Monday, August 21, 2017

Zula Fashion Rules #2 Bam! Color!

Repeat introduction: I am on a crusade to bring back class. Class, you might ask, is defined by taste, color palette awareness, and style. Last week we talked a little about rules. Bottom line. Don't wear pajama pants out in public.

Today is all about color.

Color palettes. Color makes the world spin, dears! And color is one of your ways to be you. You have your primaries and secondaries and monochromatic— of which a version is now called ombre near as I can figure out. 

Here are some tips for figuring out what colors to rock and rule the fashion in your life.

Which colors do you get compliments in? If it's yellow you are a rare creature. 

What eye color do you possess? If it's yellow you should see your doctor yesterday. Ha. Ha. Ha. 

Skin tone? See previous note. Sorry. I just couldn't resist. Eye color and skin tones do make a difference on what colors look great on you. Your biggest hint is the color you get compliments in.

Rule #1: Look through your closet. Hold items of different colors against your throat in a well lit room. Does black wash you out and make you almost disappear? Or look too harsh? Does yellow make you look ready for Shady Rest Nursing Home or cemetary? Does blue add depth to your eyes? How about red or pink bringing a healthy pink to your cheeks?

If pastels look divine against your hair, skin and eyes? By all means dress like a princess. Sparkles and pinks and lavenders and glittery mint and baby blue. Princess Divine.

Perchance you are the Madame of brights and bolds and look glorious in colors like lime, turquoise and flamingo. These are the staples of Florida. And with the Florida tan chances are you look stunning in these colors. This is the grown up sister to the pastel club. Add sequins and rock this palette, Madame! 

If you are more hippie in nature, dress to hide among the weeds in grays, beiges and browns. Fern rocks these colors. Make sure the fabrics are things like cotton, linen and hemp. We will call this category the Duchesses of Drab, or Earth if you must. When Fern is out of the bungalow, I can snap a photo of her closet and share it with you all, clothing lined up like boring little soldiers, not a hint of glitter anywhere. Her most poppy piece is the golden rain jacket I insisted she get. She does look pretty in that one.

Finally, do you have a very pale complexion and vivid blue eyes with dark, dark or shot through with silver hair? Well, then, dear, you are in the Divine Villain category of color. Queen of jewel tones should wear garnets, ruby, sapphire, emerald, and never, never, never be without cubic zirconia or crystals. Blood red, black, stark white, maroon. Embrace your inner daring diva. This style wears a single blood red ruby teardrop well. Or black leather. Leather and Florida are a tough sell, but you get the picture. Animal prints, anyone? Yes.

If you are lucky you can cross genres and find some in each category that you can pull off beautifully!

Get out there and be you, but a better version of you as you follow my advice. May you always shine with sequins and glow with uniqueness as you waft through life as the queen or princess you were meant to be. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Zula's Style Rules #1

I spent quite a bit of time shopping last week. I found plenty of bargains and unfortunately, some really, really, really horrendous sights!

So now, I am on a crusade to bring back class. If you have ever been told you look like Jackie O, Princess Di or Nancy Reagan you are dismissed. If not let's begin with the basics. What is class, you might ask, class is defined by taste, color palette awareness, and style. 

We’ll start with style. Something that can be taught. And caught! A-hem! Listen up!

First lesson: 

Pajama pants are an abomination. Wearing hideous, oft-stained and shapeless garments in public should be punishable by firing squad. I'm sorry if this seems bold . . . wait a minute. No. No I'm not. Let me just say the next time I see pajama pants out in public there may be a depantsing. And just because I'm in my sixties and wear spiked heels doesn't mean I can't pull it off. Fern has me doing her yoga and Pilates moves. I can downward-face dog in seconds and I'm pretty sure that would be all it takes. As a matter of fact...Ladies, and for everything that is holy, Gentlemen, get rid of those pajama pants. Right now. I will file my nails while you are on your way to the dumpster. Don't even think about stepping a toe my direction until this is done. Feel free to start a fire and toss all of them into it. 

There. It took you so long to complete that task you get to partake of my freshly glossed Hibiscus Honey nail polish. In spite of the turtle's pace, thank you for your immediate obedience. I’m talking to those of you who did. If you have not, if you merely continued on reading while your neighbors removed fashion's most ghastly objects from their drawers, well, shame on you. 

Lesson 2: 

When I was a girl, pink and orange together was considered clashing. And white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day was nearly a scandal. I'd like to suggest you not be bound by all the fashion rules. Feel free to just use mine. 

If two colors look good together, they are fair game. Especially if you have a scarf or necklace that pulls the colors together. Di-VINE!

If multiple patterns scream fun to you, bring it on.

