Well, here it is - The Contest! Fictoris and I have been engaged for about a month and a half now. We wanted to do something creative, unique and something that no one else has. So here is your chance to win $100 to create a design that will go onto our wedding invites!

We aren’t going to give many details about ourselves beyond what is on our blogs as we want anyone who enters to not feel limited by us. So we want you to go nuts and make an invite! We will be giving away $100 dollars cash for the invite we pick. The deadline for entries is May 25th, 2009 and we will pick the winner by June 1st 2009.

  • Send us a mock up right away, afterward we will ask for a high quality .psd or .pdf file.
  • You do not have to put the information in. Just give us an idea of what it would look like.
  • We have the right not to pick a winner.
  • We will not use your design if we do not pick it.
  • You need a PayPal account or something to that extent for us to give you the money.

I am really excited to see what everyone can come up with. Send your entries to fictoris@gmail.com and we will get back to you soon. Make sure to Stumble this and tell any of your friends that are aspiring designers!
I have tempting words for you today...


Peanut Butter...

Cupcakes! (imagine I said that in a Chairman voice from Iron Chef and you'll get the idea)

Oh yes you heard me: Chocolate brownie cupcakes with mini peanut butter cups.

I'm sure many of has have our versions of cupcakes stuffed with little candy pieces, but just stick with me. For me, nothing melts me better then chocolate and peanut butter coming together. Its pure perfection, horrendously heavenly, simply sublime...oh sweet, sweet synergized seduction! Enough alliteration, I give you these:

You'll be happy to know that these are super simple! Take your easy, pre-packaged brownie mix (I'm sorry for those of you the make homemade food, kudos to you). And get your mini-peanut butter cups. Lucky for me, these fun colored peanut butter cups were on sale because of Easter.

Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cups

What you'll need:
Packaged brownie mix (I used Pillsbury double chocolate brownies)
1 Egg
Mini peanut butter cups

Mix together your cake mixture, oil, water and your egg (follow the directions on the box). Fill your lined cupcake pan about half way of the mix. Jiggle it a little to get the bubbles out. Insert one (1) mini peanut butter cup per cupcake. Lightly cover the peanut butter cup with the remaining mixture.

Be careful not follow the timing that says on the box because chances are that time will be too long. I left mine in for about 20 minutes, but checked on them a couple of times with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out clean, your cupcakes are done (just don't poke too far in because then you'll hit the peanut butter and it for sure will not come out clean). Let them sit for a few minutes, remove them from the pan and let them sit more to cool. I made 12 cupcakes with one box.

Ok so go wipe the drool away and go make them - you know you want to! Thanks for reading!

So this week was Spring Break for Fictoris and I. Our spring break consisted of working and cleaning! Woo! Can you believe that all those boxes, games, tubs, and other things came out of this 5'x3' closet?! Oh yeah you better believe it...then again it was stacked to the ceiling. Some of the things we are planning to donate; other things we simply threw out. The purpose behind these shenanigans? We bought a new desk from Walmart that is going to replace this 1970's table we had when we moved in. In order to get the table out of the space, we had to clean the closet out to fit the table in! Anywho, here are some photos of our cleaning excursion:

Fun part: Fictoris was actually stuck between the door and the closet behind him!

Even more fun part: He had to pee!

On the upside of cleaning, we got a new desk...and because of this I got it in my head that I needed new, interesting pieces to "pull" things together.

The craving resulted in me purchasing two neat items from O'Day Cache in Fargo...

...and a sweet, inexpensive, antique lamp from an antique store here in Valley City. Unfortunately, the lamp shade was ugly as sin so I had to throw it away. My next goal is to find a lamp shade that will work!

And, so that concludes my Spring Break/Spring Cleaning Excursions. I lead one hell of an exciting life :)
So I just spent about 3 hours working on these mock-ups. It really is amazing what I can figure out in our crappy version of Photoshop on the school laptops. I'm slowly learning though. Anyway, with a little patience (and some yanking of the hair) I came out with these...

Save the date #1:

This invite will be about 5"x5" in size. The photo will also be changed once we get our Engagement photos done. I also got this idea from Magnet Street Weddings.

