Hellboy Hell Water

Forget Fireball. Next time you need to reach for a cinnamon whiskey, you’ve got Hellboy on your side. The new Hellboy Hell Water is a small batch, naturally flavored cinnamon whiskey, micro – distilled, bottled and styled in the old traditional process of making Southern Corn Whiskey. And because it’s Hell Water, it’s 66.6 Proof. Ugh, it’s too perfect. AND you can buy it online for only $20.

Not sure what to do with Hellboy Hell Water (other than drink it straight)? The Hell Water Recipe page has some great ideas. My faves include:

Hellboy and Hazelnut

Equal Parts:

  • Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey
  • Hazelnut Liqueur

Shake with ice and strain.

Hellboy Monster Mule

  • 1 part Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey
  • 5 parts Ginger Ale

Garnish with cherries and serve on the rocks.

Hellboy Cinnamon Crunch

  • 1.5 ounces Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey
  • 1.5 ounces RumChata

Fill a martini shaker with ice, Hellboy Hell Water Cinnamon Whiskey and Rum Chata. Shake and strain into a martini glass, or a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a dusting of cinnamon or a cinnamon stick.

 

What would you make with a bottle of Hell Water?

Cake Decorating Trends for 2017

As I said in my last post, one of my resolutions this year is to learn how to properly decorate cakes. So I thought I’d do a bit of research on the hot trends in cake and cupcake decorating. Here are some of the hottest decorating trends for 2017, in no particular order:

Naked

Naked Cake

This style of cake has been around for a couple years, and it’s still gathering steam. Bakers are learning that no one really likes tons of fondant, and that a cake can look elegant and beautiful on its own. This cake is more difficult than it looks to make, because your cake and icing layers must look good. (Although you can play around a little bit with decor like flowers and berries to disguise anything imperfect.) I can just imagine a cake like this for a Hobbit-themed party! (Cake by Miss Ingredient.)

Geode

Geode Cake

This is one of the coolest cakes I saw in 2016. Originally created by Rachael Teufel of Intricate Icings, this entirely edible cake is a classy way to show off your love of science. The geode is made of rock candy and accented with gold flecks. The idea looks extravagant but is fairly easy to do, which is why you’ll see a lot of copycats in this next year.

 

Metallic

Gold Sequin Cake

Speaking of gold flecks… Many wedding trend experts are claiming that metallic cakes are still a hot thing this year. And it’s no surprise. With a variety of tools (edible spray paint, edible paint, and edible gold flecks) available, you can get a wide range of lux looks easily. (Learn how to make this gold sequin cake at TheCakeBlog.com.)

Over the Top

Over the Top Cake

Yeah, sprinkles do make it better. And so does candy and cereal and additional baked goods and… Yeah. People get a bit carried away with their cake decorations. AND I LOVE IT. I’m obsessed with this over-the-top decadent trend. Just looking at this cake feels like the most fun party you’ve ever been to. I can imagine one with tons of candy being perfect for a Wreck It Ralph themed party, and one with tons of rainbow/technicolor making the perfect “Lisa Frank”-style throwback birthday cake. (This “Hero Cake” can be ordered from Unbirthday Bakery.)

Drizzle Cakes

Drizzle Cake

If you check out my Pinterest board, you’ll see a lot of this style there. Why? Because it’s relatively simple and makes every cake automatically look drool-worthy. Plus, it can work with almost every trend mentioned above. Drizzle over a naked or metallic cake for an added oomph, or add sprinkles and candies on top to make it absolutely ridiculous in the best way. This is first on my list of cake decorating skills to master. (Learn how to make this cake at TheFirstYearBlog.com.)

 

Want more decorating inspiration? Check out my new Cake Decorating Pinterest board. And let me know in the comments what trends you’re most excited about!

My Resolutions for 2017

2016 has been a busy year over here. I launched a line of natural sprinkles and sugars, had recipes show up in Board Game Bento’s subscription box, did double duty as a sexy goldfish AND sexy Alexander Hamilton, and could even be found hosting Dungeons and Dragons’ and Desert Bus for Hope’s charity livestreams.

