xmas cookies.

I spent a big chunk of the last two days making Xmas cookies and I’m going to take a moment to reflect on that.

Making Xmas cookies is pretty hard and I’m very tired and also my back hurts. It’s enjoyable but it’s also very, very hard, you guys. I need to express how hard it is and how tired I am.

It is so hard.

This year I made an actual plan, too. Which should have made it easier. And it did! In years past I was like, “I have ingredients, I will make cookies.” And that was it. I just went for it without much thought.

And I never had enough time. I was always rushing around before my dad came to pick me up like, “HOW ARE THESE COOKIES NOT DONE YET?’ WTF?! WHY IS THIS MY LIFE. I AM A FAILURE.”

But this year…NO! I was a NON-failure.

Cookie level: Expert/Non-failure

Yesterday morning I went for a run because I do that now and while I ran I developed the cookie plan/mantra of “sugar cookies-peanut butter cookie dough-banana pudding-take a break and drink coquito-and watch Prom on Netflix-bake peanut butter cookies-then double chocolate peanut butter cup-then fudge and fudge is so hard-then Russian tea cookies-then sleep.”

So it was laid out. And it was time to begin.

sugar cookies.

Sugar cookies are the only baking thing I’ve mastered so far.

I call the ones I make “Shan’s Sugar” and I think that’s quite nice. I used a star, ornament, and Xmas tree cookie cutter. I got some GOOOOOLD sprinkles at Target and I was pumped AF to sprinkle them.

This is the recipe.

peanut butter cookies.

These cookies are an Xmas tradition in my extended family and I think probably in the extended world.

You make the dough first and then put it in the fridge and wait two hours so in the interim I made banana pudding.

They’re like…pretty simple? But did not turn out. And I was pissed.

So pissed that I woke up early again today and made MORE dough and put it in the fridge for TWO MORE HOURS OF MY LIFE. This second batch came out better so I threw out most of the shitty burned first batch.

Ugh.

banana pudding.

Banana pudding is not an Xmas cookie but I did make it. I made this Paula Deen version of banana pudding for a Friendsgiving in November. IT WAS A HIT. Even though Paula Deen sux.

My boyfriend commanded that I make the banana pudding for him since I wouldn’t be home at our apartment for Xmas so I was forced into it.

JK I loved every minute.

JK I didn’t but I did add Oreos also at his command.

And that was a pretty good idea.

break time.

After not really doing much I had to take a break.

I sipped on some coquito that my boyfriend got off of Instagram and watched The Prom on Netflix.

It was fine. Any musical will charm me as long as there is dancing and fun costumes.

Any coquito will also charm me.

double chocolate pudding peanut Reese’s cookies.

After the break I did bake the peanut butter cookies but as I said they pissed me off so moving right along.

This was my first time making these double chocolate pudding Reese’s cookies and by the time they were done I felt sick from taste testing and also eating raw batter I licked from empty bowls so I haven’t gotten to taste them yet.

It seems like they’ll be delicious! I also had some fun cutting up the special seasonal nutcracker Reese’s because why wouldn’t I?

These cookies were made with dough that was already put together so that was interesting and stuff.

fudge.

Fudge is hard as hell to make and super labor intensive. As a kid I was OBSESSED with Xmas fudge that my Grammie made but I was always thinking, “Why does she ONLY make this at Xmas?!”

BECAUSE MAKING FUDGE SUCKS.

My first attempt at making fudge the regular way was a huge failure, but last year a kind and benevolent client of mine emailed me this recipe. It’s a bit simpler and therefore probably idiot-proof.

So it’s how I make fudge now. And my dad likes it and he is the Fudge Judge for all the world. Believe it.

russian tea cakes.

After I made the fudge I was exhausted and pretty much died so I had to save the Russian tea cakes for this morning.

As a kid the Russian tea cakes were a fav for me. I don’t really know why but I do think that I went through a phase where I was into anything vaguely “Russian” because I was trying to connect with my Eastern European roots. Like I got really excited learning about tzars and shit. Czars?

Anyway, I made these a few years ago and I felt “meh” about how they turned out, but this year I think I did okay!

Well…after the first batch when I didn’t have enough flour in them. I even followed the recipe. I swear I did. But the dough looked suspect and I was right.

Ugh. Trash.

After that, i added more flour and I did okay.

Ready to share!

So that’s my cookie story and I’m sticking to it. I would ask like, “What Xmas cookies do you like to make?” but no one ever answers so I give up.

thanksgiving at home.

Just a quick little recap of a Thanksgiving at home.

Or, a Thanksgiving without really going anywhere.

I was really stressed about deciding what to do for Thanksgiving. But in the end I decided not to risk it and to stay home at my own house.

Unfortunately I am far from having the culinary skills to prepare an entire Thanksgiving at home.

Luckily my mom was nice enough to prepare send all of the food to me! Via socially distanced delivery boy, which is my dad. I don’t think he likes to be called “delivery boy” even though he was one in this case. Sorry Lexx.

