Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Move to Burbank for the Cupcakes

Are you ready for a cupcake post almost identical to that other cupcake post I did? I know I am!

Last week I went to Burbank to see a free screening of Fright Night on the Disney lot. I want to act cool about that but dude… it was the DISNEY LOT. I GOT TO GO TO THE DISNEY LOT! ~THE DISNEY LOT~

Five second Fright Night review: the beginning was stupid but I loved everything that happens after Anton Yelchin gets on board with the whole “Colin Farrell is a vampire” thing. Also, David Tennant is hilarious. I haven’t seen the original so I have no idea how the remake stacks up and more importantly, I don't care.

This post isn’t about the Disney lot or Fright Night, though. This post is about the cupcake place I went to before I went to the Disney lot. We talk about what’s important here at Sarahcastically.

This is what the front of Yummy Cupcakes looks like:

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It is adorable. Also, much easier to spot than Sprinkles, with their tiny hipster sign.

Here’s what the INSIDE of Yummy Cupcakes looks like:

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It’s still adorable. It actually looks like a real bakery where real people work, as opposed to Sprinkles with their hidden kitchen staffed with five million worker bees.

Nothing against Sprinkles or anything. But Yummy Cupcakes is totally better.

Look at these crazy cupcake flavors:

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Unfortunately for you, I have no idea if these taste good, because I am nothing if not a creature of complete habit. The two cupcakes I bought are the exact same flavors I got at Sprinkles. Sorry, but I wasn’t thinking of YOU when I was buying them. I was thinking of my taste buds. I was thinking about what would make my tummy happy, OKAY? So get off my back.

Here’s a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. (I realized just now that the one I got at Sprinkles was a vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing, so this is different after all.) I ate it at a Starbucks and this lady next to me asked, “did you get that HERE?” She was disappointed when I said no.

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This cupcake. Tasted. AMAZING. I know it’s pretty simple – you know, just a regular old chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. But you don’t understand. You just don’t understand. This frosting was made out of concentrated happiness and had the glorious consistency of a joyful cloud. It was so magical I felt like I was at Hogwarts.

Excuse me, I need to go re-live the experience.

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Okay, I’m back.

The other cupcake I got was, of course, red velvet with cream cheese frosting. I took it home and ate it for breakfast the next day, because that’s the kind of person I am.

It got a little smushed in the bag during the journey home, but you may be surprised to know that this affected neither the flavorfulness NOR the inherent cuteness of the cupcake in any way at all.

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Sorry, I ate most of this one before I took a picture of it. You’ll just have to imagine what it looked like whole. OR, you could go over to the nearest Yummy Cupcakes location and buy one yourself. (This trick only works for people who live in the greater Los Angeles area.)

All right, since I know you’re still wondering about the Disney lot thing… here’s one of the pictures I came home with:

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Sort of difficult to see, but those are the Seven Dwarves built into the side of that building. It was pretty fantastic.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cooking: Even I Can Do It

I’m not a professional chef or anything, but I do occasionally try my hand at cooking. When I went to make myself dinner tonight, I thought, "wow, I should make a blog post about how great I am at this!"

Today’s meal will be a delicious five cheese macaroni.

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Don’t be fooled by the packaging. This is legit food, all right. This is serious.

Step one: make sure you have all your ingredients. There aren’t that many of them. Noodles, a bag of cheese powder, and a bag of breadcrumbs.

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Step two: pour the noodles into the plastic bowl you bought everything in, because that is what you’re going to be cooking in. It’s truly an innovation that not only can you buy delicious food able to be cooked and ready to eat in less than ten minutes, but also that it comes inside a bowl built to use and then throw away without having to wash it. Necessity is the mother of invention, am I right? (Or something.)

Step three: pour water into the bowl up to the line you're supposed to fill it up to.

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Step four: open the seasoning packet and pour that in with the water and noodles. When you do this, make sure a bunch of it sprays all over the counter. Don’t forget to get some on your phone.

