Treat Yourself – GO READ A BOOK

Hey friends. How are you? How is your stress level? How are you sleeping? Yea, me too.

Current stress levels after reading and discussing all that is going on in the world have caused me to develop a very prominent eye twitch. I hope no one has noticed.

vintage-library

 It is  stressful time right now, for multiple reasons. There is work to be done – always. It seems like it is never enough. BUT if you are so stressed (that your eye twitches TOO) then you need to take care of your yourself! There are a million and one ways to do that!

• Take a walk • pick up a new hobby • exercise • walk • be creative • hang out with your friends • binge watch something FUN and silly •

My go to for turning everything off is BOOKS. Picture books, children’s books, books about other books, cooking books, pattern books, kindle books. I try to be an equal opportunist when it comes to all things BOOK. It is also a bonus for the queen of the hermits because usually this is a SOLO venture. The quiet of this activity plus taking in the info on the page is pretty much the only thing that is helping me de-stress – even if it is just a few minutes at a time.

My challenge to myself this year, or rather a version of a new years resolution is to READ ALL THE BOOKS. Obviously I cannot read ALL THE BOOKS but I am going to try to read twice as many as last year. This should not be a problem as I read books and either didn’t finish them or simply didn’t mark them down. My memory is crap and until it is documented somewhere I just do not remember.

vintage library

There goes that eye twitch again.

So to aid me on this literary adventure was a link my mom sent me (HI MOM!):

Pop Sugar 2017 Reading Challenge

I don’t read pop sugar often and in general I am not much of a joiner but this list of book prompts is kind of awesome. A book about someone you admire, a book in a genre you are unfamiliar with, A BOOK WITH A CAT ON THE COVER. These topic suggestions run all over the place and are completely open to interpretation. It has really gotten me excited to venture out to some books I would have normally never read as I like to hang almost exclusively in the memoirs/autobiography/biography section.

The only problem I had was with their printable sheet. It was impossible to read and to scribble notes on so I made you a NEW ONE!

2017 Book Challenge Worksheet

Feel free to share it, save it, print it, keep a crumpled up copy with you at all times! I have a few that I scribble on and move my to reads around to different spots.

Another great fun resource for this is a group on Goodreads –  book suggestions and to read lists for all the topics you may not be familiar with. What the heck is a STEAMPUNK NOVEL? I guess I will use this awesome group to find out.

If you aren’t on goodreads I highly recommend it. It is a great resource for finding your next favorite book.

I also like to look to A Mighty Girl for book suggestions. They are separated in category by age but there is a 14+ section I like to check through.

While 40 + books looks like a heck of a lot for one year, with all the life happenings that need to be taken care of day to day, that shouldn’t detour you from at least trying to tackle a couple. Use to the list suggestions to find a book you may never would have tried otherwise!

I am going to try my best to get through the list, I am already 4 down, but I am just happy to ride along on this literary vacation. Join me!

books

 

HOMEWORK:

• What are you currently reading now

• Share with us your book recommendations that might fit into the categories

• Friend me on goodreads!

 

A VERY Bitter Christmas!

Hi Gang! We are almost in the home stretch.

Bittersweet Susie

In my family Christmas is a casual affair. We get together on Christmas Eve, draw names for a gift exchange, eat until we can’t move and are in bed by 9! Christmas day we just eat leftovers in pjs. I usually eat candy for breakfast to really keep with the manic sugar fuel frenzy that some of us get when we go all in to the holiday spirit.

Bittersweet Susie

What are your traditions?

Today is my BAKING MARATHON DAY! I am pretty excited about it. Also, I have pretty much watched EVERY holiday movie and special there is, some of them twice (I am looking at you White Christmas). I, as I do every year, had GREAT PLANS for all the crafty things I was going to make and per usual I did almost NONE of them. Typical. There is always next year!

I DID manage to make these cute mid century putz-style glitter house inspired from a tutorial on Retro Renovation. It is one of my FAVORITE blogs if you have not had the chance to check it out.

Bittersweet Susie

I also made these HOMEMADE Vanilla Extract that I posted here a few days ago. Look at me posting TWICE in the same month.