Delivery!

We woke up on Thanksgiving morning and had a leisurely biscuits and gravy breakfast.

After breakfast I insisted that we dress up because I always dress up on Thanksgiving even though it is mostly inside and I wear slippers the entire time.

Dressed up. Slippers out of frame.

Slippers were certainly worn for Thanksgiving at home.

At the last minute I decided to set the coffee table up like a real “table” and I felt really proud of it. I mostly didn’t think I had enough “home items” to make a cute little table but I DID.

We drank Irish coffees and mimosas and got pretty drunk before the meal, a time honored family tradition.

When we were ready I warmed up the food my mom sent and it was TIME TO EAT.

Before warming.

Cheesy bread, turkey, stuffing, 3 kinds of potatoes, green beans, etc. ALL THE HITS.

After we ate I demanded we go to Lincoln Park for a “hike” because at my parents’ we usually go into the woods behind their house for a “hike.”

“Hike”

It was a successful “hike” because we spotted a hawk!

“Hawk”

When we returned home I ate some cookies I made and pumpkin pie from Edible Underground and then it was time for bed.

The end.

outdoor baby shower.

Hey look it’s us! Of virtual bridal brunch fame! We’re back with an outdoor baby shower!

This past weekend we had an outdoor baby shower for my lil sis. The same lil sis we had a virtual bridal brunch for back in April.

We really wanted to have a gathering with actual people that were actually physically together. It felt important.

Of course we followed all the social distancing rules. Like why wouldn’t we? But that meant we had to have the shower NOW while it’s still warm enough for people to hang out in the outdoors and before there is a huge fall spike in COVID cases, as predicted.

So we had to have the shower a bit early. My sister is due at the end of February, and usually a shower for that would happen in like…December? I don’t really know. But I do know it would happen a little later because most people look very pregnant in their shower pics. That’s really all I have to go off of.

My sister only looks kinda pregnant. Like you can tell she is but she’s not waddling around yet. That’s the usual shower look. BUT NOT AT THIS SHOWER BECAUSE WE HAD TO GET THAT SUCKER DONE BEFORE THE WORLD PRESUMABLY SHUTS DOWN AGAIN.

Cutie 💕

MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES AS THE GREAT LAURA INGALLS WILDER SAID, OR MAYBE IT WAS HER DAD, AND I WORE MY COWBOY BOOTS DAMMIT.

Cowboy boots.

So we planned it out, and by “we” I mean my mom and my sister’s mother in law, and I think we did okay. I THINK WE DID GREAT.

These things are always difficult and complex to wrangle, even when you’re not in the midst of a global pandemic. There are just so many moving parts. At one point I thought I’d be good at this shit because I spent so many years “producing”…aka literally orchestrating other people’s lives like they were my own personal marionettes.

Gift haul.

But it’s still hard. It’s a lot of planning! And plotting! And pondering! JEEZUZ I AM EXHAUSTED.

Anyway here’s what we did.

decorations.

The baby is a girl, so as far as decorations we had some pink things like plates, tablecloths, and balloons. Beyond that it wasn’t overly cutesy.

Nicest deck ever.

The shower was held at my sister’s mother in law’s house (my mother in law, in law?) and she did an awesome job of decorating with hay and pumpkins and scarecrows.

It was seasonally appropriate! And adorable! I enjoyed walking around and looking at all the little scarecrow babies.

There were also pumpkins there that they grew in their own backyard and as you can imagine I was PUMPED AF about that. Pumpkins in their own backyard?! Wahooo!!!!

games.

Okay I’m going to be honest about this. No one likes games. No one wants to play games at a baby shower or at any shower or party overall across the universe.

I’m sorry I had to be that direct. But no one likes games. I personally despise games but I made an effort to infuse some games into the party and was met with a flaming pile of disinterest.

We did play one game where people get an ice cube with a tiny plastic baby bottle inside and the first person whose ice melts screams, “My water broke!” and then they win a prize. Luckily one of the kids present won the game and the prize.

BECAUSE GAMES ARE FOR KIDS.

Do kids even like them?

(Not the kid that won)

Anyway after one game I decided we wouldn’t do the second game because no one showed much interest in the first one.

I was proud of my ability to read the (outdoor) room and pivot on a moment’s notice.

You’re welcome.

foods.

THERE WERE SO MANY FOODS AT THIS PARTY.

Our mom made stromboli, which is my most favorite thing that she ever makes. I ate like 5 pieces. I’m sorry.

My sister’s mother in law made meatballs and stuffed cabbage. I meant to try the stuffed cabbage because I’ve never had it! But I didn’t get to. I really blew it. Hopefully she makes it again at a future family function FINGERS CROSSED.

There were a ton of desserts and I ate two of each. I was saving up my full week of dessert consumption, 6 days worth of desserts, for this party. I didn’t feel well afterwards but it was worth it.

