Sunday, July 31, 2011

101 in 1001 #28

Kirsti is a bad blogger... Kirsti has been slacking off in rather spectacular fashion since moving back to Melbourne. But after yesterday, I'm going to try my absolute best to do better. Because yesterday, I attended Nuffnang Blogopolis 2011 at Federation Square.

It was a great day - 300 bloggers in one room is pretty inspiring. There was a lot of information about working with brands that I found more than a little terrifying (somehow, I don't think anyone will ever pay me $500 for a blog post about their product!), and I now strongly suspect that there's a large cross over between people who are "Yay, Apple products!!" and "Yay, Wordpress!". But there was also a lot of great stuff about photography and content and the state of the Australian blogosphere.

The stand out for me was, by far, the presentation by Darren Rowse of Problogger. For starters, he mentioned that he's a total introvert and so always goes to events like Blogopolis with five questions in mind to ask people as ice breakers. Needless to say, sometime in the next two weeks, I'm going to be coming up with five questions to get me out of my little introvert sit-in-the-corner box at the 20SB Summit in Chicago (squeeeeeeee!!!).

There was a ton of tweeting. To the point where I was following the Twitter feed more than I was following what the speakers were saying (whoops...). But it was kind of understandable because a lot of the tweets were HILARIOUS. And I got to meet/hear some amazing Aussie bloggers, like Carly (FINALLY!! We'll have to meet up properly soon), Eden (who's a key note speaker at BlogHer next week - WOW!), Andrea and Susan.

Spending as much time as I do on 20SB means that a lot of my bloggy friends are based in the US. So I'm really glad I went to Blogopolis because it's reintroduced me to the Australian blogosphere. And I'm pretty excited about that.

Plus, it crosses "Go to a blog conference" off my 101 in 1001 list - score! :)

Have you guys been to any blog conferences or meet ups? Also, who's going to 20SB? Because it's going to be AWESOME!!

K xx

Thursday, July 28, 2011

FINALLY! Also, nom

Remember back during the grand celebration of Kirsti-mas when we tried to go to Mamasita, which doesn't take bookings and we got there at 6.30pm and were told that we wouldn't get a table until 9.00pm? Oh, you DON'T remember every single thing I've ever mentioned in the past? Huh... ;)

Since that experience, I'd kind of forgotten about Mamasita. But then last weekend, I was arranging to meet up for lunch with my good friend Chelle, and suggested that we go to Salsa's for delicious Mexi-crinkle fries Mexican food. As her office is just around the corner from Mamasita, she suggested that perhaps we should go there and have some REAL Mexican food rather than eating at a food court. GENIUS!!

I figured that at lunchtime, the crowds might be less intense than they are in the evenings. And I thought I'd been proved correct when I got there at 11.58am and there were only four people waiting for the doors to open. But by about 12.10pm, the place was starting to fill up and by the time we got our food, it was absolutely packed.

So the moral of that little story? Try for lunch rather than dinner, and get there early either way.

Anyway, the food. It was INCREDIBLE. We started out with this:

Elotes callejeros, otherwise known as chargrilled corn on the cob covered in a chipotle mayonnaise and cheese. With the lime wedge squeezed over the top of it, it was to die for. Incredibly messy, (I think I probably hit three nearby tables with juice when I bit into the corn...) but to die for. I'm sure I came across pretty much this exact thing at a street stall in San Cristobal de las Casas in 2008 and was too much of a chicken to eat something so messy while walking down the street. I've always had a tinge of regret about not getting one in Mexico, so it was nice to finally rectify the situation!

After the corn, we moved on to the tostaditas.

They're just so CUTE! And despite being small, they were pretty filling. It's kind of hard to tell from the picture, but it's a little teeny tiny 5cm-ish fried tortilla, topped with avocado, roasted chicken, chipotle mayonnaise, and cheese. And it was delicious - the avocado perfectly balanced out the chipotle flavour, and the cheese just topped the whole thing off. The logistics of eating them were somewhat troublesome though - do you attempt to shove the whole thing in your mouth at once, or do you bite it in half and risk having the other half of the tortilla crumble and dump the whole thing in your lap? #dilemmastoogreatforaMonday

I'm so glad I was able to finally go (after the immense disappointment of April's attempted visit), and I'm definitely going to go back and try a ton of other stuff on the menu. Because it all sounds amazing. Not to mention, authentic Mexican rather than Tex-Mex - OMG EXCITEMENT!

Has anyone else been to Mamasita? What did you think?

