Wednesday, December 3

discover [serial]

TWO discover posts in a row? I guess I'm just finding things that are too cool not to share with you.

You've probably heard of Serial, the new (and most downloaded) podcast produced by This American Life, of the infamous Ira Glass. It's published weekly, and follows one non-fiction story (in this case, the murder of a 17 year old girl by her ex-boyfriend in 1999 Baltimore). Each episode unfolds another part of the crime and the investigation. It's like SVU, but not quite as harmless when you remember this is an actual man (serving life in prison) and an actual woman (dead in her teens). Creepy but so fascinating.

I love a good debate, and there is certainly plenty surrounding Serial: the journalistic style, the guilt/innocence of the main character (whose trial is in the final stages of appeal, BTW), the propriety of the content, everything. Here's a good article in defense, if you're interested.

I listened to episode 1 while doing busy work during the day, but I think it needs more attention, so I listened to episode 2-4 last night while getting out my holiday decorations. Got my roommate hooked, too. He mentioned something I can certainly identify with: podcasts make you feel more productive than watching TV and smarter than listening to music. In the right setting, they can be a wonderful option. I'm thinking about listening to the next few episodes while streaming my barre and yoga workouts at home, as I bet it's pretty a good way.

Oh, and check out this post from last year about some favorite podcasts and a really convenient way to listen to them.

Tuesday, December 2

discover [first editions second thoughts]

I don't even know where to begin. Let's just say it's all I want for Christmas, for the rest of my life.

Christie's is hosting an auction for PEN American Center, a non-profit that fights against censureship and promotes freedom of expression, and it's TODAY. What are they auctioning, you ask? Oh, just first editions of some of the greatest books that have been re-read and annotated by the authors. Think drawings, notes, editing, letters to the reader, jokes, histories. Watch the video here to get a better idea- worth it.

Things like Toni Morrison, Woody Allen, Bridge to Terabithia, and a flipping first edition of the first book in the "Series of Unfortunate Events" series are up for grabs. They've got Malcolm Gladwell, Gillian Flynn, a few art books, a few poetry books, just awesomely amazing stuff. This was done less than two years ago by the same group, but sadly I didn't know about it (or I would have bid on We Need to Talk About Kevin and the first Harry Potter, which sold for a cool $235k).

I can't wait to see what it all goes for, but I'm hoping big big bucks. It's truly an opportunity to purchase, for a price, the priceless: an intimate conversation with a cherished author.

Wednesday, November 26

interiors [live edge wood]

Live edge refers to furniture that incorporates the unfinished, natural edge of a piece of wood, which can make for a gorgeous organic touch in a home. I've always appreciated wood with personality, complete with knots, burrs, and interesting grain work. Here are a few of my favorite images. Man I need to get a home soon so I can put some of these into practice!

All of this Brooklyn apartment is stunning, but this wood waterfall counter is my must-have.

Pearson Design Group is responsible for this lovely bed. I like that this option preserves the piece of wood, so you could use it for something else down the line.

Design Sponge has the scoop on this bathroom sink. I don't hate the hanging terrariums either, which are a nice mix of delicate and rustic.

These shelves are referred to as "raw edge" on The Kitchn. I don't care what you call 'em, they're a wonderful showpiece.

Apparently this piece was salvaged from the front lawn of someone's house in the San Francisco Bay...if I get so lucky, you can be sure I'd ship it home.


Tuesday, November 25

holiday gift wish list

YES! Time for my favorite post of the year where I tell you some of the most lovely gift ideas I've found in the last few months. 
Cuyana is a new-to-me company with a motto I'm trying to adopt across all areas of my life: fewer, better things. I'm particularly smitten with their leather goods, including this double travel set. My favorite is the professional and muted olive, but you can go bright for your more adventurous friends. Monogramming (why ever would you NOT?!) is free (on up to 5 items, but only one order) when you sign up for their email before the holidays. Check them out for gorgeous cashmere, too.
This gold flatware set at West Elm. If you think forks and knives aren't a great Christmas gift, you have no imagination. One of my favorite categories of gifts is upgrades, or giving someone a better version of something they clearly already need/use/love. If your boyfriend wears a watch every day, you know it's useful to him, so why not get him a dressier one for special occasions, or an athletic one for his workouts? If you use silverware every day, why not have someone who loves you buy a set of gold plated ones, so every meal is more marvelous? Logic.