And as a HOLIDAY Tradition here on the blog I have for you the 2016 Bittersweet Christmas Playlist! I had a theme going for a minute. First a Country Christmas, then it was a bluesy Christmas and now it is just A RANDOM CHRISTMAS! Like our year this playlist has some ups, some downs, and some total turds! Not everything can be the best thing you ever heard, right? I will be listening today while I finish up (or start) wrapping, and baking, and meditating on being the MOST FESTIVE I can be!

Bittersweet Susie

Cheers to a great Holiday!

No homework! CHRISTMAS VACATION!

 

Last Minute Gifts – DIY Vanilla Extract

Oh crap! Christmas is a week away! Are you ready? Do you have all your gifts wrapped? Cards sent? Meals planned? NO!?! Me either.

That is the joy of the holidays, seems like it goes on forever (with no help from christmas decorations showing up earlier and earlier each year) but it sneaks up on you and bites you square in the butt!

Dearest friends I have a super easy last-minute gift for you to make!

Vanilla Extract!

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Ohhhhh fancy

What you need:

• Booze

• Glass bottle with tight fitting lid

• Whole vanilla beans

This is seriously the easiest gift to make – and is something that I (as a frequent baker) go through fairly quickly.

First you need some BOOZE. I have seen homemade vanilla made from a number of spirits. Vodka, bourbon, rum and someone even used GIN! Vodka is a good place to start – sort of blank canvas for the vanilla beans but bourbon also sounded like it would be good – I think I am going to try RUM in another batch.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I raided my fathers liquor cabinet for this little project. My parents are always reliable for a good bar stash!

Dad gave me some of this Bakers Bourbon to use – the bottle was practically empty before I used it – SHUT UP – it wasn’t ME.

I don’t think he got that I wasn’t going to drink it straight. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Filled your cleaned bottles with your booze of choice! These little stopper bottles came from Cost Plus.

Next – fresh vanilla beans! I get mine from this AWESOME spice shop in Santa Barbara store called Vices and Spices. They ship! They also have amazing teas and coffee.

Make sure your vanilla beans are not dried out.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

Cut off the ends – but keep them! Don’t waste the vanilla! Slit the beans open so they can get completely infused – I also cut mine in half because they fit in the bottle easier and they need to be completely submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

I used two beans per bottle.

Shake up your concoction and warp it up for a friend. I have no friends so these are FOR ME.

Give them a good shake and let them sit in a cool dark place for a month. Some people leave it longer for a stronger vanilla flavor. Just check on it weekly for a good SHAKE SHAKE and to make sure the beans are still fully submerged.

Bittersweet Susie | DIY Vanilla Extract

The great thing about these is that it lasts practically forever (or until the beans flavor weekends)

Always make sure beans are fully covered in liquid. I top mine of every time I use it – NEVERENDING VANILLA EXTRACT!

YAY! You domestic badass! People are going to be impressed with your fancy gift!

Here are some posts of Christmas’s PAST to get you through this holiday:

Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial

Christmas Dance Party Playlist

Holiday Craft Bonanza – part 2

DIY Wrapping Paper


Stay tuned this week for this years Christmas Playlist  – and check out my instagram for all my holiday baking for the BIG DAY. I hope Santa is down with paleo.

Homework:

• What are you making for your holiday meals?

• What dishes or desserts are tradition that you MUST MAKE year after year?

• The best homemade gift you made or received? 

 

2016 Thanksgiving Playlist – Thankful ISHHHHHH

Hi friends!  Hows the cooking going?!? I am onto the 4th pie I have made this week! WOOOO the Holidays!

This is what I look like

I know it is the super busy this time of year, and 2016 has been HARD. Too damn hard. It’s hard for me to try to be funny on here or have anything cute and kitsch to post. I need to remember to be thankful and content in what is good. There have of course been wonderful things that have happened (cute babies being born to lovely friends) and lots of dogs and cats to pet and take care of! There has been some good tv – REALLY good tv – and good books to read. There has not been a shortage on BOOZE – so YAY for that. And there is always chocolate to eat. See, good good things.