K xx

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peanut butter and white chocolate cookies

Remember about six weeks ago when I went to lunch with Em and Matt and we had pazookies (pizza cookies), and I said that I was going to try making peanut butter and white chocolate cookies when I was an unemployed bum? HELLO, UNEMPLOYED BUM SPEAKING!

That's right, unemployment has led me to spend some time Googling peanut butter cookies recipes. I gave this a test run (with some minor changes) on Thursday, and they're gone already. I think that's a resounding vote of approval, don't you?

Anyway, here's what you'll need:

Clearly, I forgot to put the egg in the photo, so I drew it in for you. You're welcome. Also, I'm totally the most artistic person on the planet.

Start by chopping up 125g of butter. I used unsalted, purely because the recipe calls for salt, and peanut butter can often be quite salty. Let it sit and soften:

Then put 1/2 cup of caster sugar into a bowl:

Add 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar:

And 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I recommend using two spoons if you don't have one of those massive jars that you can basically fit your whole head in:

Add the butter:

Cream it all together until light. I recommend using a much deeper bowl than I did. It got a bit messy... (If you're much luckier than me, use your shiny cobalt blue Kitchenaid mixer *sigh*)

Add in the egg. I also added in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, which wasn't called for in the recipe, and which I forgot to take a photo of:

Beat in the egg until fluffy:

Measure out 1 1/4 cups of plain flour. (I used gluten free because that's all we had in the house. It worked just as well!)

Add to it 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt:

Mix it all together, then either mix it through the butter mixture with a wooden spoon, or beat it in a little at a time.

Then add in 1 cup of white chocolate chips (technically, the recipe called for 1 cup of semi-sweet dark chocolate chips. But the comments said that you could use any kind of chips or just chopped chocolate):

Mix the chocolate chips/chunks through gently:

Roll it into balls and put it on a baking sheet. Even though my trays were non-stick, I put a sheet of baking paper down, because it saves on clean up and I'm lazy the dough was pretty sticky and I didn't want any unexpected dramas!

Bake at 190 degrees Celcius for 10 minutes.

Cool for a few minutes on the tray, then transfer to a cooling rack.

And enjoy!

The verdict? They were freaking amazing. It made three dozen cookies, and they were gone inside of 72 hours. They're moist and soft with the perfect amount of crunch around the edges, and courtesy of the chocolate chips and the peanuts (I used crunchy peanut butter). And thanks to the saltiness of the peanut butter, they're not too sweet.

I think I'll try them with dark chocolate chips in the future, just to see how they are. But I really am a fan of the peanut butter/white chocolate combination. It's the bomb.

Are you guys a fan of peanut butter in baking? With dark or white chocolate?

K xx

Friday, July 22, 2011

101 in 1001 #53

If you were paying attention, you'd have noticed that despite guest posting for Gina over at Fantasy Casting last week, I didn't cross #53 (write a guest post for another blog) off my Day Zero list. That's because at the same time I signed up to guest post for Gina, I also signed up to guest post for Carissa over at Kissed a Frog, and I wanted to hold off until my post went up there!

It went up today (yay!), so if you want to read about my favourite place to take photos, you should go here. There's a slideshow and everything, cos I'm totally technologically clever like that.

And if you missed my post about the casting of Bill Weasley, you can find it here.

Three down, 98 to go :)

K xx

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Yes, I said camera HANDBAG

A couple of months ago during gallery install, my (now, sadly, former) work wife, R, told me that one of the guys on the team had started a somewhat bizarre conversation at lunchtime. It apparently went something like this:
Possibly suicidal man: So I've found that there are three types of women in the world.
Hoard of women on the team: *glare* Go on...
Possibly suicidal man: Yeah, three types. The first type? They like shoes. The second type? Handbags. The third? Shoes AND handbags.
Hoard of women on the team: Well, I suppose you can't really fault that logic...

I fall into the first category. It's all about the shoes where I'm concerned. Don't get me wrong, I APPRECIATE nice handbags, but I don't feel compelled to own more than one handbag. Owning more than one handbag seems like a terrible idea to me - it just means that whatever you're looking for is probably in your other bag. And considering I'm a little OCD about making sure I have my keys with me (as Sara - who, incidentally, falls into the handbag category - can attest), having more than one place in which they could be is really not a good idea.

AnyIhaveapoint, when I bought my 55-300mm lens at the start of the year, I quickly realised that it was about  10mm too long to fit in my camera bag. This led me to a predicament - to spend $100 on a massive (and probably hideous) camera bag that's big enough to hold both my lenses at once, or to investigate other possibilities.