2017 will already be off to a great start with a redesign of the natural sprinkles and sugars and a NEW product line coming out in February. Stay tuned for more info on both of those! (And with those will come a site redesign. Exciting stuff!) But new products aren’t the only thing to come from a new year. I’m taking time this week to think about the things I want to do to make my life even better and more fulfilling in 2017, and I’ve come up with a few resolutions:

Learn to make beautiful cakes

I’ve focused on cupcakes and gotten pretty darn good at them. I can whip up some professional looking cupcakes in no time, and they’re a go-to when I need something to bring to a party. But I attempted to make a normal layer cake this year, thinking it would be easy. It was, to put it lightly, a disaster. I’ve ordered some basic cake decorating supplies from Amazon and started an inspirational Pinterest board. This year, I’m determined to master a few basic recipes and decorating techniques for cakes. I’ll make sure to post any successes to the blog so you can learn too!

Read at least a book a month

Ok, ok. I know that this seems so easy if you’re a reader. But unfortunately, I spend so much time on the computer, that I don’t give myself the time to sit down with a book. So this year, I’m going to actively try to unplug and get away from screens more and sit and read physical books. I’m hoping to read more than 12 books, but didn’t want to scare myself with too ambitious of a goal. I’m currently reading The Girl on the Train and Ship of Magic, and have Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Drunk Tank Pink, You May Also Like, and The Name of the Wind on deck. Know of a book I should add to my “To Be Read” pile? Let me know in the comments.

Visit a new Seattle restaurant each month

I love exploring new restaurants and places in Seattle, but have gotten so comfortable with cooking at home and visiting old favorites, that I’m starting to lose touch on the restaurant scene. So I’m going to keep an eye on Eater’s Heat Map for Seattle, and pick a new restaurant to try each month!

Finish my “100 Good Deeds” Bracelet

I have this awesome bracelet that has 100 beads on it, each one representing a good deed. You move a little rubber stopper past the beads each time you do a good deed, and I’m hoping to complete the bracelet in a year. This is extremely ambitious, and means I need to be doing a new good deed once every three and a half days. I’m not counting things like “letting another car in during traffic” or “tipping a waiter well when they don’t deserve it” or other things that would qualify as just being a decent human. If you have any suggestions of creative good deeds or random acts of kindness I could do, let me know in the comments! (You can get a bracelet yourself at 100gooddeeds.org.)

What are your resolutions for 2017?

Kitchen Products for Star Wars Fans

With the release of Rogue One today, I’ve been seeing some great new Star Wars products pop up. No longer are the days where you can find a poster and a couple men’s shirts. Now you can’t go more than a few feet without seeing something else with the Star Wars brand. And I’m not upset about it. Case in point: These kitchen products. They’re useful and attractive, and shows off your fandom in a way never before possible. Treat yourself to one, or grab one for your friend who likes to cook, or maybe runs a geeky food blog (hint, hint).

Darth Vader’s Lightsaber Immersion Blender

You know those objects that you can’t live without once you find out they exist? Yeah. My immersion blender will never be as cool as this. $29.99

Death Star Popcorn Maker and Bowl

Movie nights just got WAY more awesome. Plus, this hot air popcorn maker looks attractive on your counter when not in use! $49.99

Darth Vader Oven Mitt

 You can still look bad-ass even when practicing safe kitchen behavior, and this oven mitt is proof. You can also get a Stormtrooper Oven Mitt, or if you’re like me, you’ll want one of both. $17.95

 Lightsaber Spatula

Everyone could use a nice, new spatula. And why get a boring one when you could get a LIGHTSABER ONE? I rest my case. $19.99

Lightsaber Pizza Cutter

You may be saying, “Tara, there are too many lightsaber utensils.” To which I would say, “I don’t understand. That’s not a thing. Did you know this one makes lightsaber sounds when you cut pizza with it?” $14.62

Lightsaber BBQ Tongs

Oh! You thought we were done with the lightsaber kitchen tools. That’s cute. Anyway, this lightsaber is also BBQ tongs and also makes noises, and look at that, it has a red storage case so you can play with it when you’re not BBQing. You clearly need this. $29.99

 

So there you have it. My Christmas wish list I mean, last minute holiday gift ideas for anyone who loves Star Wars, which is basically anyone you know.

