The Fine Print

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Are You There God?….It’s Me…Bootybella

So today I was sorting through some stuff I had collected on my laptop. Mostly work related articles, and tutorials on different projects. Then I spied this one. Ahhhhh….The Happy Period….it was labeled. I let out a deep belly laugh as I reminisced reading this letter someone had emailed me months ago. I remember reading Judy Bloom’s book years past, that shed some light on the monthly “friend” that would pay a visit for the rest of womanhood. But really – this letter, my friends, really explains it all!!
Word has it that this is an actual letter from an Texan woman who sent her opinions, all typed up in one nice (some may say lengthy, but eloquent) letter to Proctor & Gamble, in regards to their feminine products and their current ad campaign ~ Have A Happy Period. Have a happy period. Are you kidding me? Why don't they have a joyous root canal! If the advertising slogan exec who came up with that little gem is a woman, P&G needs to do us all a favor and take her out now - she doesn't deserve to belong to the sisterhood. If it's a man, I'm really not surprised. I'm sure he's out there at this moment campaigning for effervescent mammograms and hallelujah pap smears.
I think Wendi has done a superb job at touching on some of issues that bother her (along with those belonging to most of the female population). Just thought this deserved a post to share with the sistah’s!!! Can I get a “Woot Woot Wendi”?
Oh yeah!!!! In the meantime, I hope the boys at P&G have a titillating prostate exam!

Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your ‘Always’ maxi pads for over 20years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without theLeakGuard Co re or Dri-Weave absorbency, I’d probably never gohorseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear ofrunning up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But myfavorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos onbeing the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it isthat maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secureI feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever sufferedfrom the curse’? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my time of themonth is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonalforces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes fromnow, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what myhusband likes to call ‘an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.’ Isn’tthe human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you’ve no doubtseen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens du ring yourcustomer’s monthly visits from ‘Aunt Flo’. Therefore, you must knowabout the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about ourintense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. Yousurely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only lastweek, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove herboyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because hetold her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps.Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America isjust crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants… Which bringsme to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes ofcramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out myuterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on theadhesive backing, were these words: ‘Have a Happy Period.’

Are you f—— kidding me? What I me an is, does any part of yourtiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling,laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Didanything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, didit, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak, therewill never be anything ‘happy’ about a day in which you have to jackyourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your housejust so you don’t march down to the local Walgreen’s armed with ahunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap amoronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to saysomething that’s actually pertinent, like ‘Put down the Hammer’or ‘Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong’, or are you just picking on us?
Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effectiveimmediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I havechosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I willcertainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss yourbrand of condescending bullshit. And that’s a promise I will keep.

Always. . .

Wendi Aarons

Austin , TX


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Secret Indulgence....

I thought it was time to share my favorite indulgence with all of with my sistah’s. Following the rule of simplicity…the secret to Zen-ness is the decadent combination of Truffles and Port. This is utterly the most godlike combination for tranquility. Believe it or not, when it comes to making chocolates at home, these are by far the easiest. And with that said, when it comes to the truffles, I live by the philosophy of “mo’ chocolate, mo’ better” so below I will share my favorite recipe for truffles, followed by a couple inspirational ways to alter this morsel.

The History of Truffles
Chocolate Truffles are a rich and elegant, bite-sized petit four made with a creamy mixture of chocolate, cream, and butter to which various flavorings are added (liqueurs, extracts, nuts, coffee, purees, spices, candied or dried fruits). This mixture is really a Ganache that is rolled into mis-shaped rounds to look like the real truffle fungus that grows around the roots of trees in France and Italy. Piggies usually sniff these out....
Same goes in this case! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Once the truffles are formed they are then rolled in cocoa powder to simulate the 'dirt' that the real truffles grow in. While cocoa powder is the traditional coating, truffles can also be coated in confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, toasted and chopped nuts, tempered chocolate, shredded coconut, or even shaved chocolate.

