Friday, January 28, 2011

Strangers coming together

(Going skiing this weekend, yay! Maybe everyone on a stuck lift will burst into song?)

One of my deepest desires involves strangers coming together in song and/or dance during an annoying situation. 

Imagine being on a plane, delayed by a few hours already, and now you are stuck on the tarmac, and you just want to get home/to Mexico for your sunny beach vacation/to Toronto for your work presentation. You are deeply annoyed, and so is everyone around you. 

And then! Imagine if one spunky person started singing a song. During the holiday season, this could be something like Jingle Bells or Frosty the Snowman. And during the rest of the year? I'm very uncool about music, so I were to initiate it would probably be something like Stepping Out with my Baby (What, you don't know all the words to that?!). The point is, everyone miraculous knows all the words and loves the song, and everyone starts singing and/or dancing together! 

Wouldn't that be magical? I really want that to happen to me someday.

* * * 

Yesterday Peter and I were both off for a snow day, and we caught up on Season 7 of The Office. We've been long-time fans, but stopped watching this year when it didn't magically appear in a DVR line-up after we canceled our cable. Big mistake! This season is fresh and funny and filled with lots of music. 

And the season opening sequence was basically a version of my song and dance dream come to life. Enjoy, and happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fabric rosette headbands

Even after much begging and cajoling, my sister refused to part with her darling rosette headband. So selfish.* But no matter! I made my own, using these fantastic directions.

This might be the cutest thing I've ever made (and I've made some pretty cute things). I love it so much! Not only that, it's quick -- under 30 minutes start to finish. I know I'm always saying that things are easy and you can totally do this, but really. This is so easy! You can totally do this!

Tutorial is over here!

*I'm only kidding here, Sal! More than half of my wardrobe is made up of your super cute cast-offs.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Almond Joy muffins

The Turner household is beset with a serious case of the winter doldrums. Oh, there have been charming evenings with cassoulet and candles and movies galore, but we are beat, my friends. Beat down by the cold Canadian weather man.

I've been trying to put together a list of fun for the last week of this endless-seeming month. Sure, there are readings and exhibits and happy hours to attend. I just hope we'll be able to force ourselves out the (warm, safe) house and into the (cold, cruel) world to enjoy it. Do I sound torn between a desperate need for engagement with the outside world and a paralyzing fear of freezing to death on a walk to the library?!  I AM. Oh yes, I am.

* * *

Well, what to say now?  I'm giving you this recipe because I took a picture of the end result. Do you ever do that? These are really good though, swear. Hope it will provide some (almond) joy in these dark hours. The photo looks kind of cheerful at least, right?

Almond Joy muffins

You will need:

1 1/4 cup flour (I used Pamela's GF)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Handful each of chocolate chips, slivered almonds and shredded coconut

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. With an ice cream scooper, fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Eat with a big pat of butter if you're feeling crazy, and thank God that even when you're grouchy, the marvelous combo of almonds, chocolate and coconut still has some kind of magic mojo.

P.S. Any Babysitter's Club fans in the house?!  Enjoy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Desperate for Spring

There's new snow on the ground, temperatures are expected to drop into the single digits this weekend, and on the subway your seat-mate coughed (with phlegm!) for 45 minutes straight.

Anyone up for a bit of fake Springtime shopping?

1. Anthropolgie Cavorting Flora Blouse
2. Marc by Marc Jacobs Classic Continental Wallet
3. Vera Bradley Jane sunglasses
4. J Crew Minnie
5. Moschino umbrella

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pizza kick + The Cruise

Since finding the best-est gluten free baking mix there ever was, I've been on a major pizza kick!

The one pictured above has an artichoke/parsley/parm spread from Trader Joe's as the sauce (down with tomato sauce, ew!). I sliced some potatoes with a mandolin and boiled them until nearly done, then spread the potatoes, broccoli, rosemary and a bit of mozzarella on top.

Not to brag (I'm totally going to brag), but I noticed Peter eating his really slowly and I was like, "Are you full?!"  And he said, "No! I just don't want it to be over."  Mhmm.

