Monday, May 30, 2011

A Quick Fix

Our living room doesn't get much sun even at the brightest time of day. I blame looming foliage and an unfavorable angle of light. That didn't occur to me last winter when I bought the darkest, busiest curtains that money could buy. But now that we're officially out of the winter gloom, my poor little sitting room seemed to be suffocating, so the dark fabric was exchanged for lighter sheers.

Before: Smothered living room

After: A breath of fresh air

We're already planning on refinishing the fireplace, painting the walls and replacing the carpet with hardwood. Meanwhile, what am I going to do with the old curtains?

Fiddle dee dee

I'm sorely tempted since I found the discontinued sewing pattern for it.

Cough cough... Christmas... cough

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Very Domestic Weekend

It feels like such a shame to only post pictures of craft projects once they're complete, especially since half the fun is in making them. I spent most of Saturday camped out at the Cape house alternately helping my mother-in-law crank out a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and sewing with my newly pedicured feet up.

Felt, linen, embroidery hoop

Stay tuned for the final product later this week. Meanwhile, I'm still thinking about my haircut. If you're thinking about getting one yourself or looking for an awesome way to waste a leisurely hour, I highly recommend It's the most realistic free virtual makeover site I've found to date.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wanted: Your Opinion

My hair is slowly approaching the required length for a donation to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths and with summer right around the corner, I've decided to finally go for a haircut I've always wanted: a pixie. I'm useless when it comes to making the final call on a haircut though. Would you help me pick between these two finalists?

Option #1

Option #2

Please help determine my cranial future by leave a comment saying which one you vote for and why!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reconstructed Lox and Bagels

Now a word from our tummy sponsor, my husband:

A few weeks ago, Karen invested in a healthy-eating cookbook. As usual, I was initially skeptical about any effort to further healthify (technical term) my eating habits. I mean, I eat veggie burgers and vegan chicken patties now! Isn't that enough? Either way, I was reluctant to try the recipes in this new book, as I firmly believe that butter should be the base to any meal worth its weight. But after trying out a half dozen recipes or so, I've realized this book isn't half bad!

I let Karen weigh in on dinner options and this week, she suggested we try a smoked salmon and pasta dish from the new book - only issue being, this recipe had some odd ingredient combinations (condensed milk and snap peas? Weird). I took some artistic liberties and came up with my own rendition of the original recipe, drawing inspiration from our favorite cruise breakfast: smoked salmon on an english muffin with a little cream cheese, dill, capers, and lemon. Mmm.

  • 4 oz smoked salmon, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups shell pasta (dry)
  • 1 lb grilled asparagus
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese (or similar creamy, tangy cheese)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Lemon and Herb Vinaigrette:
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp of oil
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar (can substitute another vinegar if you dont have this type)
  • 1 handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped red onion
  • 1 tsp dill, roughly chopped

Cook the pasta until al dente...however long that may be. Drain and set aside.

Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and puree for 1-2 minutes or until all ingredients are fully incorporated. The vinaigrette should be smooth. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Grill the asparagus until cooked, then allow time to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop and set aside. In the pasta pot, combine cooked pasta, asparagus, chopped salmon, capers, dill, parsley and cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and lightly toss all ingredients. Stir in vinaigrette and toss again.

Makes two servings and takes about 40 minutes. Mangia!

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Facebook Sabbatical

I have an addictive personality, if there is such a thing. At the very least, I’m prone to overindulgence in anything I enjoy: food, drink, the company of my favorite people. The necessary results are obvious. I’m chubby, frequently hung over, and have to be dragged away, kicking and screaming, from spending quiet nights at home with my husband. More troublesome, I also find I get sucked into easy, mindless entertainment. I’ve spent entire days on the couch watching Sex and the City marathons and most recently, I’ve realized just how much time I waste checking Facebook.

My complaints with Facebook are several:

1) While my close friends are on my feed, they’re buried in the white noise created by the kids I sat next to in 11th grade calculus and those guys from that college party when we hotboxed an igloo. It’s not that I don’t care about the difficult decision between getting an iPhone or a Droid. It’s just… who the hell are you?