Dressing in two pieces like pants and top is yawn...boring. Your signature should include a third piece! A statement necklace, scarf, cardigan or vest! Easy peasy. Put on the two basics then crank the dial to Di-VINE and uniquely you by adding the cherry to the top of the sundae!!!

Should you need to command attention, dress bold and loud. Your ensemble should suggest the Price is Right theme song rather than a funeral dirge when you waltz into the room. 

Hone your style. Your style will be made up of the garments that are uniquely you. For example, the only way I'll wear anything from Fern's closet (any of the 30 items she has...yes, she is one of those kinds of people—30 items total) is if I'm dead before her and she dresses me. (In this event please look in the Classic Betty Crocker Cookbook page 32 for my wishes regarding which clothing I want to be buried in. I may be a fashion firecracker but I'm also practical. ) Try to shop for clothes where no one else goes. Or embellish the items you have. Embellishing guarantees uniqueness. Try a painting class and fabric paints. Oh, I have seen some doozies. Fern refuses to help me in this department so I'm forced to sew and bedazzle. 

Add a signature scent. Your signature scent should announce you to the room before you are seen and slowly dissipate after your departure. Feel free to use an already claimed scent but add embellishment there also. Such as lemon or other citrus oils, lavender, almond or vanilla. Add vanilla if you are shopping for love. More on that later.

Next week:  

Color palette is kindergarten level. We will be going back to preschool next week. Bring your sleeping mat and paste, kids!

Monday, August 7, 2017

GOLD MEDAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BETTER THAN BLUE RIBBONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my Goodness! My heart is nearly pounding out of my chest. (Fanning my face rapidly! No swooning when the news is this good, Zula! Getting a grip. Back to earth!) 

I have an announcement! 

Can you imagine anything more exciting than discovering a murder? And then the murderer? Right in our neighborhood? How about taking one "for the team?" Let's not forget my major injury! 

Well!!!! The book containing OUR STORY hit #1 in TWO that is TWO, not a typo. TWO CATEGORIES! 

Don't go look. We aren't there any more. But for shining, GLORIOUS hours in time we were the number #1! ONE!!!!! Doesn't get better than that!!! NUMBER #1 in TWO categories of Amazon Kindle book sales. (I am most offended the author who discovered this did NOT take a picture!) 

I told buyers (okay, it was a free download, but still, they had to invest!!!) that I'd give them a free Zula-extrodinaire recipe for their trouble. 

I'm going to make it spectacular. It's going to be a creation. And that takes time, and tweaking. It will have to be GOLD medal, BLUE ribbon and #1 in TWO categories good. 

In the meantime. A little teaser... a life hint that can make three ho-hum good-enough ingredients SHINE like a golden hued mirage on the dessert table. Take this token idea and own it. You deserve the treat. The GOLDEN MEDAL preview if you will. Ready? 

Grab some ice cream. Any flavor. Place it on the counter for about 10-15 minutes. Now. If your house is as cool as a crypt you might need a bit longer. If you are in the humid, hot-as-hades region of the southerly states, a little less. You want the ice cream to soften. Not melt, soften. Take chocolate-chip or sugar cookies. Those dreadful store brand in the package if you'd like. Even the ones at the Dollar Store, those crunchy, blah, semi-cardboard sugar-bombs of meh. While your ice cream is softening scrounge around for sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips, crushed candy bars, toasted coconut whatever you think would be a nice touch with the flavors you've chosen. Sugar cookies with orange sherbet and toasted coconut. Chocolate chip cookies with strawberry ice cream and sprinkles or mini chocolate chips. Chocolate chip with chocolate chip cookie dough rolled in mini chocolate chips. Oh my! The sea of possibilities. Chocolate chip cookies filled with oreo cookie ice cream and rolled in crushed cookie crumbs. Cookie Delight! 

Plop a scoop of ice cream onto a cookie backside. Cover with another cookie backside and squeeze just a little til ice cream comes to the edge. If too much mooshes out use your finger to remove it so you don't end up with a hump. Don't serve friends cookies with humps (you can save those for yourself!) Roll the edge with the ice cream peeking out into whatever bits you found. Place back into the freezer for a half hour or longer to let it firm back up. Then redip/reroll your cookie ice cream sandwich again, pressing a little to pick up any more goodness or to cover any bald spots! Place back into the freezer until you are ready to eat them!!!! Fake Gourmet deliciousness. 

Now if you want to truly make this GOLD MEDAL worthy make your own cookies and ice cream. That'll wow them. 

Stay tuned for "the" recipe. The queen mother of deliciousness.  And thanks for making our story #1 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Manpreciation ~ Southern Style

I get a lot of questions about my sense of style and my cooking. These have come from my love of everything southern. I adore the south and all its romance and have embraced it as part of who I am. 