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Step five: stir everything until it isn't powdery anymore.

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No. Keep stirring.

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There. That's looking good.

Step... six? Are we on six? You need to put the lid back on. So get that out of the trash and wash it off.

Now, put it in the microwave. Make sure the inside of the microwave is properly disgusting, because it’s not like you’re going to take a picture of it and put it on the internet or anything.

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Now you’re gonna microwave this for six to six and a half minutes. Gives you some time to go to the bathroom or something. Or you can just stand there and watch it.

After your ancient microwave is finished doing its job, take the bowl out and remove the lid. Be sure to burn yourself the process.

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DOESN’T THAT LOOK YUMMY?

The packet of breadcrumbs is optional, if you ask me. But you can do what you want. Here’s what I did:

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And that's it! Now you get to eat it. This was actually the first time I’ve ever made this particular glorified TV dinner, and... it is fantastic. I’m not kidding. Archer Farms brand instant macaroni dinner is the best instant macaroni dinner available. And I know my instant macaroni dinners. SO GOOD.

Look how much I enjoyed it:

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And... here’s a nice recap of all the steps for you. They’re all right on the box, it’s amazing.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Retroactive Liveblog of My Internet Outage

JULY 19
2:15 – Finally start working on screenwriting homework due at 6.

2:30 – Notice internet is not working. Think it just needs to be reset and therefore ignore it because now finally maybe work can be done without distractions.

4:00 – Finish homework, feel proud of self. Begin to wrestle with internet.

4:01 – Reset connection from computer. Doesn’t work.

4:02 – Reset connection on router. Doesn’t work.

4:03 – Unplug everything, plug it back in, restart computer.

4:05 – Still doesn’t work.

4:07 – Call Dad. Told to do all the things I just did. Learn that it is probably an issue with the provider and not the connection here.

4:09 – While on the phone, have apartment invaded by former roommate, here to tell me that my new roommate is moving in right now. New roommate is a dude.

4:10 – New roommate is a dude? IT'S A DUDE? WHAT?

4:11 – New roommate is a dude? Are you serious?

4:12 – Decide internet situation is the bigger crisis, shut and lock door in order to better freak out about it.

4:15 – Restart computer.

4:16 – Restart computer again.

4:17 – Restart computer a third time, just in case.

4:20 – Get out phone, angrily tweet about everything bad that is happening.

4:45 – Finally stop tweeting, look at Yelp for nearby coffeehouses with free wifi, because I still have to send that thing by six.

4:50 – "This is your new roommate XXXX, he will be living here for the next ten days" - the x's aren't because I'm protecting his identity, they're because I didn't hear what his name was. We'll call him Roommate Phil.

4:55 – Find a Starbucks down the street. Of course there's a Starbucks down the street. Thank you Jesus for the Earth's Starbucks infestation.

5:00 – Change into clothes a human might be seen wearing in public rather than if they have been holed up in a cave for three days.

5:10 – Finally leave apartment.

5:11 – Discover that lotion has exploded inside purse. Want to die.

5:13 – Notice while driving that there is yet another ad for insurance stuck under the windshield wiper; become irrationally angry about it.

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It immediately joined these, on the floor of my car:

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5:15 – Wow, that was the easiest time parking ever. Not sarcastic.

5:16 – Is that a homeless guy sleeping behind that bush?

5:20 – In Starbucks. Hopefully they do not notice me leeching off their internet without buying anything.

5:23 – CONNECT TO THE INTERNET, CONNECT, RIGHT NOW

5:25 – Is that a choir of angels singing?

5:27 – Check every single website before doing anything important.

5:30 – Compose message to send homework.

5:31 – "Attachment failed," are you serious right now Gmail.

5:36 – Finally send email with homework. 24 minutes early!

5:36-6:02 – Enjoy having internet.

