Author Archive

Book Review: Unicorn Food

Unicorn Food: Natural Recipes for Edible Rainbows is everything that your colorful food eating self could ever desire.  The aim is to eat a rainbow, but a healthy one. These recipes are both balanced and colorful and will delight your eyes as well as your taste buds.  There are ways to make natural food coloring using cabbage, blueberry juice, tumeric, spinach, etc.  I’m not exactly sure how these will end up making foods that taste delicious, but I’ll keep reading…

OK so all of these recipes have pictures to go along with them (yaaay!) and look AMAAAAAAAAAZING. I don’t know if I could ever actually make any of them (and if I did I’d probably use regular food coloring even though it is probably terrible for me) but omg. Rainbow sushi? pancakes? cheesecake? I will take them all, please and thank you.

If you are as on the unicorn train as I am, you’re not going to want to miss this book. Even if you just want to look at the pretty pictures and not actually end up making anything, it’s worth checking out.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

No unicorns were harmed in the making of this food! But unicorns have magically inspired all the recipes in this book adding technicolor sparkle to your sushi and fairytale magic to your mocktails. Why eat boring when you can enjoy a rainbow-coloured noodle bowl for dinner? And it’s all deliciously natural – no nasty e-numbers or preservatives, just beautiful food colorings made from berry juices and vegetables. From the show-stopping Unicorn Cake and Cosmic Donuts to Rainbow Veggie Sandwiches and Celestial Swirl Soup, these brightly colored edibles can be naughty and nice. Create the most unbelievably Instagrammable dishes ever seen. Cook, post and enjoy and the likes will multiple. Move over mug cakes. This is internet explosion unites the zeitgeist for all things magical, pastel, and unicorn-esque. Brightly colored, and not too serious, Unicorn Food is shared experience – how could you not want to share such amazing and magical delights created in your own kitchen – and all natural and vegetarian.

 

Book Review: Make Your Own Ice Cream

I have never made my own ice cream outside of Science class in High School and somehow ours came out tasting really salty.   Make Your Own Ice Cream includes classic recipes for Ice Cream, Sorbet, Italian Ice, Sherbet and Other Frozen Desserts. The recipes all have very few ingredients, but the actual making of the ice cream seems to be a bit advanced – double boilers, using frying pans… I am not sure that I am ready for that kind of work, but some of these flavors do sound delicious! It starts out with Philadelphia Creams, then Neapolitan Creams, Ice Creams from Condensed Milk – that comes with a warning that these are not as good as those made from raw cream, Frozen Puddings and Desserts, Water Ices and Sherbets or Sorbets, Frozen Fruits, Frappes Parfaits and Mousses, and finally Sauces for Ice Creams.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this book if you are hungry! I liked that there were so many recipes included, but I would have liked to see some photos. Either of making the recipes or of the finished products, or some combination of both.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Updated for modern kitchens, this vintage book of ice cream recipes offers a mouthwatering selection of frozen treats that’s sure to include something for everyone. In addition to dozens of different types of ice cream and sherbet, the recipes cover frozen puddings, soufflés, parfaits, and mousses as well as tasty toppings. Numerous dairy-free options include sorbets, Italian ices, and fruit ices. Easy-to-find ingredients range from a variety of fruits and nuts to the traditional flavors of chocolate and vanilla. Brief explanations identify the differences between ices, sorbet, and sherbet and offer general instructions for making frozen desserts.
Author Sarah Tyson Rorer (1849–1937), founder of the Philadelphia School of Cookery, was a pioneer of domestic science. Educator, author, editor, radio show host, magazine columnist, dietician, and lecturer, her emphasis on healthy eating was instrumental in the creation of the field of hospital dietetics. Her classic recipes, which are ideal for inexperienced dessert-makers, are compatible with modern ice cream machines.