Look at these cute little net tents to keep flies off the food! Perfect for an outdoor baby shower, if you ask me. And you’re here, so you did.

notes to baby.

There is all kinds of baby shower stuff online and you can’t do a “baby shower stuff that doesn’t suck” Google search without coming across something like these.

These little lists are cute and give prompts and require minimal effort, a perfect combo! We passed them out to the guests to fill out while it was present opening time so they had something to do besides gawk at my sister and her husband while she opened presents.

Look at this awesome handmade quilt!

As far as present opening during the party, I don’t know that everyone does that anymore? I think it’s your choice but not required. Either way choose your choice and feel good about it. I give you permission.

caramel apple bar.

My mom and I were most excited for the caramel apple bar and I’d like to say my sister also liked it best. She’s usually a big sweets-head like me, but she hasn’t been feeling so great in her first months of pregnancy and moved away from the sweets. Frankly she moved away from most foods overall. But caramel apples still catch her eye and make her glad so that’s why we made the bar!

If you look up “caramel apple bar” online a whole bunch of shit comes up. Go ahead, try it.

Some of the articles/blogs/pins/whatever said to cut them in slices or soak them in vodka or stand on one foot while you dip them in caramel. There are many methods.

Our method was to stick a popsicle stick into an apple and dip it in caramel, then dip it into whatever toppings the recipient wanted. I say “recipient” because I was preparing the apples with gloves on and I was the only person touching the toppings. We tried to keep it COVID safe.

Overall no one was interested in the caramel apples except my sis, sis in law, niece and nephew, my mom, and me.

Whatever, the rest of them don’t know what they’re missing.

Also when I was done making my apple and sat down to eat it my 6 year old nephew told me “Don’t go and take a cute picture with your caramel apple now <eye roll>.” So then I did. He’s not the boss of me.

dudes were there too.

My sister requested that my brother in law’s pals be there too. My dad was there, and some husbands and at least one uncle, my Uncle Tom who gave my Grammie a ride. Some of them said it was the first baby shower they attended and they liked it and I was glad. It’s a party after all, the more the merrier. I mean we were eating and drinking and making merry, baby stuff just happened to be there.

I think it’s a nice move to include the dudes. As an experienced baby shower-holding professional I say go for it.

So that was the outdoor baby shower! It went great! We were all very proud of the turn out and glad to get it done before it gets too cold or the world shuts down again.

I already said that, but the doom is upon us and will arrive eventually and we must prepare ourselves.

​CHOC·O·PAIN on jersey ave.

This morning after Sai’s badass Train Jane HIIT class filled with perfectly curated music, I went to CHOC·O·PAIN on Jersey Ave.

I’m speaking of theCHOC·O·PAIN on Jersey Ave in Downtown Jersey City specifically because it is around the block from my previous, beloved and much missed, apartment on Columbus. I lived there for 7 years and the adjustment period has been difficult. So any time I get to return to places I frequented in that halcyon age my cold black heart fills with joy.

CHOC·O·PAIN on Jersey Ave was another bakery kinda store when I first moved in. I forget the name and I even looked it up like two months ago. I’ll look it up again.

Then it changed into a cold pressed juice store. Which I really, really enjoyed. They had a watermelon juice that was the best watermelon juice I’ve ever had. It was perfect for terribly hot summer days and saved me from dehydration more than once.

But nothing gold can stay and eventually that place closed and CHOC·O·PAIN moved in. But CHOC·O·PAIN on Jersey Ave is also gold! Don’t worry!

I’m no pro on French shit and I have never been to France or even the continent of Europe. I haven’t even left the continent of North America so I don’t know if my opinions about foods count. But they have the best almond croissant of my life. They also have chocolate almond croissants, in a “why not both?” power move, and I like those even more.

Their egg sandwich is one of my favorite Jersey City breakfasts and there was a time I got them every Saturday morning. It’s on multigrain bread with like…seeds in it? And you crunch on the seeds as you eat the bread and it’s fun and delicious and also seems healthy in some way. Also included – ricotta and spinach. Ricotta on a breakfast sandwich was a LEGIT REVOLUTION the first time I had it, and I’ve never looked back.

Unflattering pic of egg sandwich.

The Tuna Sandwich is another incredible item. Yes I am using Tuna Sandwich as a proper noun. This one deserves it. On the CHOC·O·PAIN Tuna Sandwich is – TUNA DUH, red peppers, avocado…there might be one or two other things I forget. But trust me it’s incred. You can get it on a harder bread or a softer bread. Again I’m no expert so I forget the names of the breads beyond “hard” or “soft.” I go for the “soft” for the Tuna Sandwich or else the top of my mouth gets all scratched up. I do believe that’s an American thing we’re supposed to be embarrassed about.

Tuna on the left.

But I’m not embarrassed. Sorry. The roof of my mouth is soft and I am proud.

Or I’m not sorry.

I don’t know if I’m sorry. Leave me alone.

