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 A lifehack for when you have over-optimistically turned off the heat for the season and had an unexpectedly cold day, and are now wearing two sweaters and a pair of gloves indoors:

Run the hottest bath your plumbing can produce. Let stand, with the bathroom door open, til it has cooled off enough to actually bathe in.

Take hot bath.

Leave stlll-hot water in the tub, bathroom door open. Allow water to cool entirely before draining. Bemoan your 80-year-old house's reliance on heating oil, again.
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Two heaping plates of hamentaschen. 

And, of course, the recipe. (Which, for the record, is my great-grandmother's, and everyone who has ever tried them agrees they are the Best Possible Hamentaschen.)


3/4 cup sugar 
2 cups flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/2 cup butter or margarine (Crisco if you want ’em pareve) 
1 egg 
2 T orange juice 
Filling of choice– poppyseed, prune, blueberry or cherry pie filling, various jams, chocolate, Nutella. My personal preference is for good-quality jam or preserves, the kind that use real sugar and not corn syrup. I have had especially good luck with peach, raspberry, and lemon curd.


Mix sugar, flour, BP, salt in bowl; work in softened (NOT melted) butter 

separate bowl– mix egg and OJ, then add to rest of ingredients; mix until it’s dough.

Refrigerate 1 hour.

Roll out, cut into circles– use a cookie cutter or a large drinking glass for this. Place large spoonful of filling in center of each circle, and pinch dough into a triangle around it. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Cookies will be crisp when they first come out of the oven, but seal them in Tupperware for the night and they will get soft and ridiculously delicious.

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Good news: I designed myself some new business cards, and they are hella cute!

The front of a business card, with drawing of a woman wearing a stack of hats.   The back of a business card. Text reads: "Holli (lastname)" and lists email and social media.

Bad news: Every time I try to figure out the requisite paperwork for opening my own vintage shop (or even try to figure out what paperwork needs doing, and how to get the necessary information for it) I last about fifteen minutes before I get so anxious that I have to stop and do something else.

Which... is one of the reasons I decided to make new business cards. Ugh.


Feb. 15th, 2015 01:32 pm
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 Anyone interested in seeing Song of the Sea at Union Market tomorrow? There's showings at 3:15, 5:15, and 7:15, and I will cheerfully drive everyone everywhere.
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  1. Listened to the new Sleater-Kinney album somewhere north of eight times.
  2. Seriously considered driving to Raleigh in April for the one show remotely near me that's not sold out yet. (Road trip, anyone?)
  3. Watched Pride twice.
  4. Listened to this cover of Bread and Roses about fifty times.
  5. Sighed with relief when New York was not frozen in ice for seventy years, because I have Megabus tickets for Saturday and I want to see the goddamn Victorian mourning fashion exhibit before it closes, for fuck's sake.
  6. Got most of the way to done with the book of vintage fashion paper dolls I've been working on.
  7. Learned how to make rag dolls.
  8. Made two rag dolls (third is in progress)
  9. Signed up to volunteer at Scrap DC.
  10. Napped probably more than I should have, idk
  11. Seriously considered sponsoring a mine-detecting giant rat as a birthday present for my sister. Got hung up on what to name it. (Diglett? Scabbers? Rizzo?)
  12. Decided to make sister a pom-pom chandelier in her sorority colors instead.
  13. Made a whole lot of pom-poms.
  14. Still thinking about that rat, though.
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 I wrote a Yuletide story! It is for the movie Belle, and it is called Fair Play, and it led me to spend several enjoyable hours looking at 18thc dolls on Pinterest.
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It is a new year, and the odds of any of this fic ever being finished properly are, if I am being honest, basically nil, so here! have some WIPs! Not included: the handful of stories I am even remotely likely to complete anytime soon.

1. Pick up Where You Left Off: MCU, Peggy/Steve time travel shenanigans. Written before Cap 2 hit theaters and way too throughly Jossed. Missing the chunk in the middle where the story goes, but I did figure out how it ended.

Peggy walks into Howard’s lab carrying a stack of files, but the room is empty. )

2. probably meant to be steve/bucky/nat, written pre-cap 2 and thus abandoned, but there were some lines I liked and should salvage for something else. hm.

Steve’s reckless. Always had been. )

3. Steve/Bucky in a Canadian shack. As you do.

It’s quiet here. )

4. Sam/Nat, possibly the one where they flirt with each other to embarrass Steve but then end up meaning it on accident? Not sure.

