THESE SHORTS WERE ONCE PANTS, BUT NOW THEY ARE SHORTS

Every once in a while, my husband cleans the house. Most of the time, he dirties the house. But, sometimes, he cleans it. And one time, he cleaned his side of the closet. On this fateful occasion, he found two pairs of pants he didn't want anymore, but that he also didn't want to get rid of, because maybe one day in the future he'd want them again, even though he hadn't worn them in years, but possibly one day he'd need a pair of pants and the only pants he would want were these specific pairs of pants. So he kept them. I wasn't able to convince him to get rid of the pants (good thing I got that law degree), but I was able to talk him into letting me turn one pair of them into shorts. Which I did, and, I must say, they came out pretty well! I mean, they're not perfect, but they're also not trash, so I'm calling it a win.

Quick disclaimer, I got super excited about this project and having an excuse to use my sewing machine that I kept forgetting to take pictures of the steps. Remember when you were 5 and you could look at a cardboard box and see a spaceship? Try to tap into that rusty skill and imagine the various steps I'm going to lay out for you below. Now you feel like a kid again, so you're welcome.





Materials:

Pants
Fabric chalk
Clear ruler
Fabric scissors
Sewing pins
Thread
Sewing machine

Instructions:

Step 1: Have the pants-owner put on the pants and point out how short he/she wants them to be. Use a pin to mark that spot.  Remove pants from aforementioned pants owner.

Step 2: Use the ruler and the chalk to mark a line across the front at the length that the shorts will be. I would suggest adding about a half inch to where the person noted because, for some reason, things always come out shorter than you intend. Life is full of mysteries.

Step 3: Use the ruler and the chalk to mark a line one inch below (towards the ankles) the line you already drew. Cut the pants along this line. It's getting folded under, so it doesn't have to be perfect.

Step 4: Turn the pants inside out. Fold the pants towards you along the remaining line. Make sure it's even. Seriously, make sure it's even. Pin it all the way around.

Step 5: Sew a straight stitch at 3/8 inch from the fold.  Start just in front of the inside seam so you initially go over the inside seam. Then end just past the inside seam so you go over it again.

Step 6: Repeat Step 5 but at 5/8 inch from the fold.  Cut errant thread.

Step 7: Repeat Steps 5 and 6 on the other leg.

Step 8: Turn inside out again so that they are back to normal and have the pants owner put them on.  I hope they look good, because I have no idea how to fix it if they don't.

SO YOU ASKED ME FOR MY COOKIE RECIPE...

There is this bar in LA called Cabo Cantina. Really, it's pretty gross. It doesn't have air conditioning, the floors are sticky, the margaritas are way overpriced, and it's full of college students who still just CAN'T believe they can drink a beer in public whenever they want. But on Tuesday nights, Cabo Cantina offers all-you-can-eat tacos for $5. And, joke's on them, I can eat a lot of tacos. So I begrudgingly go there and try to punish them for their temperature/floor/margarita/college kids problems by bankrupting them one taco at a time (so, really, who is the gross one here?). And I usually get a drink or 3 when I'm there, so I'm sure they are making money on me in the long run. So, fine, Cabo Cantina, touche, maybe that's a good business plan.

But two can play this game, so for all you people who never actually look at my blog but still expect me to give them my cookie recipe, you've been Cantina'd! Now you have to come here to get the sweet, sweet joy of the Classic Glassock Chocolate Chip Cookies. These cookies are really, really, really good. I'm not saying they're going to bring you eternal happiness or anything, but someone once told me that she thought they'd help her get a husband. Does that make me a hero? Yes, yes, that makes me a hero.









Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
Chocolate chips (I tend to like dark chocolate chunks but you do you)
Maldon sea salt

Instructions:

Step 1: Preheat over to 325 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Step 2: Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Step 3: Melt the butter. You probably have a microwave. I don't, so I do it on the stove (I'm not that much of a hippie that I don't have a microwave on principal, we just didn't have space for it).