6:03 – Leave without buying anything. Feel slightly guilty about it, then stop, because it’s Starbucks and they’re doing fine.

6:05 – This situation with an ambulance happens, just in case you weren't sure if the stories about LA traffic were true or not:

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Sirens were not on, for the record. This is just how that guy drives.

6:10 – Back in apartment. Internet still malfunctioning. Roommate Phil keeps moving his stuff in. This is a lot of stuff for just ten days.

6:15 – More angry tweeting.

6:45 – Decide to read a book.

6:50 – This book is terrible. Really, really terrible.

7:50 – Read 100 pages of terrible book, to make sure it's terrible. It is. Start skimming.

8:45 – Finish skimming. What a waste of time.

8:47 – Tweet angrily about that book being terrible.

8:49 – Complain to Elizabeth about everything via text.

8:50 – Get some food from the fridge. Discover fridge is now stocked with Activia yogurt and Lactaid milk. Also a vegetable of some kind is sitting exposed on the bottom shelf.

8:50-10:30 – Refresh gmail/twitter/facebook/everything on my iPhone, grateful for the connection to the outside world. But it's not the same. IT'S NOT THE SAME.

10:35 – Is there anything on any of the 12 channels I get on my TV?

10:36 – No.

10:37 – I guess I'll just watch some of America's Got Talent, I've never seen this before...

10:59 – That was a waste of time.

11:00 – Decide to watch an old Avs game from this last year. The one where they beat the Canucks. Yes, there was only one of those, but it happened, and I downloaded it for the memories.

11:15 – Awwwwwwwww, look, Liles scored!!

11:20 – Oh, look, Shattenkirk and Liles just let them get a shorthanded breakaway chance. Maybe there is a reason they got traded after all.

11:21 – Like I care, I still love them. I STILL LOVE THEM AND I'M STILL UPSET THEY GOT TRADED ADLKADJFA;LDKSGJ

12:00: Finish game (I fastforwarded to the good parts), finally go to bed because without the internet it's hard to find reasons to stay up any later.


JULY 20
8:30 – Get woken up by Roommate Phil's Beyonce ringtone.

8:35 – Discover internet still not working, throw an inner tantrum.

8:37 – Awkwardly have awkward conversation about bus times with Roommate Phil.

8:40 – Roommate Phil has a pink and white bedspread, that's interesting I guess.

8:45 – Start writing liveblog, making up arbitrary and inaccurate times for everything up to this point.

9:00 – OF COURSE THE NEW SPIDER-MAN TRAILER GETS RELEASED WHEN I DON'T HAVE INTERNET, OF COURSE, OF COURSE

9:01 – Watch new Spider-Man trailer on iPhone, cry because it's so tiny and hard to see.

9:02 – Still looks so good though. So so so good.

9:04 – Decide to watch another Avs game. Footer's last game this time.

12:00 – Turn off Avs game after they win in OT, because tears will start flowing if I watch any of the post-game proceedings.

12:09 – Time for lunch.

12:11 – Fan above stove turns itself on. Realize I am the only one home. Decide that this apartment is haunted.

12:26 – Too afraid to go in the kitchen. In movies I always yell at people who stay in places that seem haunted, because OBVIOUSLY bad things are about to happen to them. In those moments I always think to myself, "I would never be that stupid," and here is my chance to prove it.

12:42: Hunger prevails. Bravely make a grilled cheese sandwich. No more ghost appearances... for now.

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Unsurprisingly, it looks just like all the other grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever made.

1:00 – Roommate Phil comes back from wherever he went, goes in the bathroom and locks the door. You know, because otherwise I might like, follow him in there, or something.

1:05 - Start watching the Avs/Wings game where Duchene got his first NHL goal. A classic, in my opinion.

1:32 – The internet is finally back. The apocalypse is over.

Monday, July 18, 2011

And Then a Garbage Truck Pooped On Me

Actually, it pooped on my car. And it waited until I had just gotten inside to do it.