Fern would tell you I'm not southern. She’s wrong. I may have been raised in the midwest but it was a southerly county into which I was born. And I currently reside in Florida so I am indeed southern. (I'm even using the Georgia font. Doesn't get more southern than that.)

I also get asked questions about my ways in making a man feel like a man. So, today, I'll share a few manpreciation tips.

Darlin’, let me tell ya . . . there is no one better than a southern gal at making a man feel appreciated. 

Case in point. Scarlet O'Hara (at the beginning -- no, the middle because Ashley was just foolish and Rhett went insane when he left her. But Rhett was passionately besotted before he lost his senses.)

A southern lady knows how to be soft. Like a juicy Georgia peach. And bonus points for being soft yet not melting like butter on a mound of my homemade mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and pecans. Not PEECANS but Peckans. This is important, Ladies.

Back to manpreciation. You see, one of the secrets I've discovered is that a man likes a woman who swoons. This, my dear friends, is EASY to do in the inferno of summer. I've swooned so hard, seemingly over a muscular bicep that I nearly needed smelling salts. However, as much as this impressed the gentleman in question, it wasn't his physique at all, merely a wee bit of dehydration and a sudden rise from the overstuffed couch. I grabbed his bicep, commented on his strength and wilted like an end of the season peony. Mercy. Don't risk your lives on this one, subtle is fine. Just make him aware you think he's strong. 

Fluttering. This cannot be stressed enough. And this too, is easy to accomplish with the summer heat. Simply keep those eyes a blinkin’. Not only can you create a small, focused breeze but you can also create interest level from across the room, especially if you add a tiny peek at a gentleman and a gentle half smile. Men LOVE this. 

Of course the accent can make anything sound charmin, darlin. Try a few insults and see what I mean . . .
"Oh, what an intuhrestun chil’. I'll jus bet his papa is quite a man." I'm not sure if I'm insulting the child, the man or the woman's taste—but neither is she. She's just basking in the glow of slow molasses conversation style of the south.

Another favorite of mine . . . "Well, aren't you precious?"
Now this sounds like a compliment and can be sincere but a southern lady knows how to sugar up sarcasm. Moral of this story: if you can make an insult as delectable as pecan bars, then imagine the deliciousness of flirting. Be still my heart. 

Finally, the south has given its ladies a demure reputation. You can be spicy with your girlfriends and as innocent as a freshly washed lamb when you meet up with your beau. A man is just compelled to open doors and bend gallantly at the waist to plant a sweet kiss on the back of a lady's hand. Even if she could karate flip him right over her shoulder and make him cry for his mama. 

Add the smile, the hair toss, a few bows and some lace, and the man you want will be putty. As malleable as taffy in July. Want a proposal and he seems stubborn? A well-timed pout can do the trick. Now, this is a weapon and must be used with care. Overuse can build up his immunity. The best pouting technique is to take his hand, look him in the eye and smile, a sad little smile that doesn't reach your cheeks. And add a quiet sigh and an immediate Pollyanna upsweep of attitude to leave him a little tweaked about maybe hurting your delicate heart. 

A pout done well is an epic thing. 

And make sure you send me the photo of your ring and your wedding.

Monday, July 24, 2017

An Idea to be Explored by Pinterest - That is all I'm Saying

I feel the need to share an idea that is not mine. And I am struggling mightily doing so. I'm not even going to mention the name of the person bringing this inspired treat. But suffice it to say that she is a competitor in my little world and by golly I sure don't want this to look like I'm giving her a nod. But I overheard that the idea was not hers, either. So I will share then. And give the credit to Pinterest. Where it belongs. And mention that I will make this "good idea" sing like a Diva. I will use homemade ice creams and creative twists and it will become Grand Prize winning in my hands! 

I didn't take any pictures. You certainly can guess how that'd look!  She would have seen me snapping away and gotten all smug and puffed up and popped a few buttons. I could not have that. Not at all. So you will need to use your imaginations. (I did include a picture of another creation of mine, lime and toasted coconut...)

The Pinterest idea was: 

In a muffin tin, silicone muffin liners, or foil muffin liners place an Oreo type cookie. I highly recommend the silicone for the lower mess potential. If you are using a muffin tin or foil liners I would recommend greasing them first. (I might do half the cookie because it's frozen and I sure wouldn't want someone losing a partial or crown on my watch.) 

Plog some slightly softened ice-cream on top of the cookie. Any flavor. Fill it about 2/3 of the way, so about 1/4 a cup or 2-3 TBSPs should do. (Zula change-ups would include two flavors with a ribbon of deliciousness between like raspberry sorbet, raspberry jam, chocolate ice cream or I'd use a hand crafted blizzard like ice cream.) 