2) Despite having no idea who these people are, I still read about every damn one of their wild Saturday nights, their insane workloads, and their political opinions. Even though I can’t always place their faces, this is the first thing I do in the morning when I reach my computer. Even as I write it, it makes no sense. I’m carefully following the activities of near strangers instead of catching up with real friends or the news or, whoops, work emails.

3) I can’t stop. It’s like snack food all over again. Once I pop, I just can’t stop. It doesn’t matter that I don’t care and that I consciously know that there are a dozen more productive and interesting ways to spend my time. If I’m logged into Facebook, I will check it at least once an hour while I’m in front of the computer. I began to feel powerless against this time suck. It can be a fun tool but my relationship with it is making me resent the whole damn thing.

4) Speaking of relationships, I’m afraid it’s changing how I communicate with others. I’m horrified to think that I drop close friends a two-line inane wall post once a week instead of having a real honest-to-God conversation with them once a month. There have been volumes written on how social media is changing how we communicate with one another and in this case, I don’t like it.

5) Did you ever notice that even sweet little old ladies will flip you off in traffic? Interacting through a computer seems to give us the same cajones that the highway does. Maybe it comes from physical separation or some sort of mental distancing? Maybe it’s the lack of reality? Whatever it is, it makes me dread every election as my feed fill up with the effluvium of political warfare and ever increasing frequency of sentences written in all caps. We’re all friends according to Facebook but we’re ready and eager for violent conversation. Most recently, I’ve even participated in one. Over the stupidest of topics with a close friend. But the conversation would never have spiraled out into an ugly mess had we been face to face.

So, last Friday morning, I logged out of Facebook for a one-week sabbatical. I don’t intend to totally eschew their services entirely. In moderation, I like what they offer. What my vacation did was help break the addictive spell over me and help me decide on some changes to make for the future:

1) I whittled down my feed to just the people I really care about. I don’t mean I unfriended, I just hid them. If I would feel uncomfortable getting caught in a one-on-one in-person conversation with them, I hid their posts. Why didn't I just purge my friend list? I’ve had several discussions about just that this week. In the end, I’m anti-purge. I don’t particularly care what my friend number is but I know it hurts some people’s feelings when their number depletes and I don’t want to do that for the sake of my own neurosis. Plus, I like the option of looking them up if a good reason presents itself.

2) Already, Facebook checking feels less compulsive. I’m going to limit my time there to once every few days instead of once every 15 minutes.

3) In my time away from Facebook this week, my communication habits have realligned. I exchanged delightfully and epically long emails with my best friend of almost 20 years. I had dinner with good friends that I haven’t seen in months. I called people.

4) My notifications are permanently staying off. I don’t need to be alerted by email every time someone comments on a picture that I liked two months ago.

Now I’m back and the first thing I did when I logged in this morning after a week’s silence was to make real plans with real friends. Then I logged out and got to work at my real job.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Mojito of Doom

The rain has been relentless over the past few weeks. It's been cold and gloomy all day - better suited to ghost stories than taco night. But taco night it is and there's nothing we can do about it. Since the foul weather and the Mexican food insist on coexisting, the only reasonable solution is to step aside and let them by inviting you to turn on your flashlight and roast some smores while I spin the tale of The Mojito of Doom:

We had the wrong kind of rum and it tasted terrible. DUN DUN DUN.
The End.

Mojito of DOOM

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Project On Deck

There's a green-sky kind of thunderstorm blowing in so I'm stuck puttering around the house for the afternoon instead of playing outside like I'd planned. I'm trying to be mindful of sitting for long periods of time since I'm officially off of the hazy-making muscle relaxants that have fogged up my brain for the past week so I'll make this relatively short and sweet. Instead of frolicking outdoors, I'm planning my next big craft project. I'm going to attempt to recreate a drool worthy Anthropologie dress.

Vogue 7848 - $5.99 on sale

Swiped from here

My ambition thinks I'm going to wrap the embroidery from the right front of the dress up and around the bodice to peak out at the left side. My skepticism thinks otherwise.

I also bought $12 of white stretch poplin this morning. The zipper will probably cost me another $2 so if I can pull this off, my version of the dress will cost a whopping $20. Well, $20 plus several weeks of embroidery. I'll be replacing the large floral pattern (which would take me several YEARS of embroidery) with a lighter viney version.