Book Review: Amazing Origami Boxes

Amazing Origami Boxes includes 20 origami models with instructions and diagrams. There are some really cool ones included – I can tell just from the cover!  The book starts with the biography of Tomko Fuse – “the queen of modular origami” who wrote this book and came up with these amazing designs.  The book has 3 degrees of difficulty – Medium, Medium to Advanced and Advanced. Each one is noted by 1, 2 or 3 dots.  There are also guides to the different kinds of folds that you will find in the instructions.  All of these designs seem to be a bit over my head, so I guess I am not quite at “Medium” level yet – probably still a “beginner”.  The basket with triangular handles looks amazing, I thought the cube box was awesome – then I turned the page and there was a DOUBLE cube box… My mind is blown. And the Tulip cup and Rose box may be some of the pretties origami I’ve ever seen. Makes me wish I had some paper to try it out – even though I know I would end up failing miserably.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Simple but unique, an origami box represents the thoughts and feelings of its maker. Between the pleasure of paperfolding and the satisfaction of having a handmade item to use (or give!), the box forms a positive association for the maker (and between the giver and recipient). In this guide, origami master Tomoko Fuse presents 20 original designs for origami boxes — some simple, others more complex, all made from a single sheet of paper.
Beautiful, full-color photographs accompany step-by-step instructions and diagrams for a splendid variety of completely functional boxes. They range from conventional square and rectangular shapes to those in the form of a bird, a basket, a cat’s head, a flower, and other shapes. By varying the type of paper and color combinations, folders can create an endless variety of effects. Suitable for origami enthusiasts of all skill levels, this guide promises hours of creative joy.

Book Review: Crochet Loom Blooms

Ahh, Crochet. Something that I always say I want to learn to do but never do anything with it beyond reading books about it and looking at the pretty pictures.  This time I am reading all about how to make various crochet flowers.  The book contains 30 fabulous flowers and projects.  Most of these flowers are done with a loom, which might be a bit easier for me to figure out… even though it features a handful of different kinds of looms.  It then goes in to talk about what kinds of yarns you should use as well as colors – this page was especially interesting because it showed the same flower made with 12(!) different color sets and they all looked wildly different from each other.  Then it goes into different techniques for different flowers.  BRB, buying myself a loom, these are all so pretty!!!! It also features some crochet techniques as well.  These all go over my head but there are photos included with the instructions so if you have any idea what you are doing it should be easy to follow the stitching instructions.  Then you can join everything together to make really fun flowery things like doilies or I suppose even blankets if you have enough flowers made!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Discover the blossoming trend of flower looming! It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s fun, and with a bit of crochet you can create a stunning collection of 30 flower motifs. In Crochet Loom Blooms, you’ll find everything you need to get you started including:
Step-by-step guide to using a flower loom, plus detailed illustrations on crochet stitches that bring your flowers to life.30 unique flower motifs in a variety of shapes and styles–from simple and lacy to dense, multi-layers foliage, Crochet Loom Blooms has it all.5 fabulous projects and valuable tips and tricks from best-selling author Haafner Linssen that will have your home bursting with crochet loom blooms in no time!A garden of delight, you’ll find yourself referencing Crochet Loom Blooms time again whether looking for specific instruction or a dose of inspiration.

O-Town @ Stage One

A couple of days after seeing O-Town at the Wolf Den, they made their debut at one of my favorite venues, Stage One in Fairfield, CT.  This show was a bit different because we were able to purchase a pre-show VIP package to spend some more time with the band.  We were told to be in line by 3:45, which we were, but unfortunately due to other venue restrictions we were stuck out in the cold for nearly an hour and a half.  Upon entering the venue we got to watch soundcheck with the guys – where they did Love Should Be A Crime, 2 of their new songs – No Goodnight and Whatchu Wanna Do – which was explained by Jacob by being about sex but ended up with us all being taken to Church… and I think the other one they did was Shady Business.  After the goofings around of soundcheck, we got 2 photos with the band and then had some time to kill before the show started.

Fairfield Theater is a seated venue, so we purchased a membership to the venue in order to get an early shot at tickets and got 2 seats in front row and 2 seats in 2nd row, everything else was already snapped up by the time I got in to buy them.  I kept saying that the 4 empty seats in the front row (center) were going to be “old” people who had no idea who the band were, so I just had to laugh when my prediction was correct.  It was really awkward and the guys were trying to make them feel welcome by sitting on the edge of the stage and singing to them and stuff… but they ended up leaving about half way through the set.  Our friends jumped down to join us in the front row and it seemed like that changed the whole vibe of the show – the guys came closer to the front row and were just a bit more relaxed once they knew it was fans in the front! The set was the same as the show at the wolf den, super high energy and a lot of fun.

