This past weekend was filled with a birthday party, concert, Brandon Boyd’s biceps and other merriment.  However, like a dimwit, I failed to bring along a camera for any of the festivities.  So, instead of sharing any of those memories, I’m gonna share some other stuff that I’ve been enjoying lately.

1) A trip to Pepperdine

Despite my time as a women’s soccer player at Pepperdine, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve been back to take in a match.  At the behest of incredible alumna Anna (who incidentally is the current goalkeeper for the Italian national team-so awesome), I drove out to enjoy the day in Malibu.  There was a game on, but honestly I was more taken with the familiar breathtaking scenery.

Watching the match reignited one of my not-so-secret ambitions:  to create a documentary about youth soccer in Southern California.   If you talk to any girl who played competitive soccer in SoCal, you are almost certain to hear tales of surgeries, abuse, and interminable mental pressure.  Everyone knows that the culture of youth sports in this country can  stray into the scary, fanatical zone.  Even when you are a participant, you become so anesthetized to the often dangerous and absurd demands of your sport you don’t think twice about some of that crap.  However, I believe that a comprehensive examination of the youth soccer culture would shock the pants off of some people.  Spoiler alert: I think a lot of the problems stem from $$$.  Anyways…it’s my silly little dream to tell that story…uplifting I know.

2) Making the Ugliest Cake in History

The other night, Jess and I had a hankering for a dessert.  I jumped at the chance to break out a recipe that had previously piqued my interest.   Too Easy Dump and Go Pudding.  It’s not like a liquid “pudding”, but a UK steamed cake “pudding”.  Anyways, the idea is you put maple syrup in the bottom of a bowl, pour a super simple batter over the top and steam that puppy in the microwave for 5 minutes.  Dump it on a plate and devour.

flippin' the cake over, awaiting liberation

We added some chocolate chips into our batter, and microwaved for more like 7 minutes.  The real fun began when we attempted to dislodge our treat.  Flipping the bowl onto a plate was easy, but getting the scorching hot bowl off…was challenging.  First, we tried to use a regular oven mitt, but it failed to grip the bowl.  Next, was an Ove Glove attempt.

Jess trying to palm that sucker

That failure led to a precarious dual spatula rescue effort.

a good though unsuccessful try

Finally, we had only two choices: risk minor palm burns or allow our glorious cake to cool into a lackluster, lukewarm lump.  So, I ran my hands under some cool water and went in for the kill.

Great Success

We unveiled the ugliest freakin’ cake I’ve ever seen.  The texture was so…spongey, moist and well… weird looking.  Nevertheless, we topped it with berries and whipped cream trying to beautify the poor thing.

So Unsure

Despite our fears, that thing was tasty! It seems like a pretty foolproof recipe to me.  Whisk together a stupidly simple batter.  If you want, you can add little extras like choc chips, raisins, apple etc.  Throw it in the microwave for a few minutes, and you have a delicious dessert- no oven, no stress (well if you dismiss our issues with liberating it).

Cake Wreck. So Fugly

3. Ridiculously Cool Photos

I saw these photos featured on a blog awhile ago, and I have not been able to get them out of my head.  You can see the whole batch of them here or here.

The photographer took a series of old photos from Bologna, and positioned them within their modern context.  I love the suggestion of continuity and change in history.  There’s something beautiful in imagining this place and its people in times of celebrations, war, birth, death, prosperity and lean times.  It’s comforting.  Life goes on-ugly and beautiful.