Save the date #2:

This one was thought up by Fictoris. It will be about 6"x4" and again, the photo will be changed. The calendar will also be changed so it is easier to read/clearer.

Save the date #3

Lastly, of course the photo will be changed. This one is about 6.5"x6" big. These are Fictoris' hands too!

Again, I did all of these in a very downgraded version of Photoshop and if I can do that, anyone can - trust me. Either way, I really do like them all but we will see when the actual engagement photos will be in.

I plan on printing these on uber thick cardstock, and then, possibly, laminated to make them even more durable. I also think I'm going to put a little magnet on the back of them so people can hang them up on their fridge or something. If we get copyright on our engagement photos, we're going to get them done at an office store because they can run sheets for about $1 which is A LOT cheaper than ordering them.

Also, we are planning a contest for designers to create a design that will go onto our formal invites. This will not only be unique but also another cheaper way (minus the prize to the winner) to have wedding invitations done. I am so desperately hoping to do this wedding on a small budget, but also make it a mix of one-of-a-kind, creative, relaxed and gorgeous. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

Be prepared for numerous other wedding posts!
So last night, I got to thinking about what I could do to find a design for our wedding invitations that no one else would probably have. So I thought why not have a little CONTEST?!

Fictoris and I are planning out the loose ends on a contest that would hopefully give someone the chance to design a template or something that we could use for our wedding invitations. We have decided not to give too much details about ourselves/wedding, and want the artists to be as creative as possible without limitations. There WILL be a prize involved, something that we have yet to solidify, and also there will be recognition on the invite.

So if you or any of your friends are amazing at design work or even just beginners let them know! I will post an upcoming blog about the contest that will contain more detailed information! Please, please pass the word on and stay in touch! If you have any questions you can contact Fictoris or myself!

Remember to check back within the next week to see the full amount of information!

North Dakota and I have developed a love/hate relationship. I actually love living in North Dakota - at least I do now. When I was younger I always thought I was stuck here. However, now that I'm maturing, about to graduate college, engaged, looking for jobs and waiting to start a family (in 4-5+ years), North Dakota is MUCH more appealing. Find out why.

Why I hate North Dakota:

  1. The white tundra!!

Fictoris took these this morning. The one you see above is right outside the door.

Yet another one of all the snow. The way to get an idea of how much snow it is, check out the Handicap sign...Yeah, Welcome to North Dakota.

Why I love North Dakota

  1. You can see the skies! How many of you have looked at a Harvest Moon? I have been to much larger cities and it is hard to notice anything in the sky but sky scrapers. Lets just say that the largest city I can see myself living in is Fargo, ND, and even that was pushing it for me.
  2. The smell of wheat and burning fields. I can't explain it; it's just yummy.
  3. Small towns and practically ghost towns. Passing through x amount of towns in a trip with 3 bars and no gas station is something I will always remember.
  4. Friendliness. EVERYONE is friendly and anywhere you go you will find someone that you know. The only people I can think of that are not friendly are the dumbass teens.
  5. Memories. I have endless memories in North Dakota: camping, Medora, living/growing up in the country (my neighbors were a good 1-2 acres away, not 20 feet away; and I had a HUGE backyard), mudding/4 wheeling, Pasture Parties, VCSU, meeting my fiance and many more to come.
I realize that a lot of these qualities are available in practically every state, but I love North Dakota. I have been to numerous states, but it always feels good to come home.
Have you ever Googled yourself for the hell of it? I do it every once in a while when I am bored. Because I have not fully "developed" myself on the web, I am listed 3 down on Google. Before the actual ME pops up I have rather interesting alter-egos...

1. I am a very pretty Australian model, who was also Miss Universe Australia...yeah don't I wish!
Me? A model? Hahaha that is great...for the record I am a 5'5'' red head that wears average size jeans!

2. I am a contemporary painter and flamenco dancer...all in one! Yeah....right. I'm white and from North Dakota...I can barely two-step let alone become a flamenco dancer.

3. Finally, will the real Jana please stand up? (I'm SO sorry for using that!) You will find my LinkedIn link - but that is it for a while. I am slowly trying to build up my name but who can compete with an artist and a model!?

