I hope it is relaxing and restful and really, really fun. Wishing you all the happiest of holidays. See you on January 4!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I hope it is relaxing and restful and really, really fun. Wishing you all the happiest of holidays. See you on January 4!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
by George Bilgere
I check the locks on the front door
and the side door,
make sure the windows are closed
and the heat dialed down.
I switch off the computer,
turn off the living room lights.
I let in the cats.
Reverently, I unplug the Christmas tree,
leaving Christ and the little animals
in the dark.
The last thing I do
is step out to the back yard
for a quick look at the Milky Way.
The stars are halogen-blue.
The constellations, whose names
I have long since forgotten,
look down anonymously,
and the whole galaxy
is cartwheeling in silence through the night.
Everything seems to be okay.
"Going to Bed" by George Bilgere, from Haywire. Read the Writer's Almanac here.
Monday, December 21, 2009
My sister is back from her semester in Italy. These are a few photos from her "Europe in a Nutshell" album. She got all the photography genes, clearly.
The top one is of the pretty Christmas lights in Florence, then Interlaken, Switzerland. I'll leave you to your own devices to ponder the last two.
By the way (btw?), if you want to be cool, all the kids are saying NBD. No big deal. Says my little sister. Just FYI. (Oh, I know, I'm so funny -- acronym jokes never get old!)
Friday, December 18, 2009
I always find this friend to be so wonderful when it comes to work discussions. (Aside: I've read quite a few articles that say women need certain kinds of friends to fill very specific roles as they get older -- the one good at career advice, the good listener, the tough-love giver, and so on. Do you think that's true? I think I do...).
Anyways! She is lovely to talk to about work. I find I'm always thinking about the next step, the next big thing I want to try. I like to constantly explore new options and do research. I'm always telling Peter about my (awesome!) ideas to start a little business so that I can work from home (never mind that I have no idea what that little business would be), or leaving our jobs in NYC to travel for a year after our wedding, or buying a house in Portland.
This friend is so great because she thinks exactly the same way. It's so comforting to hear that she has these same thoughts and half-baked ideas. When she says, "I want to run X foundation, and become a professor, and move to North Carolina," I say, "YES!" Because I don't want those exact things, but I totally understand how she could -- and at the same time, no less.
I think I often baffle Peter with how much my ideas float and scatter about, but I think that's because he takes the things I say so seriously. Which is lovely in it's own way. But it's also great to have someone just say, "That is so smart! You should do that!" and know that they will certainly not hold you to it, or be alarmed in the least if you just ship with your formerly brilliant plan.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
A few months ago, my mom told me she met with potential clients named Julie and Peter. I remember asking if they looked like us. Ahh, no, Julie, they do not. (Too bad for them! Ha ha ha.)
P.S. I labelled this New York because New Yorkers are neurotic, and this is perhaps a glaring sign that I am one of them.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I made this little stocking ornament last night. I used the pattern for these paper stockings to get the shape right. Super easy, and really quick. I think this took about an hour, from tracing the pattern to hanging it on the tree.
My mom made a bunch of ornaments when she was first married about 30 years ago. You can see one in the left hand side of the photo -- that plaid little bunny. Her ornaments don't have the stitching on the outside where the the stuffing goes in. How did she do that?!
Total aside: is this not the best photo I have ever taken? No idea how I did it. None.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
American Airlines, which plays a role in the movie, has a really warm, down-right inspiring holiday video out. I think you might enjoy it. Click below to watch. If you are like me, you may cry. But if you are normal, I have complete faith that you'll be able to hold it together while watching at your desk.
Happy Holidays from American Airlines
Friday, December 11, 2009
So let's just move on, and chat about the weekend for a second. I am so excited because we are just staying home, and have no plans to speak of. Well, no plans with other people. I'm going to:
1. Make cranberry-lime syrup to use in fun drinks for our party.
2. Finish writing my Christmas cards.
3. Attempt to make a gingerbread house from scratch. Is this hard? Let's watch Queer Eye Carson and Martha make one! That will surely make it less intimidating.
4. Wrap up all the presents I've gathered so far, and try to fill in some remaining gaps.
5. See Up in the Air or Christmas Carol. Suggestions?!
6. Start reading Personal History by Katharine Graham for the next book club meeting. I love book club so!
That's probably more than enough for 36 hours. Let's hear it for stay-at-home weekends!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
(Clockwise from top left. Mostly under $50!)
1. Primrose slippers: somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I actually wear hand-me down slippers from my mom. These are darling.