I’ve only ever had samples of their cakes and tarts but those samples are GOOD. One day I will get a whole chocolate one for a celebration or for my dad and he’ll eat the entire thing in one day. If you were wondering where I got that from.

They have quiche lorraine which is like a thing but I’ve never tried it. It just makes me think of that B-52s song so that’s entertaining.

CHOC·O·PAIN on Jersey Ave has a variety of kouign amann, which the folks working there usually refer to as a “queen” and the whole time I thought “kouign amann” was pronounced differently and they were saying it wrong or it was actually something else but I just looked it up and I thought wrong. Of course I was wrong! Did I think I knew something about French shit? Am I insane?!

👑👑👑

They DEF know about French shit at CHOC·O·PAIN, is what I’m saying.

You’ve probably already realized this but they have INCRED. BREADS. It’s a the best place to get a fresh loaf of whatever to bring to a party to add to a meats and cheeses plate. Again, I don’t know the government names of the breads. I just point to them. Some are soft, some have harder crusts. Some are brown, some are other brown. All I know is that I like them all and love bringing them to parties. PEOPLE’S EYES LIGHT UP WHEN YOU WALK IN WITH THIS BREAD ON YOUR ARM.

Brown.
Other brown.

It’s an okay place to go and get some work done, and they do have free Wifi, but the CHOC·O·PAIN on Jersey Ave is kind of small and lots of people with strollers go in there and jam it up, so sometimes it’s a little too crowded to hang around. You may want to get your French shit to go, is my pro tip.

They also have locations in Hoboken (not going THERE) and the Jersey City Heights (been there, love it, WILL GO BACK).

Do you like CHOC·O·PAIN? What’s your fav thing there?

oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend.

Raisins are the proven enemy but this weekend I was kind and generous enough to make oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend. He better be grateful.

Oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend on drying rack

I used this recipe to make the cookies with the following caveats:

  1. I was out of vanilla extract. They seemed to be implying that some kind of INTENSE EXTRACT flav was necessary for these puppies to really kill it, so I used 1/2 tsp of almond extract instead.
  2. I used an extra 1/2 cup of white sugar, which is standard for my baking recipes because we like things extra sweet in this family.
  3. My boyfriend made a rum-infused butter so I used 1/2 cup of that and 1/2 cup of regular unsalted butter.
  4. I baked the first batch for 8 mins and they got darker than I like, so I baked the rest for 7 minutes instead!
Oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend on drying rack next to cookie jar that says "oatmeal rum raisin" in chalk

Here is the recipe, for your information:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

If you’d like to make oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend, please keep in mind that this particular recipe requires at least an hour of chill time between the mixing of the dough and the baking of the cookies. Unfortunately this couldn’t be used as “Netflix and chill” time because while I was making oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend my boyfriend was at work.

Oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend on drying rack

The nerve of some people.

Oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend on drying rack
Oatmeal raisin cookies for my boyfriend on drying rack ON TOP OF cool kitchen cart i got as Xmas gift
But srsly check out this cool kitchen cart my boyfriend got me for Xmas it’s perfect for cookie cooling!

What’s your fav oatmeal raisin cookie recipe? I hate raisins so I prob won’t make them a lot but maybe one or two more versions to try would be fun.

the gigantic miniature show at deep space gallery.

On Sunday I went to the re-launch of the Gigantic Minature Show at Deep Space Gallery and it was BAD. ASS.

You may be aware that I love Deep Space Gallery. It is legit the best. I was feeling sad because I haven’t been able to make it to a show or opening there since the fall! It was an outrage! I missed it a lot! So I was glad to go back and see what they’ve been up to.

The Gigantic Minature Show at Deep Space Gallery is something they’ve been doing yearly for the last couple of years and personally I think it’s great. It’s a bunch of smaller pieces by a bunch of artists and the work fills up the walls in the gallery and in the entry area and all the little nooks all over the place and everything is for sale and it’s really cool.

Part of what’s cool about this show, and Deep Space Gallery overall, is that the pieces are small and affordable and everyone gets a chance to own a piece of art and be a collector! To use one of my favorite words/ideas/concepts of the modern world – it “democratizes” art. THANK YOU FOR DEMOCRATIZING ART, DEEP SPACE. YOU DA MAN.

As usual the space of deep was very welcoming and they had wine and snacks from Frankie. The eponymous Frankie herself was even there! She’s a little doggy that prefers to experience the world while riding in a tote bag and it’s adorable.

I made oatmeal raisin cookies and brought some to share, and I was PUMPED to see that people enjoyed them! Baking is relaxing and also makes other people glad so I think it’s a win-win on that hobby.

Live footage of cookies.

There’s been some trouble in shan land as far as having a cold for like two weeks so it took a lot of riling myself up to get out of the house on Sunday and I was really glad I went. Did you know that “malaise” is a cold symptom? Because I feel MALAISED AF.