One of the best gifts I was ever given was my Kindle (thanks brother), which I've used for, shoot, 8 years? This is a great gift option if there's someone in your life that hasn't yet got on board with e-readers but is a book lover. Mine has been squirrely for years, but worked good enough (plus I love my Cole Haan leather case, which won't fit a new model). It's finally time for a replacement. I don't use the wi-fi, I just use it for reading, so the smaller and simpler the better, but if your giftee wants more, some versions are more like a tablet.

Another great upgrade or replacement gift idea is a new wallet. I think most women replace these every few years, and they can be very personal- after all, you're going to see it every day, a few times a day, so it should be something you love. I think you can't go wrong with one from Cuyana (pictured above) or my old and true love, Everlane.

A S'well bottle is always the right size. I bought myself one this fall and have been very happy with it- obviously it's lovely (this one is from the wood grain collection, but there are matte, shiny, rubber, all types of finishes, colors and designs), but it's more than just a pretty face. It keeps cold beverages cold for 24 hours, hot for 12 hours, but the bottle exterior is never hot or cold, and no condensation forms. The lip from which you drink is covered by the top- a feature this germ freak loves- and is large enough to fit ice cubes. It's vacuum sealed, so your carbonation stays put, and the large can hold an entire bottle of wine. Need I say more? Note: one of the S'well bottles I bought has shown chipping in the finish (although the other has not)- don't know if this is an anomaly, and couldn't find anyone with a similar complaint online. They refunded me the cost.

Kitchen gadgets. Again, nothing wrong with the practical, and it can be a great way to share something you've come to love yourself. Aren't these herb scissors great? I think I'd use them all the time. This year, I already know I'm giving one person a spiralizer, and my beloved toddy is on sale, too. If someone has been REALLY good this year, get them a vitamix.

If you have some other great gift ideas, please let me know- particularly for the men, I always find that tough. Other always-just-right gifts: books, booze, gifts related to a specific hobby or interest, and experiences you can enjoy together. Go buy some of these for your loved ones. Or yourself. Or me, also me.

Monday, November 24

cheap eats [fall spice]

In classic white girl style, I love all things pumpkin spice. But pumpkin spice, in the broadly used way, rarely has any pumpkin in it- it's more a combination of autumnal spices that one would add to a pumpkin pie. I LOVE fall pie spices- cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, warm and spicy and flavorful.

I've been using this mix of spices daily for my two necessities, green smoothies and coffee. In my early morning stupor I've been going through 6 different jars of spices, eyeballing the measurements and having a generally inconsistent blend, not to mention the time waste twisting off all the individual jars. Thankfully I had the basic brilliant idea to make a pre-mix for quicker, more consistent mornings.

You can buy this pre-made, usually called pumpkin pie spice, or you can make your own tailored to your flavor preference. I left out citrus peel, which probably would be a great addition, because I typically have half a lemon in my smoothies anyway.

M's Fall Spice

3 parts cinnamon
2 parts ginger
2 parts nutmeg (or 1 part nutmeg and 1 part mace)
1 part cardamom
1 part cayenne pepper

If I had allspice and cloves I would have added that, too, but I only have whole pods. I haven't added this to savory dishes yet, but I know nutmeg is used frequently in Indian dishes, so I'm sure this could be great. Let me know if you've made your own spice blend and want to share!

Friday, November 14

link it up

First week of the new job has been hectic but exciting. I head to California for my first trip on Monday, and the prep work (along with orientation) has kept me from anything fun, like blogging. D and I are spending a weekend in DC with the company he'll be working for come fall. We're programmed to the minute with fun parties opportunities to get to know his future colleagues and learn about the company culture. Look for some instas: while he's in the office, me and the other WAG's significant others have a champagne limo tour of DC.

You've probably been totally stumped regarding what wine to pair with takeout. No more. Speaking of, what your wine and what your beer choice says about you. I love Zin, but I'm not a cheater! Oh, the internet.

The first smart suitcase: weighs itself, can charge your phone, has GPS tracking...what will we think of next?

If you're not aware of how amazing this plant is, educate.

SO worth the watch: D and I are big big Kevin Spacey fans, and this is too good. (D, take some notes on his Christopher Walken, alright?)