2. Brooklyn umbrella: I've been using a very bright, very loud Vera Bradley umbrella for years, and let's just say it's seen better days.
3. Streamline Editor Series luggage: Peter, would you be excited to wheel that awesome pink leather-lined bag? Yes? Awesome. Me too!
3. Italian floral wine glasses: These can added to the long list of things I don't need but really want. But aren't they adorable?
4. 2010 Calendar -- Paris: A Love Story: We're planning on going to Paris for at least part of our honeymoon, and this would be such a fun way to get excited.
5. Flower ear warmer: I have a serious NorthFace hat for skiing, but I hate wearing it because it always falls off when I wear my fury hood. I think this would help solve the laying problem, and besides, it's much, much cuter.
6. Lunch tote: I'm super into bringing my lunch to work everyday, and one of my New Years resolutions is seriously committing to using fewer plastic bags.
7. Gourd bird ornaments: Maybe I have a little bird thing going on? Regardless, love these cute ornaments.
8. The Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg: I tend to find recipes very constricting; this book lists all sorts of ingredients and the things that go well with them.
9. Wii Resort: Peter keeps trying to get me to play more Wii Tiger Woods golf, but settling in for 18 holes of virtual golf is sort of intimidating. Shuffle board sounds way more my speed.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
We had friends over for dinner last night that we've been trying to get together with for a while. They are both a lot cooler than we are, and hence harder to nail down.
They brought yummy wine and a beautiful pointsettia. For dinner, I made buttered chicken with extra butter (gluttenous! delicious!). I had promised them pumpkin crunch, but then didn't come through. My sweet friend was disappointed, but tried really hard to hide it. Neat, see?
Since we've been back home after Thanksgiving, I've been feeling anxious about the holidays and wedding planning. I want to do all the holiday activities I enjoy, like shopping for the perfect gift and decorating the house and making cookies with my Mom's old holiday cookie press. But annoying wedding things are invading. I'm tired of re-organizing the guest list and addressing save the date cards, when what I really want to be doing is sending Christmas cards out to our friends.
I want to be moving slowly enough to remember this season, and I already feel like all the sparkle and joy are whizzing out the window onto the snow-less sidewalk.
All this to say, having a few dear friends come by to eat peppermint bark and chat about skiing was a really awesome way to spend an evening.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
(Clockwise from top left.)
1. Classic hot chocolate: to make Christmas morning even sweeter.
2. Lolita bubble bath: for a special spa-at-home day.
3. Citrus botanical hard placemats: to hurry Spring along.
4. Custom cooking classes: a gift I've given in the past; very well received!
5. French press: since she's been eyeing your French Press for months.
6. Crazy Love, by Michael Buble: because she still actually listens to CDs.
7. Saipua bouquet: to really hurry Spring along.
8. Rosa scarf: because she misses April Cornell stores way more than anyone should.
9. Hot pink golf balls: Much easier to find in the leaves than those boring white ones.
Friday, December 4, 2009
(Clockwise from the top left. Mostly under $50!)
3. Gold vermeil custom Initial Stamped coin and birthstone or flower necklace chain: delicate and pretty, just like her.
4. Mon amour Paris : Do we need a reason to support Paris?
5. 2010 Calendar: helps her remember your birthday.
6. Get Cooking, by Molly Katzen: to expand her cooking horizons beyond mashed potatoes.
7. The Best of Everything, by Rona Jaffe: to help her prepare for the working world.
8. Hookmaker: keeps the clutter under control.
9. Chirp clock: so she's always on time.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
2. Nudo Olive Oil: You can also adopt your very own olive tree in Italy from Nudo!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
When we got back to New York on Sunday night, I couldn't fight the holiday decorating urge any longer. I put these cute star lights up on the mantle in our bedroom. I turn them on every morning when I'm getting ready. They cast a very flattering glow for putting make up on! And only $1.99 from Ikea!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
They filmed most of Cider House Rules at the house, and our irritating tour guide was super into this. He loved sharing "insider info" with us, like an awesome story about how they weren't supposed to film inside the house and then they did anyway.
The wedding exhibit was sort of strange, but we did learn some fun facts. The most interesting was that the tradition of not seeing each other prior to the ceremony was invented in the 1920s in a movie to add drama. But I just spent seven full minutes searching for this on Google, and it cannot be verified, so take that for what you will.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The basic premise is that entertainer Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) is tired of show business, tired of the late nights, tired of the constant travel. He leaves it all behind to open a quiet Inn in Connecticut that will only open on holidays.
There is lots of singing and dancing, beautiful costumes, and, of course, a love story. My family adores it.