Step 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a medium bowl if mixing by hand or with a hand mixer), mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar at low-to-medium speed until well-blended.

Step 5: Mix in the dry ingredients until just blended.

Step 6: Stir in the desired amount of chocolate chips by hand with a wooden spoon (or maybe you're like me and your desired amount of chocolate chips is zero, which is also fine and the cookies are still delicious).

Step 7: Grab about a tablespoon of dough at a time and drop onto the cookie sheet about two inches apart. I used to do this with my hands but the dough is incredibly sticky for some reason, and I found that annoying. So now I use a spoon and then slide the dough off the spoon with another spoon. If you are doing it by hand though, you can either smooth the dough into a ball or leave it unsmoothed. I like the look of it when it's not smoothed out but you can experiment and come to your own conclusion.

Step 8: Sprinkle each cookie with a few flakes of the Maldon sea salt. Is it snobby that I'm naming a particular brand of salt? Yes. Do I care? I mean, I don't want you to think I'm a snob. But there's a reason that these cookies are so damn good, and I'm pretty sure 90% of that reason is the Maldon (the other 10% is probably the 3/4 cup of butter).

Step 9: Cook for 16 minutes. The cookies should still be soft and look a little undercooked when you take them out. Let them sit on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes to cool. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool complement.

THIS CHICKEN LIVER PATE IS OFFAL

I love pate. Is that weird? Maybe. But a lot of people must think eating liver is weird because it's super cheap, even the really good stuff from Whole Foods. And since it is cheap, and I am now a student, I will be forthwith eating a lot of it.

One of the best things about this pate recipe is that people think it's impressive and expensive but, really, it's cheap and easy (I feel like there's a "your mom" joke in their somewhere, but I don't know your mom, so I am choosing not to judge her, plus mine is dead, and that makes "your mom" jokes kind of awkward). And you know how much I love things that seem more impressive than they are (see earlier post about my awesome bench). So I'm going to dinner at my cousins' house tonight, I was asked to bring an appetizer, and even though they are forced by law to love me regardless, I want them to think I'm cool. So I followed the steps listed below. This recipe was taken from this article (but halved), which has oodles of cool information about the health benefits of eating liver (expert note: don't google what the liver does, it's kind of gross (it's the body's filter, sorry, couldn't help myself)): Pate Recipe.








Ingredients:

1/2 lb Chicken Liver (splurge for the good stuff (pasture raised), it'll still cost you less than $2)
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup red wine
1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or one sprig if fresh)
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or two sprigs if fresh)
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup butter
Sea salt

Instructions:

Step 1: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan and saute the liver and onions until the onions get tender and the livers are browned.

Step 2: Add the wine, garlic, mustard, rosemary, and thyme and let simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off.

Step 3: Transfer the contents of the pan to a food processor and add one tablespoon of butter.  Mix until it is a smooth-ish texture. Add the rest of the butter, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until the pate is a smooth and creamy texture.  Add salt and process to combine.  Taste.  Add more salt as needed.

Step 4: Put pate in a covered dish (like a tupperware or mason jar) and put in the refrigerator to cool.  Let cool for a few hours before serving. It tastes much better cold.

Step 5: Eat! It's good on crackers (but, really, what isn't?).

STOP BEING GROSS AND CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES

You know what's pretty disgusting? Your face. (Burnnnnnnn) Our faces are covered in oil and dirt and all kinds of bacteria and then we touch brushes to our faces, let those brushes sit and fester for hours, and then put those brushes back on our faces. According to this Vogue Article, makeup brushes "accumulate bacteria, dust, and dirt, all of which permit the growth of further bacteria, which can aggravate underlying skin conditions like acne" (a topic of which I am intimately aware these days). While you can wash your brushes after every use, you seem lazy so I doubt you're going to do that. Instead, here is an all natural, homemade brush cleaner that can do the trick without drying out your brushes.