However, kudos to all the other Jana's in the world!

Sorry this is so short and sweet, but I have had little sleep. So if you're ever in a need for a laugh, pull up Google and type your name in! See what else you can do!
Two things I love in the food world....Chocolate and Cinnamon. I have combined those two to make one hell of a cupcake. All I used was a box of the chocolate cake mix for the cupcake, and cream cheese, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, & nutmeg (so basically a pumpkin spice mix). Needless to say, Fictoris ate three of them...

But the good news is that I only made 12 cupcakes and then a small cake! So he can eat as many as he wants...

However, I encountered a problem while frosting these puppies. I had never used my piping set up until now! Yikes! So I came out with cupcakes that looked like this:

So then I resorted to something I knew -spreading/frosting the frosting on! Ta-da:

However, before all of the frosting issues...I have a new found love for piping kits that have nothing to do with frosting...STUFFING!

So if you like them or want to make them, I'll list the recipe now:

Follow a box recipe.

16 oz of Cream cheese (softened)
4-5 tbs of powdered sugar (to taste)
2 tbs of Cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger (of course ;) !)

*Note: I used the frosting recipe to stuff and frost 12 cupcakes.
Originally I was going to blog about Googling Yourself....but had a change of heart one night laying in bed. Lately, I have noticed that the majority of people I encounter are afraid of change. I'll even admit that a little bit of change throws off my day. Change for some people can be scary and sometimes intimidating, but change for an organization is usually considered a good thing. So what happens when people within the organization are afraid or intimidated by changes for the organization? Most of the time, because of the fear of change, NOTHING happens. Have you noticed that? I know I have and I am a "mere college student". Ok so maybe I am a little bitter. Either way too much or too little of change can harm or benefit an organization, but right now, I'm more of a positive person, so I will think that change is a good thing - especially when nothing has been changed for 15+ years. People fear change because they are unsure of the future outcome and how they percieve the change (good or bad) (about.com article).

Change is hard for people that have been in a mode for x amount of years. Something new comes along and BAM! it is instant chaos. You have people worrying about losing their jobs, worrying about their behavior/performance, worrying about what this change could do to their rank within, fear of rejection or humiliation etc. There are numerous things I think people fear change. Change can litterally throw you for a loop if you not prepared for it. So now what happens when you are thrown for that loop and chaos insues? You are given choices. A choice to accept the changes and have faith in your performance and the outcome, or a choice to deny the changes (and denial never does a body good). If you are in fear of losing your job or your rank, then think about that. Perhaps that fear is telling you that maybe you are doing something wrong. Change causes people to rethink they're actions and behavior on the spot.

So I am having a problem thinking about summing it all up, so I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from R.W. Emerson:

"It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude."
Most people are excited for it to be Friday...and I was too when I woke up this morning. However, Friday was not happy to see me.

Last night Fictoris and I decided to go to the midnight showing of Watchmen. The movie was amazing, a little long, but amazing...even for a geek's fiance like me. We did not get home until about 4 A.M. Even though I am a college student, 4 A.M. is still uber late for me. Then I had to wake up and go to work (I skipped my 10 A.M. class) at the University. I went to a University Forum about technology around noon with Fictoris and basically felt attacked and like "well you're just a typical college student - you don't know what you're talking about." Then after that was done we had to go back home and get him packed for NDSA and back to the University at 1:30 (it was 1:25 when we got home). When I dropped him off, I had to get lunch and went to Subway...right after 9 buses went through their line. They didn't have any bread! So I walked out of Subway, started my car, and started to rumble. My car started to RuMbLe...do you feel the rumble, and my temperature shot way up. So I then had to call Fictoris back - balling my eyes out. FICTORIS TO THE RESCUE! I love that kid btw :) After I calmed down a bit from my mini-breakdown I had to go back to work. Needless to say, when I got home, I had some chocolate and took a 3 hour nap. It was marvelous.

