Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What Day Is It Again?

I seem to have completely gotten off on my days. After Christmas, what day it is gets really unimportant to me. I tend to revert to child mode and spend the following days immersed in playing with my new toys.

I'd sum it all up, but this years Christmas deserves more than that. So I'm working on a post about Christmas and the events of that wonderful day. Pictures will most definitely be included. And, since my entire family is made up picture takers, I have (easily) a hundred pictures to dig through to find the best and brightest.

So consider my "Yay Christmas Day!" post Coming Soon.

In the mean time, I hope all of you had a fabulous Christmas! Was Santa good to you? Or were you on his naughty list?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When The Moon Goes Dark

Remember when the word "eclipse" made you think of space, not Twilight? Ah, those were the days...

I know this is a little belated, but I wanted to share some of the photos my Dad took on the 21st, when we stayed up to watch the lunar eclipse.

We almost missed it. Mom had told me it would be on the 21st, but I somehow got it in my head that the 21st plus nighttime equaled the night of the 21st. Which, looking back, doesn't make sense considering after midnight, it would no longer be the 21st.

I was laying in bed, cozy and ready for sleep. Addicted to technology and social networking, I was tweeting my "goodnight" and started to notice that a lot of the people I follow were talking about the eclipse and how they were up late waiting for it.

So I double-checked, realized I was all wrong about when it was happening, and hurried outside to make sure I hadn't missed it.

I hadn't.

When I went outside, the Earth's shadow was just starting to creep across the edge of the moon.

I went back inside to tell my Dad, and we both went out and craned our necks to watch.

About halfway through, we woke Mom up, since she was the one who'd told us about the eclipse in the first place. So then all three of us sat outside and watched. We even had binoculars, although a telescope would've been ideal. The binoculars were still good, though.

And all of us were thankful that it was abnormally not cold that night, since that would have made watching the eclipse much less pleasant.

In the end, it was a really awesome experience, and very worth staying up for.

Enjoy the pictures! All are property of my Dad, taken with his Nikon D80.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

And Then There Was One

It has been a long day.

I got to bed late because, of course, I procrastinated in my studying. I tend to do that. Especially when I know I shouldn't. So waking up early again was killer. Even more so than the day before.

And this time I rolled out of bed at 6 instead of 6:30. I figured getting up earlier was worth having time to stop by Starbucks on the way to my first exam.

I was right.

And I was really excited because I finally got to use the tumbler I bought! So that was a perk. Hey, enjoy the little things, right?

I got to campus early, despite a lengthy wait at Starbucks, but then I made the mistake of sitting in my car, listening to The Swell Season, and singing like a crazy person. Which wasn't so much a mistake, I guess, so much as it put me right on time instead of early. But in the end, it didn't matter. Honestly, I glanced over my notes briefly before he handed out the exam, but nothing I didn't already know stuck anyway. Seems that's just the way of things.
Ok, Campaigns & Elections.
Let's do this.
I was not particularly enthused to take this final. I do really enjoy politics, which is why I thought I'd love this class. And I did find the class interesting—I just...don't know much about political science, and the tests were typically the roughest out of all of my classes. More from struggling with theories and such—Michigan School Theory and Median Voter Theory, I can't tell you apart very easily!

But the good news came when he gave us a quick overview of how the test would go. Back on our final class day, he'd told us that since we were going to have two hours to take the final instead of the usual fifty minutes, we'd have 3-4 essays to answer instead of just one. And more terms to define. But on exam day, it turned out we only had one more definition than normal, and we only had to write two essays.

Insert massive sigh of relief.

I had a break between that exam and my next—Shakespeare. So I came home, intended to study and...took a nap instead.

It was lovely.

Until I went to take my Shakespeare final.

Four essays. Part of what we had to answer was identifying who was speaking to whom in the passage—she gave us lines from the plays and we had to discuss their significance for the overall themes of the plays, plus compare it to one other play we read in class. I totally blanked on these. I didn't recognize the quotes at all. If she hadn't at least given us which play it was from, I would have had no idea where to even begin.

The only positive thing to come from my general "I just don't care," mentality was that instead of freaking out, which would be my normal reaction to looking at a test and feeling like a deer in headlights, I just sat back and reread the quotes several times until I either started to recognize them or could make an educated guess.

After the exam—which did indeed take me the majority of the two hours allotted—I discussed the questions with my friend, Megan. By some lovely miracle, I was pretty much right. At least on who said what.

