Friday, January 29, 2010

Bon Weekend!

HAPPY FRIDAY, mes amies!!!

I'm actually staying in town this weekend, which I'm way excited about. :) Voila my weekend plans...

- game night with friends

- seeing The Lovely Bones at my fave Austin theater, Alamo Drafthouse

- crazy sleeping in (I'm soooo sleepy this week)

- getting my HOLGA film developed (yes my first roll... don't judge)

- some obligatory meetings & work (boo, but c'est la vie, right?)

- taking a long, LUSH bath

- watching the Grammy's!

- reading my new book

- picking out some new recipes to try from my other new book :)

- sending some snail mail (yay for Project Paper!)

What're you dolls up to this weekend? Let me know!!

Inspired by: Pam Garrison

I subscribe to PaPaYa's blog and today's post features an incredibly creative woman - Pam Garrison. Pam makes the most BEAUTIFUL journals! She is an artist in every sense of the word, but what I like most about her work, is that it seems somewhat doable. Not that I could create anything remotely as lovely as her work, BUT, I can put my own spin on it. The point is that she uses everyday items to create something gorgeously unique and personal on paper, and I love that.

Find more of Pam's work here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vlog: Project Paper!

...and a tiny peek into my apartment. :)

P.S. I actually have a lot more "paper" products than this, they're just scattered about the apartment. Ridiculous!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gettin' Crafty & Project Paper

I kind of hate the word "crafty" because I think it denotes a sort of youarealame20somethingwhohasnothinginyourlifebutcrafts tone (although, HELLO, let's be honest - that kind of attitude is only held by those loser20somethingswhodonothingbutdrinkatbarsandactafool peeps... am I right??) ANYway, I haven't found another way to phrase it besides "being creative" so alas, here I go. I got CRAFTY last night (instead of SHRED-ing...) and beautified my planner pad. Voila my results! Sorry the pics are bad, but they were taken with my crackberry. :P

I made a little pocket with some scrapbook paper to hold my stickers and mini collages/vision cards, and on the other side, I just layered some pretty pictures and quotes over that fabulous wrapping paper Maryam used on my blogger holiday exchange prezzie (see here).

Also made some cute monthly tabs with leftover scrap paper (was inspired by what KW learned from Lisa Sonora Beam). Fun, huh?

Honestly, I'm not a very artistic person. So being "crafty" or "creative" or "artsy" or whatever usually just means putting fun things together to make something more beautiful. Even if it's just magazine clippings or silly stickers, I think these fun little extras make life more sparkly. And I'm all about the sparkle, yo!

Oh and what is Project Paper you ask? Well, I'm not going to tell you yet! But it's coming soon (nothing epic, just need more time to explain), and I'm really pleased with it. Stay tuned, mes amies!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cleaving: A Review

As I mentioned earlier, I purchased Julie Powell's second memoir, Cleaving, in audiobook form off Amazon for approximately $5. It was a steal. Saturday, whilst browsing through the book section at Target, I saw that the hardback version was on sale for only $10. Hmm... I'm not in the publishing industry, but it would seem to me that if a new book is selling for SO cheap, it can't be a good sign, right?

There is much criticism surrounding Cleaving, and I can see why. Cleaving is nothing like Julie & Julia except that it involves food and Powell's marriage to high-school sweetheart, Eric. This time, Powell opens up her love of buchery and her crazy 2-year affair with "D", the other man in her life (whom, by the way, she thanks alongside Eric, her hubby, in the acknowledgements. The nerve...).

Here are my thoughts... in a way, I enjoyed Cleaving. It's interesting, the storyline kept me engaged, and despite all who disagree, I like Powell's writing. Now, that being said, I can see why so many people, well, hate her now. She is a completely unsympathethic character, ridiculously childish, pathetically insecure, and scarily promiscuous. You wonder why on earth her husband is still with her. You want to slap her and shake her and basically throw her in the corner until she realizes the error of her ways.