I should stop before I make myself cry at my desk. I've become quite sappy.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I don't have a picture of pumpkin crunch! But this is my Thanksgiving table last year.
My family has adopted it into our own Thanksgiving traditions, and this Thursday, when Peter and I are at his Uncle Jack's house celebrating the holiday, I will introduce it to them. I hope they love it as much as I do.
*A note about this recipe: Pumpkin Crunch isn't going to win any awards for being healthy or making use of local ingredients. Try not to hold that against it. I certainly don't.
15 oz can of pumpkin
12 oz evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups pecans, crushed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 box yellow cake mix, without pudding
2 sticks butter, melted (!)
POST EDIT: My sweet friend tells me it is supposed to be 2 sticks of margarine, not butter! Use this if you want to be more authetic. And Southern.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, sugar and eggs in a bowl with a fork or whisk until smooth. Pour into a 9x13 inch glass pan (spray first with non-stick coating). Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle pecans over cake mix. Drizzle melted butter on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes.
Friday, November 20, 2009
2. I hand sewed this cute little bird last night! I highly recommend this to new sewers looking for a quick project. It took about an hour and a half, start to finish. And that's mostly because I had to read the directions 800 times. Not that they were confusing. I was just paranoid about making a mistake.
Find the instructions here. It would be a great little weekend project. I'm going to try to make some more. And I also have another sewing project in the works! Hopefully I'll be able to share next week.
The girls that work there are so helpful and nice. I said some really cool things like, "This is totally the best store ever!" and, "I want to come back EVERY DAY." Not weird at all. They took it all in stride, maybe because they know they work at the best place on Earth.
Anyways, I made my little project last night. Check back later to see it!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
And this morning! Getting ready together and drinking coffee and having someone around to tell me that my outfit looked cute! That's one of the things I miss the most about having roommates. It is so great to have an adorable person around that likes clothes and understands what jewelry you should wear with what, and can actually form an opinion when you ask if you should be wearing flats or boots with your outfit.
I really like this house guest thing so far.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We went to Willow Brook in South Windsor, which is an Executive Par 3 course. Beginning golfers, can I give you a quick suggestion? Seek out an Executive Par 3 course! It is so gratifying to see the hole when you are at the tee, and know that it is a manageable distance you can actually hit.
We've played on larger courses before this, and it is really difficult to not get frustrated while you hit and hit and hit the ball, creeping closer to the hole. I can't tell you how obnoxiously pleased I was to drive the ball onto the green a few times. And even to make par on one hole!
Well, I guess I will admit that it involved hand-punching, some cheering, and a lot of fishing for compliments. But that's normal, right?
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
And the patchwork quilt? Darling. I also kind of want the baby that's lying on top of it, but umm...not for another three to five years (Peter, are you reading this? Just checking!).
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Photo of the original, taken my sister. But I swear, mine looked just like this!
Trattoria Sostanza style buttered chicken or Pollo al burro
You will need:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 stick of butter
Salt and pepper
Add the butter to a small-ish cast iron skillet. Melt the butter over a medium-low heat until it is just becoming brown, about 10 minutes. A good tip from Sostanza was that the chicken should be packed into the pan because it gets less dried out that way. Sprinkle salt and pepper onto chicken and add to the skillet. Cook on one side for five minutes, then flip. Repeat, until both sides have been flipped twice (about 20 minutes cooking time total).
Pour all of that brown butter over the chicken. Don't be stingy! You've already decided to make a dinner with a whole stick of butter in it, so don't back down now.
At Sostanza, we always order buttered tortellini to go with it, but last night I served it with swiss chard-mashed potatoes and salad. A slightly lighter combination that was delicious.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
We are throwing a little Christmas party this year, despite my nervousness. I am so excited that a few friends from DC and my sister and her sweet boyfriend will be coming. It's still a long way off (NYC friends: mark your calendar for December 19th!), but I'm starting to look at different menu and entertaining ideas:
- Cranberry Caipirinha - we drank lots of caipirinha's in Brazil. It might be fun to do a holiday version of the drink for the party. Also, I'm kind of a sucker for pink drinks.
- White Crudites with Buttermilk Dip
- Classic Gougères - ever since I read about Molly Wizenberg's cocktail party fantasies in Bon Appetit, I've wanted to have one myself and serve these.
- Classic Cheese Plate
- Mini Meatballs with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
- Spicy, Sweet and Salty Rosemary Nuts
- Layered Peppermint Crunch Bark - these are so pretty, and so delicious.
Oh, I just love the holiday season.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009