As to the's kind of a toss up. I tend to do well on essays, especially in English—not to brag. I'm just an English major, is all. Something would be kind of wrong if I flubbed essays on a regular. But I hate to get my hopes up because I really feel like I was grasping at straws for most of my answers and analysis. We'll see. Grades will be up at the end of the week.

Until then I can stress. But I won't. I'll bask in the glory of being at home, not fussing with school.

But that comes after tomorrow. I'll get back to that.

Also, probably the highlight of my day was when Megan gave me my Christmas present after our Shakespeare exam! Not only do I love Christmas presents, but what she got me is absolutely awesome. I'm pretty sure I made my little 'hyperventilating' excited noise when I opened it.

If you know me, you will understand.
Homer mugs! WOO-HOO!
Immediately following our last Shakespeare test ever, Megan and I planned to hit up O'Bannon's, our favorite Irish pub in Northgate—College Station's cluster of bars, if you have no idea what I'm talking about. They do a beer tour—you get a card that they stamp for each unique beer on the tour. 75 total. At the end, you get some serious bragging rights and an awesome stein. I totally plan on finishing this before I graduate. Or possibly when I graduate. But I digress.

On the way, we were going to stop and sell back books. It's always disheartening if you think about how much you spent on them initially, but getting some pocket money is nice just the same.

So we headed for Loupot's, one of the better (in my opinion) places to sell back here in College Station.

Enter first new experience of the day.

I got rear ended.

Not exactly my idea of fun, I gotta tell ya. But the plus side is, the girl who hit me was really nice and super apologetic. And, best of all, there was basically no damage to my car. A tiny little scratch—but if you asked me to swear under oath that I was 100% positive she was the one who did it, I probably couldn't. It's so small that I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't been looking.

So I left my first car accident—well, the first one in which I was driving—not much worse for the wear. Except for a little boost of adrenaline. neck is a little sore... I guess that could be from the, uh, incident. If it still hurts in a couple of days, I'll be more worried than I am now.
But at least selling back my books went well. I walked away with a little over sixty bucks. Which is, quite frankly, about thirty more than I thought I'd get. Whoop!

Then when we got to O'Bannon's, I liked each of the two beers we tried. (This is not always the case. I like beer, but there are some that are just...yikes.) And I also got a free cupcake!

Beer + Cupcake = Delicious ÷ Unhealthy
Okay, I got two free cupcakes.

But Megan didn't take one, so I'm pretending like she did and then I just took hers. It makes me feel better.

So all in all, today has actually been pretty good.

It just sort of feels more like two days in one.

Oh, and as I'm writing this post, I'm surveying my apartment and thinking 1) this place is a shameful mess, 2) I really should be packing, 3) Oh, right, I still have that one last final tomorrow morning... and 4) I guess I should study.

Oh, if I must...

Monday, December 13, 2010

College Makes Me Tired

I woke up at 6:30 this morning. It was horrible.

Even more so because I absolutely had to get up. Being late to a final is not exactly the best way to conclude a semester's worth of class time, or class work.

Also, I re-learned that hitting the snooze for a meager fifteen minutes actually does put me running late.

I get to do it all over again tomorrow, so... Note to Self—Don't Snooze!

The good news is, I am officially done with my Marriage Institution class. And I made a 100 on that research paper I've been working on for weeks. That was a nice surprise—it's always encouraging when the few times I do manage to keep from procrastinating pay off.
I wish she'd done the whole 'smiley face under the two zeros' thing.
But it still makes me happy.
I had the best intentions of coming home after my final and cracking the books for my two finals tomorrow. I did...not so great. I started studying for my Campaigns and Elections final first—because it's at 8 tomorrow morning. And because, between that and Shakespeare, I'd be much more comfortable having to wing the Shakespeare final than the Political Science one. I mean, yikes.

But I was wiped out.

The power nap, while absolutely necessary, also admittedly put a damper in my intended study momentum.

But you know what? I think it's a fair trade. Studying when I can hardly keep my eyes open isn't that productive anyway, and at least this way I think my chances of writing good, solid essays are much better because I'll actually be rested going into it.
"Oh, I guess you're still studying, huh?"
After those two finals, I only have one more to take on Wednesday morning.

Until then, I will either be studying, trying to make myself study, or stressing out because I'm not studying and I should be.

Guess which one I'm doing now?

Then, the best part of my week—Going. Home.

Can. Not. Wait.

I am so ready to be home for a little while, be with my family, see my friends that aren't down here in College Station, and actually have a chance to enjoy my favorite time of year—Christmas time!

