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Ick, My Highlight Reel is Showing (And A Possible “Needs-to-be-Censored” Baking Fail)

So last week, I was having a bit of, well, a “week”. It seemed I just couldn’t get any work done, Penelope decided to go all mobile on me, and Greg had to travel for work (he doesn’t do that very often.) I decided one night after P went to bed that I’d bake, and then this happened:


What you are seeing here is what we call an “epic cheesecake fail”.

I was feeling a little sad, which always puts me in the mood to bake for some reason, and since I accidentally purchased three tubs of ricotta cheese during a temporary brain fart thinking I needed them for chicken parm (which nowhere in the ingredients actually mentions ricotta cheese), I decided I’d make a ricotta cheesecake. Only my oven had different plans for me, because my spring form pan started leaking within minutes of putting the cheesecake in and suddenly my kitchen was filled with nasty oven smog that smelled like a combination of everything I’ve ever baked in my oven since we bought our house, plus maybe some mystery bonus meals from previous homeowners, and every oven cleaner we’ve ever used.

I couldn’t even open the oven door long enough to rescue the cheesecake because every time I cracked it the tiniest bit, black smoke poured out everywhere.

Toxic cheesecake, anyone?

Anyhoo, I almost didn’t blog about this because well, I figure you really have no intentions of ever making a toxic cheesecake. But then it got me thinking, that only posting the good things feels like things are always just, well, GOOD, and that is so not true. Even if you don’t blog, humor me for a minute: if you are on social media of any kind, you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes a simple three minute scroll-through your news feed can send you screaming for a therapist and feeling like total shit, because on your worst day, you’re feed is inundated with things like: “Yay for my new job!” “We’re pregnant with twins!” “I got the part!!” “We’re engaged!!” It’s enough to make you want to bury your face into your toxic cheesecake.

Bloggers (myself included) are just as guilty, because we usually only post our successes, accompanied by amazing photos (pffffffft, can you give me decent at least?), delicious recipes, natural living tips, and other positives, and while this is great, it’s not real life all-the-time. It’s just that our best stuff is what makes it to the blog. Like most people with social media, our “highlight reel” is what we put out there because it’s sort of natural to only want to share the good. And I think that, whether we are conscious of it or not, whether we like it or not, highlight reels can take a bit of a toll on our psyche.

Photo May 20, 9 19 36 PM

And so somewhere between my messy house, my all-over-the-place child, my loneliness, and my smoke-filled baking fail, it occurred to me: holy crap. My highlight reel is showing.

But wait! In my defense, the things that don’t make it to this blog either: a) totally suck, or b) are epic fails, so I don’t share them with you because I mean, why would I? Why would I share the sucky-ness and waste your time with things you can’t/won’t use? And then I realized something:  I TOTALLY owe it to you to share my experience making said sucky recipes for sheer entertainment purposes. Let’s call it a “lowlight reel”, shall we?

So let’s start with what happened on Thanksgiving.

I decided I’d make a pumpkin loaf for dessert. I’ve made this pumpkin loaf before (here it is) and it is one of my favorites because it has yummy spices and is super moist and tastes like Fall in a loaf pan. But I messed it up that day, and this happened:


Yep. What came out of the oven was a big ol’ vagina loaf. I effed up and pulled it out of the oven too early (shut up), and this was the result. How could I put this on the Thanksgiving table? “Everyone, I’m so glad you are here and I hope you enjoyed that delicious turkey! And now, let’s finish things off with an espresso and a slice of pumpkin vagina cake.” I guess it wouldn’t be so shocking, since we do everything else pumpkin-flavored, no?

There are a multitude of other ways that things go wrong. If you’re having a bad day, here is just a snippet of my failure compilation for you to peruse:

Failed workouts

Honorable mention: my hot yoga experience

Garden fuck-ups

Featuring the dill that gave me the middle finger, and my infested zucchini plants

The drapes in Penelope’s room.