Do you have any fun Star Wars kitchen items? Are any of the ones above on your holiday wish list? Let me know in the comments!

Class Up Your Dinner Party with Hellboy Wine

 

I’m such a sucker for geeky wine collaborations, so naturally I love this. Dark Horse Comics has teamed up with Portland, OR’s Stoller Family Estate Winery to create the 2011 Hellboy Reserve Pinot Noir.

If you’ve never tried wine from Oregon, you’re missing out. I can guarantee this wine will be fantastic, and the label will make you want to save the bottle after it’s empty. The Hellboy Reserve is the perfect bottle to bring over to a dinner party, or to cozy up with while reading your new pulls.

According to the press release, “The wine label for the 2011 Hellboy Reserve Pinot Noir features an illustration by legendary HELLBOY creator Mike Mignola and Eisner Award-winning colorist Dave Stewart which originally appeared as the cover for the classic comic book HELLBOY: THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD #2.”

The wine is currently available for pre-order and will be released on October 31st. This is the first in the Hellboy series. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

Purchase your bottle at stollerfamilyestate.com.

Sexy Alexander Hamilton: The Photo Shoot

The goldfish may have officially won the “Ridiculous Sexy Halloween Costume” contest for the year, but so many of you commented about how much you loved the Alexander Hamilton costume, that I just needed to do a shoot with that as well. (Special thanks to Yandy for sending me the costume! It’s not too late: you too can be a sexy Alexander Hamilton this Halloween!)

The lovely and talented Liz Leo shot these pics of me at King’s Hardware, where we stumbled upon the perfect American Flag table in their back patio. It was meant to be. And for those asking, this costume is very comfortable and well made. It’s the highest quality pre-made costume I’ve seen! So turn on the Hamilton soundtrack and guess which song lyrics served as inspiration for each pic:

hamilton-headshot

hamilton-ten-dollar

hamilton-shot-collage

hamilton-beer

hamilton-book-collage hamilton-kings

Halloween Photo Shoot: “Sexy” Goldfish

Sheesh. Over 41 of you voted for me to become a “Sexy Goldfish” this year, and because I love you, I did it. This costume is a beast. Every single part of it sparkles, even the eyes. It’s a leotard-meets-hoody so it’ll show off a lot of leg, and keep you warm with the foam insulated hood. And it’s not meant for anyone over 5’5″. Seriously. I needed help getting it on and off because the torso was about half the length of mine. If you’re petite, though, this costume will probably look freakin’ adorable. Want to give it a try? You can find the goldfish costume and more Halloween costumes at Yandy.com!

A huge thanks to Liz Leo, who takes these photos of me every year. She’s got a great eye, and can always make me look pretty and serious, even in the silliest costumes! Without further ado, your winner of “Weirdest Sexy Halloween Costumes 2016”:

goldfish-full-body

goldfish-bubbles

goldfish-with-cracker-full-body

goldfish-toilet

Psst. I’ve got a secret for you. Another costume got a lot of positive attention, even though it wasn’t the winner, and I did a shoot for that one as well. You’ll see those pics tomorrow morning. Wanna know what it is? You’ll have to wait for it…

The Weirdest “Sexy” Halloween Costumes of 2016

You asked for it. Seriously. I’ve been getting messages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, asking when this was coming, and suggestions for costumes for this year. And all of those costumes were from Yandy.com. So I reached out to Yandy, and asked if they’d be down for sponsoring this year’s post. They said yes! So get ready for even weirder, even SEXIER costumes than ever before.

For those of you who are new, here’s the deal: I’m showcasing some of the craziest “sexy” costumes I’ve seen this year. YOU get to vote for the one you want me to do a photo shoot in. And then I have to do it. Because I love you. (You can see the previous years’ collections and shoots here.)

Now, full disclosure. There are some legitimately awesome sexy Halloween costumes on Yandy. (And many other sexy costumes that I may not be able to leave the house in. But hey, you do Halloween however you want.) But picking those for this aren’t as fun. So take a look for yourself, but then come back here and pick something ridiculous for me to wear. You have until the end of Sunday, October 9th. (I’ll pick a winner on Monday.) Without further ado…

Current Events

You’ll trend on twitter faster than Kim K.

