Monday, May 16

DC Digs [the fireplace]

AKA the dirtiest thing ever. I posted this shot right after we moved in, which shows our cute little white brick fireplace.

Yes, the bricks in front were dirty, but I didn't realize just HOW dirty until I decided to go at them with a sponge and some dish detergent.

Ugh! Check that out! I had to have D take a progress shot because it was so unreal to me. After a solid scrubbing, I thought I'd go back over everything with bleach and a toothbrush, but instead I decided just to paint over it. My scrubbing actually tore up a few small specks of paint (you can kindof see the black holes on the right side of the fireplace in the photo above), so it needed to be touched up anyway. Our landlord brought over a fresh can and I got to work. Now it's all shiny and new.

I don't think I realized what a big change sprucing this up would make. It's so much brighter in the room now, and more of a focal point. D and I realized that the firelight flickers off of the smooth service in the evenings, and looks lovely. Yay for cleaning!

Friday, May 6

link it up


Now doesn't that look lovely? I've been on the road for too long and plan on spending all weekend in bed recovering. Even for the most extroverted and talkative among us, it's hard to be switched on for two weeks of meetings and events with a reunion in between. I hope you'll all be cozied up as well.

I'm making this drink all summer and bet my brother will come running (both for the drink and the name).

There is a lot of shame around obesity in the US, and a common belief that an overweight person must lack discipline...after all, it's calories in vs calories out, right? This article from the NY Times gives some perspective and data that shows how losing weight, and keeping it off, isn't about willpower (well, not all of it anyway). Also, why you shouldn't exercise to lose weight (but you should do it for other reasons).

Bet you haven't thought to add this ingredient to your scrambled eggs (!!)

Did you know that B12 is the only nutrient you can't get through a vegan diet, without supplements or fortified foods? It's only in animal products! Nutrition is endlessly interesting.

Finally, I was in a kickstarter campaign video a few months ago, and the fund is live! They hit their goal in about 2 seconds, since it's a truly fabulous line of women's work wear, but they have lots of stretch goals. Check it out over here, and don't miss the blazer, it's amazing. (Full disclosure, I didn't like my hair and makeup, HOWEVER, I am the hand/body model for a few shots, and am super proud of how well I seamlessly rotate while sliding a hand in my pocket. #skillz)

Thursday, May 5

bibliophile...or audiophile?

Audio books. Love 'em or leave 'em? 

Personally, I much prefer reading when it's a novel, but when it's a memoir/non-fiction/comedic, it can be fun to listen in instead. I've done a few audiobooks over the past year that I'd recommend. 

Tina Fey (Bossypants) and Amy Pohler (Yes, Please) seem to have the best, most supportive relationship two workin women can have. Of course they wrote books within a year of each other! Both read their own work, which is hilarious; they would have little asides (Tina included extra jokes, Amy berated listeners for being too lazy to read, etc), and their own voices and timing add much to their comedy. I'd recommend both of these, but probably liked Tina's better...then again, Yes Please included one of my favorite phrases (Good for her! Not for me.), so maybe it's a tie. I bet Mindy Kailing's books would be fun to listen to as well.

Lena Dunahm is someone I admire very much, but I didn't like her memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, as much as I had hoped. That said, she is a writer before anything else, and it shows in the quality (compared to most of these other audiobooks).

I ADORE BJ Novak, so it was easy for me to like his book, One More Thing. It's nothing like the others- not a memoir at all, but rather short comedic stories. The audiobook is definitely the best way to go, because he has famous friends read each story, most of whom are from The Office. A few are laugh out loud. Give it a listen.

This one is different as well: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Fantastic to listen to. It's written like a letter to his young son, and his reading makes it sound like poetry. Coates is probably the most famous writer on race relations in America today, and while I don't agree with everything he produces, I always learn something. Not terribly long, either.

