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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween book?

I need some feedback here (and some motivation).  I have toyed with the idea of writing a Halloween book for adults.  None of the kitchy crap for kids.  And not gory either.  But more of a Martha Stewart style "how to throw a dinner party" for adults who love Halloween.

What do you guys think?

Has anyone ever written a book before?  Is it even possible to get this thing published, or should I stick to amateur status?

Thanks for the feedback!

Peace.  Love.  Serene

Halloween Costume 2012

Queen Ravenna
Snow White & the Huntsman 
(played by Charlize Theron)

Costume was purchased online at  I resewed the very itchy and very baggy arms, added metal to the front bodice, and had to fold the bodice in back because the torso was too long.  It was too complicated to sew because there were layers and overlays.

Cape was made by neighbor, Dianne, and I added the feathers, borders, and antique clasp.  Very realistic.  The cape was the best part of my costume!

The crown, which is a very realistic metal-looking hard plastic, came with the costume.  The dagger and finger piece are also purchased.  The necklace was mine, and the metal forehead piece is actually a necklace that my baby sister, Sonya, gave to me.  I just draped it around my head.


Halloween (party) Season has BEGUN! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

The Halloween party season has officially begun 

This weekend marked the first parties, with more to come next weekend.  Friday started with an awesome Masquerade Ball at Ginger's Cafe, hosted by my good friend Kim.  We all donned gowns and masquerade masks.  Ashley forgot hers, so we drew one on with makeup.  Her mom's cafe was the perfect spooky setting for halloween fun.  The basement has thick lush carpet and stone walls, and felt like spirits were lurking around every corner.

We danced the night away, probably drank a little bit too much witch's brew, and ended the evening with a seance performed upstairs of the very spooky barn.  I was asked to host, and play medium, and there was to be someone "knocking" to make it seem like there were spirits present.  Those fake knocks never came, and in the silence, some information came out during the seance that was a little too accurate to be coincidence.  I'm not in any way claiming to be a medium, but there was information that was flowing into my head, and coming out of my mouth, that I couldn't possibly know.  Another guest (whom I've never met before) recently lost her father, and I was happy to pass along some information to validate that he was with her, and doing ok.  

Was it that the veil between the living and the dead is becoming thinner with every day closer to All Hallow's Eve?  Was it the crystals that I brought that provided the perfect energy, or was it Katy sitting next to me, putting her hand on my arm, to help increase the energetic field?  Who Knows!

Saturday night was Theatre Bizarre at the Masonic Temple, in Detroit, MI.  A building with a rich history of it's own, the 7 floors were decorated and presented in such a way that numerous times we said we felt as if we were in a Star Wars or Harry Potter movie.  The decorations and acts were so organic that they didn't seem unusual.  The costumes that people wore were elaborate and unique.  A new experience around every corner.  It was set up like an old time carnival, complete with freak show.  Im sure we missed a lot, with 7 floors of activities and acts.  There was a burlesque stage, a freak show, many bands, a ghost train in a room filled with fog, and so much more.  Highly recommended!

My brother, Seabrook, and I.  This year I am Queen Ravenna, from Snow White & the Huntsman, played by Charlize Theron.  (See Costume Blog).  Seabrook is Dr. Frankenfurter from Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Definitely one of the best costumes I've seen.

Do you guys remember this scene from Beetlejuice?  What great costumes!  I can't even show you all of the really cool costumes we saw at this show, but by partygoers!

Great shows in the Burlesque Room.  Burlesque dancers, comedians ... ok, that's all we got to see, but I bet there was a lot of cool acts!

The Freak Show room ... contortionists, iron-stomachs, and of course people hanging from the ceiling by their skin.  I thought this one was quite classy.

The only problem is that there were shows going on in every room, on every floor, which means we missed 90% of the acts because we were somewhere else!  Can't wait for next year!  

Peace.  Love.  Serene

REAL Caramel Apples


So this year I tried to make caramel apples (not the unwrap square and throw in a pot), but REAL caramel.  I had tried last year, and it was a runny mess.  Well I figured out the secret ... are you ready for it?


