Tag Archives: chocolate

#atozchallenge Reflections


by Lillian Csernica on May 6, 2019

reflection

Greetings! After all the labors of April, we have come to the post-game analysis. I’m going with the official suggested list of questions because they’re mighty fine for providing insights.

  1. What did you love about the challenge this year? I had a good time drawing on the less familiar moments of my writing life. I’ve been a lot of places and I’ve done a lot of things. Finding a subject for each day’s letter made me sift through all that for material that was both entertaining and edifying.
  2. What would you change about it? Maybe plan a brainstorming event a month ahead that would get me off the starting block with my posts. That way I could stay a week or so ahead and not fall into the last minute pressure cooker.
  3. What was the best moment for you during this year’s challenge? When it was time to write something for the letter U, I got stuck. I looked up words, pondered angles, and started to overthink the post. Then I realized I could write about one of my greatest sources of inspiration: my mother. That’s when I decided to tell the story of the best Halloween costume Mom ever created, starring her Utility Belt.
  4. What is the best comment your blog got during the challenge, and who left the comment? “Vintage also comes with a connotation of good, as in the good old days, not the parts nobody wants to remember or return to. In wines, it refers to aging in carefully controlled conditions so as to add both character and subtlety to the final product.” — Pat MacEwen, in response to V is for Vintage
  5. Will you do the challenge again? Can’t wait! Every year is an adventure. My previous themes have included Chocolate, Bad Sword & Sorcery Movies, Art Nouveau jewelry, and my Kyoto Steampunk universe!
  6. Was it well organized and were the hosts helpful? (Did you fill out the after survey?) Yes indeed! A particular shout-out to J Lenni Dorner.
  7. How did you and your blog grow, change, or improve as a result of this challenge? In opening up my own mind to areas of my life I don’t normally mention in my blog posts, I think I’ve given myself permission to write with a deeper level of meaning. Both the positive experiences and the negative ones provide useful perspective.  Did you find new blogs out there to enjoy? Yes I did! 
  8. Were you on the Master List? (If you did the challenge last year, was it better this time without the daily lists?) I was on the Master List, yes. The daily lists are helpful to me. Last year I’d go to the Facebook page and browse the links. That made it easier for me to roam around. I regret not getting as much roaming time in this year.
  9. Any suggestions for our future? Keep up the good work! This is easily one of the highlights of my blog year.
  10. Any notes to the co-host team? A word of thanks to Jeremy for all his hard work on the graphics? A thousand thank-yous to all the folks who make the A to Z Blog Challenge happen. I’ve made some great online friends by participating and I’ve discovered some brilliant people.

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Filed under #atozchallenge, Art Nouveau, bad movies, Blog challenges, chocolate, Conventions, Family, Fiction, historical fiction, Japan, Kyoto, publication, steampunk, travel, Writing

Let Me Entertain You


by Lillian Csernica on February 28, 2018

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April is coming. That means the A to Z Blog Challenge.

Those of you who joined me last year may recall my theme was Art Nouveau jewelry. We had a good time with that, I think. Lots of people said nice things. I began my life of Pinterest joy and now I’m up to a dozen different boards.

So here’s my question to you: What do you want to see this year?

I’ve covered writing terms, sword&sorcery movies, all things made of chocolate, and yes, the art nouveau bling.

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I could go with a steampunk theme and tell you strange tidbits of technological history and the men and women behind them.

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There’s a world of info about Japan I could share.

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We could go for classic monster movies, the Golden Age of Universal and the everlasting talents of Karloff and Cheney and Rains.

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Give me your ideas! Tell me what you want to see me tackle. I live to amuse you, so bring it on!

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Counting Down to Christmas


by Lillian Csernica on December 20th, 2015

to-do-list

If I didn’t keep a running To Do list, I don’t know how I’d get anything done.  When I’m stressed out I tend to lose my long range focus and the ability to structure my time effectively.  I’ve done a lot of my shopping online this year.  The rain coming down in buckets outside my window makes me very happy for that option.

This year has been such an ordeal for our family.  I decided back in November to pay attention to all those articles on managing holiday stress and choose the activities most important and meaningful for both me and the boys.