It’s for emergencies. Sam knows this. )

5. This was going to be a thing about Steve working behind the scenes so Bucky could safely come in from the cold.

Red Carpet Inn, Baltimore, MD )

6.The 2015 Howling Commando Family Reunion, which was definitely gonna get gate-crashed by supersoldiers who don't know how to talk about their feelings.

When Bethy pulled in to the parking lot at the campground, Friday morning, Jill was already waiting with a clipboard and a harried expression. )

7. Relatedly, a thing about times the Howling Commandos met up after the war.

None of the neighbors knew how they managed it, but the Moritas got their farm back after the war. )

8. MCU daemon AU, mostly Cap & Bucky. I got as far as figuring out what happened to Bucky's daemon (thankfully, nothing permanent) and figuring out most of the characters' daemons, and having done that sort of failed to write the actual story. Whoops?

fic bit & list of daemons )

There is also a Pushing Daisies thing I am saving for later because it's the only not-MCU WIP of any substance, and also because I still think I might figure out how to write a sex scene in the Jim Dale narrator voice eventually.
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I wrote a thing!

Sentimental Value

GotG, gen. Saturday dawned clear and bright, hot but not humid enough to be sticky: perfect yard sale weather.
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Ah, Yuletide. This year I got two (count 'em, TWO!) seriously delightful Pushing Daisies stories: break the spell of trying, and In Praise of Half-Eaten Things. Both are GREAT, and you should all read them (and then write even more Ned/Chuck!)

Meanwhile, having finished my own Yuletide story, I've been trying to clear out some other WIPs. Anyone willing to beta 4k of GotG fic in which the Quill family has a sad yard sale?

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 The December talking meme was not going to happen, because Yuletide and also various Life Reasons. But I wanted to do it, so I am time-shifting it to January so as to jump-start the new year with regular posting. So: ask a question, claim a day!

Speaking of Yuletide: Plan A is currently set aside in favor of a Plan B I actually know how to write, which will at least meet the minimum. Anyone know how to semi-competently construct a mystery plot who is willing to offer advice on Plan A?
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 So, for reasons that don't need explaining at this juncture, I just googled the names of three girls who bullied me in junior high.

One of them does roller derby in Arizona and appears to have turned out to be an okay-ish human, and at least now she has an appropriate outlet for her excess aggression.

One is an event planner who takes a lot of duckface selfies, which is not even a tiny bit surprising.

And the third? The third is, apparently, currently suing the makers of the naked dating reality show she appeared on for not blurring out her ladyparts. Based on everything she's quoted as saying in various articles on the subject, she has not acquired one single ounce of self-awareness since we were fourteen.

Holy SHIT, you guys. I can't even gloat. This is too weird to gloat about.
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 There's a blogger in Nashville who's made me so intensely jealous about her estate-sale finds that I finally checked the driving distance from DC, and it's only about 10 hours, and now I want to go on a buying trip. The family I nanny for will be out of town from Christmas until January 5; I can rearrange my days at the vintage shop if needed. It would be awfully fun to spend a few days driving, stopping whenever something looks interesting, and a few days exploring, and another day or two driving back. Not sure I'd want to do it by myself-- it's a lot of driving-- but it would be awfully fun.

Anyone off work for any of that time, and interested in road-tripping?
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I finally signed up for HabitRPG, because getting my shit organized and moved upstairs and everything put in its place is taking way, way longer than it should, and Unfuck Your Habitat turned out to be driven by shame-based motivation to a degree that wasn't useful. But this seems like it might work a little better; we'll see.

In the meantime, anyone not working a 9-5 would be SUPER welcome this week if they wanted come hang out at my place for a few hours-- just having another human around is, I find, really surprisingly useful as a way to get me to get things done. You don't have to help with the shit-organizing or anything, it is literally just that I am total balls at self-motivating and get more done in the presence of others.
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 So, Friday morning I got a call from CVS-- my anxiety meds script was out of refills, did I want them to fax my doctor for a new one? Yes please, I said. No problem, they said, you can pick it up anytime after Monday.

So I just got home from CVS, where the pharmacist told me they had never received a reply to the fax, which was sent sent FOUR full business days ago, and therefore they had no meds for me. I have not had a phone call from my doctor about this at any point, and neither have they.

I wish I could say this was shocking and out of character, but that would be total bullshit. I think the longest I've gone without experiencing a fuck-up of this magnitude was maaaaaaaybe four months. I can count on one hand the number of times anyone at the practice has returned a phone call after I've left them a message, and I have been given incorrect prescriptions (usually dosage or number of pills; they do at least generally write down the correct medication) on multiple occasions.