No wonder I screwed it up.  I have very little patience.  It takes a really long time for the caramel to cool after it cooks.  Otherwise it just pools all over the wax paper.  It also has to be a small batch, because it continues to cook in the pan, even off of heat, and my last couple of apples were cloudy, and super sweet, tasting more like praline.  I also read somewhere that you should pour the caramel into another bowl because the pan can continue to cook it.

It also helped to have topping ready and waiting.  That kept the caramel in place better at the bottom.  Have any toppings you may want ready too.  It needs to be put on right after the apple is dipped, otherwise it won't adhere.

So here are the instructions for REAL caramel apples:

In a small saucepan:
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup 
1/2 cup water 

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Cook, swirling the pan (do not stir), until the mixture is light amber and a candy thermometer registers 320 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

slowly whisk in:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
a pinch of salt

Return to low heat and whisk until smooth. Let cool until the caramel is thick enough to coat a spoon. Insert sticks into the stem ends of 6 apples and dip the apples into the caramel, letting the excess drip off. Roll in toppings if desired, then let cool on a parchment-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

toasted pecans
toasted sliced almonds
chopped peanuts
chopped pretzels
drizzled milk or dark chocolate
sea salt
red hots
candy corn
mini chocolate chips
Rice krispies
Apple pie spice
Reeses pieces
chopped toffee bar
crushed butterfingers
chopped macadamia nuts & toasted coconut flakes
walnuts & dried cranberries
crystallized ginger & toasted sesame seeds
crushed cheese crackers (a twist on apple pie & cheddar cheese)
salted peanuts and caramel corn (ballpark style)
crushed oreo cookies & drizzled white chocolate
graham cracker, melted chocolate, and mini marshmallows (s'mores)
banana chips & melted peanut butter chips
granola, raisins, and m&ms (trail mix)
shredded orange zest & honey
crushed chocolate wafers & gummy worms
chopped peppermint candy over white chocolate

Monday, October 15, 2012

We've Been Ghosted!


Last night I came home from my hockey game, and look what was on my front door!  I had put out my two bags a few days ago, and it WORKED!  Now I have to keep the tradition going!

Peace.  Love.  Serene

Friday, October 12, 2012


I found this on the internet and thought I would shard:  a little game called GHOSTING.  What you do is create a little bag of Halloween goodies, along with a ghost and a letter, and put it on the doorstep of two neighbors.  Then knock and RUN!

Treats:  Whatever you choose
Ghost:  To put on their door to let everyone know they've already been ghosted.  I printed mine, but it could also be made out of tissue paper, or a kleenex over a tootsie pop like when I was a kid.
Letter:  The letter is the instructions of what they should do next, and I put a Halloween poem in mine.        (see below)

My roommate and I got our neighbors the other night.  You should have seen us run and hide behind the cars so they wouldn't see us.  Hilarious!  Now we are waiting to see if the ghost goes up on their doors, or if they "hit" someone else.

Bubble, blubber, squirm and gloop,
Boiling broth of bat's tail soup.
Wobble, slobber, liquid goo,
Add the sole of one old shoe.
Spooky shadows dance around,
Of frogs and rats and snarling hounds.

Steam swirls rising to the roof,
Add one small ear and one old tooth.

Gnarly, scratchy, tickle and itch,
Stir round and round to make it rich.

Mushy, sticky, sizzle and stew,
They're making mischief just for you


Late last night, we left you a treat. The tradition is fun, one we hope you'll repeat.
Take the ghost & pin it on your door, to let others know you need ghosted no more.
Now it's your duty to pass on the surprise, to two more families, we must advise.
Gather some treats and deliver them soon, within two nights, under the light of the moon.
Include a ghost with each package you give, along with this poem for the tradition to live.

1.        Get 2 goodie bags or lunch bags
2.        Fill with treats & a ghost (picture or art)
3.        Put a copy of this letter in each bag
4.        Deliver after dark, ring the door bell, and RUN!
5.        Put your ghost on your door so we know you have been HIT


Spooks. Scares. Serene

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Marquette Hockey

If you're from the upper peninsula of Michigan, or Canada, for that matter, you know the importance of hockey.  Forget about football - hockey is where it's at.  Lucky for me, I got to at least learn the basics as a kid, and develop a not so bad set of skills and I now play on an official beer-league team!

