Monday, April 30, 2012

Meghann & Joe's 10 Best Wedding Tips

All photos copywrite Leland Gebhardt 2011
  When Meghann and Joe planned their wedding at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, they knew they wanted to make it their own - they bucked tradition in favor of their own innovations, and they showcased their creativity and tapped into the talents of their close friends. And by embracing the DIY ethos, they were able to save a fortune and still throw a gorgeous and memorable wedding.

Here's the story of their wedding journey. It's a top 10 list of the things that made their wedding great, things they learned, and creative ideas you can steal:

1. Become a Planning Machine

Meghann gave herself some time to binge on a few wedding magazines - but she looked to them for inspiration, then tossed them and set out to make the wedding of her dreams, not the dreams of the wedding industrial complex. She was disheartened by most of the wedding books out there until she stumbled across  Offbeat Bride by Ariel Meadow Stallings, which she swears by.

Once she and Joe started to narrow down what they had in mind for their wedding, they started using an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of costs - she says you will always spend more money than you think you will, but it helps to see it all there in black and white.

The wedding bands: Joe's interior detail is meteorite.
 Meghann suggests doing all your own planning, rather than hiring a wedding coordinator, but she strongly encourages arranging for a day-of coordinator. Meghann chose Stephanie, a designer friend of hers, to be her point person - she had a clear idea of the couple's vision and could field questions about where to put certain decorations so that the bride and her mom wouldn't have to drop everything and fuss over every detail. Meg says that if you press a friend into service, you should still be sure to pay them or give them a generous gift for all their efforts.

Finally, Meghann's advice for the planning process is to delegate - expect the groom to pull his weight. Get his input on big decisions, and don't be afraid to ask him for help when you're feeling overwhelmed. "You want your man to feel like it's his wedding, too. A stressed woman is no fun to be around, so as your to-do list grows, give him a list of specific tasks you know he can do."

2. Personalize with Letterpress

Meghann's friend Julian, also a designer, created all the signage and print materials at the reception. From the table numbers to the place cards and the labels on the guest favors, Julian's letterpress design tied it all together and gave it a sophisticated DIY feel.

Hand-lettered seating assignments

3. Favor Your Guests with Wildflower Seeds

Since the reception was held in the Wildflower Pavilion at the Botanical Garden, wildflower seeds were the perfect wedding favor. The couple picked up small jars at Michael's Hobby Store and massive amounts of wildflower seeds, and then set up shop in their living room with their friends, filling and labeling the jars. The jar itself is a sweet keepsake, and what a great way to celebrate their first anniversary, by watching their flowers bloom in your own garden!

4. Help Your Bridal Party Look Their Best

Meghann wanted her bridesmaids to look and feel great in their wedding attire - so instead of forcing them all into the same cut and color of dress, she gave them freedom to choose a dress they loved in a spectrum of colors - they were instructed to stick to jewel tones like cobalt blue, purple and fuschia. Then Meghann gifted them matching necklaces for the ceremony. The groomsmen wore matching suits, and could pick ties that would coordinate with the lady they'd be walking down the aisle. The effect was great - the colors really popped and played off each other, and the ladies all looked confident and happy walking down the aisle.

5. Make Your Own Steampunk Boutonnieres

One of the most brilliant innovations at the wedding were the boutonnieres Joe made for his groomsmen. Meghann says they were jointly inspired by some Lego man boutonnieres they saw, and some steampunk watches they had seen on "We ordered the watch parts from Etsy and Joe used his skills with soldering and building electronics to make the LED-lit custom boutonnieres using vintage watch parts." Each piece was stylish and unique - an amazing keepsake.

6. Do Your Own Flower-Arranging

Meghann splurged on her bouquet,
but the rest of the arrangements were DIY.
 Joe says one of the best things about getting married in a beautiful, natural setting is that you don't need to spend as much money dressing the place up - but of course flowers were a really important element for the couple. Meghann says, "I got a quote from a floral shop to do all the flowers and I about died. It was $2,000. To save money, I bought about $400-worth of my favorite flowers from a grocery store floral department (Which, by the way, buys you A LOT of flowers). Then I bought my bouquet for $120 and some specialty flowers for $100 or so that were not available at the grocery store."