Tomorrow morning, I will be calling them to ask for 1) my goddamn script, and 2) a referral to a practice that had at least a moderate interest in actually providing mental health care. I have minimal confidence in getting either.

Does anyone have recommendations for DC-area mental health practicioners? BCBS a plus, proximity to Mount Rainier a delightful bonus but, at this point, not mandatory.
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cross-posted to tumblr.

When I first began living on my own, I didn’t really have any furniture. I started with an IKEA bed and a hand-me-down dresser; from there, I added wobbly particle-board bookshelves and lumpy couches left behind by previous housemates. By the time I was getting ready to move into my current house, a year and a half ago, most of my furniture was, frankly, kind of crappy.

So I started scouring Craigslist, and checking the furniture section at the thrift store, and called in favors from a few friends who owned vans or SUVs. When I moved into my new place, I had ditched most of the old stuff and replaced it with better-made, better-looking vintage pieces, almost none of which cost more than $200 individually (and that was for a midcentury modern dining table with eight teak chairs). Since then, I’ve also swapped out most of my particle-board bookshelves for hardwood replacements. I still pick up nice pieces when I see them and the price is right— most recently, a glass-fronted cabinet ($25), a velvet settee ($300, which is more than I’d usually pay), and a coffee table/console/end table set ($100).

collage of furniture photos
Actual furniture & art currently in my house.

There are a lot of reasons I prefer my current furnishings to the old ones. Well-made vintage pieces are sturdier, last longer, can better survive dis- and re-assembly, and (in my opinion, anyway) generally look nicer. I do still have a couple of Billy bookcases and a Lillesand bed, but I am also a human person under the age of 40 and living within 50 miles of an IKEA, so that’s kind of inevitable.

There’s one other good reason for buying vintage that gets overlooked. The furniture and other housewares I’ve bought secondhand will not lose value; in fact, should I ever resell them they will probably go for more than I paid. 

Because here’s the thing: if I hit a rough patch, or an unexpected medical bill, or other major unplanned expense, I am probably not going to have to resort to hocking my laptop or my few pieces of good jewelry. I can sell my 1930s enamel-topped breakfast table (bought from Craigslist for $85; would resell for $200 easily), or my 1920s spool cabinet (bought from an estate sale for $25, would fetch $250+ at an antique store), or a few of the thrifted paintings off my walls. They are all lovely things that I enjoy owning very much, but I would be fine without them and I would find equivalent replacements eventually.

So: let’s say you want to start divesting yourself of particle board. How should you start? What should you look for? How much should you be willing to pay?

they're more like guidelines, really )
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pretty pretty dresses below the cut! )

In conclusion: Next time I have a booth at DC Big Flea, someone else should probably hold onto the cash, and also my wallet.
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 Got my Yuletide assignment! v. excited. Also have at least one treat planned that I'm REALLY looking forward to.


Oct. 25th, 2014 11:27 pm
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This will be my tenth year of participating in Yuletide. I am probably disproportionately proud of never having defaulted so far.

Dear Santa: You are a rock star and I am wildly unlikely to be unhappy with your story. Things I like: adventures, inventive use of tropes, female characters getting cool stuff to do, pining (especially pining that is resolved happily), outsider perspectives, fish-out-of-water hijinks, found families, mistaken identities, secret identities, interesting worldbuilding. I am not fond of power imbalances, significant age differences, or noncon.

requests! )

Past Yuletide letters: 2013, 2012, 2011

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 Have been listening to Sleater-Kinney A LOT since they announced their new album and tour; sadly did not get tickets to their DC show because by the time I got the page to load (at 9:02, with tickets going on sale at 9) they were ALREADY SOLD OUT, WHAT EVEN.

Am having my periodic "should I learn to vid? I kind of want to learn to vid" phase, mostly because the lyrics to "Combat Rock" are SUCH a Captain America vid that I feel like it might actually be a little TOO on the nose. 

In other news, have been having wonky sleep patterns and not getting as much writing/comicking done as I'd like, so probably now is not the time to learn to vid. Sigh. But I have been doing stuff! Went to a zine thing in Brooklyn; went to Capclave; did the Halloween window at the shop.

I feel like I'm posting a lot more on tumblr than here, though. Sorry, guys. But I'm putting together my Yuletide signup and will have a letter shortly!
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May I face every day with the drive of Leslie Knope, the enthusiasm of Chris Traeger, and the aggressive weirdness of April Ludgate.

(real talk: I may actually start saying this in the mirror on particularly discouraging mornings.)
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