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yandy-donald-trump

Donald Trump

The most terrifying costume of the year. Only complete if I can get some friends to dress up as tacos to represent the taco stands that will be on every corner if he loses.

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yandy-hillary-clinton

Hillary Clinton

How do you make Hillary Clinton sexy? You take the “pant” out of “pantsuit.”

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yandy-pizza-rat

Pizza Rat

Ladies and gentlemen, my Patronus: Pizza rat.

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yandy-alexander-hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Contest over. This is legitimately the sexiest. It wins. History has its eyes on me wearing this costume.

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Frisky Foods

You’ll be labeled “Fast Food” in these costumes. 

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yandy-pizza

Pizza

You want a pizza me?

[/column]

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yandy-burger-1

Burger

Oh, is one sexy burger not enough for you? Don’t worry. There are TWO sexy burger options. TWO.

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yandy-fries

Fries

You want fries with that shake? (Add a beret to make these French.)

[/column]

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yandy-pumpkin

Pumpkin

It puts the “spice” in Pumpkin Spice.

[/column] [/row]

Sexy Saturday Mornings

All your nostalgic favorites, not at all how you remembered them.

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yandy-charlie-brown

Charlie Brown

Good grief.

[/column]

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yandy-oscar

Oscar the Grouch

Let’s be honest. This is on the list because Yandy calls it the “Sexy Trash Monster Costume.” And who DOESN’T want to be a sexy trash monster?

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yandy-spongebob

Spongebob

Go business casual with this work-appropriate ensemble. Patrick Star more your speed? They’ve got that too.

[/column]

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yandy-captain-crunch

Captain Crunch

Oops! All Sexy. This captain wants to know what you’d like for breakfast.

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Animals

Brings another meaning to the term “Petting Zoo.” 

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yandy-seahorse

Seahorse

This wins for most absolutely random.

[/column]

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yandy-unicorn

Unicorn

Feeling horny?

[/column]

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yandy-goldfish

Goldfish

I just…I can’t.

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yandy-bunny

Bunny

When someone says they’re dressing up like a sexy bunny, “Bugs” isn’t usually the one I have in mind.

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Geek Chic

Recreate your favorite fanfic in these costumes.

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yandy-astronaut

Astronaut

A sneek peek at Elon Musk’s space suits for Mars travel.

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yandy-spiderman

Spider-Man

Yeah, ok. I’d kiss someone upside down in this.

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yandy-yoda

Yoda

A drink buy me you will.

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yandy-punisher

The Punisher

Oh? You want to be punished?

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Disney Dreams

I don’t think this is what Walt had in mind…

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yandy-mickey

Sorcerer Mickey

All your fantasias will come true.

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yandy-bambi

Bambi

BAMBI OH DEAR GOD WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU

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yandy-dory

Dory

You’ll confuse a lot of children.

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yandy-cheshire-cat

Cheshire Cat

“Hey, my smile’s up here.”

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So…what’s it going to be? Vote for the costume you want me to wear in a photo shoot in the comment below. I’ll order the one with the most votes on Monday, October 10th!

Your Party Needs Galactic Lollipops

I have a confession. I’ve been eyeing these lollipops for forever. Have you had something like that? A small item that makes you want to drop everything and plan a party around it? They’re so pretty and nerdy and they’re CANDY. The best. Anyway. I was looking through one of my fave sites TheApolloBox.com recently, and saw that they had a few different options. They obliged my wishes to try some out and share some pics (and promo codes!) with you all.

I wanted to incorporate the lollipops into some napkin holders/place settings. I love the idea of adding a gift or a treat into the setting. It’s a great way to get the party started right, show off the theme, and thank your attendees for coming. So take a look below at two different options with the two lollipop types I tried from Apollo Box!

Starry Night Pops

galaxy-pops-box

First of all, the presentation of these lollipops is gorgeous. They came in a beautiful box, and each lollipop is individually packaged in its own box, perfect for gift giving. These are going to be go-to stocking stuffers for me this Christmas!

galaxy-napkins

I wanted to keep the lollipops in their cool boxes, so I put them in large silver napkin rings with alternating black and gray napkins. This adds a slight color variation, but lets the focus be on the colors of the lollipops. You can accent with blues, purples, or even a splash of red or yellow if you’d like. These would be beautiful centered on a plate at each place setting.