Now for some art! And my personal opinions of said art at the Gigantic Miniature Show at Deep Space Gallery.

Norm Kirby – @normkirby

These are some cool hanging wire sculptures. I’m not super into any of these particular depicted images but I really like the wire stuff he makes and I thought these were displayed in an interesting way by the window. I liked the reflections!

Talita Cabral and Alex Tea – @taacabral_ and @alextea.alextea

I like this one because it has elements of nature AND IT IS GOOOOOLD.

Alexis Kandra – @kandra_art

Alexis Kandra has a whole wall of these cute little animal paintings of all kinds of animals, real and mythical. I of course love the unicorns and the phoenixes but the blue parakeet is my most fav. You can’t really tell in this photo but most of them have a little gold detail as well.

Catherine Hart – @catherinewhart

This gal has many pieces around the town and I enjoy them all. THE BRIGHT COLORSSSSS.

Keith Garcia – @bel_biv_devoe_1

I love what this dude does but I don’t really know why. I can’t put my finger on why I love it and that’s kind of mysterious to me and makes me love it more. Maybe it’s something about the MAC machines? I did think money grew in MAC machines as a kid. And that it was unlimited. I still wish that was true every day.

He also made this lazy looking rodent-like painting and I know why I like this one. BECAUSE IT’S AN ANIMAL MAKING A LAZY FACE AND IT’S BRIGHT GREEN.

Ekaterina Popova – @katerinaspopova

HEY HI COOL LAST NAME IT’S LIKE MINE BUT WITH MORE FUN AT THE END! Also I adore this dreamy color palette. It’s always all about the colors for me. Did I already say that? Too bad.

Ru8icon1 – @ru8icon1

I love some ru8icon1! The one on the top was called “Vega” which I believe refers to a Chevy Vega which was my moms first car that she talks about kind of strangely a lot. But it spoke to me.

Macauley Norman – @macauleynorman

This was killin me and made me lol. I stared at it, and thought about it, and was like “Is that the lady from that Netflix documentary?!” And it was. And I laughed. Thank you for this laughter, Macauley Norman.

Joe Lotto – @joe.lotto

I love this, for the colors, the simplicity, AND THE DOGS. I recommend following him on Instagram and watching his stories because he posts videos of him hand painting/lettering and it is mesmerizing/soothing to watch his steady hand forming perfect letters. It’s self care and you deserve it.

Last, I loved that they had a little “graveyard” set up of the description cards from sold pieces. It felt like a nice positive “wahoo good job!” to the artists. I liked it. I already said I loved it but I also liked it. Maybe “graveyard” seems too morbid but that’s what I’m calling it.

Close up of sold art “graveyard.”

The Gigangic Mjnkatjre show is at Deep Space Gallery until February 5! Go check it out!

AND THEN they have a new show opening on February 13! It’s gonna rock. I know it.

what to wear during your holiday break.

Here’s a quick post on what to wear during your holiday break. Or more specifically, what to wear while you’re sitting on your ass during your holiday break.

As an “adult” I didn’t realize that a “holiday break” was possible until about 2 years ago. Shit at work luckily gets pretty slow in the two weeks between Dec 21st-ish and January 5th-ish, and I was like, “Wait a minute. It seems like everyone that is usually calling and emailing me disappears for two weeks around the holidays so maybe I should too?!”

So then I did. And I never looked back. Luckily I have a very kind and humane company to work for that gives us a healthy number of vacation days. THANK YOU KIND AND HUMANE COMPANY.

When you finally have a holiday break, you need to think about what to wear on your holiday break.

I do actually have to work the day after Xmas this year because I’m covering for the UK office. The day after Xmas is “Boxing Day” in the UK and if you don’t know what that is look it up because it’s silly AF. But I’m fully on board, as I always am with fun silly shit, and will gladly support them on their UK day off.

But (knock on wood) I don’t think it will be that busy and I’ll be working from home. Cross your fingers everyone.

JaneDO sweatshirt.

JaneDO is a great place to work out and they also have great merchmerchmerch. This cropped crew sweatshirt is great for any day but it’s super great for sitting on your ass next to an Xmas tree, I’ll tell ya that much.

Sweatshirt, JaneDO.

black sports bra and leopard leisure pants.

This is for when you get too hot while you’re baking cookies. Don’t you dare tell me that doesn’t happen to you because it happens to everyone.

Sports bra, Carbon38. Leopard leisure pants, JCrew.

sweatshirt dress, leggings, and adult pigtails.

This is a sweatshirt BUT ALSO A DRESS. IT IS A SWEATSHIRT DRESS. I hate wearing pants and I love to wear a dress even during lounge times. You could wear it with leggings but that’s fine because they don’t count as actual pants. Also adult pigtails are a great lounge lewk and don’t you forget it.

Sweatshirt dress, Target. Leggings, JCrew.

sweater and imitation down blanket.