I spent a decent chunk of time carrying my camera and my second lens around in my ACTUAL handbag, which (random tangent) looks like this, except more faded:

It's not exactly ideal for carrying camera gear, because the camera just gets to balance on top of my random crap keys, wallet, phone etcetera. But I liked the idea of not looking like you're carrying around a millionty dollars worth of camera gear.

Then, in about March, I stumbled across the Kelly Moore website, and I knew I'd found what I was looking for. Sadly, the colour I wanted was out of stock and wouldn't be back in stock until late April. So I figured I'd order one as a self-birthday present, have it shipped to Melbourne, and hope it arrived in time. Then it changed so that it wouldn't be shipped until late May. I hoped against hope that it would arrive when I was in Melbourne for Little Miss A's birthday at the end of May.

It didn't. Instead, it arrived WHILE I WAS ON THE WAY TO THE AIRPORT. Oh, postal service. Why must you taunt me so? Basically, it was only on Friday when I got back to Melbourne for good that I could finally see what I'd ordered.

Hello, lover. The colour is called 'muted teal', and I adore it. It's got enough space for a camera with a lens attached AND two lenses, along with room for all your other crap standard handbag stuff, meaning you only have to carry one bag. Oh, and it comes with a crossbody strap as well as a shoulder strap.

The inside has proper camera padding, and is purple.

What more do you need?! I can't wait to take it for a decent test run in the US next month :)

K xx

PS. Kelly Moore has no idea who I am, I just think her bags are freaking awesome.
PPS. They're kind of pricey, but you can totally take advantage of the Aussie dollar being through the roof at the moment!! ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adventures and owies

That's right kids - contrary to what you may have been thinking, I'm not dead. I've just been crazy busy for the past week. I finished work on Tuesday, spent all day Wednesday cleaning (and nearly fell asleep at dinner with my parents), and packed the van and did more cleaning on Thursday. Which included giving myself a rather spectacular bruise on my left knee because I dropped my end of the (rather weighty CRT) TV, and used my knee to stop it smashing on the ground. We had the final inspection on Friday, followed by the 7.5 hour drive to Melbourne. Let me just say, the Hume Highway is REALLY. FREAKING. BORING... When the highlights of a drive that long are a town that's about 3 hours from the coast and which features a giant submarine, and a tree shaped like a chicken, you know it's dull.

After unloading the van and filling the garage up with all my junk really important stuff, I wound up going to stuff myself with pizza and watch the footy with my brother, C, and a bunch of his mates. Not actually AT the footy, you understand, because that was in Adelaide. But at one of C's mate's houses, which meant we could make really terrible jokes about the commentary and watch South Park during half time. SCORE!

(Oh, and speaking of really terrible jokes, there are two fish sitting in a tank. One turns to the other and says "So, how do you drive this thing?". C told that on Friday night, and as terrible as it is, I'm milking it for all it's worth!)

Over the weekend, I went crazy and wound up going bushwalking. Twice. Saturday was a trip out to Werribee Gorge with Ness and Jamie (Also? Chrome's spellcheck is telling me that Werribee should be spelled 'Werewolf'. AWESOME). Seeing as how I had NO idea where any of my clothes were (other than "somewhere in a box in the garage"), I wore my most appropriate outfit - jeans and a t-shirt that has puffy sleeves and little hearts all over it. And yes, it's TOTALLY necessary to have puffy sleeves on your shirt while bushwalking. Didn't you know? ;) I did manage to locate my hiking boots though, so at least my footwear was appropriate!
Werribee Gorge

Werribee River

Taken by Jamie, who's not too lazy to stand up during lunchtime like I am a much better photographer than me

Oh, and if you DO go to Werribee Gorge? The park map that's available online shows the unsealed roads in the same colour as the contour lines... #whosegeniusideawasthat

Then on Sunday, I went out to the Christmas Hills with my parents and one of their friends for a jaunt up Mt Lofty. There were nice views:

And dead trees which led me to play with monochrome mode:

And weird fungus:

And then I fell on my arse. To be fair, it was going down a hill that was covered in slick mud and a whole lot of moss. But I still went out walking with a group containing two people with Seniors cards and *I* was the one who fell down. Nice work, Kirsti...

But it was all okay, because we went out for lunch in Yarra Glen afterwards. Pear cider and a steak sandwich makes any Sunday afternoon better!

How've you guys been while I've been off gallivanting about the countryside?!

