretly liked the last episode a lot.
The anime, though fairly recent, uses a distinctly Sailor Moon/early 90's art style.  I think it's probably to most closely reflect the art in the manga.  The manga, I'm guessing, is probably better (isn't it always?).  And the plot itself has been popular enough that it's been made into a live action series not once, but three times.  So maybe there's more to the story of their relationship than what I saw in the anime series.

In summary, the series has it's moments, but I think I expected more from an anime spanning beyond highschool.
(source) Is this a spoiler? Just had to add some steam, ha!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Umai! : Mango Sticky Rice

I'm sure many of you have had mango sticky rice before, as it's a popular item at any Thai restaurant.  It's simple ingredients would also suggest that it'd be easy to make at home.

I used the recipe from Cooking From Above, though it's a pretty simple dish and can be found all over the internet (here's a version similar to the one I used).
The book simplifies a lot of Asian dishes, but I love the overhead pictures of each step! So useful for noobs like me.
The hardest part about this sticky rice is that you have to let the rice soak overnight.  Which requires meal planning more than a couple hours in advance!  Not one of my natural abilities.
Rice after soaking.
This dish also called for a cheesecloth! (So exciting, I know!)  I found one at Safeway, opened it up and declared:

"Cheesecloth is gauze!"  Yes.  Figured that out.

Once the rice is soaked, I steamed it in the cheesecloth for about a half hour or so.
Fluffy and sticky!
Then I poured in some coconut milk and sugar, and let it all soak up into the rice.
Well, I mixed it in first, of course.
Top with some mango, and dig in!

Yeah, I don't have any clue how to cut mango.  You think islander-husband would have taught his wifu, but I don't think he knows either.

Anyway, the best part, to me, is the mango! So make sure you get a nice juicy sweet one (mine wasn't quite ripe enough).  Bananas also work really well with this dish if you're not a mango fan.

Though not a meal light on fat and calories, it's certainly delicious!

Other Desserts:

Red Bean Mochi Soup
Hawaiian Bread Pudding
Tofu Pie
Bibingka Galapong
Wintermelon Cake
Sweet Almond Tea