My sewing machine crapped out on me and, since I’m not much for sewing straight lines in the first place, I went ahead and stapled the rest of the seam. That’s right – stapled. Early lesson for Miss P: mama ain’t perfect, and neither are your drapes.

Bad home decisions.

Our deck looked like it was starting to fall apart, and we didn’t have the money to spend on tearing it down and putting up a new one, so my husband (thought he) found a solution: a protective shield paint that would coat the entire thing and keep it strong. He asked me to pick out a shade and I told him I didn’t have the head to do it because there were like forty six different ones, and mama had a lot going on: I was 8 months pregnant, working 3 jobs (a full-time job, a part-time writing job, and writing my book), and totally consumed with trying to get my breech baby to turn, but he insisted I pick the shade, so I did.

It took just two sweeps with the paint roller for me to know I hated it – it was hideous, and it looked like what I’d soon know to be the color of Penelope’s poop. But we let it go on until the whole damn thing was painted, telling ourselves it would “grow on us” and was a great decision to buy us some time with our deck. Fast forward to less than one year later, and this is what happened:


Yep. So, to recap, our deck is the color of Penelope’s poo, and that shit is peeling, like everywhere.

This is just a minor snippet of my low-light reel. I could think of many, many more, probably far worse, and if it weren’t so late and my vision weren’t so bleary, I’d write them all down. But, seriously? There is so much damn material that I think this warrants a monthly post on the topic.

So today, let’s celebrate our failures, because they are badges of our attempts to succeed. Fueled by passion and naive gusto, they were grown from the seed of good intentions; too bad we effed up and didn’t water them enough. But it doesn’t mean we are bad gardeners. We’ll try again next time, but in the meantime, grab a fork and take a bite of my toxic cheesecake, and stay tuned for many more features of my “lowlight reel”.

What about you? What’s one thing on your lowlight reel this week?


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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Thank you for this. I am LMAO – oh no, not at you but WITH you. Have had some home disasters of my own as well as some toxic ‘stuff’ in the oven! I LOVE your blog

AT, WITH, either is cool with me! HA! I’m happy to have a partner in crime when it comes to toxic stuff in the kitchen…So glad you love the blog!

I was recommended this website by my cousin. I’m now not certain whether or not
this submit is written through him as nobody else understand such unique approximately my difficulty.
You’re incredible! Thanks!

Well that video was pretty damn funny…makes my fails feel not so bad πŸ™‚

I needed a good laugh today! Your toxic cheesecake makes me feel not so bad about the sand paper chocolate chip cookies I made last week! In any case, I’ll take the “lowlight reel” over the highlights any day. Reminds us were all human and sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. Great topic (as always)!!!!!!

Haha thanks Meliss!! Yes, toxic cheesecake, sand paper cookies, tomato, tomatoh LMAO!! You are right, thank God for the low light reels!!

Great perspective! I really like the quote. Similar to a quote by Anne Lamott that I love, β€œNever compare your insides to everyone else’s outsides.”

Thanks, that one is great too Kris! So true! One of those sayings we have to keep reminding ourselves!

Love the part about the drapes! I would totally do that. Staplers rock. Thanks for sharing the flip side! πŸ™‚

Yes! Thank god for staplers! πŸ˜‰ Anytime…thank YOU for finding me here!

Ha! I LOVE this post! It takes courage to show our “Lowlight Reels”! I commend you, and by the way we never think that maybe our highlight reels tend to make others feel bad (by comparison), whereas our lowlight reels may make others feel less alone and more encouraged to laugh at themselves (which is always an incredible and most beautiful medicine). Thanks for writing this!

And by the way, I read a post of Lori’s and I couldn’t help sharing this post in my comment:

Thank you Rula! So true about the lowlights making us feel less alone! Feels good to write about that stuff πŸ™‚ And a big thank you for sharing my post on Lori’s porch!! Love you my friend!

[…] this sucker was going to taste like once I took that first fateful slice (and if you remember my pumpkin bread debacle, AKA ‘vagina loaf’ from several months ago you know baking is not my strong point). THIS was a time I wish I had this […]

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