This is just a pretty straight forward sweater. I like it. Many sweaters are on sale at Target right now. Also I’ve had this imitation down blanket since 2005 so I don’t think you’d find it anywhere but good luck.

Sweater and blanket, Target.

full body sweatpants, aka a sweatpants jumper, aka the best thing i’ve ever gotten from target and that says a lot. and a leopard scrunchie.

This is for relaxing and staying warm and also LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE BECAUSE IT IS GLAM AF.

Sweatpants jumper and leopard scrunchie, Target. I could not find the link for this freaking jumper but I just got it the other day so go to Target and search for it if you want.

For the next few days I will be sitting on my ass and wearing comfortable clothes. See you there.

Happy Xmas!

the jersey city target wondershop is completely and irretrievably ravaged.

The Jersey City Target is in a perpetual state of ravaged at all times of year, but right now the Jersey City Target “Wondershop” is completely and irretrievably ravaged.

Wondershop, struggling to stay awake.

As of December 21st, the winter solstice, shortest day of the year, and first day of winter (oh and Joy’s bday!) this particular Wondershop had lost all sense of wonder. It was sad and empty and picked clean. It appears to be hungover from the holiday and the holiday hasn’t even happened yet.

What’s that terrible expression about horses that people use to describe women that look like they had a “long night?” Oh… “Rode hard and put away wet.” Ew.

Inexplicable unattended bagel.

But this Target Wondershop looks like that. I resent the implication that it was up to no good in some way, but it really looks like it wasn’t treated well, it probably didn’t even have any fun, and it also had to pay the bill.

The Jersey City Target Wondershop needs a spa day. Overall this Target location seems to have a very VERY difficult time keeping up with the demand of its customers. It also has the appearance of a place where large packs of animals like wolves or lions or alligators have been doing their shopping.

WE HAVE ALL COME TO CLAIM THE WONDER THAT IS OURS.

Many things are always completely, COMPLETELY sold out and you’re like why were so many people drawn to this one thing?! And why are they all gone?! One time a full freezer case of ground turkey was empty. Just, NOTHING IN IT. Where did all the ground turkey go and why would they not have more?!

I’m aware that resources are finite, I GET IT, but it just seems like they would expect these situations and stock up? Or maybe not. Perhaps this is the sign of the end times, and the inevitable “running out of stuff” that will lead to the demise of humankind.

And this is the line for Starbucks. It was faster to walk to the next closest Starbucks.

This is nothing against Target. You obviously know I love Target because everyone loves Target. How could you not love Target? I realize this is the cliche and basic thing to say but Target can’t do anything wrong ever.

Honestly I should feel honored and grateful that Target even provides us with a Wondershop. A happy little place where we can find anything we could possibly want or think of for this Xmas holiday.

Except for at the Wondershop in Jersey City because it is picked clean.

Picked. Clean.

And maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I should have gone to the Wondershop when it began, probably a little before Thanksgiving. I did frequent the Hyde and Eek Boutique when it was there, BECAUSE DUH.

Maybe I’ve waited too long to get all my Xmas crap, like cookie sprinkles and cutters and ingredients, and wrapping paper and bows and shit, and it’s on me.

I’ve also gone to Target like 4 times in the last 7 days because I enjoy just being present in Target during my free time, and I HAVE noticed that they’ve filled in some spots that were fully ravaged the time before. But they filled in the ravaged spots with what I would consider half assed replacements, like huge cheap bags of candy in place of cool ornaments.

Because they ran out. Because the Jersey City Target Wondershop is completely and irretrievably ravaged.

I don’t know how this can be improved, and I guess I don’t really have a point. I just wanted to marvel at the incredible level of consumerism we are operating at over here in JC. And everywhere I guess. There’s just so many of us here and we love to CONSUME and we have FULLY CONSUMED ALL AVAILABLE XMAS RESOURCES.

If you don’t believe me go have a look for yourself. It’s like they predicted a hurricane or a blizzard was coming and everyone went and bought all the bottled water or whatever but instead they dashed into the Wondershop and started ripping everything off the shelves and stuffing their carts and pockets and faces with whatever they could grab and then they checked out and threw it all in their car and then they went back and Wondershopped some more but harder this time and they did that whole cycle at least 10 times.

It’s that ravaged.

If you don’t live in Jersey City, what is the status of YOUR Target Wondershop as of 12/21/19? The people want to know. Maybe I’ll move where you live if conditions are better.

JK I would never.

for me, it’s xmas.

What month are we in? December. So what holiday are we celebrating? For me, it’s Xmas.

I will begin with this reminder, you’re allowed to have Christmas still. I’m not trying to take that from you. But I am asserting my appreciation and ownership toward a December holiday. And for me, it’s Xmas.

“Christ” is taken out of Xmas. It’s not necessary for Xmas. Xmas is not about a dude being born, or the stuff he did, or the people he was good to, or even the sheep in the manger even though I’m super into the sheep.

OMG AND THE CAMELS.