I wish more photographers would do this to make art available at affordable prices: Angela is allowing, for a small fee of $15, digital downloads of her print, which I happen to love and will hang in my future kitchen. How sweet (and sour).

Monday, November 10

bibliophile [divergent]

I forgot to review this series from my tropical vacation last May. Light and entertaining, pairs perfectly with the beach.
Divergent Series, Veronica Roth

It would be hard not to have heard of the Divergent series, especially because they were part of a larger series of young adult dystopian romance novels that swept the nation. These have been criticized for being too much like Hunger Games, but I don't find that fair. It's a fairly specific genre, and they both have strong female protagonists, but I think they can both be enjoyed independently. Besides, if I had to pick a better writing style and a less trite romance (ugh love triangle), my money would be on Divergent. I'll give you the blurb for the first, since you gotta read them in order:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I really enjoyed that it was set in Chicago, because I travel(ed) there frequently over the past few years and know the landscape pretty well. This is a plot-driven story, fun and fast-paced and not too philosophical. Similarly to Hunger Games, the part that dragged on for me was related to the romance, but that's what sells to the tween crowd so just skim through it and carry on. I thought the concept was pretty unique. For a beach read, this is just what I'm looking for- pure entertainment and some good creativity.

Wednesday, November 5

cheap eats [banana curd]

I'm rarely dealing with the "what to do with overly ripe banana" conundrum, because if there is a freezer, there is a good use for ripe fruit. However, the freezer is stuffed to the gills lately, and I had 6 bananas that needed to get used. What to do what to do...

With my travel and general life-hecticness, i don't like to have things that must be eaten in a timely manner, which means most breads and muffins and baked goods are out. I really want to try a baked oatmeal recipe, but didn't have the time for all that. The solution? Banana curd.

I first heard about this on the Fauxmartha, a great food/home blog. She adapted her recipe from this one- I have to say, her pictures are WAY better, but I actually followed their direction to use the entire egg, not just the yolk. I subbed in coconut oil for butter and coconut sugar for regular sugar, because health. It's an easy mess: I melted 2 T coconut oil and 1/4 cup of coconut sugar in a saucepan, add the grated peel of one lemon and the juice of that lemon. and 5 mashed bananas. I let that cook down for 45 minutes or so, and it barely needed a stir- I even took a shower in the middle. Towards the end, snag out about 1/4 cup of the hot banana mixture and whisk it into 3 pre-whisked eggs to temper- we don't want the egg to cook. Then just dump the egg mixture into the banana saucepan, stir it for a few minutes, and transfer to your pyrex. The apartment smelled HEAVENLY, like bananas foster. I tried it with a spoonful of the Trader Joe's cookie butter with cocoa swirl...and I died. I'm going to try out JUST bananas and lemon, and see how much flavor and texture the egg, oil, and sugar add, but this version was just delicious.

Fauxmartha says it should be good for 3 weeks. I'm sure I'll mostly use this on top of oatmeal, but I'm dreaming of a deconstructed banana split too, if I want to indulge. My version has 1,200 calories and 38g of fat in total, but I have a full quart container (4 cups worth). At quarter cup servings, you're looking at 75 calories and 2 measly grams of fat. Sounds good to me.

Tuesday, November 4

pinned [exposed plumbing]

If there's anything one usually wants to hide when designing a room, I would think it's pesky lamp cords (or you could just do this or this with them) and plumbing. It's suggestive of something private, not necessarily attractive, and easy to hide beneath cabinets and sinks and toilets.

Well, thankfully not everyone followed that rule. Here are some of the more interesting plumbing arrangements I've ever seen.

These first two are both from Hecker Guthrie, which is my new favorite design team, based out of Australia. I found that all of these images (except for the final photo, which I couldn't source, damn you Pinterest) come from public spaces rather than private homes- hotels, restaurants, and the like- and that almost all of them are from international destinations. Perhaps it's a trend that has yet to sweep the US? Get your sculptural plumbing on today and be ahead of the curve (pun intended).

Hecker Guthrie
Hecker Guthrie
The Lafayette House
Adriaan Louw
Jonathan Tuckey
Ard Hoksbergen
VT Wonen
I've just thought of an added benefit: if you expose your piping leading to the shower, you can drape your towel over it while you wash. Nothing like a impromptu heated towel rack! Just don't burn the house down....