Solar System Pops

planet-pops-box

Although the initial packaging for the solar system pops isn’t as grand as the starry night version, the pops themselves are great. They’re slightly larger than the starry ones, and the images have a slight shimmer to them.

planet-napkins

Since the lollipops don’t come in their own boxes, you have a bit more freedom with the place setting design. I could even fit some silverware with these pops in these napkin holders! If you’re using the planets, I recommend using numbers and making each place setting a different planet. Your attendees will learn a little something (in this case, the distance of the planet from the sun) while at the party! If you decide to put placards at the settings, you can include a little fact about the specific planet at each.

These lollipops are also gorgeous bunched together like a bouquet or placed around the table. And they’re delicious to boot!

unwrapped-lollipops

(Solar System lollipop on the left, and Starry Night lollipop on the right)

You can find the Starry Night Lollipops and Solar System Lollipops, among other fun types, at The Apollo Box. And as a Geeky Hostess reader, you get 25% off AND free shipping off of these lollipops! Just use code “GEEKYHOSTESS” at checkout. (Valid until 9/30/16, so grab them fast!). The lollipops are normally $29.99 for a pack of 10. The discount will let you get them for $22.50.

Do you decorate with candy? How would you use these lollipops in your party decorating? Let me know in the comments!

Which of these One-Use Kitchen Gadgets is the Most Useless?

Admit it, you have a drawer in your kitchen that has a handful of one-use gadgets that you’ve forgotten about. These tools are meant to make our lives easier, but unless you need a whole lot of freshly minced garlic on a daily basis, or need to pit thousands of cherries each summer, the tools mostly just take up space.

I’m a sucker for these gadgets, and look wide-eyed at them in the store, excited about how this will revolutionize the way I prep food. However, I often stop before going through with the purchase, reminding myself that I shouldn’t buy something for the kitchen that only does ONE thing. So, I decided to do a little challenge. Below, I’ve listed links to some of the most popular one-use gadgets. You’re all going to vote on the one you think is the most ridiculous, and it will be my job to find FIVE ways to use that gadget. It won’t be pretty, people. And yes, there will be photos. Maybe video.

So take a look below, and leave a comment (on this post, Facebook, or Twitter) with what object you want me to purchase and actually use. Then stay tuned for the outcome. Positive results are not guaranteed. (Gulp!)

Avocado Slicer

Avocado Slicer

This device slices open your Avocado, removes the pit, and slices it into smaller pieces. I also can do all of these things, with a knife. (h/t to @aryooki for the suggestion.)

Banana Slicer

Banana Slicer

Is slicing bananas this difficult? Did someone really need to “solve” this problem? (h/t to @jared2598 for the suggestion.)

Burger Patty Press

Burger Patty Press

Again, is this necessary? Are people not able to quickly form uniform patties? I can’t imagine how difficult this press must be to clean.

Cherry Pitter

Cherry Pitter

This device pits cherries. And also maybe pierces ears? I’m getting flashbacks of sitting in a chair at Claire’s…

Corn Kerneler

Corn Kerneler

I can’t stop giggling when I look at this picture. It looks like the corn is wearing a cheerful little life vest! Anyway, this device removes kernels from your corn and puts it into the container. I’ve done this before with a knife and a plate. I really don’t understand why this exists.

Egg Cracker

Egg Cracker

This torture device-looking object cracks eggs. That’s it. It cracks eggs. (h/t to @rhinosaur for the suggestion.)

Onion Goggles

Onion Goggles

Quite your crying, onion goggles are here! Not only do they protect your eyes from onions, but they come in a variety of colors, including a classy “tortoiseshell” version.

Pineapple Corer

Pineapple Corer

Ok, this looks kinda nifty, if you consume a lot of pineapple or have an occasion where your pineapple has to be ridiculously classy. But how often will you really use this?

Strawberry Huller

Strawberry Huller

Don’t be fooled by the cuteness of this device. It has claws that open up to rip the stem right off a strawberry. It’s like a freaky alien.

 

Ok, so what device will it be? Let me know in the comments which device I should find FIVE uses for. I’ll pick a winner on July 27!