And yet... the story is intriguing, as is any story about adultery (esp when the woman is committing it), and her descriptions of buchery and travel are well-written. Powell transports you, whether it's into her kitchen or into her tent in Tanzania, where a large African man forces himself upon her (yes, she goes there). So, all in all, I'm glad I read/listened to it. And now, I will gladly sell my CD's to Half-Price Books and pray that Powell's next venture, a fiction novel, has nothing to do with meat or sex. I've had enough.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Things I'm Loving: Book Edition

Admittedly, I have not been the best reader lately. Usually I consume books (and magazines) like they're going out of style,(I also purchase them that way, too...), but with the Holidays and the general hustle bustle of my life lately (and my latest obsession with youtube), my books (and journal, for that matter) have been tres ignored. That all changed, however, on my recent trip to DC, and I'm back in business, baby.

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

This book was recommended to me by my boy bestie J (see DC pics below). He said it was "dark, but really good." I'm always intrigued by "dark" books as they are not typically found in my regular rotation. I brought this book with me to DC, started reading it on my departure day and finished it in a matter of hours. Yes, it was that good (and easy to read). Apparently it's going to be a movie with that hot bad boy Lord of the Rings guy. I bet the movie is going to be sad and scary. I can't wait to see it!

(How weird! My fab friend Nina just blogged about The Road, too!)

2. The Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin

I only recommend this book to those of you who enjoy the occasional "chick lit" and who liked The Nanny Diaries (TERRIBLE MOVIE). Because it's not really that good, but it's good if you want to know what happens next, ya know what i mean? I bought it as a book on CD for my drive to Dallas over the Holidays. Admittedly it took a little while for me to get into it, but once I was in, I was in. There is, after all, nothing I enjoy more than learning about the crazy lives of the Manhatten elite. Why do you think I'm so obsessed with Gossip Girl? (Also - if you like books on CD, I would listen to the original Nanny Diaries on CD b/c Julia Roberts narrates, and she's surprisingly hilarious.)

3. Living etc.

I guess this doesn't technically count as a "book", BUT if you're missing Domino as much as I am, then you're going to like #3. Living etc is a British interior design magazine that is, dare I say, better than Domino. It's chock full of insane interiors, both realistic and somewhat achievable to pure, amazing and completely unattainable fantasy. It's good. Really, really good. (And bonus: its website is awesome, too!) The only thing that sucks is that it's British and therefore includes lots of British-only home goods (augh how I miss them...) AND it costs an arm and a leg to get it in the States. What I do when I'm feeling tres pauvre is visit Borders, grab a latte, and leisurely flip through it. Putting it back on the shelves is always painful, but at least I've gotten my daily dose of design inspiration. (Psst - you can still get Domino inspiration from this fabulous flickr pool!)

4. Cleaving by Julie Powell

I debated whether I should include this one in... I adored Julie & Julia (both the book and the movie), and so it was no question that I would read Powell's latest memoir, despite its tagline, "A Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession." (It also got pretty awful reviews.) But when I saw that I could get the book on cd, unabridged AND read by the author herself, for about $5, I couldn't help myself. I popped in the first CD a couple days ago, and well, let me say this. I don't LOVE the book, but it is without a doubt very interesting (in a bad train wreck/Jersey Shore kind of way), and I find myself wanting more. For that reason, Cleaving has made the list. I'll let you know how I feel once I'm done.

(and yes... I am now a fan of the Jersey Shore. le sigh.)

5. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran

Okay so technically I can't be "loving" this book because I haven't yet read it. BUT, I know I'm going to read it, and that the likelihood of me loving is high. So it's made the list. (I also need a kick-in-the-butt because my vegetarian eating has gotten a bit too lax lately, and I'm not proud of it.) Have any of y'all read it? What did you think? Want to book swap??

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reality Check

It's time for a reality check.

I've had a heavy heart for the past few days, mostly due to the devastation facing the people of Haiti. But it's not just that, it's the fact that there is so much pain and injustice and poverty in this world, and we are so often oblivious to all of it (for example, while in DC, I caught a documentary on HBO on the Khmer Rouge... no words). I'm so guilty of being wrapped up in my own, perfect, shiny and pre-packaged American world. Last night I got myself uber worked up over the fact that I had to purchase yet another Apple powercord b/c mine gave out (again!). I fumed on the way to the store, acted like a total biatch to the salesperson who wouldn't just give me an exchange and fumed on the way back. And then I was like... seriously? SERIOUSLY? Get. over. yourself. Carolyn.