Materials:

Your gross dirty makeup brushes
A glass
A measuring cup and measuring spoons (or you can just eyeball it)
White vinegar
Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby-Mild Soap

Instructions:

Step 1: Mix one cup of warm water with one tablespoon vinegar and one tablespoon soap. Stir to combine.

Step 2: Dip one of your brushes into the solution and mix around to soak.

Step 3: Rinse brush under warm water and lay out on a clean towel to dry.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each of your brushes.

Step 5: Let the brushes dry in a cool dry place on a clean towel for a few hours or overnight.  My bigger brushes, like my foundation and bronzer brushes, took a really long time to dry, about 24 hours.

Step 6: Use them and feel great about what a clean person you are!

HOW TO DRINK WINE OUT OF THE BOTTLE BUT IN A CLASSY WAY

The key here is to turn the bottles into drinking glasses (or if you have any other suggestions for how to drink from the bottle in a classy way, please contact me immediately). This is kind of a DIY cheat, since I used a kit I bought on Amazon, so it's more like a Do Kit Yourself (get it?) but I'm counting it. This is the kit I purchased, which I've found to work really well: Bottle Cutting Kit.  In addition, I have instructions here for how to get the labels off the bottles, and some other tricks to make this go smoothly. Also, to be filed under do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do, you should probably use protective goggles and gloves, or don't, you crazy risk-taker, you.









Materials:
Wine bottles
OxiClean
Bucket
Scouring Sponges (like these: Scouring Sponge)
Bottle Cutting Kit
Matches
Ice

Instructions:

Step 1: Take the labels off the bottles. To do this, fill a bucket with water and put in a scoop or two of OxiClean.  Mix it around so the OxiClean dissolves. Put your wine bottles in the bucket and make sure they are submerged. This might involve holding them down until they fill with water. Leave them submerged for a few days (or longer). Pull off the label. Some labels come off easily while others are more difficult. The scouring sponge comes in handy for getting off any leftover label or glue residue. If you're having a lot of trouble getting the label off, put the bottle back in the water for a few more days.

Step 2: Set up the metal etcher from the Kit. With the butt of the bottle against the backstop, put pressure on the bottle while rotating it slowly in a circle. I have found that I can put a fair amount of pressure on the bottle without any problem, but experiment with how hard you push down the bottle as you rotate it. As you turn the bottle, make sure the butt of the bottle stays against the backstop or your cut won't come out evenly. Try to only make one revolution of the bottle against the etcher for the cleanest cut.

Step 3: Light the candle that comes in the Kit. Hold the bottle about 1/8 inch over the flame and rotate slowly 3-4 times. Then rotate the bottle one time quickly above the flame to get an even temperature all around.

Step 4: Hold a piece of ice against the etched cut in the bottle while rotating it 3-4 times.

Step 5: Dry the bottle and repeat Step 3 and Step 4.

Step 6: Hold the bottom of the bottle down while gently pulling up on the top of the bottle. It should come apart easily. If it does not, repeat Step 3 and Step 4 and try again. Do this as many times as you need to until the bottle comes apart easily.

Step 7: Rub the sandpaper against the cut edge of the bottom of the bottle. I also sandpapered the top of the bottle and figure I'll find a use for them eventually.

Step 8: You can also use the powder that comes in the Kit to get an even smoother edge. I used a picture frame from the dollar store for this purpose. Tap a little of the powder onto the glass of the frame (or other glass surface that you don't care about getting scratched up). Then dip your glass in water and rotate it along the glass surface with the powder until you no longer hear the unpleasant sound it makes.

Step 9: Gently feel the edges to make sure they are smooth. You don't want to invite guests over to try your new homemade wine bottle glasses and then cause your guests to gravely injure their face parts. Don't be that guy.

THESE CHAMPAGNE GLASSES WILL BREAK YOUR HEART

A couple of weekends ago, we had a mini-bachelorette-type shindig in Las Vegas for one of my favorite people on this planet. I wanted to add a personalized touch that reflected both the classiness of the beautiful girl we were celebrating and the gaudy opulence that is Las Vegas.  And, so, with that in mind, I embarked on a journey to glitter the heck out of some champagne glasses.