But I have so much to do between now and Wednesday. Like, um, pack. For a month. And get everything clean. Because I'm a little neurotic when I leave my apartment, even for a weekend. I totally hate coming back to a dirty apartment. It takes what was a relaxing trip away, and makes it instantly non-relaxing (because the first thing I see is all of the things I need to do now that I'm back) OR it takes a trip that was really hectic and busy and extends the hectic busy-ness into my return because as soon as I walk in the door, I have more things to do.

If that makes sense.

So yeah, things are going to start getting [even more] busy for me. But that's okay. I embrace it.

Until I go crazy and pull out my hair.

Or bomb a final.


Wish me luck!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Frappuccino...You want any fries with that?

My favorite thing to order at Starbucks is a Frappuccino. 

I first discovered these with my best friend, Matt, somewhere around the 8th grade. My first Frappuccino was a Venti Caramel Frappuccino. I ate the whipped cream off of the top. Then I was done.

Turns out the caramel Frappuccino is a tad too sweet for this coffee lover.

Still, my first introduction to the Frappuccino certainly was not my last. Over the years, I've acquired fast favorites. My first regular order was the tried and true Mocha Frappuccino. I then progressed to the Java Chip Frappuccino. After that, Peppermint Java Chip. Now I live on Caramel Mocha. The mocha does an excellent job of taming the sweetness of the caramel, and the mix of the two flavors is, quite frankly, divine.

So, as you can tell, I'm no stranger to Frappuccinos, be it texture, flavor, consistency, etc.

Recently, Starbucks changed how they make the Frappuccino. Instead of a vague "base" specific to the trademark blended drink, they're now "However-You-Want-It" Frappuccinos. There are defnitely a lot of positives when it comes to the recipe change. For instance, now you can choose which kind of milk you want— 2%, soy, whole, or what have you. Also, there is more room for customization. And the consistency is, in my humble opinion, much better than that of the previous Frappuccino, which tended toward allowing the flavor to be sucked out in such a way that in the end, you were left with a sort of slushy flavorless icy substance in the bottom of your cup. (Which I always drank, anyway.) Now, if anything starts to settle, a quick stir with the trademark green straw rights those wrongs immediatly.

I'm a big fan.

However, with more room for customization comes more room for inconsistency.

For example there are two Starbucks that I frequent here in College Station. I love both. And the baristas at both are fantastic—friendly, welcoming, conversational. No complaints. But when the new "However-You-Want-It" recipe was first introduced, both stores made Frappuccinos that tasted completely different from one another. The one closest to me—which had been the one I visited most frequently—started turning out Frappuccinos that tasted way too much like milkshakes. Suddenly, I could hardly taste the mocha. I could only taste the milk. And while the consistency of the drink was excellent, the overall experience was anything but. The flavors were all wrong. Consistently all wrong. As a long-time Frappuccino fan, I was concerned. I thought, "That's it. I've had my last delicious Frapp."

I even remember calling my Mom and filling her in on my woes. I was, with a heavy heart, grieving the loss of my long time favorite beverage.
No two Frappuccinos taste alike!

Then I made a trip to the Starbucks on the other side of town. With trepidation, I ordered my usual—a Caramel Mocha Frappuccino.

Lo and behold, it was excellent!

I was thrilled. Unlike the unappealing milkshakyness of the other Frappuccino I'd had, this one was perfect. It had a rich mocha taste and a smooth, creamy texture. The milk was much more subtle, but still pleasant, and best of all, very fresh. My faith in humanity—or at least in Starbucks—was restored.

Which got me thinking. Why the inconsistency?

This has been a problem I've experienced for my entire Frappuccino-drinking life. An extra pump of mocha can be totally different from place to place. Even the amount of time the blend the drink changes the experience. There's nothing more frustrating than having a particularly delicious Frappuccino one day, then returning the next expecting the same level of yum, and being utterly disappointed. But you can't complain that the barista made it wrong. Because they didn't. They just made it. And it turned out different.

I'll always love you, Frappuccino.
Even if you do let me down sometimes.
This is a problem, Starbucks! I consistently enjoy the atmosphere. The baristas are consistently friendly. But the drinks are consistently...inconsistent.

I'm not sure what could be done to solve this problem. And I AM sure that it's not going to keep me from my beloved Frappuccinos. But I do feel it's important, as a customer, to be allowed to expect some sort of consistency in flavor when they order the same coffee. And also, I'm just curious as to whether or not I'm the only person who's encountered this as an issue.