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Thanks for that, sir.

I still don’t know how this happened, exactly… the truck was driving by, it stopped to pick up a trash can – you know, with its mechanical arm – and somehow it spewed dirt all over the side of my car.

Anyway, I just thought you guys might like a little tour of my neighborhood. By “little” I mean “very abridged” because I’m realizing I don’t have quite as many pictures as I thought I did, and the sunburn I got yesterday is making me too miserable to want to go outside and take some more.

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Here’s the couch that has been sitting right inside the gate since I moved in. Initially it just wore the sign on the left.

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The only word I can think of to describe this is “yard.” I am actually astounded by the lack of trash on the ground.

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Here’s a giant stuffed animal lying in the yard of the house next door.

Things I regularly hear in this neighborhood:
1. Tons of random yelling
2. Loud sex noises from the apartment downstairs
3. Frat parties
4. Car alarms
5. Security alarms
6. Every type of siren
7. Helicopters (though this is a given in any part of Los Angeles)

Now you know what it’s like to live here! I’m moving somewhere else in August, though, and I have no idea if it will be anywhere as near as interesting as this place.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Hope You Have Found a Friend

(Spoiler alert for the last Harry Potter movie and series finale of Friday Night Lights. Just looking out for you.)

Let’s get real for a second, here.

I want to write about endings, and what that means, but it's hard because right now I'm at what feels more like a beginning in my life. Or what I hope is a beginning. Settling into a life here in LA is a struggle, but it's a joyous one, when I don't have to drive anywhere. I'm having a good time here. I feel comfortable here. I don't want to say I feel at "home" here, because Denver will always be my home, but I feel happier here than I did during four years in Texas. I fit in more here.

Today I went to see the final Harry Potter movie, and to be honest, I didn't enjoy it. Not because it isn't good. It's good. But I felt detached from it. Previous Harry Potter film experiences included midnight showings and costumes and the friends I grew up talking about the books with. This time I went by myself at 9:30 in the morning, and I didn’t even wear my Gryffindor shirt. A guy who smelled weird sat next to me, and during the credits he kept laughing and wiping away tears. It was bizarre.

Then tonight, the last episode of the mostly perfect television series Friday Night Lights aired, and while I had seen it already, I was just reminded of the fact that the last TV show that really made me feel real feelings and cry actual tears of investment was over. I mean, I watch Fringe and Parks & Recreation, but those are more for entertainment value than for the feelings they inspire. And it's been a good long while since Doctor Who moved me the way it used to. The only other show I've kept up with lately is Game of Thrones, and that show is so full of manpain and ridiculous drama that could easily be avoided by doing intelligent things instead of idiotic things that I find it hard to really sympathize with any of them.

Ultimately what this comes around to is that... these things I love are ending. They're going away. Yes, I'll be able to get them on DVD and watch them whenever I want, but they will never be new again. The next time I have a chance to see either of these things with fresh eyes will be when I rediscover them with my kids, and God knows that's quite a ways down the line.

But while these things I've cherished so dearly for so long are going away, I'm here, in Los Angeles, trying to follow my dream. And that dream is one that was inspired by things like Harry Potter and Friday Night Lights and, much more directly, Russell T. Davies' Doctor Who. Those three particular stories rolled into my life at particular times and taught me that stories are important because they teach you. And now my dream is to help make things that people love and learn from, if I can.

So really, this ending feels more like a passing of the torch. Harry, Ron and Hermione send their kids to Hogwarts at the end of the series, because now it's their turn. Eric and Tami move to Philadelphia to help a new group of kids who need it just as much as the kids in Dillon did. The stories from the past remain. The stories get inside us and affect the way we see things, affect the way we tell our own stories. And that's beautiful.

That's something that can't happen unless the story ends. Without an ending, we can’t step back and look at the whole experience and realize what it means to us and what it's going to mean to the future generations who have yet to discover it.