Cover this with chocolate sauce. Freeze until ready to serve. (Here's where I'd have so much fun!!! I'd use my signature ice cream toppings including the State Fair Blue Ribbon Fudge Sauce, my Newspaper Contest Winning Caramel Delight topping, and my Banana Split Dazzler. Then I'd top with a dusting of delicious items or perfectly placed "piece de resistances" that would compliment the ice cream such as chocolate covered half cookies or a dollop of cookie dough drizzled with chocolate or a flourish of sugar glazed nuts or lemon peel ribbons, oh, the endless possibilities here. 

The ones I saw were just plain jane rather than works of art. So the potential. Oh my! I feel giddy about the possibilities!!!!! 

Don't forget to enter the contest the writers are running. One day left!!!! Just one day! 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Back on Track

Mavene Bennett has a degree in psychology. She thinks that Fifi was responding to my "Stage Mom" stress energy. So her recommendation is to put that doggie right back on that horse. There is a pet show event in a neighboring community in September. Mavene says that if I low-key it and simplify my designs Fifi and I might be just fine. 

I think I'll go with an Amish theme. No pompoms or doodads that she can chow down on and she'll be adorable in a sun bonnet or prayer kapp! I could maybe even do a tiny Amish quilt that could drape over one side. I feel better already. 

And now that Fifi has processed the pompoms I think she's back to normal, too. 

I have another RECIPE!!!!! Ready for this one? So EASY!

Buffalo Potato Salad. Yes. Really! 

Now my measurements are going to need to be tweaked to your taste level. I apologize for doing a Fern but I was inspired and going rogue in the kitchen. With such delicious results! So good. So easy. 

I boiled 6 potatoes. And hardboiled 4 eggs. 

Let them cool. Peel the eggs, dice eggs and potatoes into a bowl. Add tiny diced celery (three good sized ribs) Add chopped green onions. The green section from a bunch or about 10 if you grow your own. And fresh chopped parsley to taste. (I used about 1/2 cup.) Mix this all together. 

In a smaller bowl add about 3/4ish bottle of ranch dressing (the normal sized 16 ounce bottle, I used Ken's) and add 1/8 cup of Frank's Red Hot. Mix well and taste. You want the Frank's to slightly take the edge off the ranch and leave a nice afterburn. Too little and the ranch overpowers the spice, too much and your guests will be whining like little babies. Add either ranch or Frank's to get it where you want it. Then dump it over the veggies and stir well until it looks like a light orange dream. You can make it the night before even. Easy-peasy-delicious!!!!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017


I will not blather on about my disappointment over the 4th's parade. 

Fifi had a snit. I don't know if the outfits were too much, or that she was around too many strangers. She growled at a judge. She refused to prance so the feathers danced. Then she literally ate two pompoms right off the most visible part of the finale gown. Of course, she didn't win. She didn't even get an honorable mention. It's so bad between us that Fern is even trying to smooth things over. Fifi has been sleeping on the couch. I'll forgive Fifi. But I just can't see us ever trying a pageant style event ever again.  

Fortunately, even though the pooch took a little doodie on my dreams, there was something good that came out of the 4th. 

I made a cake. Now. That's not unusual. But this year, because I had an epic sewing responsibility, ahem, I didn't focus on my desserts as I usually do. In an attempt to simplify I was able to make something grand and easy. 

I'll call it Patriotic Poke Cake

I made my award winning white cake. Those of you who do not have an award winning white cake, feel free to use a white cake mix, follow the directions for a 9 x 13 cake and bake it. 

When it cools poke a bunch of holes. Many, many holes. Use a handle from a wooden spoon or skewer. 

Take a jar of home canned blueberry jam or preserves and microwave it for about 30 seconds. Poor over the cake or every other hole if you like. Do the same with a jar of strawberry preserves. (If you don't can your own, well then, simply use store bought jams and you can use the frozen tubs of sweetened strawberries from the freezer case if you'd rather instead of strawberry preserves). Layer the strawberry jam over the blueberry or fill alternate holes. Use the whole jars. 

Let set up in the fridge for a few minutes. While cooling then whip up homemade vanilla whipped cream. Of course, since we are going for easy vs award winning (which seems to be the theme of the day, right Fifi?) use the fake whip in the freezer case. Spread over the top of the cake until the cake is covered with white fluff. If you want to get really fancy you can place fresh fruit in whatever floats your boat across the top of the cake. This tastes like strawberry shortcake with less fuss and bother. 

Boom! Done!