But, I have let the camels go and I now fully embrace Xmas. My very own atheist, capitalist, narcissist, secular holiday. All wrapped up with a pretty red bow. For me, it’s Xmas.

Xmas isn’t all bad. I mean if you think “atheism” and “capitalism” and “narcissism” are bad things…it’s not ONLY those things.

It’s not really even bad at all, because perception is reality and I perceive that it is great.

The alternative December holiday of Xmas is about getting together and eating delicious foods with your fam and friends. Drinking mimosas and Baileys in coffee at the same time, one in each fist. 

Sharing dumb stories and laughing about memories and GETTING MADE FUN OF FOR THE TIME YOU WERE 12 AND YOU DIDN’T GET THE VICTORIA’S SECRET PAJAMAS THAT EVERYONE COOL AT STUPID SLEEPOVERS HAD AND YOU REALLY WANTED, SO YOU CRIED AND SAID IT WAS “THE WORST XMAS EVER.”

I don’t think anyone should be blamed or shamed for reacting to a deep and all encompassing sadness they felt when they were 12, as ridiculous as it may have seemed at the time, BUT THAT IS JUST ME.

During this holiday of Xmas you can freely wear fun clothes with glitter or sequins or ribbons or any number of embellishments, furs, and most DELICIOUSLY – VELVETS.

DOST THOU WANT TO LIVE DELICIOUSLY?!

I thought so.

Xmas is about doing fun silly shit like decorating an Xmas tree. Why we feel we have to dominate and overpower the tree and chop it down and drag it into our house only to discard it on the curb a month later is still beyond my comprehension. But I like trees and hanging things on trees and a tree in my house and the way that a tree in my house smells so consider me an enthusiastic supporter of Xmas trees and Xmas tree related behaviors  now and forever.

Wreaths? Garlands? LOVE EM.

Xmas LIGHTS also have a special place. Because it is incredibly and unbearably and offensively freezing outside already by this point in December, i.e. the very beginning. The lights play some kind of mind trick where they make me think of warmth. I think I feel significant warmth coming from them. This is an illusion. I am insane. But the lights look so nice, set up everywhere, looking warm and welcoming.

Hmmm what else, OH COOKIES! I like to bake now and it’s fun AF to put on my silly as hell Xmas apron and make some delicious cookies with Xmas appropriate sprinkles.  If you’ve had these cookies then you know, they are the answer to all that ails us. Shit I have to order the sprinkles.

And gifts! I love to get gifts! I love to give gifts! GIFTSGIFTSGIFTS my 2nd place love language is gifts. Plz give me some.

As they say Xmas is for children so that part is cute too, watching the children I like get super pumped about everything going on around them.

Overall, Xmas gives us all a time to slow way down and reflect on the year. Most people take off for a few days in December, if not all the days up until the week after New Year’s Day (me! I do that!). And you don’t even have to like make it a “thing” and “reflect.” You can just binge Netflix, or binge drink, or binge literally any noun. It’s self care. And you earned it, baby. It’s nice to wear pajamas and take a rest. We work too hard sometimes, my friends.

I took from Christmas the things I liked, and ignored the things I didn’t. And I arrived here. Ignoring things you don’t like always makes them go away. It’s science.

In conclusion, I guess maybe I stole your holiday and I made it my own. But I think it’s a good one. Even without the camels. I realize I’m not the only person that feels this way about Xmas being a different thing than Christmas and it isn’t some groundbreaking announcement. But maybe another Xmas-head needed to hear this. Fellow Xmas-heads, I salute you.

the fourth thursday in november.

Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November. Maybe you already knew that, but it is. I actually question if you all DID know that, because the fourth Thursday in November was late AF this year and I saw a lot of people being super confused about it. Just like, stumbling down the street, not knowing which day the fourth Thursday of November is. Don’t be ashamed, it’s okay. Actually no, be ashamed. You’re a dumb dumb.

It’s the fourth Thursday in November. Not the third.

This is the turkey.

Sometimes I think of this blog as simply an extension of my Instagram and that’s how I’m going to treat it today. An expanded canvas for sharing some shit that happens on my Thanksgiving every year. Or happened specifically this year, on this fourth Thursday in November.

preamble.

I love Thanksgiving because it is simply and blatantly and unabashedly and only about food. You can say that it’s about like “giving thanks” or “being with family” but you are doing both or either of those things because the food brought you there. It called to you and convinced you to leave your home or invite people to your home. You came for the food. And that’s okay! Just let it happen. Just enjoy the food. You’re celebrating the harvest, after all.

The harvest that we have available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year because we live in a first world country. But a harvest, nonetheless.

This year’s crew!

My niece and nephew, aka my brother’s family, come to my parent’s house every other year and this was a off year so we had a bit less stress and running around the morning of because I guess my mom doesn’t really give a crap about much if they’re not here. Which like…cool.

Good crowd.