Here’s what got checked off the To Do list this weekend:

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On Saturday night I took John to “The Nutcracker.”  He’s been asking to go tothe ballet for a month or two now.  We know he enjoys seeing and hearing a live orchestra perform.  I think the main attraction of the ballet was A) the costumes for this particular show and B) the emphasis on all those pretty girls with their long legs.

The Santa Cruz Ballet Theater put on a marvelous performance.  Hearing Tchaikovsky played live was a treat in itself.  The production values and the special effects left both me and John wide-eyed with wonder.  As for the dancing….  Wow.  The Snow Queen and her Cavalier made it seem like gravity had no power over them at all.  This was the first of John’s Christmas presents.  He kept saying it was “Amazing!”

John and I had dinner on Pacific Avenue after the show, talking about our favorite parts of the show.  Despite the 40+ degree weather, we stopped in at Cold Stone Creamery for some dark chocolate peppermint ice cream.   Oh my stars and garters.  That was heaven on a spoon!

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Today Chris and John got our Christmas tree.  It’s become a tradition for the two of them to go to a tree farm and cut down a fresh tree.  I had to admire their determination.  Soon after they left, the skies darkened and it started raining.  They did return victorious, if a little damp.

John has graduated to stringing the lights on the tree himself.  He loves the colored lights that blink on and off and change colors in varying patterns.  Out came all the boxes from the garage with our wide variety of Christmas ornaments, table linens, and John’s personal treasure, his Peanuts cuckoo clock.  On the hour, Snoopy comes out where the cuckoo would be and the Peanuts theme song plays.  We put this up only during the holiday season.

Once the lights and gold tinsel garlands were in place, Michael sat in his wheelchair to help choose ornaments and where they should go.  As each of us pulled the tissue off an ornament, we’d hold it up for Michael to see and ask him if that one should hang on the tree.  Once he gave us his yes or no, then he’d pick the right spot on the tree.  After spending two months watching Michael lying there in his ICU bed, I cannot tell you the joy I felt seeing him sitting there happy and smiling, reaching out to touch an ornament or grab John’s shirt and make him laugh.  Michael’s R.N., a wonderful lady named Joan, had a good time helping with the ornaments.  They were all new to her, so I shared some of the stories attached to them.

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Here it is, courtesy of Michael and John!

As for me, I put on a Christmas jazz CD and drank eggnog.  All of a sudden, there it was.  Our family gathered around the Christmas tree, breathing in the fresh pine scent, joking about hanging the good ornaments up where our three cats can’t get at them.  My mother is visiting my brother right now, but she’ll be back for Christmas Eve.  My sister is down in Southern California, but she’ll be back for New Year’s.  It’s good to have time with just us and the boys.

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In my family we party a lot during the holidays.  My birthday is December 29.  My sister’s is on January 1st, and my mother’s on January 3rd.  I keep careful track of who gave who this or that Christmas present, along with who gave who that birthday gift.  Lists!  More lists!  One of the traditions I consider most important is writing thank-you notes.  Michael likes to create his own stationery, and John will add little drawings to his cards.

We have so much to be grateful for, and so many people to whom we owe our thanks.

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Z is for Zymurgy


by Lillian Csernica on April 30, 2014

ZYMURGY

From Dictionary.com: the branch of applied chemistry dealing with fermentation, as in winemaking, brewing, the preparation of yeast, etc. Origin: 1865–70; zym- + -urgy.

As the grand finale of the A to Z Challenge, I have located an item that I’m sure will make many of you very happy.  It is indeed possible to get chocolate beer!

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Thank you to everybody who joined me for this year’s A to Z Challenge.  I look forward to chatting further with my new friends and continuing to entertain the folks who pop in often.  Best wishes to you all!

 

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Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Food, Goals, Humor, Small business

Y is for Yoda


by Lillian Csernica on April 28, 2014

 

As we near the finish line of this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge, I am compelled to present the chocolate version of one of speculative media’s most highly revered sages.

From Coco Paloma Desserts:

Yoda’s head. In order to get as much detail as possible, I made the head out of rice cereal treats and carved it into the general shape. I then sculpted with white modeling chocolate. Once it dried over night, I covered it with fondant.