The morning of the wedding, she delegated a few friends to do the flower pick-up, and then she and her bridesmaids assembled the flowers, creating the rest of the bouquets and the centerpieces. It was a little stressful, and in retrospect she would not have driven herself to the wedding and delivered her own flower arrangements, but it all worked out in the end; they had gorgeous arrangements of Meghann's own design and for less than a third of the price!

7. Remember to Eat

Joe laughs remembering that they were so busy rushing around that they forgot to eat before the ceremony. By that point they were starving, and the reception was hours away. In hindsight, stashing some emergency snacks would have been a great idea.

8. Perform a Song for Your Bride

Joe is a musician - not a dancer. Rather than suffering through the traditional first dance as man and wife, Joe thought it would be more personal and meaningful if he performed a song for Meghann - "The Promise" by When in Rome. It was a really beautiful moment in the evening. However, Joe would like to point out that if you're going to do this, you should try to remember to *record* the performance. Whoops!

Guitarist in the amphitheater
Joe also handled the music for the ceremony, by asking a talented friend to play some instrumental pieces on guitar. It was lovely sitting in the desert amphitheater with the sun beginning to set, waiting for the bridal party to arrive and listening to some sweet melodies.

9. Serve Wedding Cookies

One tradition the couple happily discarded was the overpriced wedding cake. Instead they served up an assortment of fresh-baked cookie platters. They were simple to serve, a fraction of the price of a cake, and they were able to have a nice variety. Everyone wins.

10. Don't Book Your Honeymoon Flight for 5am the Next Morning!!

Lesson learned.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meghann & Joe's Desert Botanical Garden Wedding

Photo copywrite Leland Gebhardt 2011
 Meghann Neely and Joe Gardner were married in March 2011 in the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona. The ceremony took place in an outdoor amphitheater a little before sunset, with a reception a short walk away in the Wildflower Pavilion. This stylish wedding was so perfectly Meghann & Joe, and it showcased her talents as a designer and his as a musician.

Click here for Meghann & Joe's tips for throwing a gorgeous wedding without breaking the bank. Click here for the details of their menu. Click here for an hour-long playlist of songs they loved hearing at their reception. And finally, click here for a photo gallery - their wedding story in 20 pictures.

But first, let's get to know this great couple and how they got their start; as Meghann calls it, "A Tale of Two Gingers."

One night Meghann's roommate Natasha brought her out to see her boyfriend's band, Aurele, play a gig at a local club. Meghann remembers the guitarist first caught her eye when he took off his "goofy" knit beanie, and shoot out his golden locks. They barely spoke that night, but Joe's rocking guitar licks and unabashed stage presence caught Meghann's attention for sure.

After some maneuvering by Natasha, and Joe's bandmate Erik, and a little help from MySpace, Meghann and Joe went on their first date the day before Valentine's Day. Meghann says they decided on that date to beat the crowds - and also to break from tradition a little bit. Three years later to the day, Joe popped the question.

He tells me that even though Meghann was the one who pursued him at the start, he says "I knew that I'd be crazy to pass up a wonderful woman who was not only beautiful, but able to handle my eccentric personality." I ask Meghann when she knew he was the one for her - she said it was a feeling that just grew, slowly and surely; "It was a comfortable melding together, like meeting up with an old friend." She also knew right away that this was different from her past relationships, which she remembers as being tumultuous - with Joe it felt like "a harmonious balance of two people mutually loving each other and enjoying life together." And she tells me they make each other laugh every single day.

Photo copywrite Leland Gebhardt 2011
 I ask Joe when he knew he was going to propose - he said they had already been talking about being married and about the wedding itself, but Meghann made it clear that she wanted him to set things in motion. Joe put a lot of effort into finding the right ring - "I wanted her to be able to wear the engagement ring on her right hand after we were married. I went to a local shop that deals in modern, German designs and saw the coolest damn ring I have ever seen, and I knew instantly that ring was the one."

Even with everything planned to the hilt, and an almost completely guaranteed "yes!" when the time came, sitting down to a fancy anniversary dinner, Joe felt a little nervous - but he took a deep breath and went for it. "I popped down on a knee and asked her to marry me, jammed the big-ass stainless steel ring on her finger, and that was that! I was super-duper happy!"