K xx

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 30

So I should probably be going to bed instead of blogging, because I'm moving out tomorrow and still have a crapload of cleaning to do, but pfffffff... I spent all of today cleaning, and I'm pretty sure I now have the most spotless cupboards and oven in all of Canberra! Everything hurts now. I sat down at dinner with my parents and nearly fell asleep at the table... But you know, having to buy a ton of cleaning products hasn't been all bad - I just entered a giveaway on the paper towel packet to win $20,000, so fingers crossed!! ;)

Anyway, it's been a long time coming, but I've finally made it to Day 30. Yay!! Okay, it's taken me like a millionty days to get through it, but whatever.

Day 30 - Your favourite book of all time

You know what, this is a no brainer. 

Harry Potter. And yes, I'm counting them as one book. It's my blog and I can do what I want, dammit!! ;) Every time I read the books, I get something new out of them. For example, when I reread them in the lead up to the release of Deathly Hallow Part 2, I came across a bit in which Ron throws a crocodile heart at Malfoy during a Potions class. I have absolutely no memory of EVER reading that before, and I've been reading Harry Potter for 15 years now! It's a rare book indeed that you can read time and time again and still find something new in it every time. If I'm ever stranded on a desert island, Harry Potter is what I want to keep me entertained! 

Appropriately, I'm currently using paper cups and plates that say "Happy Halloween" on them as I've packed all my crockery and glassware. I think J.K. Rowling would approve! Now if only I could learn how to do Accio so that I never again sit down only to find that I've left my water bottle on the other side of the room, all would be right with the world...

What's your favourite book of all time?

K xx

Day 01 - The best book you read last year
Day 02 - A book you've read more than 3 times
Day 03 - Your favourite series
Day 04 - Your favourite book of your favourite series
Day 05 - A book that makes you happy
Day 06 - A book that makes you sad
Day 07 - Most underrated book
Day 08 - Most overrated book
Day 09 - A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving
Day 10 - Favourite classic book
Day 11 - A book you hated
Day 12 - A book you used to love but don't any more
Day 13 - Your favourite writer
Day 14 - Favourite book of your favourite writer
Day 15 - Favourite male character
Day 16 - Favourite female character
Day 17 - Favourite quote from your favourite book
Day 18 - A book that disappointed you
Day 19 - Favourite book turned into a movie
Day 20 - Favourite romance book
Day 21 - Favourite book from your childhood
Day 22 - Favourite book you own
Day 23 - A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven't
Day 24 - A book you wish more people would've read
Day 25 - A character you can relate to the most
Day 26 - A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 - The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 - Favourite title
Day 29 - A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 - Your favourite book of all time

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

101 in 1001 #95

So I got into work this morning to discover that I'd received an email from the real estate agent after I left on Friday. I've been dealing with this moron for six weeks now, and every time I get something from him, it makes me want to tear my hair out. To sum up, here's how our emails have gone:
Me: Hello real estate agent. We got your letter saying that you're putting the rent up. It won't actually affect us as we're both moving interstate, so will be vacating the premises on 14/7. Can you please send us details of what we need to do as regards moving out?
Real estate agent: Okay, cool. I'll claim I'm going to send you a vacate pack and then do nothing.
Me: Um, we never got the pack, can you send another one?
REA: Sure! Only I'll claim to send it and do nothing again. MWAHAHAHA!!!!
Me: Dude. This is fucking ridiculous. We're moving out in A WEEK. If you're not going to send it to me like you've promised, can you at least EMAIL me the fucking pack???
REA: Sure, why didn't you say so?
Me: Okay, so you know how the letter you reckon you sent 6 weeks ago includes the date for the final inspection? Yeah. The carpets won't have been cleaned by then. So you can either do the inspection without the carpets having been cleaned or you can do it at the end of the day instead.
REA: We don't have any spots at the end of the day. And we can't do the inspection without the carpets having been cleaned. So you'll have to pay $65 in rent because you're not vacating until the Friday. We'll do the inspection at 10.30 on Friday.
Me: I have no energy left to deal with your shit. I'll pay the stupid $65, even though the property will be vacant and I'll be giving the keys back first thing in the morning. But I'm driving to Melbourne that day, so 10.30 is a really crappy time for the inspection. Make it earlier, you poopy head. [<-- my lack of energy apparently extends to coming up with decent insults, even if I'm only delivering them in my head]
REA: How's 9.30?
Me: Whatever. I hate you. And if you quibble about things not being 100% clean, I WILL stab you in the face...

Okay, that last bit I just thought really loudly in the hopes that he'd pick up on it. God, I hate Canberra... And real estate agents... And Canberra real estate agents...