I found these instructions online that I chose to follow: Glitter Champagne Glasses. I grabbed the glittering items from Michaels and got champagne glasses at the dollar store (which were actually surprisingly nice and didn't even break when we decided to do 9 rounds of cheers'ing in a row).

When I started the project, the glasses looked awesome. Then, about 5 minutes later, they looked terrible. It was a heartbreaking emotional roller-coaster of glass and glitter, but I've tweaked the instructions to avoid those maddening pitfalls.  Despite all the heartbreak, I still highly recommend this project with the small fixes laid out below. Here are some pictures, followed by step-by-step instructions:









Materials:

Champagne Flutes
Glue
Glitter
Mod Podge
Paintbrush
Something to stop glitter and glue from taking over your home forever (such as a paper plate and/or aluminum foil)
[Ignore the blue glitter pen in the picture above, I thought it would be cute to write names or initials on the base of the flute for each of the girls but it turned out that was actually a pretty ugly idea.]

Instructions:

Step 1: Wash and fully dry the champagne flutes.

Step 2: Apply a thin layer of glue to the flute in an up-and-down motion, thinning out as you get to the top.  Or, if you want the glue to stop at a straight line, put masking tape around the flute making a line where you want the glue to stop and then apply the glue with a paintbrush.  I did not put glue on the stem, but you can if you want to.

Step 3: Put glitter on a plate or other surface and sprinkle on the glass with your fingers.  Or, tap the glitter onto the glass as you rotate it in your hand, but be sure to do this over a surface that can catch the extra glitter so that you don't get it all over the place.  Make sure to cover all of the glue.  It's ok if glitter ends up elsewhere on the glass, you can brush that off immediately or after you are done.

Step 4: Here is where HEARTBREAK #1 happened.  You need to let the glue dry for about 30 minutes.  I placed the glasses on a plate and then walked away to do something more interesting than watching glue dry.  When I came back 30 minutes later, the glue had dripped in such a way that there was gold glittered glue everywhere on the plate and glass except for the one part of the glass where I actually wanted it to be.  It looked like this:


I also had some glasses that were upside down on the plate and the same thing happened, but in the other direction.  After some experimenting, I realized the only way to prevent this problem is to put them one way on the plate (let's say right side up) for about 5 minutes, and then flip them to be upside down for 5 minutes, and to continue doing that for the full 30 minutes.  Not ideal, but better than having glasses that look like the picture above.

Step 5: Here is where HEARTBREAK #2 takes place: the glasses look super awesome after the glue dries.  They are glittery and shiny in all the right ways.  But you can't just use them like that, since then the glitter will fall off onto anything touching it or near it or even thinking about entering its vicinity.  So, you have to add Mod Podge to keep things tight.  Use your paintbrush to apply a layer of Mod Podge over the glitter.

Step 6: Time for HEARTBREAK #3. Mod Podge goes on opaque but dries clear because MAGIC.  Hence, I liberally applied Mod Podge over the glitter in a fairly mindless way. This, it turns out, was a mistake.  Even though it dries clear, you can still see where it has been applied. Which is ugly. This picture might be hard to see, but it looks like this: 


Fortunately, there is an easy fix, which is to be very careful about applying the Mod Podge so that you really only cover the parts where there is glitter.

Step 7: Let the Mod Podge dry for about 2 hours.  Which takes us back to HEARTBREAK #2.  They look slightly less glittery perfect after the Mod Podge than before.  But, the flip side is that you won't be finding glitter in your carpet and hair and clothes for the next 2 years so it seems like a reasonable trade off.

