Post-Election Gifsplosion

Obama! LGBT Rights! Huge win for women! Taxable marijuana legalization!

How did I feel after last night's election results? Let me show you:

Baking: S'mores Cookies

So, yesterday a friend and I found ourselves chillin' out max and relaxing all cool and in need of a distraction from Game 6 of the NLCS. We had spotted this earlier and it seemed fitting:

Via The Daily What
There were no instructions included, but it seemed pretty self-explanatory. Chocolate chip cookie + S'more = GET IN MY MOUTH.

This is what ensued....

DIY: Scrapbook Papercraft Project

Le finished product.
Oh, Pinterest. You finder of fancy! You curator of crafts! You provider of pipedreams! OK, so this project didn't come with a step-by-step from Pinterest, but it was inspired by poster projects like these:

Basically, I was at Michael's doing some unrelated shopping and saw that they had scrapbook paper on sale for $0.16/sheet, as well as 12x12 scrapbook frames on sale for $3. Once I did the math, it took all of 10 seconds for my plan to form.

Read on for a full step-by-step...

DIY: Baby Shower Cupcake Toppers

So, we had a baby shower potluck at work, and as per usual I took it as an excuse to over do it and get crafty. I really wanted to make mini-cupcakes, having just gotten a set of mini-cupcake baking trays for my new apartment, but I also wanted them to stand out.

I couldn't find any cute toppers at my usual haunts (Michaels, Target, etc.) so I opted to make my own.

Hit the jump for a step-by-step and tons of photos:

Cooking: Pesach 2012

By means of introduction... You should know that I have a sense of humor about a lot of things, including and especially religion. If you don't, I recommend that you navigate to something else or just skip on down to the recipe section. I will also say that I don't like naming a celebratory holiday after the death of children, so I'll be referring to Passover as Pesach, which is generally accepted as meaning "He hovered over, guarding [the people of Israel]." Just like Israeli Nyan Cat flies across the sky.

Chag Pesach Sameach! And for my non-Heebs... Happy Passover! Or Easter, or gorgeous SoCal weekend. Whichever you chose to celebrate a few days ago is just fine with me :)

So... Pesach. Quick background: from sundown on Friday of last week to sundown the following Friday, the Jewish people celebrate and remember being freed from bondage in Egypt. We do this in several ways.
  1. No chametz, or leavened things. This generally includes anything risen, like Jesus... SNAP! But seriously, leavened delicacies like bread, cookies and pasta are considered off-limits. The fab five- wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt- are all hasta la vista. Coincidentally, because of the barley bit, beer isn't OK either. As I was told at my first and most ghetto seder, we do this to commemorate our quick departure from Pharaoh. "Hos," said Moses*, "slap that dough on your back and get moving, 'cause we ain't got time for this ish to rise!" (*Probably not true.)
  2. The anti-chametz, AKA matzah, is IN! Not sure how I managed this for a second year in a row, but apparently my matzos are not Passover-approved:
  3. Pareve, but not for Passover? How is that even possible?!?!

  4. A seder, meaning "order," is held. This is a delicious feast in which Jews are commanded to consume four glasses of wine, as well as to fill one for the prophet Elijah. As I like to put it, "and one for my homie." 
  5. The Seder Plate... a home for all the symbolic foods of Pesach which help tell the story. Here's the plate that I found on Pinterest and fell in love with:

    Buuuuuut... at $259, that ain't happenin'. And to be honest, I wasn't planning on having an actual story-telling this year, just a friendly dinner, so I didn't even make a plate. Worst Jew ever. Although I did have most of the foods during the course of the meal, does that count? To make up for it, here's my plate from last year:

I've been a guest at two seders in my life. One was ghetto/amazing/lasted 20 minutes, the other was done Conservodox-style/started in the evening/lasted 3 hours (before the food was served). I'll let you guess which one I preferred and model my own seders after.

I was also genuinely surprised that my guests actually wanted me to go through some of the rigamaroll, light some candles, say some prayers and whatnot. I planned on just having a dinner with friends and was delighted that they asked me to share my completely fractured and generally incompetent view of Jewish practice with them. Side note: Please don't ever take anything I say about Judaism to ever be remotely correct... that's what Wikipedia, Judaism for Dummies and JewFaq are for. And rabbis... they're pretty good for that, too.

Misfit Restaurant - Santa Monica, CA

Whereabouts: 225 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

Image via Frank D./Yelp because I'm a goober and
forgot to take a picture of the entrance/signage.

4 stars on Yelp based on 365+ reviews
225 Santa Monica Blvd. (in the Promenade)
The morning after my soon-to-be-sister-in-law's bridal shower, my older brother suggested we meet up at the Misfit for Sunday Brunch. I don't make it up to Santa Monica often, but the Promenade is hands-down one of my favorite areas to visit. Nestled unassumingly on a corner, this place had wow-factor literally from start to finish.

Prefer to enjoy the fabulous weather, people-watching and shopping on the Promenade rather than wait in a restaurant lobby for a seat? This genius restaurant will text you when your table is ready. Need a few more minutes? Not a problem; just reply:

Why don't more restaurants do this? BRILLIANT.
The menu is positively saliva-inducing. Make sure you click on this picture for a larger view.

We were seated in perfect alignment with the bar, which was liter(arily) adorable. My sister, an avid reader, was in love:

Check out some serious food porn after the jump.

New Orleans: Where to Drink

Whereabouts: New Orleans, LA, USA

My theory on Yelp ratings: If a place has less than 30 ratings, the accuracy of those ratings is hit-and-miss. If a place has 50+, chances are the place will deliver on it's Yelp score.

FYI, this post was written in chronological order of our seven day bar crawl.
Click here for Where to Eat in New Orleans.

Your tour guides: my mom, myself and my dad.
We made it to just shy of 20 bars over the course of seven days, and a few were hit up multiple times. I regret that I don't have more original location photos for this post (a fact which I 100% blame on the alcohol), but I'll supplement from online sources where possible and necessary.

Here's what you will find in New Orleans: (mostly) unbelievable drink prices, phenomenal music and a ton of smoke (with one exception). You will also find energetic and entertaining "barkers" seducing you into their establishments with promises of cheap (sometimes free) drinks or shots. And you will find most places offering 3-for-1 specials (usually domestic beer or well drinks) late into the evening. Stay in a group with a factor of three and getting boozy in the Big Easy can be quite wallet friendly. There were only a few times that drinks were at premium prices, but this was usually in restaurants. I recommend that you use your meal time to pass on suds and re-hydrate yourself. You'll thank me in the morning, I promise.

I can't say with as much certainty that each of these places is as completely amazing as I perceived them to be (see the blame placed above), but beer goggles - and the right company - can make any place incredible.

There are four places that I really want to call to your attention to in this post:
Cafe Lafitte in Exile
Three Muses
Funky Pirate
Fritzels' European Jazz Club

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