Because we had time to go on a walk by the river in the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park and get some fresh air and exercise. I think that’s really important to do before you eat everything in front of your face within a 10 foot radius for 5 hours straight.

pregame.

Once home, it was time for coffee and Bailey’s and then to get dressed and prettied up and then do a whole list of other shit.

The first thing I need to get done this year was a chicken photo shoot. You knew that was coming. It was chilly and windy outside but the chickie gals seemed amenable to photos. Kind of.

A golden comet, layer of Foolproof Sugar Cookie eggs.
Harry lays the blue eggs <3
They lay eggs!

Following the chicken photo shoot, I did my yearly preparation of the cheesy bread. As I’ve said before I haven’t always been much of a cook and I’m still not but I’m more open to learning now. My previously established role of “cheesy bread maker” involves my mom preparing the bread dough (however that happens) and then providing me with the dough, cheese, and muffin tins to put the cheesy bread into to get it ready to cook. Which she then does.

This requires minimal effort from me, and I made a timelapse.

You may see me exit during the cheesy bread making, and it’s because my dad called from the living room, “OMG SHAN GET OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!” And I ran out and he was watching the Easton/PBurg football game on live TV and this seemed like a big deal. This high school football game has been happening on the fourth Thursday of November since 1933 and it is insane. It is a LEGENDARY rivalry (apparently it ended in a straight up FRACAS this year?!) I do hate sports but there’s something about rivalries that encompass ENTIRE TOWNS in TWO DIFFERENT STATES that just feels impressive to me. I encourage you to read more about both of those places because they’re a TRIP. Actually hold that thought, I’ll write more about them and you can read about it here. Not today though.

Not NOT interested in high school sports rivalries.

After the cheesy bread was prepared I had to set the table. I have no idea how to set a table like “the right way” and I pretty much just wing it so who knows if this is correct.

Perhaps I could have googled it before I did it but I didn’t. I googled it just now but I didn’t read this. But if you read it you’ll know how to set a table better than me and you can hold that over my head forever, I’ll allow it.

No idea.

Once the table was set it was TIME. FOR. MIMOSAS. Because mimosas are everything, when drinking in the day. My mom gets these little tiny baby orange juices from her school because she’s a lunch lady and half of one is perfect for a mimosa-sized OJ dose. Personally I used a quarter of one, if you’re counting.

My sister and her boyfriend arrived and then my grandma and my uncle, and it was time for cheese and crackers. Which frankly may be one of my most favorite times. We drank our mimosas and waters and black cherry sodas and green apple cider (but like beer cider) and red wines and ate cheese and crackers and talked about shit.

My mom with my Grammie and Uncle Tom.

dinner.

And then it was time for “dinner” but it was like 2 in the afternoon but either way it was time.

I chose pineapple stuffing my sister made, au gratin potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cheesy bread (THE FRUIT OF MY LABOR!), and white meat turkey. I don’t like dark meat turkey because it is slimy and slippery and awful. I’m entitled to that opinion.

SELECTIONS.

Also, I had a difficult time with turkey today because the Audubon Society’s Instagram was full of awesome wild turkey facts this week and they made me feel really weird about eating turkey today. So I just had a nibble. And I’m sorry turkeys of the world, and of the wild. Did you know turkeys are like OG AMERICANS? I knew that but not everyone at work did when I told them the other day so just making sure you know. You’re welcome.

Following the dinner foods I had some pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream. My mom got 3 pies but I’m not huge on pie so I just ate the pumpkin. I brought cookies from the Milkbar flagship too! And the cookies were enjoyed. IMMENSELY. BY ALL.

Desserts!

planksgiving.

After the ceremonial stuffing of faces I challenged my sister and her boyfriend to a “Planksgiving” activity that I was inspired to do by Taylor at JaneDO in Jersey City.

AND I WON. I AM THE STRONGEST.

This is a very long video but that means I did a very long plank so be impressed.

Recently my boyfriend didn’t help me lift someone drunk up out of his hot tub because he was too busy looking on and saying “Shannon is strong, she can do it…watch!” And I am, in fact, strong. And they did, in fact, watch.

Shan = VERY STRONG.

And they all went home to their families on this fourth Thursday of November and told their families about it, I just know it. And then I won Planksgiving forever.

After the meal and the fun and the planking, we gathered all of the dirty dishes into a laundry basket so my mom could forget about them until tomorrow. It’s a real tradition here and it’s nice for my mom. Or dad because he usually washes them. But always tomorrow because who needs to deal with that shit today.

As my leftover meal I made these sliders with cheesy bread, pepper jack cheese, white meat turkey, and strawberry/jalapeño jelly. They were fantastic.

How was your Thanksgiving? Happy Thanksgiving, by the way! I hope it was grand. Did you also do Planksgiving? What is your fav food to eat? Did you eat until you felt sick? I’m really glad I didn’t do that. I’ll say it again for the cheap seats. Any time I don’t eat until I feel sick when that much food is available is a real victory. But I AM tired. Bye.