"When I get sad, I just stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story." - How I Met Your Mother


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

First Steps

I have previously threatened to turn my kitchen into a cupcake factory...and this past weekend I took a few steps towards making that threat a reality.

The first step was making a batch of home-brew vanilla extract.

The second step was putting my oven into action by making a crap-ton (yes, you read that correctly, a crap-ton) of mini cupcakes.  I will admit that these cupcakes were not from scratch...the main reason being that it will be about another 75 days until my vanilla extract is ready.  Also, I was not able to find powered sugar for making frosting until just yesterday, but I digress...  Excuses aside, I think that I still made a wicked "from the box" cupcake.

can you smell them baking?? mmm.
Almost ready...
Do you hear what they are saying?  "Eat me, I'm yummy, and not fattening at all. I swear!"
Haha, yeah right.  These bad boys had an entire stick of butter in them, not to mention the icing.  They definitely are not the dieter's cupcake, even though they were bite-sized.

One of my friends told me my cupcakes were better than the ones he had at Magnolia's Bakery... he 1. obviously has not had a cupcake in quite awhile (we are seriously deprived over here) and 2. he must not have had the chocolate with dark chocolate icing, gave me a cupcake-gasm, one that I had when I was at Magnolia's in Dubai.

Anyway, so now I got this practice run of cupcakes out of the way... I am almost ready to let the cupcake factory production line begin.  I am having visions of myself at the end of some sort of belt shoving mini cupcakes into my mouth "I Love Lucy" style.  Awesome.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dear BBC,

I was reading the daily world news on your website this morning and came across a headline under your "Top Stories" announcing that Ricky Martin is gay.

Seriously, you are calling this is a "top story"?! (ignoring the fact that I don't understand why someones sexuality is "news" or anyone else's business for that matter) Tell us something we don't aleady know.

Now if you were to report to us that Tiger Woods was gay, that might be a bit more "newsworthy".  Or maybe since he is so promiscuous it really would not be!

Anyway, leave the gossip to Perez and go back to reporting actual news, BBC.  Thanks.

Yours Truly,

My Middle East, Company Supplied Housing

A little glimpse of our everyday life in Qatar.
Just wait til I show you the grocery store...

When Prohibition Gets You Down ...

It is time to take a cue from our Bootlegging fore-fathers of the roaring 20's ...
and make a batch of "home-brew".

and in 80 days time (long I know, but what's a girl with a cupcake fettish living in the Middle East gonna do?!) I will have my very own
KP secret recipe VANILLA EXTRACT.

What's the secret? Actually nothing, I just think it sounds cool.

Well, since anyone who wastes their time reads my blog is awesome, I'll share:
  • Slice three vanilla beans open length-wise.
  • image from tomford.com
  • Place vanilla beans into a glass jar with an air-tight lid.
  • Pour 1 cup of vodka (I used Absolute) into glass jar;
  • Don't forget the very important step of testing the vodka first by taking a shot just to make sure it hasn't gone bad. this is the "secret step" in case you were wondering. haha.
  • Make sure the vanilla beans are fully submerged in the vodka.
  • Place in a dark, cool place such as a kitchen cabinet.
  • Let sit for about 80 days/8 weeks.
After 80 days it should look something like this:

image from: blog.craftzine.com/vanillaext.jpg

And smell more like vanilla and less like vodka.  The other cool thing about making your own vanilla extract is that the longer you let it sit, the more depth of flavour it develops.  Also, when you start to run low you can simply top it off with additional vodka and BAM! (channeling my inner Emril), you are back in business.  Awesome.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nice Kitty??