While eating said delicious pizza, we watched a really kooky documentary called The Cruise. Has anyone seen this?! It's about a nutty tour guide on the Grey Line bus tour in NYC. I couldn't stop laughing through a lot of it, but also nodding along because some of the wackadoo things he said were so true!

There's a part where he talks about his relationship with the city, how it sometimes loves him, and he loves it and everything goes swimmingly. But there are times the city is all, "We are getting a divorce! No amount of couples therapy can fix this broken love!"  And NYC folks, haven't we all been there at one time or another?

Anyways, highly recommended, and of course, available on Netflix Instant!

PS A few quick pizza tips: I always get my pizza stone really hot a 475 degree oven for at least 15 mins before putting the dough on. Then I turn the oven down to 375 and cook just the dough for 10 minutes. Take that out, add toppings, and cook another 8 minutes. For the last 2-3 minutes, I turn on the broiler to get a little bit of that charred look you get from pizza shops. Took me years to figure out my system, so I thought I'd pass it along!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snowflake felt coasters

Peter and I started watching season four of 24 a week or two ago. I'd never seen the show before, but let me ease some fears if you are considering watching this on Netflix Instant: you will most definitely be able to pick up on everything you need to.

I've taken to saying things like, "There is no time!" and "I need satellite images NOW!" a la my new friend Jack Bauer. These rarely relate to anything, but that seems to be the case in Jack's world as well.

Based on the title of this post, you probably didn't think I'd be going on and on about 24. Connection time, ladies: I made these felt coasters while watching 24! They are so easy that I still saw all the interrogations, gun shots, computer hacks, etc, etc.

If you'd like to make your own, full directions are over here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gentle, thoughtful reading

This is about the time of year that I get completely fed up with winter. Last night when we came home to our cold, dark-at-6:00 PM apartment, I started day dreaming of Martha's Vineyard and Saratoga and picnics and all sorts of other delightful summer activities. Not to torture you or anything. You are probably having a lovely day off right now! Just wanted to say that for me, January requires gentle, thoughtful reading. The following have provided a lot of pleasure while I sit in front of my fake fire DVD:

PS: You can get Anne for free on your Kindle!

And also: I would love to bring back "What's on your nightstand," if you all are game. I just love hearing about the fun books you guys enjoyed! If you'd like to play, write to me at AT with a book or two you'd like to recommend. No need to have a blog yourself, of course!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Creative fodder for Friday

For years, a dear friend had "the creative process" listed as one of her interests on Facebook -- back when the site encouraged you to share your interests. I always loved that!

If it's an interest of yours, here are a few good things I've listened to lately on the arts, the creative process and sticktoativeness (fake word my Grandmother likes to use). 

Ira Glass on Storytelling:

Lynda Barry on The Sound of Young America discussing the brain and the benefits of doing creative work everyday.

K'naan interview on Sound Opinions is on the opposite end of the spectrum in many ways, speaking about the responsibility creative types have to not put crap into the universe. I don't agree, but very interesting!  

Happy Friday, girlfriends!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things tend to happen

A fun little announcement, friends! I've started writing an Arts and Crafts column in the New York If you'd like, you can click there and can see my articles about making a pretty package for those sad, sometimes forgotten January babies and how to create your very own party in a box! A cute, easy embroidery project is coming later this week.

One of the goals I came up with while doing Reverb last month was to find some kind of fun side-gig in 2011, and lo and behold, this came about the last week of 2010. I think it's true what they say: once you put it out there (even if the "out there" is only in your own head), things tend to happen. Sorry for getting all The Secret on you!

Anyways, since I know you are all just dying for more Fresh you can get an additional crafty fix twice a week!

Happy Tuesday, ladies!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

After Our Wedding

(Dresser at the Wainwright the morning after our wedding)

After Our Wedding, from the Writer's Almanac

When you forgot the address of our hotel
in your suitcase,
the driver had to pull over
in front of the restaurant.

Men and women dining beneath the August sun
looked up from their salads 
to clap for you,
a young, slender woman
in a wedding dress and tiara,
retrieving a slip of paper
from the trunk of a cab
in the middle of the street.