Friday, October 31

link it up

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Did you decorate with pumpkins yet??

D has decided to come to Boston for Thanksgiving, so we're off to sunny Florida tonight to get some family time in with his parents. I think we picked a good weekend to fly south- snow in the forecast up and down the east coast, no thank you.

beach view from our last visit

I love discussing life and love with my siblings- I think our shared background leaves us good and bad at things in the same measure. One of the best articles I've seen on relationships this year has some advice that so closely mirrors ideas my brother has shared that I'm suspicious he's read it. Yes, R? If not, prepare to be validated.

A very fun instagram to follow if you like design or fashion.

For me, the most annoying hashtag on social media right now. Although I LOVE when it's used ironically.

The FBI can teach you how to make friends. I actually found number one to be insightful and something I hadn't heard before.

My sister is an avid tea drinker. You need to see this incredible product, currently on track to win all sorts of awards before hopefully entering production next year.

Finally read this stunningly strange story of "the last true hermit" D sent me ages ago.

Thursday, October 30

bibliophile [seating arrangements]

I am always in for well-written chick lit.

Seating Arrangements, Maggie Shipstead

Let's jump right into the blurb:

The Van Meters have gathered at their family retreat on the island of Waskeke to celebrate the marriage of daughter Daphne to the impeccably appropriate Greyson Duff. The weekend is full of champagne, salt air and practiced bonhomie, but long-buried discontent and simmering lust stir beneath the surface. 

Winn Van Meter, father of the bride, is not having a good time. Barred from the exclusive social club he’s been eyeing since birth, he’s also tormented by an inappropriate crush on Daphne’s beguiling bridesmaid, Agatha, and the fear that his daughter, Livia—recently heartbroken by the son of his greatest rival—is a too-ready target for the wiles of Greyson’s best man. When old resentments, a beached whale and an escaped lobster are added to the mix, the wedding that should have gone off with military precision threatens to become a spectacle of misbehavior.

So, if that doesn't paint the picture I don't know what will. It's similar to the TV show Revenge in a way, but less murder-y (and therefore more realistic). I liked the condensed timeline, which takes place over a 3-day weekend. Everything feels a bit inevitable, in that you won't be shocked by the action but rather will see it coming a mile away, but it's still fun to watch it unfold. The only thing missing is likable characters, but you can rarely have it all- it's written from the perspective of the FOB, who is a walking cliche and more or less terrible person.

If you like reading about the exploits of WASP-y families, but still hope to learn a few new vocabulary words and encounter sentences with more than 10 words, pick this one up.

Wednesday, October 29

DIY inspo [pumpkin decorating]

'Tis the season for holiday decorating! Before we get to Christmas, we have to show some respect for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I like to decorate with fall-inspired things, rather than specific to either autumnal holiday, so I can go with one theme and leave it alone. This year I've put up pumpkins, gourds, and pine-cones that can last through October and November. I went au naturel this year and left all my produce as-is, but wanted to pull together some of my favorite pumpkin decorating techniques at the moment.

Malachite, along with tortoise shell, is one of my favorite finishes at the moment. These are so lovely!
I love this idea. I already have my fall candle (Sweater Weather) and my gourds together on a teak tray, why not take it one step further?

Succulents and pumpkins, two of my favorite things brought together. The best part? This project doesn't involve cutting into the pumpkin, and you use live succulents. This means the arrangement lasts for months, and after the pumpkin deteriorates, just cut off the top layer (which the succulents will have rooted into) and move it to your garden or an indoor planter. Very well done post, check it out.
Not much of a DIY, but still a beautiful centerpiece.

A good deal of effort but a unique result with this shallow carve.


Tuesday, October 28

cheap eats [brussels sprout bacon and goat cheese pasta]

A quiet weekend at home was a perfect opportunity for D and I to try a new recipe. We used to love cooking together, but have only done so a handful of times since B school started. It's nice to work towards a common goal, to engage in the kitchen dance, to be rewarded with something delicious for your efforts. If we're cooking together, we always make it a bit of an event: get some music going, pour drinks, bust out the aprons.