Now, the taste and quality of the truffle is primarily dependent on the quality of chocolate you start with. Remember not all chocolates are the same. Chocolate begins with the beans from the tropical tree Theobroma which translates to "Food of the Gods". There are three types of cacao beans (Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario) and the type and/or blend of beans, their quality, and where they are grown all contribute to the quality and taste of the chocolate. Other factors affecting taste and quality are how the beans are roasted, how the beans are ground into a mass called chocolate liquor, how much extra cocoa butter is added to the chocolate liquor, quality and amount of other ingredients added, and how long the chocolate liquor is conched (processed). A chocolate with a velvety smooth texture will produce a truffle that is velvety smooth. However, the most important point to consider when choosing either a bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate for making your truffles is whether you like the chocolate when eaten out of hand.

Once you have decided on your chocolate, you then need to decide on your choice of alcohol to flavor your truffles and also the coating. The choice is yours but there are a few things to consider. For example, if you want a hazelnut flavored truffle it is a good idea to add Frangelico to the chocolate and cream mixture and then coat them in chopped hazelnuts. Or if you would like your truffles to have a coffee flavor stir about one tablespoon of espresso powder into the hot cream and then add Kahua to the truffle mixture. For fruit flavored truffles use 2 tablespoons of fruit puree or jam (raspberry or blackberry) in place of the alcohol. Orange flavored truffles can be made by adding about 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the hot cream. Let the cream steep for about 10 - 15 minutes and then strain out the zest. Then add Grand Marnier to the truffle mixture. There is also the option to add different flavoring agents other than alcohol. Chai tea can be steeped into the whipping cream & butter, and believe you me….curry powder & cardamom seeds add an amazing flavor when paired with the chocolate. As you can see there are endless variations to the basic truffle so experiment and come up with your own recipes.
Truffles store very well. They can be refrigerated for a couple of weeks or frozen for several months. However, truffles are best when served at room temperature.

Thee Recipe

8 ounces (227 grams) milk, dark or white semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons alcohol (Port, Bonny Doon’s Framboise Dessert Wine, Demi-Sec Champagne, Cognac, Brandy, Grand Marnier, Kirsch, Rum, Bourbon, Baily’s Irish Cream, or Kahlua to name a few) (optional)

Different Coatings for Truffles:
Dutch-Processed Cocoa Powder
Confectioners Sugar (Icing or Powdered)
Toasted and Chopped Nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios)
Toasted Coconut
Shaved Chocolate

Time…4 hours including chilling. It is really easy to drink the remainder of the port in that time frame…I know. But it is essential that one re-corks the nectar to savor with the truffles.

For Truffles: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth. If desired, add the liqueur. Cover and place in the refrigerator until the truffle mixture is firm (this will take several hours or overnight).

Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator. With your hands, or else a melon baller or small spoon form the chocolate into round or mis-shaped bite-sized balls. Immediately roll the truffle in the coating and place on a parchment lined baking sheet or tray. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm.

Now…for the Porto….
What in the World is Port?
The distinctive character of Port does not come only from its method of production. Like that of every great classic wine, it is also born of an association of climate, soil & grape varieties unique in the world. Being fortified, Port is capable of ageing in wood for much longer than most other wines – from two years to many decades, depending on its character and potential. It may mature in cask, vat or bottle - or a combination of these. These differing periods and methods of ageing give rise to a diversity of different styles, each with its own distinctive character and purpose.

Hands down my ultimate favorite…
Taylor 20 Year Old Tawny.
This is what I commonly refer to as the “nectar of the gods”! I had the privilege of working with the distribution agent for this company, and was spoiled senseless with the option of tasting all their ports. Taylor 20 Year Old Tawny is a magnificent and finely-balanced tawny of outstanding richness and complexity. The additional ten years of aging it has on the 10 year tawny produces a fine balance between the rich, raisiny fruit and the nutty, honeyed finish - a taste to linger over. This rare port is traditionally enjoyed as a dessert wine or at the end of the meal, or in my case….whenever I can get my hands on truffles.

I truly hope that this post has inspired a few of you to go outside the norm, and try my favorite pairing. Just don’t call me the next morning, complaining of hair cramps because you didn’t know when to stop!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Great Cause & Some Amazing Blog Candy!!!!