I guess all I'm really saying is that endings are never really endings. They just mean it's someone else's turn.

I know it’s a cliché, but I bet it’s been a while since you heard this song.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ten Things That Are Probably More Stressful Than Not Having a Job in Los Angeles

1. Not having a job in New York.

2. Zombie apocalypse.

3. An asteroid colliding with the earth and obliterating us all.

4. Watching the Avs go on an 82 game losing streak.

5. Being unemployed in New York, during a zombie apocalypse, while an asteroid hurtles towards the earth, about to obliterate us all, right after the Avs went on an 82 game losing streak.

6. Watching the final Harry Potter film and attempting for the first time to come to terms with your childhood officially being over.

7. Some random dude coming into your apartment to show it to a potential future tenant while you're in the process of dyeing your hair wearing basically rags, because before you decided to finally dye your hair after days of being annoyed at how evident your roots were becoming, you had bummed around your apartment the entire day in your pajamas, not showering, and by the time these people showed up and invited themselves inside, you had officially gotten about as far away from presentable as it is possible for a civilized human being to get. Not that I know what this is like.

8. Zoo animals escaping and rampaging in your neighborhood.

9. Someone slashing your new tires.

10. Getting lost in Los Angeles for the millionth time, even though you have a GPS (during a zombie apocalypse while your favorite hockey team loses every game in their season and an asteroid hurtles towards the earth, inevitably to obliterate us all).

Temporarily Relevant Bonus Thing: CARMAGEDDON, oh please oh please don't make me go anywhere this weekend (I totally have to go somewhere this weekend).

Latest grilled cheese sandwich: I got this one off the kid's menu at Panera, and it was actually pretty delicious. Probably even healthy, too (since it wasn't super buttery). The cheese was melted to perfection and it was plenty warm when I got it. Could probably have been slightly more toasted, but all in all I was impressed. 8.5 out of 10.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's All About the Non-Horrid Slogan


I cannot tell you how much I love this slogan. Granted, I would probably have loved anything they gave us to help us forget the "It's All About the A" thing, which was so very, very annoying for everyone involved. Players absolutely included. Those commercials, man. They made me want to die. Here's Matt Duchene/Ryan O'Reilly/Paul Stastny/whoever looking like someone is holding a gun to their head, making them stand in front of a green screen and read terrible cliches off a prompter. "It's all about the A," they would deadpan. I know they're athletes and not actors, but come on. These ads were so bad I can't even find one on youtube to use as an example of how bad they were.

It does still say "it's all about the A" on the site. It's just in tiny font on the lower right hand side, next to the name of whichever player is currently showing up as the background. I wish it were gone forever, but alas. Not yet. The good news though is that you have to scroll down to see it. It isn't in our faces anymore when we go to the page, and hopefully the banners in the Pepsi Center bearing the old slogan will disappear.

Because Worn With Pride gives me the warm fuzzies, and I want to see it everywhere.

The obvious interpretation of it: this organization is a proud one, and rightfully so. We've missed the playoffs three times since 1996. Last year wasn't so great, but I'm glad they decided to go with a slogan that reminds us we come from a winning tradition. That we shouldn't be ashamed to be Avalanche fans, no matter how many people tell us otherwise. This team has been to the top, and while we have a long way to go to get back there, I have every reason to believe it will happen.

My favorite part, though, is just the word "worn." This last season was wearing. It wore us fans down. It wore the players down. I know I'm a different person for having suffered through it, and I know the team is different, too (and I'm not just talking roster changes). These are the kinds of seasons guys have to go through to become champions. These are the kinds of seasons fans have to go through to realize exactly how much they love their team. I am worn, but I am still here, and I am proud to say so.

This offseason has involved some scary, risky stuff, for sure. It could easily blow up in our faces again. It could possibly be at least as hellish as last season. The entire season could go down the toilet, instead of just the second half. But it's too early to tell or make any kind of predictions on that front.