A typical sight on our Friday morning bike ride...
And we were FINALLY able to catch it on camera.
Only in Qatar. Awesome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So today I was browsing through some folders on my Macbook that I have not touched in ages.  I was in pursuit of some study materials from college to (hopefully) help on my quest to earn my Professional Engineering license (an 8 hour exam, plus 4 hour supplement for the State of California on top of professional recommendations and qualified work experience, blah, blah, blah).  Anyway, I randomly came across this photo tucked away in the stash and immediately started laughing outloud.
Got to love those "free smells."  I am quite sure this beauty was taken after a long night of drinking at one of my favorite college watering holes that is right above it.  Senior year this was my BFF and my go-to late night place...slash we would have them deliver to us at our sorority house ALL.THE.TIME.  Delivery sandwiches, seriously, that is a stroke of pure genius if you ask me.  Mmm, I can taste their Beach Club now.

Five bucks to anyone who can name the bar I stumbled out of to go to here.  Any Hokies out there? ;-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hello, My Name is KP and I am an Addict

Seriously, look at these little guys.  How could you not want to devour them by the handfull??

I blame Pepperidge Farm's brillant advertising scheme for the start of my addiction.  Recall the jingle, "I love the fishes cuz they're so delicious," particularly the line "I can eat them everyday, and my mom says that's ok!"  See, right there is the problem.  Subconsciously I am being told that I must eat them everyday because MOM says so.  Obviously, my Mom rocks so I do whatever she says. (even though SHE never really said that. See how crafty those advertising folks are?!)

Next I blame Pepperidge Farm bakers for making such a wonderfully scrumptious bite sized snack.  Each fish is the perfect amount of salty, cheesy, and crunchy that keeps me going back for more.  And by more I mean I polished off an entire bag (7 servings) in just 2 days at work. I.JUST.COULD.NOT.STOP.  
And, I have to admit, this is not the first time.  You would think I would just stop buying them and be done with it; but I can't!  Everytime I pass them in the aisle I go through the same mental conversation:

KP: I really need a mid-afternoon snack to get me through the day at work especially since I run, bike, or do yoga before having dinner.
KP Inner Self: Don't do it.  Don't buy them.  They are evil and you WILL eat the entire bag in one sitting!
KP: But they are all natural! And I DO have self control!
KP Inner Self:  Self control?! BAHAHAHAH! Right.
KP:  And one serving of 50 crackers is only 140 calories! Talk about bang for your buck!
KP Inner Self:  Seriously, only 140 calories?!  Wow, that is a perfect snack.
KP: ANDDDD Mom says it's OK.
KP Inner Self: Shit, well if Mom says so then go for it! And they are flippin delicious.

And there they go, right into my cart.  I swear to myself that I will only have one serving a day, but inevitably I devour an entire bag in record time.  Thus, the vicious cycle of substance abuse starts all over.  I've tried leaving the bag at home and just bringing one serving with me to work; however, I always run into a morning where I am running late and end up just grabbing the entire bag.  So I've decided that I have to quit.  AND I am going to have to go COLD TURKEY because obviously I cannot control myself.

So my dear mouth-watering, salty, delicious fishy friends, I say goodbye.  You are too awesomely addictive for your own good.  Go on your smiling fishy way, you will be fine without me and I better off without you.  I would love to remain friends, but I think in this case it would just hurt too much.  So from now on I will be sending the fiance' to go grocery shopping so we can avoid the heartache of the awkward post-breakup confrontation.  Oh yeah, and it's not you, it's me...and other stuff like that.
xoxox KP

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sports Illustrated, Here I Come!!

No, not as bikini model! That would be the day. Ha! But maybe as a sports photographer??? Who am I kidding, I think the closest to published anything I photograph & edit will ever get already happened when I was Sports Editor of my high school yearbook (a million years ago).  None-the-less, I borrowed the fiance's fancy Nikkon with its' giant lenses and pretended to be a pro-photog and support car crewmember for an afternoon.  Now usually I rock out with my Olympus Stylus Tough on my ski and outdoor adventures (many of which you have seen posted in this awesome blog).

