Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life...Keeping me Humble

It's review time here at the Firm.  That means that sometime soon, all something like 70 partners are going to get together in a big conference room and talk about all of the associates, one by one.  For me, this is my first full partnership review...up until now, I've only been reviewed by a smaller group of partners (the Associates Committee). you can imagine, the idea of 70ish of my bosses sitting around and talking about me behind closed doors is a little...scary.
This week the partners are working on (or should be working on) our written reviews.  All of the partners who I have done work for in the past six months have the opportunity to evaluate everything about me, from my researching and writing skills to my personality to my willingness to participate in firm functions.  And if I haven't done work for someone, well they can always opt to review me just for the fun of it. 
Anyway, given it is review time, I was extremely happy with a phone call I received today.  You see, a couple of weeks ago I filed something for a partner with the Clerk of the Appellate Court.  Today he called me and said, "So...I just realized...when you filed that Response, did you make sure to bind it correctly and use the right color of cover page?  I just realized that this was probably the first time you've filed something like that."  And I responded with, "It was, but I looked it up and yes, I filed it correctly." 
And then he said something that as an associate you just love to hear:  "Excellent, this is why I like working with you." 
I almost said, "Great!  You should probably write my review RIGHT NOW!"  But I didn't.
I did, however, proceed to tell some friends that I was feeling good about myself.  You know, always better to go into a review with the partner you do the most work for feeling good about your competence...
And then I looked at a motion I filed for him yesterday...and realized that I'M AN IDIOT who COMPLETELY FORGOT to include our exhibits.  Seriously...
So, just an hour or so after the partner tells me I've done something well, I walk into his office and explain why I'm an idiot (and then I fixed it, obviously). 
Sometimes there is a wonderful balance to the practice of law (at least my practice)... is a wash...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream & Fantasy Football

Have you ever noticed how often I start a post on this thing with an apology for not posting in an excessive amount of time?  I have.  It's annoying.  Anyway, sorry for not posting in a month!  I think that is the last apology you will get out of me because if you are reading this should be used to it by now, am I right?!  (Also, you are most likely a family member or friend who expects me to be late/ why should posts on my blog be any different?!).
Anyway, I'm playing fantasy football this year.  And my team (Lindsey and I) is totally kicking some major A$$! 
I don't know anything about football.  I know I like the Hawkeyes, I know some of the positions and some basic information like scoring and whatnot from my days of being a cheerleader...but I don't know ANYTHING about the NFL, and I'm being completely honest when I say I've never cared to learn.
This year, however, the guy who organizes the fantasy football league at work asked me if I wanted to get an all girl team together and participate.  I'm a lover of infiltrating all things generally male dominated, so I asked a couple of girls here if they wanted to participate, Lindsey (who actually does watch football) said yes, and Team Candy was born! 
Yes, our name is Team Candy.  One of our newest associates, Paige, named us.  I believe it is technically Team Eye-Candy, but we like to keep things appropriate (although I don't know why considering one of the teams is the Champion Whoremongers...).
Anyway, Lindsey, Paige, and I went to the chaotic, loud, booze-filled draft and picked ourselves a wonderful team!  While I've never been in to the NFL, I am very competitive.  Now that I'm invested in this team, I'm learning everything I can about my players and the NFL.  Actually, it has become so bad that Ian recently asked me to stop spouting off about the NFL and told me that if he broke up with because of my new found interest in football, people would totally understand...(he was joking, I think...).
So far we have won both of our games, which means we are ranked number one! I know, there is still plenty of time for our team to go down in a flaming ball of crap...but for now we rock! 
Because we are competitive, awesome, and women, we went to the mall and ordered the most girly team t-shirts we could find:
And Lindsey has been arranging/hosting team watch parties at her house:
Matt shown for scale...
Lindsey's basement has an awesome setup for football watch parties, which includes this lovely projection T.V. and the NFL red zone package, which makes sure you are watching whatever game currently has a ball in the red zone.
My contribution to the first watch party was cupcakes, of course!  Lindsey is always trying to coerce me into make certain kinds of cupcakes for her.  She recently sent me a recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream frosting and all she said was how delicious they looked and how excited she was for fall.  But I knew.  I KNEW she wanted me to make these cupcakes...
And I did.  I mean, making cupcakes is kind of a team effort...I like to make them, she likes to eat I might as well make a flavor she wants to try, no? 
Seriously though, I imagine it must take a lot of effort to host even a small gathering at your home (I wouldn't know, I don't let people enter my home due to the fact that it is in constant disarray and every place I have to sit only seats two...), so the least I can do is make cupcake flavors she suggests. 
As I alluded to at the beginning of this long stream of consciousness post, I have a tendency to run behind.  I woke up on the Sunday of our watch party, went to the grocery store and purchased the ingredients for cupcake making, made the cupcakes (and a dip, yummy!), and then showed up one hour late to the party...but when you show up with cupcakes, I like to think that people don't care about your lateness.  I might be wrong. 
These cupcakes are deliciously fall flavored.  I thought they were good, they were a hit at the party (meaning Lindsey and I ate a lot of them), and when I took them to work I received numerous compliments on them (as well as numerous complaints about the general lack of cupcakes in the recent past...). 
I changed the recipe to use store bought caramel (what?!  I was already late!) and instead of one stick of salted butter and one of unsalted butter in the buttercream...I just used unsalted butter and added more salt...I'm too lazy to purchase two different kinds of salt for one freaking recipe!
Oh, and just an FYI - if you double the cupcake recipe, you should also double the frosting...
Quit judging the pictures in this post...I forgot my camera at work when I baked the cupcakes, so these were taken on my messy desk.  You can actually see highlighters reflected on the side...
Pumpkin Cupcakes - (original recipe says you get 18 cupcakes from this...I got closer to 24)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add dry ingredients, and mix on low until smooth. Fold in pumpkin puree.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
Salted Caramel Buttercream -
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste and to garnish
1/2 cup caramel sauce, more to taste and to garnish
2 cups powdered sugar
  1. In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy.
  2. Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Scrape down the side of the bowl and add the caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy, and completely mixed (about 2 minutes). 
  4. Frost cupcakes and garnish with more caramel and a SMALL sprinkle of salt.