Either way, each trip to Starbucks is a toss-up on whether or not my drink will live up to the one before it. Or, if the one before it was wonderful, if the next will surpass it. It's like I never know what to expect except a drink that won't taste the same as it did the last time I ordered it. I love Frappuccinos, but I don't love those odds.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Random Thoughts

You know those forwards that always pile up in your inbox? The ones that have titles that make you think, "This might be interesting," but since it isn't actually important, you just leave it there, thinking one of these days you'll get around to reading it?

I get a lot of those. Sometimes I even forget that they're there. And then I re-discover them, as it were, several weeks—or months—or years—later.

And then there are times that I actually think a forward is worth saving. You know, for a later laugh. And rediscovering them makes me realize that yes, there was indeed a good reason that I saved them.

I just found one of those. And I thought it was worth sharing.

It's called "Random Thoughts of the Day." Maybe you, too, have received this forward. I actually think I got it over a year ago. They aren't literally my random thoughts. As in—disclaimer—I didn't write them. I believe they actually originated from thoughts listed at, so I definitely want to give credit where credit is due. I'm posting the ones that I completely relate to or that make me literally laugh out loud. Or both.

So enjoy.
Random Thoughts of the Day

I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

 More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story, which is not only better, but also more directly involves me.

 Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

 Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning 180º and walking back in the direction you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy for randomly switching directions on the sidewalk?

• I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

 There is great need for a sarcasm font.

 Sometimes I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize that I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

 I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little big harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

 How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

 I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than make 2 trips to bring in my groceries.

 I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

• The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

 "LOL" has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud," to, "I have nothing else to say."

 I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

 It really irritates me when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

 Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron is absolutely petrifying.

 Whenever someone says, "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart," all I hear is, "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart."

 How many times is it appropriate to say, "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

• I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a jerk from cutting in line at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

• While driving yesterday, I saw a banana peel in the road and instinctively swerved to avoid it...thanks Mario Kart.

• MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

 Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

• I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

• Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

 I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

 Bad decisions make good stories.

• Whenever I am Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

 If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

 Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? I know my name, I know where I'm from; this shouldn't be a problem...

 You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

 Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

 There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

 I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

 I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

 "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

 I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. "I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?"

 I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dang!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run?

• I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle. Then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

 As a driver, I hate pedestrians. As a pedestrian, I hate drivers. But no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

 Sometimes I'll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

 I keep some people's numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

 Even if I knew your social security number, I still wouldn't know what to do with it.

 I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

 I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night, more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

• The other night, I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, I saw they had given me four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel fat before dinner.

And if you want more, definitely check out It's excellent for a good chuckle. And also, the included pictures are from If you have never visited, you are missing out and you should check it out right after you read this post. But be careful—it's easy to spend several hours going through her archives and laughing your head off.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Oreo Ball Incident

I'm not much of a cook. It's not a self-truth that I'm pleased with, but there it is. My lack of skill in the kitchen is a combination of utter laziness and relative ignorance. So when I do find myself in the kitchen, it tends to be a bit of an adventure.

One such adventure occurred a couple of days ago. I call it, "The Oreo Ball Incident."

First of all, I'll start by filling you in on what an Oreo Ball is. In case you don't already know. (If that's the case, don't feel bad! I just discovered them...a couple of weeks ago?)

An Oreo Ball is a delectable little treat comprised of pulverized Oreo cookies and cream cheese, mixed together and rolled into balls. Then dipped in chocolate.

In short, they're a high-calorie, sinfully tasty treat. And they're fairly easy to make!

Well...they're supposed to be fairly easy to make. But I'll get to that.

We'll start off with the recipe.

If you can't read my handwriting, click HERE.
    I made a couple of slight changes to this list. The package of Oreos I bought was 16 ounces. And I didn't use shortening. I'm honestly not sure what difference in outcome I would've gotten if I'd used the shortening, so feel free to not cut that out.

    Here's exactly what I used.

    Prepare to be crushed, Oreos!
    I used a mix of semi-sweet and milk chocolate.
    But most of it was semi-sweet.

    • Mix cream cheese with electric mixer until fluffy. Add crushed Oreos and beat on high until well mixed. Chill for at least 2 hours in the freezer. Then roll Oreo cookie mix into one inch Oreo Balls
    • Next, melt the chocolate chips and shortening with a double boiler or in the microwave
    • Dip the Oreo balls completely into the melted chocolate using tongs or a toothpick
    • Put on wax paper. After the Oreo balls harden, keep them in the refrigerator
    • Makes about 3 or 4 dozen Oreo Balls, depending on the size

    Um, that does sound pretty easy, huh?

