"The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results" - Albert Einstein

Monday, October 25, 2010

Crabs, Cakes and Community

I spent this past weekend in Baltimore, Maryland for my cousins Bat Mitzvah. I've been to Baltimore many times, and it's one of my favorite city's in the world.

The day started out early this morning, when my mother picked me up from campus around 9:15am so that I could get my haircut because she didn’t want to get yelled at for the length of my bangs. If you read that statement and thought, “Wait, why would Jaclyn’s mom get yelled at for the length of Jaclyn’s bangs and not Jaclyn” then you read that statement correctly.

So I got my haircut (Commercial: at Anna Lee’s Salon in Powell Plaza, owned by a family friend who cuts our hair for all of our special occasions, and ALWAYS does an excellent job), and then we headed home to quickly finish packing and hit the road. Now luckily my father and I had packed the night before, because clearly we are non-procrastinating good Samaritans and all that jazz. This enabled me to not get yelled at for not being ready to go at 11:30, unlike the rest of my family. However, I did get yelled at for criticizing the use of garment bags. Apparently, anytime one goes on a car trip they should pack their finest clothes in a garment bag rather than a suitcase because “clothes always look better when they don’t look like they’ve been crumpled up in a suitcase for 6 hours.” Who knew?

Eventually we finally embarked on the 7-hour road trip that would take us to Baltimore, Maryland for my cousin Johanna’s Bat Mitzvah. This is definitely the longest consecutive amount of time my family has spent together in 2010, and possibly since August of 2009. This is probably the first time we’ve had all five of us in a car together for more than 2 hours in maybe 5 years.

I spent most of the car trip writing a paper for Women’s Studies 230 on the MILF Island episode from 30 Rock season 2 and watching Community season 1 with Monica. Mom and Dad listened to music and Alexa read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for what I swear must be the 38th time. All things considered, the drive actually went pretty well. Dad only even made 2 West Virginia jokes over the course of the 5-minute crossing from Ohio to West Virginia to Pennsylvania, which is a really good ratio for him. We even got to stop at an Arby’s/Rest Stop for lunch that sold any kind of candy you could imagine and Snuggies. It’s hard to say which of those two things I was more excited to see when I walked in, but it was probably the Snuggie.That being said, I only bought a Starbucks Coffee Frappacino and some York Peppermint Patties.

Here's a picture of Monica and I with Jojo the Bat Mitzvah girl!!!!

Family Pictures overlooking the Inner Harbor (one of my favorite places).

Oh, and while we were in Baltimore, we thought, why not take a pilgrimage to Charm City Cakes and worship? So we went. We weren't allowed inside (duh) and the only person we saw was Mary Alice as she was walking across the street to go eat lunch at the Dizz (not to diminish the awesomeness that is Mary Alice, because I think she is super great and I actually really want to be her, but I was just really hoping to see Duff or Geof and then maybe sit down and talk with them for a few hours and then Duff offers me a job and Geof asks me to marry him. But I guess that seems kinda far-fetched).

And of course, one cannot visit Baltimore without eating crabs. Because they are probably the most delicious seafood on the planet, and they cannot compare anywhere else. And these crabs, from Pikes, were SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOD!!!! I ate four large, but I was rushed for my time. I probably could have eating 5 or 6.

Action shot of Monica and I

I'd say this was a pretty successful trip!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monica Comes to Campus

I wish I had more time to blog. Unfortunately I just don't have time to do anything. My life has been so hectic this past week that I have had two different people tell me they think I'm going "Batshit Crazy" based on two separate incidents for completely different reasons. So that's nothing to worry about right?

Anyway, I won't blog your ear off anymore about (possibly) being a wack-job.

I had the pleasure of enjoying the wonderful company of my youngest sister Monica on campus this past weekend. She's fourteen, so naturally in our hyper-competitive and overly concerned with personal success narratives societies, it is now appropriate for her to start her college search, as a newly minted freshman in high school. And therefore, it was only appropriate that I, as a protective and awesome older sister, do her the honor of giving her an (un)official first tour of a college campus. Disclaimer: I did not take her to any parties, so if you are hoping to read about the debaucheries of a naive young girl in college for the first time A LA "Animal House" meets "Gilmore Girls" you should just stop reading now. I'm not that cool of a big sister.

Here's some great shots of Monica walking around campus like she owns the place and being awesome. Maybe we even have a future Buckeye? (hint hint nudge nudge)

We started out on College Road and walked to the East side of the Oval and then down to the Library. Here's a picture of Monica on the Oval. Orton Hall is in the background and we heard the bells chime.
Here we see Monica rubbing the head of William Oxley Thompson in the Thompson library for good luck. Then we went upstairs to the 11th floor of the library and gave her the full aerial view of campus. If you haven't been, I completely recommend it, it's impressive.

From the library we walked to Mirror Lake where we sat for a while and watched ducks swim. The weather was surprisingly perfect for an October Friday.

Then I took Monica to one of my favorite spots, the Browning Amphitheater, which I like because it is always private and very few people know I like to go there to relax and get away from everyone.

Oh wait....
We walked through the brand new Ohio Union and checked out all of the cool rooms and showed off the Student Organizations section a little bit. Here's Monica and I in the Union with Brutus. Guess how many people asked if we were twins? Too many for a 6 year age difference.
And what better way to end a tour of campus than Monica with her Canes chicken fingers. The quintessential food experience for all college students. Nothing goes with college visits like friend food and Cane's special sauce.