Monday, April 23, 2012

20,000th Pageview Celebration!

In honor of this website's 20,000th pageview, (!) last week Laurie Fisher organized a celebratory day out - she vowed that we would find 20 fun things to do to celebrate, and that we would be making pilgrimages to places to do with history, parties, and historical partiers. It was a perfect spring day in Boston with great friends - and I have the photodocumentation to prove it.

1. Fish came over to make brunch: mimosas and blueberry pancakes with 20 blueberries each! Give or take a few blueberries.

2. Craig showed up with The Book of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks: A Celebration of Creative Punctuation. This kept us entertained all through breakfast.

3. Even more entertaining? Realizing that Shannon's hoodie is the exact color of my kitchen. I like to call this photo series: The Kitchen Ninja.

4. We trekked on down to the finish line of the Boston Marathon - scheduled for the following day.

5. We toured the Gibson House in the Back Bay - dating back to one of my favorite historical eras.

6. As we strolled along, I told everyone about the life of Doris Duke - girlfriend knew how to throw a party.

7. We walked past houses in the Back Bay . . .

. . . . and the Public Garden in bloom.

8. We listened to an historic interpreter . . .
9. . . . and took a picture of the State House - home of the Democratic Party. Get it?

10. Next stop: the Omni Parker house, where JFK and Jackie honeymooned, and where Ho Chi Minh once worked as a pastry chef. Here's a painting of the exterior . . . on the interior.

11. We indulged in some fancy cocktails.

12. And then we strolled over to the North End for some spectacular lobster ravioli.

13. We walked off dinner for a bit, ending up in a square by the North Church of Paul Revere fame. We threw some coins in the fountain . . .
14. Listened to an opera busker . . .
15. And Craig assisted in a basketball rescue mission for some kids playing nearby.

16. Shannon and Fish are unbeatable at pretend chess.

17. We stopped in a cafe for gelato . . .
18. And then celebrated Loretta Lynne's birthday on the Rose Kennedy Greenway by listening to a song off Fish's ipod, and then turning ourselves into a beautiful rainbow.

19. We walked across my favorite bridge in the Public Garden, designed by my main man, Frederick Law Olmsted . . .

20. . . . and finished our day by checking out Boston by streetlight.

Friday, April 20, 2012

If You Like Darjeeling Limited . . .

We had a great time at the Darjeeling Limited movie night - we ate a ton of Indian food and some deeeelicious croquettes monsieur with hot chocolate, relaxed and enjoyed this gorgeous movie. (Not sure if Darjeeling is your cup of  . . . tea? - sorry, couldn't resist. Here is an excellent, in-depth review full of spoilers I found on heybarbecutie.)

There are a number of actors who just seem to belong in the Wes Anderson universe. Watching his movies feels a bit like hanging out with a bunch of old friends . . . if your friends are really talented, eccentric in nature, and easy on the eyes. If you're looking to round out your netflix queue here are some movies I highly recommend, with actors who star in Darjeeling Limited:

If you like Owen Wilson . . .

. . . rent Midnight in Paris.
 Owen Wilson plays Woody Allen . . . if Woody Allen was obsessed with Paris in the 1920s and miraculously stumbled on a way to time travel there every night at midnight. Charming and fun, this movie pokes fun as nostalgia junkies like myself. There's also an excellent cameo of Adrien Brody as Salvador Dali. Just sayin'.

If you like Anjelica Huston . . .
. . . rent 50/50.

Anjelica Huston plays the mother of Joseph Gordon-Levit, who has just been diagnosed with cancer in his 20's and has a 50/50 chance of surviving. She loves her son, but she is a big bundle of emotions and neuroses - like any mother would be in that situation. Huston sells it and is one of the best things about this twisted comedy.

If you like Jason Schwartzman . . .
. . . rent Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Jason Schwartzman is killer as Gideon Graves, founder of the league of evil exes, and Scott Pilgrim's nemesis. For my money, this movie is the pinnacle of the comic book genre - it's visually arresting, hilariously funny, packed with action, and never takes itself too seriously.

If you like Natalie Portman . . .

