Nostalgic About Nicole and Paint Fumes (Or A Gift Wrap Round Up)

I had this funny moment while I was wrapping my friend Nicole’s birthday present today: I realized when I started this blog three years ago, I was high on paint fumes from a bathroom remodel gone wrong, and I was WRAPPING NICOLE’S BIRTHDAY PRESENT. (My first post ever is HERE.)

Crazy, right?

And now that I’m feeling all nostalgic (and a little let down because I’ve run out of things to remodel around here), I thought I’d do a little Nicole-inspired gift wrap round up post.

This was a fabulous Frank Lloyd Wright book I bought her at a vintage book store… and yes, I wrapped it in pages from the Penny Saver and decorated it with a sharpie and painter’s tape.

I told you I was high on paint fumes then.

I told you I was high on paint fumes back then.

I felt like it all tied together in an architecture/design/home-improvment kind of way. (Nicole is an uber talented interior designer, and one of her favorite books of all time is Loving Frank. Her website is HERE, btw.)

And here’s last year’s gift: a copy of All There Is, a collection of short stories about love from the producers of NPR’s StoryCorps. (We were both very into love stories last spring. Who isn’t?!? ❤ )

Danny the Dino totally wanted the book.

Eugene the Euoplocephalus totally wanted it.

I deliberately used blue and orange so the gift would match her outfit for our San Diego birthday weekend to a Tigers/Padres game because I’m broken for color-coordination.

See?

Rawr, Tiger!

Rawr, Tiger, you totally match!

I’m not the only one who gets into details like that. This was her birthday gift to me last year.

And this is her gift to me!

Don’t you love how the colors work perfectly together with the lotto ticket and the bag?

I do!!! (This is why Nicole and I get each other.) The bag was also filled with goodies that were color-coordinated with my birthday invite. (True story.)

And now I will leave you with a little sneak peek at this year’s gift wrap for her Mexican-themed birthday party.

No hablo English.

No hablo Ingles, Perras!

On that note, I’m off to work on my rewrite for a few hours before making Nicole’s tres leches birthday cake.

If the cake doesn’t suck, I’ll hook you up with the recipe next week. (And don’t worry: I haven’t forgotten I still owe you the recipe for her sister Elle’s peanut butter Peter Rabbit cupcakes. You can now find that HERE.)

XOXO

Prince Harry, Pina Coladas, and Other Observations on Vegas. (Or I’m Looking for the Perfect Pina Colada)

Note to self: I need hurricane glasses. Pina Coladas just don’t look right when served in the wrong glassware.

You have probably already heard, but just in case you haven’t, Prince Harry’s blurry bum and bits are prominently featured on TMZ today. I mean, he was in Vegas, so it’s kind of, “Whatever. Leave the poor prince alone!” But it is the royal bum, so it’s breaking news. Or something.

(By the way, if you want to see the blurry pics of the prince, who apparently isn’t all that good at playing pool, here’s the link, but maybe don’t click on it if you’re at work.)

You’re welcome.

So, yeah, that’s all very different than my last trip to the strip. The last time I went to Vegas I had a large pina colada outside of Paris after a day at the pool and then promptly fell asleep snuggling with the dogs while watching TV.

The only available “glassware” for serving Pina Coladas outside of Paris were either this balloon situation or a large plastic Eiffel Tower that hung from my neck. I considered this the lesser of two aesthetic evils.

Clearly, I didn’t do Vegas right. I didn’t step on any burning cigarettes or broken glass while carrying my shoes across the strip at 7 am, I didn’t drop $400 on food in two days, and I didn’t play strip pool with a prince.

I mean, it should hardly even count as a trip to Vegas if about six girls aren’t washing their filthy feet in the spa tub at the same time and at least one person doesn’t play poker until dawn with an off season athlete. (And, no, that is absolutely not a euphemism.) But this was not that kind of trip. Not the kind that leads to dirty feet or royal debauchery, anyway.

After vacillating for weeks about meeting up with friends who were in town for a hockey tournament, I made a game day decision — like booked my room at 10 am and jumped in the car with the dogs at 11 am kind of game day decision. Obviously, I would never bring them for a wild weekend, but this was just a chill, catch up with friends by the pool kind of trip. Totally the kind for dogs. I should probably do a post on bringing dogs to Vegas because there are challenges, but it can be done, and I have the pictures to prove it.

Albus discovers that everything is super sized in Vegas. Even the cats.

Apparently, Albus has caught the scent of margaritas, quesadillas, and sin. This photo was taken moments before he tried to enter Margaritaville of his own volition.

So anyway, all of this TMZ talk of Vegas was really making me want a pina colada and some vintage booty music tonight, so I cranked up some bad 90s jams like Yolanda, Tootsee Roll, and Fatboy and pulled out the blender.

I mixed up a batch of pina coladas, and I have to admit it wasn’t life changing. I mean, it was pretty good and it wasn’t as cloyingly sweet as the crappy made from a mix kind, but I think I wanted more pineapple punch. Next time I’ll probably use fresh pineapple instead of the canned version in juice. I may even freeze the pineapple before mixing it and cut down on the ice so the drink will have a little more sweet pineappley pizzazz.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering: 68% of the TMZ audience? Now thinks Prince Harry is awesome.

(And, yes, I had to vote to find that out. I might have even voted twice. Don’t judge me. After all, I did hear about the royal debacle from NPR in the first place.)

Pina Colada

2/3 C light rum
2/3 C pineapple
2/3 C cream of coconut
3 C crushed ice

Add the rum, pineapple and cream of coconut and blend thoroughly. Add the crushed ice and blend completely.

To achieve a more uniform slushy consistency, I put the cocktail in my ice cream maker and let it do its magic for about ten minutes. That made it an awesome consistency.

If you have any other suggestions to improve upon the pina colada recipe, please hook me up. I need to find my perfect Prince Charming Pina Colada.