Then we got Red Mango frozen yogurt and went back to the dorm to watch Glee with my AHD and a few other RA's in Taylor. One of the RA's said that Monica was way cooler than I am. Another invited her to Glee night and then disinvited me, and a third noted how much more attractive she was than I am. I'd say it was an all around great visit.

Except seriously, it was really fun. I never get the opportunity to have family/anyone blindly follow me around and tell them to do cool things that are probably not that cool in the scheme of things, so that was pretty awesome. Unfortunately I only have 2 sisters and now I've given them both college tours so I'm rendered practically useless from now on. Then again, I do have 5 cousins yet to come visit campus (hint hint nudge nudge).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nostalgia and References to Lord of the Rings

It feels like forever since I've had a really good blog post (or really any post at all) so I'm gonna make up for it with a super spectacular blog post. How am I going to do that? One Word: CUPCAKES

That's right readers, This post is about (among other things) CUPCAKES. I just feel like there's no reason I can't continue the cupcake tour just because I'm not in England anymore. And considering since I started blogging about cupcakes (among other things) this summer, I was given more cupcake themed Birthday presents than any other type of Birthday presents (which is awesome, I might add, and included among other things, a recipe book, a cupcake photo holder, and icing tips), I must have been doing something right. So get ready to start drooling because I'm already feeling nostalgic for the very recent past.

We all have the one and only Samantha N. to thank for this trip, who accompanied me and treated for this venture as a belated Birthday present. For those who don't know her, Sammy and I are friends from Middle School days back when we both had an unhealthy obsession with Lord of the Rings, particularly Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. There are a lot of funny anecdotes I could put in this segment involving our friendship, but my favorite is the time we watched Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet" in her basement while eating about 10 pounds of Chinese food from Lin's Wok and decided it was probably the worst movie ever made. (I'm sorry, but I can't take Shakespearean dialogue seriously when it's said by men wearing unbuttoned Hawaiian T-Shirts with purple hair. And for the record, I don't really like "Moulin Roughe" either, but on that point Sammy disagrees with me). But anyway, we roomed together Freshman year of college and managed to not fall victim to the "Don't room with people you knew in High School curse because it will destroy your friendship" Curse because we are still really close. Granted it's hard not to be close with someone you once sang to in a Blockbuster.

Look how excited Sammy is for our cupcake adventure!

So the venue I'm blogging about today is "Our CupCakery" in Dublin, Ohio. Located approximately across the street from the Jeni's Ice Creams in Dublin and unfortunately and unavoidably close to the Starbucks on the same street. We were there right around the time school let out, and Sammy and I must have seen no less than 10 different elementary schoolers with Starbucks Drinks that were so there they could barely fit their grubby little hands around them. It must be daily ritual for prepubescents to run in packs to their local Starbucks after last bell so they can hype themselves up on caffeine and sugar before they terrorize the neighborhood. Not to say that I don't think a little terrorism in the form of miscreants wouldn't do the city of Dublin some good, because it is a little too "white picket fence" for my tastes and everyone looks like they walked out of a J-Crew catalogue. Then again maybe I'm just scarred from seeing the movie "The Stepford Wives" (Nicole Kidman version). All I can say is that if I ever have kids, I'm not giving them an allowance.

Here's a picture of the front facade.

But I won't hold the location of "Our CupCakery" against the cupcake experience I had there. Although the outside might be a stony and cold facade, the inside is anything but. Everything is done in pastel colors (pink and green no less, which seem to be the universal colors for cupcakes), and the clerk, who I think might have been the owner, was super friendly and welcoming to us.

Our CupCakery sells regular cupcakes in various different sizes and flavors, but what makes it truly unique (and was our sole purpose for visiting) is it's make your own cupcake bar. (pictured below).

Anyone can walk into the shop, pick a cupcake, and decorate it with as much icing, sprinkles, cookie or candy topping as their little heart desires and then pay by the weight. The clerk told us the average cupcake is usually between 2 and 3 dollars, but that the record was $11.12. Which in my opinion is basically obscene. That being said, I was really bummed out there wasn't a picture of it.

So Sammy and I both decorated the cupcakes below. Mine is the one on the left and hers is the one on the right. Mine is supposed to be a two color interpretation of this art project I did when I was in Kindergarten, which may or may not be a Jackson Pollock but I can't remember for certain if that was the artist. I don't think Sammy's has an artistic theme. Also, I probably had more fun decorating this cupcake than is socially acceptable for a 20 year old. Oh well.

But let's be serious for a second, no matter how much fun it is to decorate cupcakes, the best part is eating them. Mine was a Lemon flavored cupcake with Raspberry, Lemon and Vanilla icing, Sammy's was a Vanilla cupcake with Vanilla, Raspberry, Lemon and Bubble Gum frosting. And I have to admit, I didn't expect these to be great cupcakes because they would be sitting out all day and I assumed they would go stale, but these were pleasantly moist and delicious. My only complaint was that I couldn't taste the difference between the different types of icing, but the icing was still good, a little too sweet for my taste, but good. Not overpowering.

Here's me with my cupcake :D

And here is Sammy with hers.

We are happy little hobbitses.