. . . rent Black Swan.
This is Natalie Portman's Oscar-winning performance as a ballerina who undergoes a complete psychotic break. And if Darin Aronofsky knows one thing, it's how to film people having psychotic breaks. It's an intense and unforgettable performance.

If you like Wallace Wolodarsky . . .

. . . rent Fantastic Mr. Fox.
 I love Fantastic Mr. Fox so much that I based a movie night on it. And Kylie is one of the most unassuming and lovable sidekicks in the history of film. Wallace Wolodarsky really brings him to life. Also, there's a great little cameo by Owen Wilson, and a teeny tiny mouse cameo by Adrien Brody; I laugh my face off every time I watch the scene with Badger the real estate agent - voiced by Bill Murray; and Jason Schwartzman was born to play the part of Ash.

If you like Bill Murray . . .

. . . rent Zombieland.
 Do yourself a favor and rent this movie. It's a hip and modern take on the zombie apocalypse - but it's Bill Murray's cameo as himself that makes this movie pure genius.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wes Anderson Night Playlist

This playlist was crafted with Wes Anderson in mind. Several songs have appeared in his soundtracks, all are by musicians he or his characters would choose to listen to watching scenery pass by the train window, trotting across a midwestern landscape, or pining after an unrequited love. This is the perfect playlist for your next Darjeeling Limited movie night or your  Fantastic Mr. Fox movie night. Click here to download on iTunes. Enjoy!

Here's the track list:
1. The Ballad of Davy Crockett/The Wellingtons
2. Buckeye Jim/Burl Ives
3. Fantastic Mr. Fox a.k.a. Petey's Song/Jarvis Cocker
4. Mr. Fox in the Fields/Alexandre Desplat
5. Honeysuckle Rose/Django Reinhardt
6. Raag Tilak Kamod/Shankar Jaikishan
7. Solar Flares/Sven Libaek Orchestra
8. Blinuet/Zoot Sims Quartet
9. Happiness Is/Vince Guaraldi Trio
10. La Nina de Puerta Oscura/Paco de Lucia & Ricardo Modrego
11. Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin VI. Toccata/Manfred Rheute
12. Moonshadow/Cat Stevens
13. Over and Done With/The Proclaimers
14. Let Her Dance/Bobby Fuller Four
15. Radio Beautiful/The Creation
16. Baba O'Riley/The Who
17. Ping Island /  Lightning Strike Rescue Op/Mark Mothersbaugh
18. Time of the Season/The Zombies
19. Play with Fire/The Rolling Stones
20. Straight to Hell/The Clash

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gourmet Pancake Toppings

Cara Valla, sous chef at San Francisco's The Fifth Floor, has some amazing ideas for what y'all should be putting on your pancakes:

In my mind there is no meal more luxurious than brunch. Food prep is a snap so you can still sleep in,  the menu can be almost anything from sweet to savory, light to heavy, and best of all it is a socially acceptable excuse to drink before noon.  Chill a bottle of champagne, make sure there is OJ in the fridge and call a few friends cause brunch is about to happen!!

Butter and maple syrup, maybe a little powdered sugar - who doesn't love that? But if you'd really like to impress your guests, try one of these gourmet toppings - or all three.


2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Nonstick cooking spray or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1) Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in a medium sized bowl.
2) Stir in the melted butter.
3) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. 
4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined — don't worry if there are a few lumps.
5) Lightly grease a large sauté pan or griddle with the nonstick spray or butter
6) When the pan is hot enough that a drop of water will bead and pop, spoon out 3 Tablespoons of batter per pancake. Cook the pancakes until the tops look dull and a few of the bubbles pop, about 3 minutes. Turn the pancakes over and cook for another minute.

Hold pancakes in a heated 200F oven until ready to serve.

Chocolate, peanut butter, and bacon topping:
1) Cook your favorite bacon until nice and crispy, then drain and let cool on paper towels (Reserve fat because next time you make these pancakes you can substitute bacon fat for the melted butter!).
2) Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on each pancake, or sprinkle chopped, salted peanuts.
3) Drizzle pancakes with dark chocolate syrup.
3) Cut bacon into small pieces and sprinkle over pancakes before serving.