    The first problem is that I don't have an electric mixer. I had to crush up my Oreos the old-fashioned way.

    I created my own process. I used a wooden spoon, a glass, and a measuring cup. Oh, and a bowl. Of course.

    Operation: Cookie Crush

    It was impossible to crush all of the Oreos at once. So I'd grab up five or so at a time, chuck 'em in the bowl, and use my big wooden spoon to break them into more manageable pieces.

    Oreos, meet Wooden Spoon.
    Then, once I'd broken them up into smaller pieces, I used my bowl and a glass as a makeshift mortar and pestle. That's right, I'm resourceful.

    When in doubt, improvise.
    The 'not pictured' step is when, after smashing the Oreos to teeny tiny bits, I used a rounder-bottomed measuring cup to make sure I'd gotten all the big chunks.

    So, a step that would have taken...a few minutes? with a proper mixer instead took me...somewhere in the ballpark of two hours. Also, it made my arms sore.

    But I think I did just as good as any fancy electric mixer.

    After a couple of hours of hard labor, ta-da!
    Pulverized Oreos.
    Not too shabby, eh?

    Mixing Mission

    Next comes mixing the cookie bits with the cream cheese. Luckily, with the crazy amount of time I spent just crushing the cookies, my cream cheese had more than enough time to soften.

    P.S. It's a huge pain the the rear to whip cream cheese into a fluffy-ish state with only a wooden spoon.

    But I ended up with this—

    Cream Cheese ÷ Wooden Spoon = Whipped Cream Cheese + Sore Arm
    Once the cream cheese was beat into submission, it was time to mix it with the crushed Oreos. Which is, again, easier said than done because I still have no mixer.

    So I thought, like the Oreos, maybe it would be easier to mix the crumbs in a little at a time. I put in one of the three bowls I'd managed to fill with a whole package of Oreos' worth of crumbs.
    See? Three bowls worth of crumbs.
    Oh, and there's the measuring cup I used for step 3 of my crushing process.
    It did not go so well.

    My crumbs are overwhelming my cream cheese.
    In the end, I resorted to dumping in all of the crumbs, discarding the spoon, and getting down and dirty. That's right. I mixed 'em up with my bare hands.

    It actually worked quite well.

    Although if I had had a mixer, I'm sure that would have been easier. And probably cleaner. But, like I said, I was forced to improvise.

    So, after mixing the crumbs and cream cheese, I popped the...dough? into the freezer to chill for a couple of hours. Which gave me time to clean up the horrible mess I'd made of my kitchen.

    By the time my couple of hours were up, I had a nice clear surface to work on again. Which I needed, because the next step involved rolling the dough into little balls, dipping them in melted chocolate, and placing them on wax paper to harden.

    Only, I didn't have wax paper. Fortunately, my non-stick cookie sheet worked just as effectively.

    Roll, Stick, Dip, Repeat

    For the most part, this went much more smoothly than the initial smushing and mixing.

    And melting chocolate smells really good. The chocolate I used was Ghirardelli. I used a combo of semi-sweet and milk chocolate. But mostly semi-sweet. (In hindsight, I totally would have used all semi-sweet. Just sayin'.) I dumped two cups worth into some tupperware and popped it into the microwave until it was totally melted.

    Chocolate, pre-melting.
    I was not super picky about the size I rolled the dough into. The recipe said one inch balls, but...mine vary in size. Which I don't mind, but that does cut down on the number the recipe will make. I definitely did not have 3 or 4 dozen.

    I used toothpicks to dip the Oreo balls into the melted chocolate. And my tupperware was shallow enough that I ended up using a spoon to make sure the entire thing was covered. There's probably a better way to do this. Or a more efficient way. But it worked out just fine, anyway.

    Left to Right: Bowl of dough, un-dipped Oreo balls, tub of melted chocolate.
    Oh, and my non-stick pan—subbing for wax paper.
    Chocolate-covered Oreo ball vs. naked Oreo balls.
    The only thing that I'd really change about how I dipped these puppies in chocolate would be—okay, there's two things. 

    First, I guess I got a little over-zealous when I started out. The first Oreo balls to get dunked have a touch too much chocolate on 'em. Which tastes great, but...I can't actually bite into them. I have been using a fork to make the initial break. Then I can bite into them. Again, not a huge issue, but just a note to self (and to you, if you decide to make these!) for the next time.