This bad boy is shock proof, waterproof, and adventure ready at all times.  It is perfectly engineered to point & shoot mid-action/adventure/awesomeness and capture a stunning & high quality image.  It is also small enough that it is not a burden to carry around while having said adventure.  However, for this event since I would be on the sidelines and riding in the support car, I figured trying my hand with a serious camera would be fun.  To be honest, I am surprised that the fiance' even let me put my hands on his sick camera...I mean, I have a shockproof/waterproof camera for more than one reason (read: I am a huge clutz).  On this occasion, he happened to be a competitor in the race (his first road race ever!) and I think he wanted to get the best quality images of him dominating the competition as possible.  So after a quick tutorial of the way too many buttons and features that the camera has we were off and KP - Pro Sports Photog came into action.

Just a little taste for you.  It was really fun to have the camera on sports mode and have it shoot like 20 pictures in a few seconds.  When viewing them on my computer I felt as if I were watching the race in action.  Although, many of the pictures that I thought would be great turned out a bit out-of-focus...guess I should have been listening better during the fiance's tutorial! Opps.  All in all, it was a great afternoon.  I had a blast taking pictures and riding in the support car with Coach Capes; handing off water bottles out of the window (just like in the Tour de France!) and giving them information/motivation as they rode.  The fiance' did extremely well for his first race ever (in my opinion).  He was riding up against the Qatar National Professional & Junior Team and also against a bunch of amatuer, but seasoned riders.  He spent the majority of the race up in the front group and finished 4th for the amatuers and 10th overall.  Not bad if I do say so myself.  I definitely see medals in his future ... and maybe some photography lessons in mine!  Although next time I think I might be on my bike; tough work but definitely a cool experience.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"You look like a sad clown hooker"

Since moving to the Middle East, I have become a bit behind in all things pop culture.  There are approximately 3 stations on the radio that play music in English here and it is not played consistantly.  The majority of television channels are in Arabic; although they do play American shows but dubbed over.  Of the channels that are in English, the selection is limited to BBC news, CNN, Fox Movies (which plays the MOST random assortment of films ever), and a couple channels from Dubai that play old seasons of a few standard American sitcoms and dramas (ex. Friends, NCIS, Scrubs).  So our TV watching here is limited...actually we don't even turn on our TV at all.  It isn't even plugged in!  Instead we do most of our viewing on-line from third party (probably illegal) sites because people outside of the US are not able to watch episodes from the station website for some reason.

Not that the fiance' and I watch a lot of TV, but we do have a few shows that we LOVE and enjoy watching sometimes during dinner or on a lazy Saturday morning.  If you haven't figured it out already, I am a HUGE fan of How I Met Your Mother.  Other favs include: The Big Bang Theory (or as the fiance' calls it, "The Geek Show"), True Blood (me, not him, he prefers Top Gear) and our love-to-hate favorite Gossip Girl.  Recently, another show came on my radar...and that my friends is the glory that is GLEE

Yes, I realize I am behind, since my friend Perez Hilton has been raving about this show since it came on air and I just started watching it last week.  But let me tell you... what a fabulous show.  It is the perfect mix of comedy and drama; a superior blend of pop songs and showtunes; and is just flippin fabulous.  The fiance' is not so sold on the show and taunts me mercilessly about it.  Calling it lame and flambouyant.  (Um, yes, it is FABULOUSLY flambouyant, that is the point!)  But slowly I am wearing him down.  I caught him watching out of the corner of his eye (he was pretending to "read the news" on his laptop next to me) just yesterday.  I know he was paying attention too since he quoted that I looked like a "sad clown hooker" (a line from Hairography episode) jokingly later on.

Anyway, if you have not seen Glee, seriously go and get watching.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Awesome Innovations - Austrian Drink Stirrers

Check out this gem of a drink stirrer we found at a slope-side bar in St. Anton. Prost!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

KPs Epic Austrian Adventure

Heaven on Earth

Zurs am Arlberg, Austria

Monday, March 15, 2010


Post-Vacation-Partum (adj) :  The day after a vacation, when you realize that A. you are no longer away somewhere awesome, B. that you have to go back to the reality of everyday life/work and C. how much it totally sucks.