Banana flambe topping:
The flambe won't take long at all to cook, so make your pancakes first and keep them warm in a 200F oven while you cook up the bananas.
2 bananas, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp banana liqueur (or Cointreau if you prefer)
1/4 cup rum

1. Slice bananas and brush with lemon juice.
2. Heat butter and brown sugar in pan and add bananas.
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cook until bananas just start to get tender.
4. Remove from heat and add alcohol.
5. Tilt pan just slightly over flame to ignite alcohol (it will flame up so please BE CAREFUL).
6. Cook until flames die out (meaning all the alcohol has cooked out).
7. Serve on top of pancakes to your adoring guests.

Dark chocolate, orange, and candied ginger topping: 
These are my three favorite things in the world to put on just about any sweet breakfast item or dessert: shaved dark chocolate, orange zest, and chopped candied ginger. If you are having a lot of people over and want to have options, just make a generic pancake batter and then invite your guests to add these toppings to taste.  Loving the idea of a topping buffet? Here are some other flavors you could add:
shaved white chocolate
fresh raspberries
lemon zest
toasted almonds
ricotta cheese
real maple syrup
flavored butter*

*Making your own flavored butter is simple! Just let your butter sit out until it gets to room temperature, and then fold in some added flavor (you can use a rubber spatula for a small amount or a Kitchenaide mixer with a paddle attachment if you're working in quantity). Try adding salt, swirling in honey, or mixing in your favorite seasoning (cinnamon, powdered ginger, nutmeg, etc.).


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Why Can't I Fill My Dance Floor Like I Used To?

Dear Bashionista,

I used to throw a ton of parties, sometimes as many as one a month - nothing too crazy, but I could count on getting a packed house and having it turn into a late-night dance party. Fast forward a couple of years and things are . . . decidedly tamer. I'm not getting the turn-out I used to, and things usually wind down a whole lot earlier. What's the deal? Am I doing something wrong? How can I kick things back into gear?

Brian G.

Dear Brian,

You said something important just then: "Fast forward a couple of years." I am going to guess that your turn-out has less to do with your party-throwing prowess and more to do with the fact that your group of friends is a little bit older than they used to be. Before you worry that you've lost your touch, ask yourself: How many of your friends are now married or in rock-solid coupledom? How many of your friends have had kids in the past couple years? How many have moved to the suburbs? How many now have to be present and functional at their jobs 6 hours after last call?

If you love parties like I do, you know they're great for all sorts of reasons - bonding with friends, shaking it on the dance floor, drinking adventurous cocktails and laughing your face off. But parties are also where a lot of people go to banish loneliness, and to maybe, just maybe, find that special someone. For some people, once they're paired up, they lose the burning desire to stay out all night. Hard for you or I to imagine, but very true.

But take heart! There are some things you can do to reinvigorate your partying population.

Cultivate new friendships

Young people; single people; new, interesting, creative, dynamic people; recent transplants to your city - befriend them! These are the people who are interested in partying and making new friends, and your old friends will be excited to see some new faces as well. Make friends with people at your local pub or karaoke bar - these are the people who are accostomed to staying out all night. Reach out to young, hip coworkers and your neighbors who throw their own parties. Become active in groups that do fun, active things together - theater companies, arts organizations, book clubs, volunteer groups, outdoorsy groups, etc. - and then invite them over.

Adapt parties to suit your population

Making new friends takes time, and possibly a big lifestyle shift. It's much easier to take the people you already know and give them what they want. Most of your friends are coupled up? Host small events - dinner parties, game nights, movie nights - where people can get cozy and have great conversation. Your friend group is experiencing a baby boom? Take advantage of the nice weather and get into the swing of throwing barbecues, great for all ages. Home-buying friends are relocating? Start your bashes earlier and expect them to end at midnight.

- But I want to DANCE! Nowwwwwww!