After the show, we did our selfie line and got to chat with the guys a bit about the people in the front – Dan said he was glad they left so “our girls” could come down front with us and that it was a really bizarre experience.  Jacob said they were still working on routing for the new tour for this summer, but we should like who they will be touring with. That made me curious to know who he thought I would be excited about seeing… and hoped it wouldn’t be Aaron Carter since they are doing some show with him in the UK.

Trent Harmon in the Wolf Den

Saturday night reigning American Idol winner Trent Harmon took the stage at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect from a show – but I left very, very pleasantly surprised – the show was high energy and a TON of fun.  Unfortunately I don’t have the setlist so this review is going to be pretty short and sweet.  Trent also didn’t come out to sign after the show, which was a disappointment, I really would have loved to meet him!

Hanson at Sea World

When I found out that Hanson was coming to Sea World, I knew that I needed to be there. I didn’t realize quite how much of a whirlwind trip it was going to end up being, but I snagged myself a front row seat and then booked some flights.  When all was said and done, I left the airport at 5am, landed in Orlando at 8am and had a “free” day in Orlando.  With another winter storm coming to town Monday night into Tuesday, I ended up buying a flight for Sunday after already having booked a flight for Monday just in case.  I ended up leaving at 11:30pm on Sunday night, landing 2:30am on Monday morning, getting home at 3:30am, sleeping a few hours and going to work. Not one of my brighter ideas but my Monday night flight ended up canceled and I didn’t have to use any vacation days.  Worth it? Definitely.

The way Sea World was set up you were able to pick out your seat at 9am and then enjoy the park for the day instead of having to wait in line all day to get to the theater area.  We were able to do some shopping, some eating, and see some sea life.  We didn’t end up riding any rides, but it was a fun day all the same!  At 5pm the Hanson show began and I was just in front of Isaac in the front row.  The setlist was a pretty basic show that I was expecting, but there was a lot of energy from the guys and I had an absolute blast! And of course, ended up sun burned.

Although the show had a lot of backlash from some fans and some Sea World haters… the show and the day was a ton of fun and I really hope they will consider playing there again!

Chrissy Metz This is Me book tour

Chrissy Metz, better known as Kate from This is Us, recently released a book aptly titled “This is Me” and one of her tour stops on the book tour was in Clinton, CT!  We bought tickets right away and they quickly sold out.  Due to the demand, the book store found a larger venue to hold the event at and released even more tickets, which again promptly sold out.  When I arrived at the school the event was being held at, I was not surprised to see very few men in line.  The event, set to start at 7pm started more like 7:30PM with Chrissy chatting a bit about the book and her life and getting the role of Kate with one of our local newscasters.  After the chat, around 8pm, they began lining us up row by row to go meet Chrissy.  We couldn’t get photos with her (posed) but we did get a chance to chat with her briefly which was really nice.  She signed the books and off we went.  There were about 700 people there so the poor girl was there hours singing – but seemed genuine and grateful to everyone for coming out to see her.  I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but expect a review once I do end up getting around to it! (As you can probably tell, I am working through the backlog of a lot of other books that I have to read!)

 

Category: Random  Leave a Comment

Book Review: Coding from Scratch

Coding from Scratch is a book about using Scratch to code.  I had used this once as part of a class I was auditing and it was a lot of fun, although I kind of got stumped at one point and gave it up, so I was curious to check out this book to see if it would give me some more information so maybe I could play around a bit more.  If you’re unaware, Scratch is an online coding platform that uses colorful coding blocks to create.  Rather than actually writing the code out in text, you move what look almost like colorful puzzle pieces around to build loops and actions quickly and easily.  You can sign up for an account at www.scratch.mit.edu.  The first parts of the book go over how to create and set up your account and what all the tools mean and do.  You can then make your own games pretty easily. The book also notes some components that you should think about before you start like – where does your game take place? What are the rules for what you can and can’t do?  There are also some examples you can copy to re-make some games so that you can get a feel for how everything works before you dive in and do you own games.