And, finally, HEARTBREAK #4: These are either single-use champagne glasses or a-pain-in-the-ass-to-clean champagne glasses.  My understanding is that Mod Podge is not water proof. A quick google search makes it seem like you can get an extra thing you put on top to make it water proof, but that seems like a lot of effort for dollar store champagne glasses.  So, you either have to wash them very carefully so that the outside doesn't get wet, or you have to accept the fact that they are not going to last you very long. I haven't tried washing off all the glue and glitter entirely, but I imagine that is not going to go well.

All of that said, all of the heartbreaks are incredibly easy to fix (other than the last one) and this is a fairly cheap project that came out looking pretty nice in the end.  So I recommend it!

A GENIUS WAY TO DESIGN A SALON WALL THAT I CAME UP WITH ALL ON MY OWN

The night that my wonderful husband proposed to me in Central Park, he also surprised me with a stay at The Nomad hotel, which had just opened and was supes hip. During one of the few moments I was able to take my eyes off of that sparkly rock on my finger, I noticed that the room was beautifully decorated and then cursed myself for having no innate sense of design style. Lucky for me, what I lack in decor creativity I make up for in my ability to vaguely copy something I see that I think looks cool.

The easiest and cheapest way to Nomad the crap out of my house was to add a salon wall in the living/dining room (it's a small house, otherwise known as "open concept"). The first step was easy, acquiring various pieces of art and putting them in frames. We spent about a month doing this, finding good deals online and perusing local flea markets. Then we came to the difficult part: taking the pile of framed photos and paintings from our floor and putting them on the wall in a way that made sense. Keep in mind that I completely lack the ability to imagine something accurately in my head. I need to see something before I can tell you if it's good or terrible. If mirrors weren't a thing and I was also famous and there were magazines with pictures of famous people but no digital cameras that I could use to take pictures of myself that I could review instantly, then I'd be a permanent fixture on the tabloids' worst dressed lists.

This is where this story really pivots: I had the greatest idea of all time for how to make my salon wall look good.  Either that, or I had an idea that a million other people have had and I just thought it was genius and original because I didn't bother googling how to do it in advance.  But if it's the latter, please don't tell me, this story is really important to my sense of self worth.  Here is a picture of the final product and instructions, but no pictures of the various steps because I was too overcome with self-pride to remember to snap some shots along the way.


Materials:

Roll of large paper
Measuring tape
Actual tape
Scissors
Pencil
Nails
Hammer
Art
Wall

Steps:

1. Measure the size of the wall space that you are using for your salon wall.

2. Take the rolled paper and cut and tape it so that it is the same size as the wall space you will be using.

3. Find a space where you can lay out the wall-sized paper flat. Place your art pieces on the paper and move them around until you find an arrangement that you like. One thing we realized made a big difference was to intersperse the frame colors (for example, you can see we put the white frames in opposite corners and then mixed up the gold/beige frames so they weren't too close together). We also liked to mix photos with paintings with unframed items so that there weren't clear delineations between different types of art. These might seem obvious to you, but if they don't, then you're a lot like me.

4. Once you have an arrangement that you like, use the pencil to mark on the paper where the nails should go. This takes a little bit of estimation since you're trying to put the pencil marks behind the pieces of art. One way to make it a little more exact is to feel behind the art for where the nail should go, leave your finger there when you remove the art piece, and then draw a spot where your finger is. Again, this might be obvious to you, but if it is, then you probably haven't read this far anyway. Also, make sure to write some description of each piece of art near where the nail markings are so you know where to put what when you're done. I found it helpful to draw outlines of the art and then write a description of the piece in the outline.

5. Remove all of the art and tape the paper onto the wall space you are using. Then just hammer nails into the pre-marked spots.  Once you are done adding the nails, rip the paper off around one of the sets of nails and hang that piece of art. Then rip more paper off where the next set of nails are and hang that piece. Keep in mind that if you rip off all the paper immediately, you might not remember where each piece is supposed to go. Alternatively, you could arrange the art on the floor in the right order and then hang it that way. Whatever you prefer, I'm not the boss of you.

The end!  Now would be a good time to invite people over to praise your amazing sense of style.