You can still throw your ragers, your dance parties, your costume galas - but if you're worried that your guests have party fatigue, or are balancing social obligations with family and extended family and professional obligations, then you're going to have to work hard to compete. Cutting down the number of parties you throw will make them more sought after, and will free up your time and resources to make them even more special. For an event like your birthday, send out a save-the-date well in advance. Then send out a proper email invitation, and then talk up your preparations on facebook and when you see people in person. Create some buzz! And for a more elaborate party, create partnerships; asking friends for help with decorating, costuming, food prep, music playlisting, and loaner items not only insures their attendance, you'll be able to accomplish far more than you possibly could have on your own.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Throw Down: Darjeeling Limited Movie Night

As Wes Anderson movies go, The Darjeeling Limited may be the most visually breathtaking. Saturated with color and style, every shot feels iconic. There's a quietness and an absurdity to it similar to The Royal Tennenbaums, but it's less rooted in the question of where you're from than where you're going. This movie transports you when you least expect it. Not interested in a spiritual quest? You'll still have an excuse to drool over Adrien Brody and eat some Indian food. And that, my friends, is more than enough reason to host a movie night.

If you're familiar with our other movie nights (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy; Love Actually; Fantastic Mr. Fox; and Burn After Reading), then you know that one of my favorite things to do is serve food as it appears in the movie, so you can eat along with your favorite characters. Read on to learn what food appears when, and choose to serve as many items as you care to. Click here for a fun Wes Anderson Night Playlist. And click here to wrap things up with some fodder for your Netflix queue - a list of my favorite movies featuring actors from this movie.

If you have time on your hands and a talent for cooking Indian food, by all means, feel free to cook up some dishes from scratch. However, there is no shame at all in getting takeout from your favorite Indian restaurant and serving it up at the right moment. Ordering one entree, one naan, one order of pakoras, and one mulligatawny soup per 2 or 3 people should be plenty of food. If you choose to screen Hotel Chevalier, which is a short, 13-minute film and also considered Part 1 of The Darjeeling Limited [SPOILER ALERT: contains a whole lot of Natalie Portman nudity], then you will also have the option of making hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwiches - figure on a half-sandwich per person as an appetizer.

Before guests arrive, set out bowls of chocolate squares and savory snacks - like seeds and nuts, preferably with Indian spices. Make a pitcher of limeade ("sweet lime"), a pitcher of bloody marys, and a pitcher of iced tea. Set out a bottle of spiced rum or your favorite spirit so that people can spike their own tea or coffee. If you're serving champagne, set up a tray of glasses to be brought out just before you pop the cork. Just before you start the movie, make the grilled cheese and hot chocolate.
When it's time for your guests to be seated, give each person a place setting, a napkin, and a small glass and let them pour their own drinks. Take their hot drink orders - hot tea, chai or coffee. Set those mugs up in the kitchen so all you'll need to do is add hot water when the time comes.

Hotel Chevalier

Minute 6 - Jack Whitman unwraps a chocolate square one moment before his hot chocolate and grilled cheese arrive. He may not get a chance to eat his dinner, but there's no reason why you can't eat it for him!

The Darjeeling Limited

Minute 9 - The Whitman brothers are sitting in the dining car, ordering up an Indian feast. Bring out mulligatawny soup, entrees, and half the rice. Save the rest for later.

Minute 29 - Bring out the hot drinks. Put the pakoras in a 200 degree oven to warm them.

Minute 37 - The Whitmans are served what appear to be pakoras. Enjoy!

Minute 39 - The train steward pops a bottle of champagne. Bring out the bubbly! Then throw the naan in the 200 degree oven.

Minute 52 - The brothers are offered a snack - reheat whatever is left of the entrees and serve with the rest of the rice and the naan.

1:20 - Breakfast is served at the convent. Bring out some toast with jam and butter and some sliced mango.

After the movie, invite your guests to relax and mingle. Press play on one of our themed music mixes, fire up a hookah and extend the party long into the night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Office Space Bingo Cards

For her epic Office Space party, my friend Mary created bingo cards - the first two winners got their choice of prizes. The great thing about playing bingo? People actually pipe down and pay attention to the movie - which is especially great when most of the room knows the movie well enough to quote the entire thing.

I asked Mary about the science behind creating these bingo cards. First, she came up with a long list of quotes from the movie. Then she created the blank bingo cards - each had 5 rows and 5 columns. An 8"x8" card should be big enough to fit in wordier phrases.

The center square was a freebie - each card had either "Corporate accounts payable", "Nina speaking", or "Just a moment" - so that everyone got that square in the same breath.