A few years ago, a guy I went to high school with started the Marquette Old Timers Hockey Tournament.  It was a originally for 30 and older guys who just wanted to drink beer and have a good time.  I guess they are now allowing 18+ in the open and novice divisions, and yes, they have also added a women's division.  (Here's Serene for the 3 years they didn't have a women's division:  "Ryan, pleeease can we play?" ... "Ryan, don't you want to see hot chicks beat each other up?" ... "Ryan, your sisters play now - you HAVE to let us play!")

This tournament is the most fun of any tournament I've been to.  Yes, Im a little bit biased because I know almost everyone in town, but ask the rest of the girls!  They had fun too!  And a little bit of A SERENE LIFE nature thrown in ... A perfect weekend to forget about real life!  So after calling the girls who dropped everything to play for my team last year (the mqt girls), asked my team, and several actually wanted to play (the detroit girls)!  And then, thanks to KT, we picked up a few great players from the NMU (the nmu girls).  Here's the team!

First, the hockey:  Great games.  Great hockey.  Probably the hardest hockey I've ever played.  2 games on Saturday.  We lost the first game on Sat morning, which we found out put us out of finals contention.  We won our Sat night game 5-0.  We won our Sun afternoon game 10-0.  Yes, you heard right folks - ten to zip.  Towards the end of the game the opposing goalie actually skated out of the net and PLAYED THE PUCK all the way to the other end!  It was so much fun, I already can't wait to play next year.  And my season hasn't even started yet!

On more note - I am so proud of my girls.  So we had a $ dollar sign on our jersey for a friend in Marquette that very recently passed in a suspicious nature.  At the end of our Sunday game, our team presented his mom with the jersey with HIS number on it.  We didn't know it, but he was also a huge Detroit Tigers fan, so the old English D was especially sentimental.  There wasn't a dry eye in the house ...

Now backwards to Fri ... A little bit of time spent on Presque Isle.  No, I didn't get my time at Serene Point, but I still got some of the energy ... and the girls got to experience!  And Sam took some really cool pictures.  Love this yoga pose.

OH!  Did I mention that KIM JUMPED IN LAKE SUPERIOR!?  Brrr....

Friday afternoon 3rd street parade in honor of the tournament.  What other town puts on a parade for a hockey tournament??  Aww family time ...

pub crawl Fri night.  Ok, maybe I'll leave those stories on the bus.  Lap dances.  "I think he likes you".  Stolen pitchers.  Lots of beers.  Lots of boys.  Missed the NMU girls.

Sugarloaf mountain:  So if the hockey wasn't enough exercise, we decided to organize some of the troops and scale the side of a mountain.  Some took the "easy" trail, some took the "difficult" trail, and Sea and I decided to actually go rock climbing.  Easier for him since his legs are twice as long.  And of course, I can't resist an open space ... always handstands.

My Mom:  She's the best.  She put up with 5 of us girls, plus my brother, and always a smile.  She came to everyone one of our games, and even COACHED US!  She's a great coach too!  Maybe she has a new career ...  She also had food, made breakfast Sun morning, and had a huge mess to clean up after us.  THANKS MOM!!

What a weekend ... it just doesn't get better.

Peace.  Love.  Serene

This is the life.

As some of you know, and all of you will know in the upcoming weeks,
I Heart October

I love Halloween.  I love leaves that are crunchy and colorful.  
I love pumpkins.  
I love soup.  I love sweaters.  
I love love horseback riding.  I love apples.  
I love cold crisp nights and sunny days.  
I love October

Oh yeah,  Back to my story.   I called my friend Katy, and offered a late night walk.  I forgot how much I liked autumn walks until last night.  I was looking for a little bit of exercise, and Katy is dog-sitting 2 dogs.  We leashed up (them, not us), and headed around the block.  With every step in crunchy leaves, I smiled.  Every time I saw a house with orange lights lit, I was mesmerized.

So I just wanted to share ... this season is short, get outside and enjoy it!

Peace.  Love.  Serene.