I found Scratch to be a lot of fun to play around with and I think that this book is a really great guide to help you if you want to get started learning to code or even if your child does. It can be basic at times, but you can get really complicated and really cool with it as well which I think is great!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Learn to create your own games, animation, presentations, and musical projects in no time at all with Coding from Scratch. Whether you’re just learning to code or need a refresher, this visual guide to coding will cover all the basics – coding tools, where to find them, and how to use them – with hands-on, step-by-step instructions designed to make Coding from Scratch second nature.

Book Review: Yankee’s New England Adventures

Yankee’s has put together over 400 essential things to see and do in New England.  Even though I have lived in New England my whole life, I know that there is still TONS I have yet to see and do so I was interested to read this book and see how I rate on what I’ve already done and what fun and adventurous things are still out there to do! (And maybe get some fun not too far date ideas?)  For those of you who are geographically challenged (and I am, but I’d probably never have graduated if I didn’t figure out what was New England) New England consists of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  All of which I have visited at some point (and all but Vermont I have seen a Hanson show in. Fun fact.)  The book is broken down by state, with my state, Connecticut, up first.  I’ll highlight each state with what I have done and what I’d like to do below! (But keep in mind there will be lots of other things included in the book too if you don’t see something that seems interesting!)

Connecticut

Have Done
Maritime Aquarium, Norwalk
Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison
Long Wharf Theatre, New Haven
Mark Twin House & Museum, Hartford
Sleeping Giant State Park, Hamden
Mystic

Want to Do
Bushnell Park Carousel, Hartford
Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam (I just love the look of this building)
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, Essex
Louis’ Lunch, New Haven

Rhode Island

Have Done
Waterfire, Providence
Block Island

Want To Do
Pawtucket Red Sox, Pawtucket
Newport Mansions

Massachusetts

Have Done
Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge
Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge
Freedom Trail tour, Boston
Fenway Park, Boston
Cape Cod

Want to Do
Boston Cream Pie at the Parker House, Boston
Battleship Cove, Fall River
Whale Watching
Salem
Edward Gorey House Yarmouth Port

Maine

Have Done
The Goldenrod, York Beach
Nubble Light, York

Want to Do
Puffin Watching, Machias Seal Island

New Hampshire

Have Done
Apparently nothing worth mentioning in this book lol

Want to Do
Canobie Lake Park, Salem

Vermont

Have Done
Nothing mentioned

Want to Do
Covered bridges?

 

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated/

About the Book

The experts at New England’s iconic Yankee magazine have distilled nearly a century of experience and knowledge into the guide you have been waiting for. Yankee’s New England Adventures is the go-to source for in-depth travel information, with the same stunning photography and practical know-how they bring to you every month. Whether you are interested in exploring the vibrant culture of tiny villages or big cities, eating outstanding meals in colonial inns or vintage diners, rambling through art museums or up steep wooded hills, this is the guide for you.

An island stuck in the 19th century? A walk-in, stained-glass globe? A place where you can eat Thanksgiving dinner every day of the year? From the golden dunes of Nantucket to the alpine tundra of the White Mountains, from the blue waters of Lake Champlain to the green grass of Boston Common, travelers and residents alike will find over 400 local secrets, out-of-the-way places, and unique experiences in all six states of this remarkable region of America. Live the Yankee lifestyle and get on the road with Yankee’s New England Adventures.

About Yankee: Robb Sagendorph founded Yankee Magazine in September 1935 as a New England-centric magazine “for Yankee readers, by Yankee writers, and about Yankeedom.” Its “destiny” would be “the expression and… preservation of that great culture into which every Yank was born and by which every real Yank must live.” Today Yankee boasts nearly 300,000 subscribers and the company is still family-owned. In addition to Yankee, they also publish the Old Farmer’s Almanac and New Hampshire Magazine.