Friday, April 29

link it up

Isn't that a gorgeous picture of our Duke Chapel (taken by friend and photographer Allison  Mannella)? D and I are heading back to Durham for Fuqua one-year reunion. A bit odd, to be reune-ing just 11 months after graduation, but we can't wait. Friends have scattered all over the US (NYC, Birmingham, San Francisco) and this is a good excuse to get them all together. Then I'm right back to the Bay Area for back to back weeks, which I do NOT enjoy. Guess I'll just have to get my fun and peace in this weekend!

I just bought this set of glasses from Urban Outfitters, which I'd seen on Pinterest. Hoping they're as lovely in person. I hadn't walked in that store for AGES, and I felt decidedly old when I did (worth it, though, because they waive shipping if you order in-store).

A handy stain guide from PureWow.

Really enjoyed this thoughtful article: when your daughter is a nun.

I'm trying to keep the front of our fridge clutter free- since, ya know, it's pretty much in our living room- but may print out this conversion guide and throw it up there (thanks again to PureWow).

You can't make me hug grandma (but I would want to anyway).

Thursday, April 28

bibliophile [catch up 10]

One I loved, one I hated, and one that's a movie!

Fates & Furies, by Lauren Goff. A few different perspectives of the same marriage, told over the course of their lives. With superb in-depth character development of the couple, its a smart novel that I enjoyed quite a bit...which isn't something I've been saying much lately.

The Danish Girl, by David Ebershoff. Loosely inspired by the true story of a pioneer for the transgender movement, it's also an intimate look at a marriage. I liked it, but it wasn't quite as good as I was hoping. I've heard the movie is good

Everybody Rise, by Stephanie Clifford. Ugh, that People Mag pick sticker should have told me everything I needed to know. Don't bother with this- it's supposed to be a witty tale about a socialite wannabe, but it's just a cringe-inducing worthless bimbo who has low self esteem and even lower values.

Friday, April 22

link it up

Bite Size Copenhagen Guide: Don't miss the "An Apple Falls in the Rum," a Nordic take on a classic Old Fashioned, spiced with aquavit and served with a crispy rye crouton.:

I am SO looking forward to this weekend. D and I are finally celebrating his birthday (couldn't in March, due to travel and abstaining from alcohol, so what kind of party would that be?!). We're going to the Columbia Room for a 5-course tasting menu dinner, where each course is a cocktail (with food on the side). Columbia Room used to be a speakeasy in the back room of another bar, but it closed before D and I got to try it. I was thrilled when I saw it had reopened in a bigger, better space. After this weekend I have some crazy travel on deck, so I'm looking forward to relaxing and spending time together before the madness. Hope you have a good one planned!

Did anyone else ready The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Great read, if you can get beyond the "inanimate objects have human feelings" mumbo jumbo. The author shares her incredibly minimal home.

Food isn't healthy or unhealthy- WE are healthy or unhealthy. An interesting perspective.

Been having long chats with several people about masculinity, emotional honesty, societal pressure around gender stereotypes, and many things addressed in this article. One thing my sons will know is that, in my family, "manning up" is about communicating honestly, accessing emotions, reflecting thoughtfully on relationships, and living in the great example set by my dad, my brother, my partner, and quite frankly most of the men in my life.

Finally, happy happy birthday to my best girl, my sister, M. You get cooler every year.

Wednesday, April 20

cheap eats [smashed potatoes]

So easy it's barely a recipe, but these smashed potatoes are delicious. I've gotten back into potatoes as a replacement for all the more filling things I couldn't eat last month (bread, pasta, grains, etc). Sweet potatoes are my favorite, but I love making smashed potatoes of those tiny ones that come in the mesh bag.

I use recipes from Martha and the Pioneer Woman to get an outline. First, boil your fingerling potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. DON'T OVERCOOK THEM! If they're too mushy, they won't stay together when you smash them. Lay the potatoes out on parchment-lined tray, and smash with the bottom of a glass, a muddler, a potato masher, whatever you have on hand. Then drizzle with olive oil, add spices of your choosing, and bake until crispy.

I've made them up to the smashed step, but pre-baking, and frozen them. Now I heat up a few under the broiler like you would frozen french fries, straight from the freezer into the oven. I highly recommend!