Yep, I am DEFINITELY suffering from that today.

  • Step 1: Post pictures and video from my Epic Austrian Alps Adventure to re-live a bit of the awesomeness
  • Step 2: Have a nice, big, strong cocktail after work just to take make settling back into routine a smidgen easier
  • Step 3: Start planning the next adventure, STAT
Repeat Step 2 above as needed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

An Open Letter to my Best Friend on her BIRTHDAY

Dear BEST FRIEND (aka my beautiful maid of honor),

You are now TWENTY-FREAKING-SIX. Officially, you are no longer in the 20 to 25 years age range. Binge drinking, tabletop dancing, streaking the quad, & promiscuous sex are no longer acceptable "after-school" activities for you to partake in (bummer). The Glory Days of college are far, FAR behind you. You are now on your downward slide into your THIRTIES. God. Seriously, you might want to start considering Botox now. And being that you are almost 30 (yes, that is appropriate to say at your age), why haven't you married and spawned at least 3 little ones by now!?! You know that biological clock of yours just keeps ticking away; you've haven't got much time left!!!
 So on the wonderous occassion of your birthday, I have compiled a list of sage advice for you as you progress just this much closer to your menopausal years:

 1. Never go bra-less. Sorry babe, but the days of perky tits are long over and now your "supple breasts" probably sag down about to your knees.

2. Don't forget to dye. Seriously, nobody wants to bang a grandma with a head full of greys.

3. Your new beauty word is RESTORE. In your youth it was PREVENTION, but now you are old and time has already done its damage.

4. Don't get offended when bartenders and restuarants no longer ask for your ID when you order a drink. Sorry sweetie, no one is going to confuse you for an 18 year old anymore.
 5. Mini skirts, skimpy tops, low-rise jeans, hooker shoes, and anything sparkly should be removed from your wadrobe ASAP and replaced with the following: turtlenecks, girtles, any kind of sweater-set, mom-jeans, and orthopedic shoes. Dress your AGE lady!

And finally,

6. Don't hate me because I am younger than you!

Wishing you all the best on your birthday. Oh and I almost forgot, (sheesh, I must be getting almost as old as you!) for your birthday I am gifting you with this: a lifetime membership to the Red Hat Society, , as the slogan says, "Where you BELONG".


All My Love,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Adventures in Non-American Sports

Today during lunch I have been invited to play squash with a few of my British co-workers. 

First of all, my initial reaction was... "Squash?! Oh, you mean racquetball?"

[Side Note: Yes, I am from America and we play RACQUETBALL, not squash; BASEBALL, not cricket; and SOCCER, not football; and our FOOTBALL is played with padding, helmets, and an oblong ball. But that is a whole other discussion.]

So anyway, no, apparently they are two DIFFERENT sports because one uses a hard ball and the other a soft.  And it is called "Squash" as a reference to the "squashable" soft ball used to play it. (In case you were wondering, which you probably weren't)

My co-workers asked me if I've played/knew how to play...Of course I told them "Yes."   Actually it was more like, "Heck yeah!" with a fist pump.  But seriously, I have only played raqcuetball like once before, BUT I have researched squash on Wikipedia, so that counts, right?! RIGHT.

So here goes nothing...ugh, I am totally going to get my arse handed to me by a bunch of Brits and I am never going hear the end of it. Awesome. Stupid squash.

[Interesting tid-bit: Wikipedia mentions that squash has been recognized as the "world's heathliest sport."  WTF does that mean? Seriously, I would like to know.  And how exactly did they decide that?!]

a quick question about clashing...

Badgley Mischa stole my heart with these beauties. I have been coveting either pair as my wedding shoes like nobodies business...
The only problem is they are white and my dress is IVORY. Honestly, before I became a bride-to-be I had no clue the difference between the two; now let's just say, I have been educated.

So is it ok to pair white shoes with an ivory dress?  Or is it a total fashion crime?