Hello everyone.....I just got an email today about this incredible woman, Cammie. Click on her blog here to see what this amazing woman is up to!!!! Her grandmother passed away in June from Alzheimer's and with the release of her gorgeous stamp set Whimsical Autumn, she is graciously donating ALL the proceeds to the Alzheimer's Association. Along with this she has reached out to the stamping world and received donations from the most amazing companies to collect come seriously great blog candy to give away to one lucky winner. What a haul some lucky winner is going to recieve!!!!!
All you have to do is read her post here and follow the directions. One of the best parts about it is you get to make a card to send to a caretaker or a person affected with Alzheimer's.

And the best part is it is another one of those feel good type of giveaways.

Here is the card that I made with my new Pocket Silhouette's stamp set from SU.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Halloween Ramblings..... is just around the corner!!!! I found myself at Wally World the other day to pick up a few things and was astonished to see the entranceway lined with shelves brimming of morsals of sugar!!!! It never ceases to amaze me what they come out with each year to package and sell to the consumers that want to be "the cool people on the block with the cool candy"!!!!
While sifting through mounds of chocolate, a shiny black & orange box caught my eye one row over. As I approached this find, I thought to myself what a brilliant idea!!! Kernels popcorn individually wrapped mini bags of microwave popcorn ~ and are you sitting down...when it pops it pops "orange". Not from the butter inside the package, but from the small amount of food coloring (aka...die) dribbled into each package! Hey, it all can't be good for you!!!
Seeing as I had previously done popcorn wrappers for microwave popcorn and toothfairy tins in my last post...I had an ah-ha moment and thought this will be perfect for the little trick or treaters on Halloween nite!!!! (Not to mention, their mother's may ooooh & ahhhh at the packaging job that I am gonna do over them!!!!) So I guess I will be working diligently on that project for the next month and a half! LOL!!!
Because of my luv of popcorn...this got me thinking about what the worst Halloween candy we got as a kids was. The candy selection has come a long way since I was a little one (braving the cold, sometimes snow covered grounds in our plastic apron style costume that tied over our snowsuits, and not to mention the plastic mask that was sure to crack just below your chin from the bitter cold, and tear away at your lower jaw all night long!!!! Even the costumes are much more plush these days!!!)
So here is my top 10 list of thee worst candy to hand out on Halloween:
10. Mini boxes of Raisins ~ these always seemed to be covered in some wierd form of waxy crud, had to be washed before they were eaten, and let's face it....they were healthy!!! Come on people!! This holiday is about sugar, not spice!!!

09. Apples....after all...fruit is nature's candy! Now I don't know if they were bruised when they got dumped into my bag, but they sure always managed to come out that way. File that one right into the garbage!!! Uck!! P.S., Please see #10 for health concern.

08. Mary Jane Kisses ~ that would be the proper name for those taffy concoctions that are wrapped in the black & orange wrappers. This really has zero flavor to it, and you may just be deemed pathetic if you find yourself actually scrapping the bottom of your sack to eat these droppings. Shame on you people for buying these and passing them off as ligitamit "candy"!!!

07. Circus Peanuts - wow...these may even have less flavor than #8 - take a peanut and cover it in a rough bland shell, put it in a fancy box and call them Circus Peanuts!!! These always had a way of making their way out of their container (maybe it was the expensive packaging process) and into the bottom of sludge in the base of my bag.

06. Dental Floss or Toothbrushes ~ are you lookin to be cleaning hardened on egg yolk off of your front porch screen door on November 1st? I heard toothbrush work really good for getting into the screen netting. dare you!!!!

05. Double Bubble Bubble Gum...from last year!!! The stuff that you tear open and pop into your mouth, biting down and realizing your back molars just ripped out? Thanks so much for thinking of me!!!! You may as well have thrown in a handful of Chalky Valentine Hearts from February and some leftover Peeps from April! What the hey!!!!

04. Any, and I mean any...banana flavored candy. Laffy taffy, runts, whatever shape or form, this idea was simply WRONG!

03. Juice Boxes....ummmmmm....yah, I really don't have anything to add to that one.

02. Anything Carob - this is simply the wrong. Your 'mocklate' should never have crossed the threshold of your granola eating home into my collection of chocolate treasures. Cardnal rule of Halloween - don't mess with the chocolate....if it is safe for the dog to eat, I don't want it!!!!!

01. Pennies....for real. Look, you are a kid and you already have to lug around a pillowcase full of if it isn't heavy enough. Pennies are filthy, heavy and they are worth...well, you figure it out!!! That is really just ghetto!