 Here’s the final Yoda. His ears were by far the trickiest part! The hands and feet were also made from fondant. As with any complex cake, a lot of time is spent figuring out how to construct the cake and what media to use.

What SF/F character would you like to see molded in chocolate?

I’d have to go with Lt. Sulu from that original “Star Trek” episode where he was running around shirtless with the fencing epee!

 

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Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, Conventions, fantasy, Fiction, Food, Humor, Japan, science fiction

X is for Xiphoid


by Lillian Csernica on April 27, 2014

 

 

Before you reach for your Scrabble Dictionaries, I’ll give you a hint.  This is a xiphoid cake.

glazedbakery.blogspot.com

A chocolate, sword-shaped cake!  How’s that for X Day?  Only the best for you!

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Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, Goals, history, Humor, romance, Writing

V is for Violin


by Lillian Csernica on April 25, 2014

 

 

A tribute to one of the finest musical instruments in the strings family.

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I regret that I have been unable to discover more about the maker, the amount of chocolate, and the occasion for which this wonderful figure was created.

What song would be played on a chocolate violin?

 

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U is for Unicorn


by Lillian Csernica on April 24, 2014

 

 

Yes, this one might seem obvious, but just wait.  First I must share with you this lovely example of the baker’s art:

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If you’re looking for something simpler, perhaps in the party favor line, here’s a little cutie:

 

But wait!  There’s more!  Apparently somebody has invented this silly game called “Chocolate Unicorn” where people do their best to stack six chocolate snack cakes on their foreheads within one minute and keep them there!  That’s the tricky part.

There must be more chocolate games out there.  Come on, tell me what you’re up to!  You have a “Buffy” marathon and every time Xander does something stupid and dangerous, you have to slam a handful of M&Ms!  It’s “Firefly” night for the Browncoats and they’re slamming Dove bites every time somebody swears in Cantonese!  I know you’re doing things like this!  You can’t fool me!

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Filed under Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, Goals, Humor, romance, Writing

T is for Tools


by Lillian Csernica on April 23, 2014

 

Chocolate is so much fun.  Fun to eat, fun to play with, fun to make into all kinds of shapes.  Ideal for the DIY person in your household, I have found some excellent gifts in the form of chocolate Tools.

How classy is this?  A tool box in milk or dark chocolate, with tools in milk or dark.  Mix and match, or go with one flavor for the chocolate purist!

charlinda.com

 

For a bit more whimsy, smaller chocolate tools on the top of cupcakes in favorite flavors of cake and frosting.

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I had to include this cake because it is so fantastic.  For the contractor, the woodworker, the handyman/woman, this will make any celebration really special.

 

What’s your favorite tool?  Can you imagine a chocolate chainsaw?  Maybe a nail gun that shoots chocolate nails?

 

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Filed under birthday, Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, fantasy, Food, Humor, Small business, Writing

S is for Sea Dragon


by Lillian Csernica on April 21, 2014

 

 

Apologies for the delay in posting my entry for this letter.  Russian Easter is a lot of work and a lot of fun.  Somewhere along the line I came down with some kind of illness which kept me in bed today.  Nevertheless, I bring you today’s chocolate wonder:

From nowimhungry.com, “Jean-Phillipe Maury’s Dragon Sculpture in Chocolate. The tree, dragon and large flowers are dark, white and light chocolate. The pearls and small flowers are sugar, and lanterns are pulled fondant.”

 

Next comes a marvel from Black Mountain Gold, Fine Artisan Chocolate.  This company has an entire page of Dragon Bars.

Sea Salt Dragon

 

Last but far from least, a marvelous Chinese Dragon from the Highland Bakery.  No, strictly speaking it’s not a sea dragon, but it’s just so fabulous I had to include it here:

From the Highland Bakery Blog: “Chinese Dragon head, made by Karen out of fondant and modeling chocolate. The bride used to work at Highland Bakery and instead of a traditional tiered cake, she made little individual cakes that snaked back behind the dragon to mimic the shape of its body. ”

What’s your favorite breed of dragon?  How would you like to see it rendered in chocolate?

 

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Filed under birthday, Blog challenges, chocolate, fantasy, Food, romance, Small business