Then Mary started randomly filling out the cards with the rest of the movie quotes. For the size of her party, it made sense to put each quote on 4 different cards - you'll have to adjust based on the number of cards you're making. One important note - the quotes below are divided in half, depending on when they occur. She made her cards more or less 50/50 - half the quotes occuring early on, the other half happening later. Quotes with a / between them happen at the same moment - these shouldn't both occur on the same card.

For actual game play, she passed out sticky flags to be used as markers. That way they wouldn't have to worry about keeping markers in place, and the cards could easily be reused in the future.

Without further ado, here are your bingo phrases!

First half
Mother sh*tter/son of an a$$
TPS report/cover page/memo
Whaaaaat’s happening?
Case of the Mondays
Michael…BOLTON?/No-talent a$$ clown
PC LOAD LETTER?!/ WTF does THAT mean?!
Burn down the building
Not a p*ssy/Occupational hypnotherapist
Pizza shooters/shrimp poppers/extreme fajitas
Check out Channel 9!
A million dollars/ Two chicks at the same time
Look at my cousin/ He’s broke, don’t do sh*t
I believe you’d get your a$$ kicked
F*ckin’ A
Deeper and deeper
Not a half day or anything/ I’VE BEEN CHEATING ON YOU!!
Pet rock/Jump to Conclusions Mat
She'll get to see my "O" face
Unemployment line/Scumbags
Good for the company/Hawaiian Shirt Day
Flair/I LOVE Kung Fu/Channel 39
8 different bosses
Straight shooter/upper management
What would you say you do here, exactly?/I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS
Meeting with the Bobs/I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob
Superman 3/C*ck gobblers/fudge packers
Conjugal visits

Last half
I stole something/Back up in your a$$
For the crippled children?!/ How is that not stealing?
It *becomes* ours/ Initech is wrong!
Beat someone up the first day/become someone’s b*tch
Wear a rubber/Like a record/Lumbergh f*cked her
Penny-stealing wannabe criminal…man/ say hello to LUMBERGH for me!
Ratio of people to cake/just pass
Talk to payroll
That’s the last straw
THIS IS A F*CK!/ Mundane detail
Money laundering/Coke dealers
40 subscriptions to VIBE
Pound me in the a$$ prison/You are a very bad person
Your pretty boy Brian over there/This is me expressing myself!!
Get a room, you two!/ I HATE that guy
Storage Room B
No salt

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Happy post-Easter Monday!  Whether or not you celebrate the holiday, today, post-Easter Monday, is a very special day.  Skeptical?  Head on over to your local pharmacy.  See all that Easter candy?  See it, in all its pastel-wrappered glory?  It's yours, on the cheap.  Peanut butter egg discount, people!  Let's take advantage.  Let's buy them up, and let's make a chocolate peanut butter cake. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

for the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
for the frosting:
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Reese’s peanut butter cups, to decorate
To make the cake, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Then butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until thoroughly combined.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.
In a third bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy (I use a stand mixer for this step).  Add the egg and mix vigorously until combined.  Add half of the dry team (flour, cocoa, etc.) to the butter/sugar/egg bowl, and mix gently until incorporated.  Then add the wet team (buttermilk/vanilla), mixing until just combined.  Finally, add the rest of the dry team and mix the batter gently, until all ingredients are incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until the cake has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool the cake completely before cutting it in half, horizontally, and frosting.  (For a nice cake cutting/frosting tutorial, check out this video from Zoe Bakes).
To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.  Add the peanut butter and mix to combine.  Add the confectioner’s sugar and salt and mix, starting slowly, until completely smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.
When you’re ready to frost the cake, cut it in half horizontally, so you’re left with two rounds of cake of even thickness.  Place one cake round on either a cake wheel or your serving platter (if you’re going to frost the cake right on your serving platter, place little pieces of parchment paper underneath the cake, so you can easily pull them out after frosting and be left with a clean platter) and top with an even layer of peanut butter frosting.  Place the second cake round atop the first, and, starting from the top and working your way down the sides, frost the double layer cake until you have a nice, even, smoothly frosted cake.  Decorate with Reese’s peanut butter cups and enjoy!  The cake is best eaten as soon as possible after frosting, but will keep for a few days, well wrapped or in the refrigerator.
Makes one double-layer 8-inch cake.