Even though it is a holiday I have given myself homework and I am assigning it to you to. Break out those post-it notes you have in your junk drawer and WRITE DOWN the things you are thankful for right now. Go ahead and do it…I’ll wait.

Now post one in the kitchen where you are cooking today, or on top of the tv, or the computer. Put one in your medicine cabinet. And all day (even if you aren’t having the greatest of holidays or your fam is mean or annoying or someone made REALLY dry turkey) look at your post-its and remind yourself that “Yea! I AM THANKFUL FOR VODKA!”

You don’t have to be PC, be selfish and silly. I am thankful for comfy cotton unds that don’t ride up. I am thankful for Gilmore girls having new episodes. I am thankful for group text messaging.

Here is mine:

bittersweet Susie | Thankful

Obviously there are a number of things that you could write down, we all have some pretty great things going on in our lives despite the bad but I just want you to write down three. Do it for me, ok?

I promised the 2016 Thanksgiving playlist yesterday and HERE IT IS!

Crank it up! It is totally fine for
mixed company! I promise Grandpa will enjoy this playlist!

And I have made a master playlist of all previous Thanksgiving so you can stream it for your party and not be bothered with that terrible dinner music mom likes to sneak on sometimes! (sorry mom you know I love Rod Stewart too)

I will be adding music all day !

And if you are feeling fancy check out some posts from previous Thanksgivings! I think there is a recipe for PIE in there if you are scrambling and don’t know how the internet works!

Have a great holiday friends!

 

2016 Halloween Playlist!

Bittersweet SusieHi Friends.

I almost forgot to post this years playlist. I didn’t TOTALLY forget, that is a bit of a stretch. I remembered but I just was not into it. I firmly believe that we should have certain big holidays every other year – that way it is like – Yay Halloween I missed your guts SO much – instead of – OH CRAP HALLOWEEN IS NEXT MONDAY!?!?!

I am usually super pumped for Halloween – I do a bunch of posts and take photos of my spooky adventures. I just didn’t this year. I am sorry. I DID decorate the house a little and the roommies humored me with that. “Festive!” “Cute!” “Oh you decorate for EVERY HOLIDAY?” Thanks gang – I appreciate the understanding and support.

I managed go to two of the major theme parks Haunt events – Universal Studios & Knott’s Berry Farms. I had NEVER been to the Universal one before and had not been to Knott’s since *cough* 1998 *cough*.

I was TERRIFIED of these types of things – but this year I was fine. I am either way more brave or so old and bitter I no longer care to be scared. Either way – they are both fun! I felt like I was everyone’s MOM at Universal. So, there was that. And the lines were ridic. What the crap is the purge and why is it EVERYWHERE. If I had to pick one to return to it would HANDS DOWN be Knotts. I love that little park. And the Ghost Town all filled with fog and decorations is pretty much the closest thing you will get to living in a spooky Halloween special of our childhood AND it has Elvira – plus it is half the price – is there even a contest here? We know who the clear winner is.

Bittersweet Susie

I am also most likely NOT going to dress up for Halloween this year. I was never even temped with that idea. Adult Halloween is sometimes just NOT my jam. I do like carving pumpkins! And the smell of a FULL bucket of Halloween candy. It is the best.

As a peace-offering for being the worst blogger ever for the five friends and family members who read this (Hi mom! LOVE YOU) I have two treats for you today!

The 2016 Playlist! AND some crafty fun freebies! Wooooo! Party!

It is time to get crafty because I made you a “Tomb Sweet Tomb” Cross Stitch – AND of you run out of time (like I do every damn year) you can also just download a free printable fakeout – See fellow procrastinators – I GOT YOUR BACK!

Download Tomb Sweet Tomb Freebies HERE!

Bittersweet Susie | Tomb Sweet Tomb

 

And the most important tradition here at Bittersweet Susie – The 2016 Halloween Playlist!

2016 Halloween Playlist

 

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Don’t forget to check out the posts of HALLOWEEN’S PAST – in case you missed them or you are old like me and FORGOT!

2015 Halloween Playlist 

2014 Halloween Playlist 

Vincent Price Cook-a-long

Swingin’ at the Séance

 

Homework:

• What was your favorite Halloween Candy as a kid?