Monday, April 18

DIY [recent etching projects]

I wanted to share a few recent etching projects I did.

As you can see, these are almost opposite ways of etching; in the first, the etched glass (the opaque portion) is the negative space, and in the second, the letter is etched glass is the letter. If you're looking for some tips doing your own etching, here's what I do: in Microsoft Word, I pick the font and letters I want to etch, put it in a text box, then flip the text box so it is reversed. I trace the letters onto contact paper, cut it out using an exacto knife or scissors (more on which below), and stick it on the glass. Then, dab the etching cream onto the glass, keeping in mind that any glass that is NOT protected with contact paper is going to come out opaque.

Sounds easy, right? It truly is. My tip about negative space vs. letter etching is this: for more complicated or multiple letters, it might be easier to use negative space, so you can use scissors to cut out the contact paper, which I find have more control than my exacto. The K above had to be cut out very carefully with an exacto, which takes much more time and is easier to mess up, in my opinion.

Happy etching!

Thursday, April 14

bibliophile [catch up 9]

A few more books for your reading pleasure.

Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy. I just love Binchy. Did anyone ever read her novel Tara Road, which I listed as one of my faves wayyyy back when I first started doing book reviews? She writes lovely books about friendship and community based in Ireland. Sounds simplistic, but there's always more there than you'd expect. I liked Tara better, but this one was still a pleasure.

The Cuckoos Calling and The Silkworm, both by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling). Fun reads following a flawed but brilliant private investigator, Cormoran Strike, and his trusty, sexy sidekick. I don't read many mysteries, but I'll read anything by JKW, and I'm glad I gave these a shot. Pretty classic in format- some humor, one big crime per book, private lives of our two detectives woven throughout the series, etc. There's a third out that I haven't started yet!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. This was a weird one, but compelling. There's some supernatural stuff, almost felt like a dream reading it. It's been described as a fairy tale, and a short one at that, so it won't cost you much to read.

Wednesday, April 13

cheap eats [paleo granola//nutnola//nutola]

Ohhh I love this discovery and can't wait to share it with you.

I completed Whole30 last month, which means 30 days of no sugar (including honey, maple syrup, stevia, etc), no  alcohol (including extracts), no beans (including peanut butter, chickpeas, etc), no grains (wheat, flour, farro, quinoa, etc), and no dairy. At first you're hit with, "then what do I eat?!", but pretty quickly you understand what you can and can't go for: vegetables, meat, seafood, fruit, nuts, potatoes, coconut milk, EGGS, all that good stuff. I have more recipes coming your way, don't you worry.

Breakfast was easy, since I already did green smoothies each morning. If you want to go for a smoothie bowl, though, you need to adjust your traditional granola recipe, since you have to avoid sweeteners and oats. This recipe for a granola-like nut crumble is so tasty, but make sure you're thoughtful about how much you're using. Like all granolas, even just 1/4 cup can have hundreds of calories. Nuts are nutrient dense, but high in calories and fat as well.

I lightly adapted this recipe from Peachy Palate. Basically, once you have a ratio, you can use any mix of spices and nuts. I used:

3.5 C nuts
1 C seeds
.5 C dried fruit (coconut, raisins, etc)
.25 C coconut oil
.25 C almond butter
.25 C hot water plus 6 dates
cinnamon, vanilla extract, salt
toss in flax seeds

Soak dates in boiling water for 20 minutes, then blend to puree. I soaked and blended in my vitamix. Then add coconut oil and almond butter, and vanilla extract (I used beans while doing Whole30). Thin it out a bit with more hot water if you'd like. Pour this over your nuts and seeds (I crushed my nuts before this step, rather than pulsing in a food processor). Use your hands to really spread the sauce over the nuts. I then sprinkled in some flax seeds, like a dry powder coating. Lay it all on a parchment paper-lined tray and sprinkle your cinnamon, salt, and any other spices. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. I stored mine in a mason jar for over a month. It travels great in plastic baggies, too!