So I say to you at 12:12 A.M. - TGIS - Thank God It's Saturday!!
Lately, I've been noticing ads that portray women in a...lets say desperate way. The first one that really got me going was the Oreo 100 Calorie Packs commercial. If you haven't seen this let me give you a quick description of it. Basically a truck of the goodies drives around a city and all the women walking, driving, eating etc chase after the truck screaming, yelling and basically pissing their pants. Reasons why I hate this commercial:
  1. All the women in movie are probably under the size of 6. The average women in American is between a 12-16.
  2. Are women really desperate to chase after 100 calories? I know I'm not...so why in the hell are they being portrayed that way? I understand the importance of having a target audience, and commonly the usual people trying to diet are women, BUT have a little respect for them. Don't make us out too look like immature, screaming, desperate idiots.
  3. Where are all the men?
Next, a commercial I heard on the radio. This one was about all the new Diet Pepsi Flavors that are out. It talks about women are not indecisive, they just have different moods. Therefore, Pepsi has designed all these different flavors for the mood! (Do you feel the sarcasm?). Yes, let's talk about moods...

"Have a Happy Period." Can you guess which brand uses that logo? In risk of sounding like a "valley girl", I don't care, PUH-LEASE! I get that they are trying to make it "easier" on us to have a period and to feel as comfortable as possible, but no amount of cotton on a pad, or scent on a tampon will make me have a HAPPY period. I will not go into detail about why its hard to have a happy period because that could be scary for some people, but you get the idea.

So I leave you with this...are these companies the desperate ones?
This morning I was sitting in my Gerontology (study of aging) and a question came up asking "What do you picture yourself as when you grow older? Or, do you even think about what it will be like when you're older?" I did not answer out loud. The truth is, I DO think about being 70+. I have a very stereotypical thought in my head that consists of my husband or best friend sitting next to me in a rocking chair outside watching a sunset and sipping on some ice tea and beer. I would love to be up and running around, even at the age of 90. However, being the realistic person that I am, chances of that actually happening are slim to none. Few reasons for this:
  1. Women statiscally outlive men.
  2. I like to think that I am healthy, but the family history and my medical history tell me differently. My family has a history of Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer and many chain smokers (which I was surrounded with for a good 18-19 years until i went to college). In fact, doing my Geneology report, I found out that a good 3/4 of my relatives (past and present) smoke.
  3. The American Average Life Span - better than most, but could definitely be improved.
To tell you the truth, death scares me. I like thinking I will grow old. I WANT to grow old. I want to be able to see my grand kids grow old! Maybe I am uncomfortable with death because I have so much to look forward to; or maybe some would argue it is because I am not very religious; or how many other reasons there may be.

So here are my questions for you!
What do you picture yourself as "old"?
And when do you think you will think of yourself as "old"?

P.S. "Old" is a whole other topic.

Thanks for reading!

P.P.S. I want to be like these guys playing the Wii!
So aside from you know I'm a red head...I am also part German. Actually, because of a Genealogy assignment I have found out I am Irish, Prussian, German and Norwegian (like the rest of the state of ND) - but that's besides the point. I have been raised up around numerous German & Norwegian foods and out of all those foods, one of my favorites is Kuchen. Kuchen is "cake" in German...but here in ND Kuchen is basically a custard pie mixed with whatever flavors you feel like - usually fruit.

Fictoris and I got into a fun, heated discussion last night. He stated that Kuchen is like an egg bake and I corrected him on saying that it is more like a Quiche. However, if you look at the definitions (at least the ND definition), they both involve eggs...lots of eggs. Quiche, however, is just more of a savory dish than a sweet dish. And I would much rather eat Peach Kuchen than any sort of Quiche!

On that note about "ethnic" foods...how about Lutefisk? Do you love it? Hate it? Have to have it cooked a special way (My grandparents love it nuked with butter!) Tell me about it on my comments!
Aside from feeling like a hypocrite for making fun of my fiance and blogs...I have decided to make one for myself. I needed a place to put my thoughts, ideas, concepts, photos and recipes down. As you could pretty much figure out, I am a ginger; a redhead; and proud of it! We are a rare bread. In fact, did you know that only 4% of individuals in the world are red heads? Anyway, that is where Gingerisms/Gingerology came from.

So whether you decide to continue reading/following, I hope you enjoy my gingerisms!