Anyway, all of this led me to thinking that I needed something cheerful to concentrate on. So I decided I'd cross off making a playlist of 101 of my favourite songs! Here we have them in the order that iTunes chose to play them (and no judging allowed):
1. The Story - Brandi Carlile
2. The Captain - Biffy Clyro
3. Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I Prelude - Yo-Yo Ma
4. MMMBop - Hanson
5. Don't Stop Believin' - Journey
6. Loser Like Me - The cast of Glee
7. I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston
8. Evacuate the Dancefloor - Cascada
9. Raise Your Glass - P!nk
10. Holiday - Green Day
11. Swing, Swing - The All-American Rejects
12. The Boxer - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
13. Night Swimming - REM
14. If I Had $1000000 - Barenaked Ladies
15. Take It to the Limit - The Eagles
16. Pop! Goes My Heart - Hugh Grant (from Music and Lyrics)
17. You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
18. Check Yes Juliet - We The Kings
19. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
20. 1812 Overture - Tchaikovsky
21. Wonderful - Everclear
22. My Eyes - Felicia Day and Neil Patrick Harris (from Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog)
23. For Good - Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth (from Wicked)
24. Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
25. F**k You - Cee Lo Green
26. Scotty Doesn't Know - Lustra (from Eurotrip)
27. Love Drunk - Boys Like Girls
28. Ravers in the UK - Manian
29. Self-Righteous Cyclist - Eddie Perfect
30. Lucky - Bif Naked
31. Gold - Spandau Ballet
32. Better Be Home Soon - Crowded House
33. You Just Got Slapped - Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris (from How I Met Your Mother)
34. Firefly theme - Joss Whedon
35. Hey Jealousy - The Gin Blossoms
36. Bless the Broken Road - Rascal Flatts
37. Hey, Soul Sister - Train
38. Why Can't I? - Liz Phair
39. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
40. The Airplane Song - Scouting for Girls
41. One - U2
42. ¡Viva La Gloria! - Green Day
43. Six at Best - Eddie Perfect
44. Dammit - Blink-182
45. The Kids are Alright - The Who
46. Dynamite - Taio Cruz
47. Hallelujah - kd lang
48. Want You Bad - The Offspring
49. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
50. Bad Things - Jace Everett (from True Blood)
51. Twist and Shout - The Beatles
52. Don't Stop Me Now - Queen
53. All The Small Things - Blink-182
54. Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
55. Like a Prayer - Madonna
56. As Long As You're Mine - Idina Menzel and Norbert Leo Butz (from Wicked)
57. Summer Rain - Belinda Carlisle
58. Don't You Want Me - The Human League
59. Pinch Me - Barenaked Ladies
60. Whatever Happened to Saturday Night - Meatloaf (from Rocky Horror Picture Show)
61. Friday I'm in Love - The Cure
62. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day
63. Come Pick Me Up - Ryan Adams
64. Ashes to Ashes - David Bowie
65. You Took The Words Right Outta My Mouth - Meatloaf
66. If You Wanna - The Vaccines
67. The Load Out - Jackson Browne
68. Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
69. Hey There Delilah - The Plain White T's
70. The Cave - Mumford & Sons
71. My Friends Over You - New Found Glory
72. Fill My Little World - The Feeling
73. Turn Me On - Norah Jones
74. Dance Into the Night - The View
75. Fall at Your Feet - Crowded House
76. Carry On Wayward Son - Kansas
77. Canadian, Please - Andrew Gunadie and Julia Bentley
78. This Ain't a Love Song - Scouting for Girls
79. Back in Black - AC/DC
80. International Talk Like a Pirate Day theme song - Tom Smith
81. I Need a Holiday - Scouting for Girls
82. In My Head - Jason Derulo
83. I've Got No Beef With You - Ceann
84. Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
85. Blue as Your Eyes - Scouting for Girls
86. Distant Sun - Crowded House
87. Another Fucking Love Song - Amiel
88. Can't Stop Now - Keane
89. Heartbeat - Scouting for Girls
90. It'll All Work Out - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (from Elizabethtown)
91. Same in Any Language - I Nine (from Elizabethtown)
92. I'm Not That Girl - Idina Menzel (from Wicked)
93. Flame Trees - Cold Chisel
94. Get Loose - The Salads (from Eurotrip)
95. Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind
96. Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie
97. I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson
98. Anthem Part 2 - Blink-182
99. Run - Stephen Fretwell (from Gavin & Stacey)
100. The Last Day on Earth - Kate Miller-Heidke
101. Rule the World - Take That (from Stardust)

So there you have it - 101 of my favourite songs. And compiling this successfully took my mind off the moronic real estate agent for a while - success! 2 tasks down, 99 to go...

K xx
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