    Second, I didn't take the toothpick out before they hardened. So they're stuck pretty good now. So far, I haven't had an issue yanking them out before biting forking into them, but still. Although honestly, I'm not sure how you'd get the toothpick out once they've been dipped without getting big fingerprints in the chocolate. So...if you guys come up with any good methods, pass them along?

    So, after all of the dough had been rolled and dipped, I popped them in the fridge to harden. They're also supposed to be stored in the fridge when you're not eating them or taking them to parties. And, if you do end up with 3 to 4 dozen and no way to eat them all, they'll keep in the freezer for three to four months. So there's that.

    Chill out, little dudes.
    Since I'd started my project in the evening—and it had ended up taking me so much longer than planned—I didn't actually eat any of these that night. After they'd hardened, I moved them to their own little tupperware home, and saved my taste test for the next day. 

    It was a success.

    Yeah, that layer of chocolate is just a little too thick.
    But the creamy insides are delightful!

    Mission Accomplished

    All in all, the finished product turned out pretty darn good. Some of the fancier Oreo balls I've seen have melted white chocolate drizzled on top to make them prettier, but I had neither the patience, the inclination, or the white chocolate on hand to do so.

    But I'm still very proud of how they turned out.

    They look pretty darn good considering it's my first time making them. And I had to use prehistoric methods. And okay, they may be a little too hard to initially bite into, but they still taste really good! Especially with milk. 

    Chocolate + milk = Delicious.

    Another thing I love about this recipe is that there's no actual cooking involved. So if you don't end up having to do like all of the mixing by hand, it's actually pretty quick and easy. They make great finger foods at parties. Trust me. This is how I discovered them in the first place!

    So there you have it! Ta-Da! Oreo balls.

    Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to go eat one. Or two. Or—no, probably just two.

    But we'll see...

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Nobody's Home

    My Marriage Institution class let out early.

    My Campaigns & Elections class is utterly empty.

    That is all.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Hello December

    For me, December is always synonymous with Christmas. The holidays. The rush of excitement that comes from finding the perfect gift. How cozy I feel when I bundle up in my coat, scarf, gloves, and Uggs.
    Lights? Check!
    Where to put them? Uh...

    So whenever December officially arrives, I always get really excited.

    I mean, extra excited. I put up my tree weeks ago. Before Thanksgiving. And I'm not ashamed. I have my wreath hanging, my candles dispersed, my lights—okay, well they aren't hung yet. But it's my first holiday season at my new apartment, and I'm not quite sure where to put them yet. I discovered there's no outlet on my balcony. So I don't know. We'll see. I need to at least get some garland. But you get the idea.

    Cold weather just makes me feel very warm, safe, and cozy. Even when it gives me a runny nose. Although frankly, I blame that on the bipolar weather here in College Station. Example—Right now it is 59º according to my phone. With a high of 65º. However, Saturday the forecasted high is...79º.

    Yes. Almost 80º. It kind of makes me sick. I'm wondering how this city didn't get the memo about it being officially December! It's seriously conflicting with my cold-weather fantasies.

    But I'll live. I'll just turn my AC back on and pretend. I have a very good imagination.

    In other news, finals are fast approaching. Monday is the last day I'll actually have normal class, then the week after...finals.

    I have mixed feelings about this semester coming to a close. On the one hand, I have spent a lot of time stressing and complaining about the classes and workload I've had going on these past few months. I'm burnt out on writing papers, reading—especially reading theories that I completely disagree with. I've had several classes where I can do nothing but sit back and keep my mouth shut, try not to roll my eyes, because really...disagreeing isn't worth running the risk of making an enemy out of the person who's ultimately deciding my grade for the class. It's kind of annoying. But then, on the other hand, if all goes as planned, next semester will be my last semester. Then I'll graduate. And while I can't wait, and am super excited to graduate, I'm also starting to realize that I really do enjoy college. For all of the complaining, I enjoy classes. I even enjoy going to classes. And taking page after page of predominately useless notes. I'm not sure that I'm ready for life after college—but I'm also not sure that I'll be pursuing grad school. At least not right away.

    So there's that. A conglomeration of mixed feelings about the end of this semester, plus excitement about Christmas and all that it entails. Like a break from school, seeing friends from out of state—I'm lookin' at you, Matt—holiday shopping, hot chocolate, and Christmas lights.

    I can't say for sure, but I have a feeling that this holiday season is going to be awesome.

    I spent way too much time making this stupid flow chart. I apparently am not good at making them. But here is a really poorly portrayed layout of what I spend my December doing. And/or thinking about.

    Fig. 1.1—Crappy Little December Flowchart