And since that day,
many of the guests at our wedding have divorced
or are gone,
and the restaurant has closed
to become a tattoo parlor.
And we have misplaced and found
many more papers,
but no one was clapping.

And the motion of the lives around us
has been like a great bus
slowly turning onto a crowded street.
And some of the passengers
have fallen asleep in their seats,

while others anxiously search
their jacket pockets
for the notes that might wed
their ordinary lives
to something lofty and astonishing.

by Yehoshua Nobember

*   *   *   *   *

Earlier this week, Peter and I hit our six-month-married mark. 

I was home for the New Year holiday, so I braised short ribs and made almond cake. Peter brought me a fantastic bouquet of flowers, just like he did for our six month dating anniversary back in 2006. It was a great night, truly. 

But odd, too, to think of the completely different course these days took. One was filled with light and sunshine and family and nerves and this insane, over the top feeling of joy. On Monday, I went to the library. I bleached the bathroom and made a massive donation trip to Goodwill. Of course, I know it's completely unfair to compare this January day with our July wedding. Of course! 

It just served as a good reminder that we have to constantly work to not fall asleep in our seats and celebrate whenever we can. Bake cakes, arrange flowers, have a toast with the good gin, talk about the big things. Keep trying to wed our ordinary lives to something lofty and astonishing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A deep desire to appear cool and French

I am nursing a serious crush on the adorable Dorie Greenspan these days. So serious that I had wear my scarf just like her today. If you, like me, are confounded about how to tie the darn thing like an authentic, darling French girl, I present this video. My favorite part is the "things you will need" bit which includes just a scarf and a flat surface. What about a neck? And a deep desire to appear cool and French?!

Monday, January 3, 2011

36(ish) hours in Burlington-Waterbury-Stowe

A last minute change in plans led us to Vermont for our little winter vacation!  

Day One:

5:00 PM: Waterbury is a tiny but darling town (home to these famous guys!).  Take a walk down South Main in the historic part of town, wind around to Winooski Street and onto the community recreation path along the Winooski River. Is it too soon to start thinking about the old farmhouse you want to buy in Vermont?

6:00 PM: Saddle up to the window box at Hen of the Wood. The menu changes daily, and everything we tried was just fabulous. Fresh, toasty bread, rabbit pate with pistachios and pickled onions, lamb-two-ways, a firm Vermont gouda and walnut cake: perfection from start to finish. If you are lucky enough to sit in the window box, you'll have such a pretty view of the woods and stream out back.

9:00 PM: The Alchemist is a great brewery with an impressive seasonal selection. Also: a pool table, funky lighting, and lots of people watching to do ("So many crazy hats!").  I have it on good authority that the sweet potato fries are to die.

Day Two: 

9:00 AM: There are half a dozen ski resorts within a few hours of Burlington, including Stowe, Sugarbush, Jay Peak and Smuggler's Notch, which is where we ended up. If you want to feel like a local, call it "Smuggs."  Favorite trails included Chilcoot and Rumrunner - long and windy and not too difficult if you are a solid intermediate skier like myself. Many of the ski shops in Burlington sell discount tickets to select resorts, so be sure to check in if you're looking for a deal.

5:00 PM: Take a stroll down Church Street. Pick up a gift for your mom at April Cornell, and a gift for yourself at Lake Chaplain Chocolates. Highly recommended candy includes peanut butter salted caramel dark chocolate, homemade peanut butter cups and dark chocolate covered apricots.

7:00 PM: The Farmhouse Tap and Grill is a recently opened gastropub with a bar in the basement. Great burgers, yummy beer, and board games!  Also good: the kale-arugula salad with buttermilk-herb vinaigrette, pork country pate and nitty gritty corn cakes (omgosh, we ate a lot in Vermont).

Day Three:

9:00 AM: A walk around Lake Champlain is the perfect pre-long drive activity. So sparkly in the bright winter sunshine!

11:30 AM: Grab an early lunch at American Flatbread. Take leftovers with you. Nothing like a slice with Vermont sausage, caramelized onions and mushrooms to make that six hour trip home a little more bearable.  But only a little.
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