• What was your LEAST favorite?

• Are you dressing up this year??

 

Bang Bang – A Photo Adventure

Greetings everyone! I hope you are well!

Dominique in Palmdale - Film - Yashica 124

My friend Dominique and I have been planning and scheming to shoot together from what seems like FOREVER.

If you don’t already know and follow @tikidominiki then you are a damn fool and missing  out on this incredible sassy pants. Check out her music HERE!

Her shows are so fun and I have the BIGGEST girl crush on her ever – good thing her husband is the coolest!

Our plans are always grand and ambitious – I think partly because we both can be perfectionists and also know the other is going to KICK ASS at anything we do together. The only problem with that is we never seem to just DO IT. We are trying to find a perfect location, or lining up some hair and makeup friends to collaborate with us. In theory this is awesome, because we both want to put our best work out there but I think it also prevents us from shooting some spontaneous places full of happy accidents.

We somehow lined up our schedules and drive out to butt fuck nowhere in the desert to shoot some rogue rolls of film.

There were walmart runs, wrong turns, wild fires, traffic, and some totally sketch neighborhood that had us prepped to JUMP BACK IN THE CAR in a flash.

The results are rad and I cannot believe I waited this long to post them for you to oogle.

Of course – I shot it on film. I used a twin reflex camera from the 60s & shot both black and white and some expired slide film – which I started to develop myself. I never did that before and it has been a learning curve for me. It is way more sensitive than black and white film. Scanning and color correcting is always a challenge and I certainly have a hate/hate relationship with being enslaved in front of a screen for any length of time. Blah!

Check them out:

 

It was incredibly WINDY – hence all the HOLD ON TO YOU HAT poses. She was braver than I was for most of the day, until we got to the scariest liquor store EVER – then I was for some reason FINE. I guess I rationalize that if they have Doritos there than it cannot be that bad.

The best part was the road trip conversations  – day trips are perfect for that. WE HAD SO MUCH to say and no time to get sick of each other & are already scheming for more shoots and maybe some more road trips JUST BECAUSE!

Thanks for checking them out friends!

 

Summer School HOMEWORK

• What are your favorite road trip snacks?

• Any Road trip hacks/survival tips?

• Where is your favorite day trip to adventure to?

 

 

Happy 50th Mom & Dad!

Bittersweet Susie | Mom & Dad

This month marks my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Let that sink in a minute. 50 years. YEARS.

And I know I am biased, and everyone’s parents (or whoever raised you) are awesome, but FOR REALS, I win.

I got the BEST ONES

I lucked out like WOAH with these too. They are snarky and funny. They are fully supportive of the weird hobbies/careers their 4 kids have decided to do (and then NOT do). You want to play a guitar – here’s a guitar. Oh you want to play basketball – let’s install a hoop – which is particularly hilarious for most of us being arty nerd burgers. They continue to take care of us.

They are fun to be around.

They are open and welcoming and often “adopt” many of our friends as their own kids – well into our adult years.

The craziest part about to story, to me anyways, is the timeline.

It could be considered romantic, efficient, or straight bat shit crazy.

Per mom:

We met in college.  We were in a class together.

First date was December 19, 1965.

Got engaged around Valentine’s Day, 1966.

Wedding rehearsal and dinner was June 9, 1966

Graduated from college in June 10, 1966

Married on June 11, 1966

Bittersweet Susie | Mom & Dad

Bittersweet Susie | Mom & Dad
Bittersweet Susie | Mom & Dad

Bittersweet Susie | Mom & Dad

My mom made this outfit – and NO she didn’t save it! I would not have fit in it ANYWAYS. Mom is a little baby bird.

These photos were taken in a span of 3 DAYS! They are crazy for SURE!

And in celebration of this occasion Mom and Dad have compiled a playlist of favorites for all of you. This is the most random Bittersweet playlist thus far. It may have been fueled by wine.

Bittersweet Susie | Mom & Dad

CONGRATS YOU CRAZY KIDS!!!

Homework:

• Can you pick which songs Mom picked vs Dad?

Thanks for stopping by – subscribe to the right so you don’t miss any posts – SO IMPORTANT!