It's also nice to clean out the fridge, so why not do both? Nothing like a good dose of practicality poured all over romance. I've found my most effective way to use Pinterest  is to search for recipes with the specific ingredients I have on hand- otherwise, I'm too overwhelmed by all the beautiful and delicious food that I can't make without a walk to the grocery store. I searched for brussels sprouts, goat cheese, and whole wheat pasta, all of which I had open and/or available in the pantry. I found a wonderful recipe over here, although I did sub bacon for prosciutto. It was a learning experience for both of us: I learned to reserve some pasta water to make a cheese sauce, and also poached my first egg!

If you're new to the poach game too, I have a source: Pure Wow taught me. You can go watch their video here, or I can just tell you: add 1T vinegar to a pot of almost-boiling water, start a whirlpool, and drop an egg into the middle. Leave it alone for 2 minutes, then fish it out and lay it on a paper towel. Too easy, and it's so beautiful to crack into that runny yolk. Maybe my new favorite way to do eggs at dinnertime.

Friday, October 24

link it up

Friends! The weekend is here again. D and I had so much fun in Asheville (post coming) that we stayed Sunday until quite late, and I flew off on my last trip of my current job early Monday morning. Happy to be hanging in this weekend- we have a visit from D's brother (which means good conversation and meals to come!), a trip to the NC State Fair, and a little pre-season Duke Basketball.

These very honest slogans cracked me up.

This one is for you, dad, and in honor of some of your soundest advice. I would add on your reasoning (shows respect for others, especially for where you are going) and highlight this excellent thought: "just because we may be anonymous doesn't mean we are invisible".

Experience the power of a bookbook. I love Ikea.

Toasting as a universal language: "the most obvious way to break the ice (and then pour booze all over it.)"

If I (or my machine?) created something this lovely, I would not be eating it. D, check this out.

Not to share all my secrets, but apparently there are some new tips to booking the cheapest airfare.

Monday, October 20

bibliophile [casual vacancy]

I'm NOT just saying I like this because it's J.K. Rowling. But that probably doesn't hurt.

The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling

Damn she's a good writer. I wasn't worried, but I'm still pleased that I dig JKR even when she's not writing about Hogwarts. Blurb:

A big novel about a small town...
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils...Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity, and unexpected revelations?

A big novel about a small town, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults. It is the work of a storyteller like no other.

Even though it's not HP, there are some similarities: big discussion/focus on class divide, wonderful character description and development, and truly creating a world. Ok, so this one isn't magical,  but you truly get to know this small town. It's not happy-go-lucky, certainly, but it inspired some interesting reflection on the cruelties of life and how they transform us, and those around us. Since I enjoy her writing and her character development, I didn't mind the slower pace for the first 70% of the novel; she's really laying the scene and drawing you in, but some critics found it boring. All the action happens when characters collide in the last quarter of the book. I thought it was a thrilling end, with car-crash like commotion and destruction.

Give it a read! I have the Cuckoo's Calling on my list next, her pen-name novel (like we don't all know it's her...)

Friday, October 17

link it up


Spent every night this week researching Asheville (and conferring with my Southern friends y'all) and think we have the BEST trip planned. Dinner res at Chestnut tonight and The Admiral tomorrow, long hikes in the morning to work up our appetite for Biscuit Heads, a brewery list a mile long (plus a distillery tour if we wanna get saucy), and bopping around downtown for chocolate, cheese, coffee, and cocktails, our holy 4 C's. Of COURSE a visit to Biltmore Estates, the largest private residence in the US. That's royalty up there and I can't wait to see it....and the 5 antique shops located within a mile. If you have any further ideas for me, do share. Photos to come.

I use Yelp on occasion when looking for a new restaurant in one of my work regions, and I've witnessed some pretty silly, and in my opinion, irrelevant reviews. This Kansas City restaurant fired off a most sassy reply to a one star review. I always love when both sides get in the mud.

How cool is this: Scoopshoot will help connect you and your amazing instagrams to companies that want to purchase your work. Basically, it's a crowd-sourced stock photo website. Sell your snaps for a mutually agreed upon price, usually $5-$50, to news outlets, big brands, anyone that's buying. You can just snap away as normal or you can post specifically to "tasks" they have assigned- a recent request for pictures of boats, kayaks, canoes, yachts, and ships received 2,500 submissions. If you're taking the picture anyway, might as well make a buck.