I can't help myself - I am so excited for October. I'm endlessly optimistic, I realize this. But I'm excited to see Varlamov play goal in an Avs sweater, I'm excited to see Landeskog skating on Duchene's wing... or Stastny's wing... or O'Reilly's. I'm excited for all of them to prove themselves to us.

Because that's really what Worn With Pride means. That uniform stands for something. Hall of famers played in that uniform. Hall of famers lifted Cups in that uniform.

These young guys wearing it now? They grew up watching that happen. They know what it means. And if you ask me, they are going to show us the definition of real Avalanche Pride.

And it won't be long until we all remember exactly what that feels like.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Boys Get Lonely After You Leave

This is going to turn into a Song of the Month thing at the rate I'm going, but whatever.

Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis

I just love this song and all the hockey connotations it has nowadays. It's the Blackhawks' goal song, and it's super annoying when it plays during Avalanche games in Chicago, but I love it every other time I hear it. And I don't even really care about the Blackhawks that much. They're kind of amusing and I love how much they freak Vancouver out, but otherwise I'm more or less indifferent.

As far as I can tell, this video doesn't really have a plot, but Elizabeth and I both agree that the lead singer is hot. That rhymed. I'm so cool for pointing that out.

Anyway, I've been blaring this song in my car over the past week and if you are having a bad day, I recommend doing the same. Unless you're a Canucks fan, in which case... it may have the opposite effect.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Cupcake Post: Because You Can't Stop Me

Yesterday I took a trip into Beverly Hills to visit a world renowned cupcake bakery. Are you still there? Did you get past that pretentious first sentence? Okay good, because you’re about to see some pictures of cupcakes and if you’re anything like me, that should be pretty exciting.

(For the record, this is another one of those posts for people who think things like, “I wish I could find more blog posts full of pictures and not so many words.” Today is your lucky day.)

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Supposedly it’s famous. There are lots of locations all over the country so check out that website if you want to know if there is one near you. This Beverly Hills location is the first cupcake bakery ever, according to the website. We accidentally drove past it the first time (and promptly got stuck in a butt ton of pointless traffic) because the sign is so tiny. It’s cute, I guess, but you know. The line should have given it away, it was all the way out the door and down the sidewalk.

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LOOK AT ALL THE CUPCAKES.

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Uh… here’s a picture of the box my two cupcakes came in! Riveting, right? Whatever, it was cute, so I took a picture of it and am now posting it on my blog, you can just deal.

As soon as I got home, I ate one. And... here’s a picture of it:

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Fortunately for any and all cupcake enthusiasts, I did actually remember to take a picture of it before I bit into it. I would have done a photo shoot with this red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing even if I wasn’t planning to write a blog about it.

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The other one I got I ate all of just now, as further research for this blog post. It was a vanilla milk chocolate, WITH sprinkles, of course, but when I ordered it they asked if I wanted sprinkles, so apparently they are optional. But if you’re the kind of person who goes to a cupcake bakery called Sprinkles only to opt out when they ask if you want sprinkles on your cupcake, you and I may not see eye to eye on very many things. (Also blurrily featured in this picture: my cherished 2010-2011 Colorado Avalanche team poster.)

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This time the “whoops, I bit into it” picture is actually interesting because now you can see how ridiculously thick the layer of sprinkles is. I did not even know the icing was that color before I bit into it. This place lives up to its name, is what I’m saying.

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Here’s a picture of them inside their little nest. I’m sorry, they’re cute. Cupcakes are just cute food.

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All right, that’s enough about cupcakes.

Today I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch from Johnny Rockets. They didn’t use enough butter so it was a little more toast-y than grilled, they used too much cheese and the crust was a little stale. I did approve of the size, however, and it was by no means the worst grilled cheese I’ve ever had (you can find those at Penland Cafeteria at Baylor University). Still, I give it a 5 out of 10. 

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