Ok, I don't have a link for this one, but Pinterest taught me something amazing this week. Remember all that spiralize info I shared with y'all this week? Well, if you want rice-like texture from your veggies instead of pasta-like texture, try this: spiralize a sweet potato, than pulse the noodles in a food processor until they are a crumb-like consistency. VEGGIE RICE FOREVER. Also works with squash, carrots, PLANTAINSohyum, and other harder produce. I'm going to make my mom's stuffed bell peppers recipe using this idea!

Go get some free art! D will be jealous, he wants to print this one. Don't forget that you can print architecture prints (sometimes called engineering prints) for a few bucks at FedEx. Costco also does large scale. Keep in mind it's only black and white and won't be crystal clear, but that sounds ideal to me.

Is this the cutest fall dress there ever was? Yes.

Wednesday, October 15

discover [hotel tonight]

No posts yet this week? For shame! Instead of blogging, I decided to spend yesterday evening doing hours (and hours...I self-identified as a maximizer over a year ago) doing research for a last minute weekend escape. And why am I able to embark on an unplanned, spontaneous vacation while staying within my budget?

Hotel Tonight.

I'm not sure who shared this with me, but considering how much I travel, my helpful friends are often sending me hotel or flight related hacks. And this is one of the best. 

Hotel Tonight allows you to book hotels for the current evening, or up to 7 days out, at discounted rates. Pretty standard, right? I guess, but they do it the BEST. The app is incredibly user friendly and functional: they sort the hotels and label them with one of a handful of descriptors from Basic (clean but no frills) to Charming (B&B's! old homes!) to Luxe (hubba hubba), and you can book in just 3 clicks. Ultimately I care about price,and these are the rock-bottom lowest you're going to find.

The best deals (I've done a LOT of monitoring, but this is just anecdotal) are always available for same-day reservations. Which makes sense- when it's 6pm, I'm sure hotels assume those rooms are going unused, and they're willing to fill them at low rates. I was stranded in Chicago last month and found 5-star hotels offering $139 10pm at night. Talk about late check-in. D and I decided that Asheville is too good of a getaway to leave to chance, so we decided to book a few days out- which gives me time to pick which breweries and pubs we'll be visiting in "Beer City USA" (definitely this one, and this one). 

It's funny, one of their taglines is "plan less, live more". That is SO not me- if I don't plan it, is it even worth living?!- but Hotel Tonight actually encourages me to pull the trigger and get out the door because I'm confident they truly are the best system with the lowest prices out there.

So check it out! My invite code is MGIBBONS34 to get $25 off your first booking (and the same for me, too).

Thursday, October 9

cheap eats [zoodles]

Ahh zoodles. So many opportunities from such a simple process.

I made me and my sister this Mexican-ish meal in just a few quick minutes. I mixed a can of black beans, a can of corn, and a can of diced green chilies and tossed it with one big spiralized zucchini. Topped it off with mango and avocado and some baked plantains and we were both stuffed. So much better than tossing it all on white rice my friends.

I made the salad below using a spalsh of balsamic vinegar and olive oil as dressing, then added red onion, basil, and mint, and topped it off with grilled peaches and goat cheese. Basically any salad recipe is going to work here.

Zucchini are, of course, not the only thing you can cut up with this bad boy. I have done sweet potato spirals, which I then baked (half the pan with old bay, half the pan with cinnamon). I've done carrots a few times, but they're a little tougher because they're thin- with this spiralizer, you lose a 1/4 inch core down the middle of your veggie, which can be significant if your produce is thin to begin with. I always eat the middle, so it's not a waste, but it's also not cute ribbons. ANYWAY, you could make this asian peanut salad I did last year with a peeler muchhhh easier. I've also done my mom's cucumber and onion salad- cukes in ribbons, onions in spirals. It came out great and took about 2 minutes. Cray.

Next on my recipe list: some hot recipes. I like the consistency of these zoodles, so I would probably just warm them up, but you can also blanch them (drop into boiling water for one minute, then dunk in cold water to stop the cooking) in order to soften them a bit. I'm thinking a lemony, garlicky, wine-y shrimp dish would be good, and a red pepper and spinach dish is high on my list. I'll report back!

Tuesday, October 7

discover [spiralizer]

I almost feel bad about not having shared this with you earlier. Let me make it up to you by sharing it with you now.

Introducing: the spiralizer.

I bought this one when the price was $32- now it's $36, but lemme tell ya, it's still worth it.

It allows you to replace a starchy base with a raw vegetable base in a more creative way than a bed of lettuce. It takes me less time to spiralize a zucchini (or carrot, or apple, or onion) than it does to chop and wash a head of romaine, and DEFINITELY less time than it takes to boil pasta or make rice.

"Zoodles" (zucchini noodles) are the most popular way to use this tool- just type that into Pinterest and prepare to be inundated with zoodle recipes galore. Just about any fruit or vegetable can go through a spiralizer, but it needs to be sturdy enough to not just mush up- so, berries and tomatoes are out. You can spiralize a sweet potato or a rutabaga and make a breakfast hash, or better yet some baked french fries. It chops cabbage, it slices onions, it makes uniform thin cuts of an apple, it's just wonderful.

Seriously, AFTER MY VITAMIX DUH, this is one of the best kitchen gadgets I own, and one of the most frequently used, too. I'm going to share a few recipe favorites this week, so stay tuned!

Monday, October 6

link it up

Monday link up because I had my little sister in town since last Thursday. Why would you spend time blogging when you can spend time with family? I swear she brought a New England cold front with her, but it was lovely weather for walking and talking and making applesauce and enjoying the fall. All that's missing is the autumn color palate, but I'm sure we'll get that soon enough.

So, I've already read the book recommendation I got after taking this quiz, but it was a very good match to what I was in the mood for. Find out what you should read next. (If you're curious, Here's my review of the book I was given.)

The National Forest Service wants you to purchase a permit before you snap any selfies in front of their mountain. They've clarified their stance a bit to limit such restrictions to commercial photographers, but as the line between amateur and professional is increasingly blurred, it's a tough subject. Thoughts? I think this would make for good dinner conversation.

Cool stuff for those of us who love design AND beer (I'm thinking of you, E).

Root beer float cocktail, with no root beer and no ice cream. We're SO adult.

Thursday, October 2

bibliophile [open city]

Despite how much I've been missing city living lately, this city did NOT satisfy.

Open City, Teju Cole

This was named a best book on more than 20 end-of-the-year lists. But not on mine. Blurb before I start complaining:

A haunting novel about identity, dislocation, and history, Teju Cole’s Open City is a profound work by an important new author who has much to say about our country and our world.
Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor named Julius wanders, reflecting on his relationships, his recent breakup with his girlfriend, his present, his past. He encounters people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey—which takes him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognizable facets of his own soul.

Any author who is listed as "important" is always suspicious to me. Are they important or are their books good? Not always the same thing. I can only assume critics are referring to the writing style and narration, which I did like- the book is just you being in the main character's head. Total stream-of-consciousness. The story itself bored me, and I was trying to like it, trying to get pulled in, because I had heard it was "important". Also, you HAVE to already have guessed that 'Murica sucks for this immigrant. I don't mind that story line, as it's very true for plenty of people, but sometimes when people were rude to him, he had been rude first, making it a justifiable human reaction that has nothing to do with his immigrant status. This came up quite a bit, where he lost my sympathy before engaging with negative stereotyping or prejudices. 

For me, the best thing about this novel is that it reminded me of my dear friend, merMAN, who likes to wonder cities, is very independent, is deeply reflective and has a bad habit of falling in love with girls on the metro.

Tuesday, September 30

pinned [industrial windows]

Light is one of the most important things to me in my home- artificial, natural, you name it I care about it. In fact, it might be the thing of greatest importance to me, if I had to pick just one element of interior design to prioritize. Just ask D- my collection of lamps is slightly absurd.

Natural light is trickier, because of course you can't just head to the store and purchase some. The bones of your home are often unalterable, especially if you're a renter, which i will probably be until 2035 (ugh).

But just because you can't have it doesn't mean you can't dream about it, yes? My absolute favorite type of window is the large industrial-looking panes, floor to ceiling if you can get it. Here are a few images that I think get it just perfect. The last one is the best, although the rest of the decor is a bit modern for my taste.

the most beautiful of work spaces
both floors of the home can enjoy the natural light from these stunners
totally doable- an interior screen like this is could be added anywhere
a beautiful loft
looks like a thoughtful addition rather than part of the original home
via          CAN YOU IMAGINE!