This morning was a bit of a disaster. I woke up late, my apartment was a mess, and the red light on my crackberry just wouldn't quit. I was cranky and annoyed and angry at the world. And then I got to work, opened my internet explorer, and got smacked in the face with various news headlines from CNN and the NYTimes. And then I felt bad. Really, really bad. For being such a friggin brat.

This post is more for me than it is for you. But can you guys do me a favor? Next time you see/hear me complaining about not being able to buy my beloved Chanel (b/c they are implementing a TWENTY PERCENT price increase - h8ers...) or my so-called year of frugality or my dissatisfaction with a work situation or ANYthing, please give me a reality check. (I also give you permission to smack me, but I feel most of you on't be down for that...) I need it.

And on a more positive note... Happy Almost Friday!!
(Oh and yes, I realize my blog header is miniscule... will fix once I get home. But yay for no extra white space!)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Eat Me: Cannellini & Kale Ragout

I tweeted yesterday about my recent food rut. I'm normally someone who knows exactly what she's in the mood to eat, but lately nothing sounds very good. As a result I end up eating something that's not satisfying taste-wise or something really, REALLY bad for me, and get all angry because I'm cranky sans good food. Also, I like to eat something green with dinner, and that's harder during the winter months. My easy go-to veggies like green beans and asparagus are not in season, and while I LOVE brussel sprouts, I just can't eat them every single day. Enter: kale.

Kale is a fantastically nutrient-rich dark green, but unfortunately, it's not the easiest to prepare. I love asparagus & green beans because all I have to do is steam and/or roast, and there you have it. Delicious greenery. I don't particularly enjoy my kale baked (kale chips? no.) or simply steamed/sauteed, but I DO like it in brothy flavorful soups. My go-to recipe this winter for a healthy but satisfying meal is cannellini & kale ragout. And since I'm always tweeting about it, I figured I'd share the recipe with you fabulous people. Enjoy!

Cannellini and Kale Ragout
makes 4 servings (or 2, if you're me)

- 4 tablespoons evoo

- 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme

- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper (or more, if you're me)

- 1 large bunch of organic kale

- vegetable broth (quantity is totally up to your liking, some like it more ragout-y and some more soup-y; my preference is somewhere in the middle)

- 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (with some sort of seasoning, i usually get garlic & onion)

- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini (white kidney beans), drained

Heat 4 tablespoons of evoo in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and saute ove rmedium heat for about 30 seconds. Add kale and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until kale wilts. Add tomatoes with juice, beans and 1 tablespoon of thyme. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Now, this recipe is SUPER easy and SUPER healthy, and while I like the soup just fine on its own, the next few steps are, for moi, crucial. Pourquoi? Because to me, a meal isn't a meal without bread.

Oversize Croutons

- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

- 1 baguette

- 2 tablespoons of evoo

- butter (optional)

Slice baguette into 1.5 inch thick slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of evoo (and butter, if you're me) over medium heat. Add bread and thyme, cook until bread is golden on both sides, turning with tongs, about 2 minutes total. Transer croutons to bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

FINAL STEP: Ladle ragout into shallow bowls and top with croutons. Pour glass of wine and enjoy! (btw i think the pic below has sausage, but it's the closest thing i could find - oops)

Happy Birthday, Lola!

I can't believe my little Lolalicious turns TWO today! She's still a puppy in so many ways, and although I'm eager for her energy to go down a notch or two (namely when I'm away from the house, and she finds anything/everything to chew), I love her puppy-esque curiosity, joy, and playfulness (see Snuggle action shot below).

my first day with Lola

back when i used to dress her up

"Lola, shake!"

squinty camera shot over Christmas

Happy Birthday, baby girl! You're the bestest pup a gal could ask for!!

P.S. The whole "terrible 2's" thing isn't applicable to dogs... is it?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My DC Trip in Pictures

As I said earlier, I had an amazing time in DC. It included oodles of eating yummy food, quality time with friends, exploring the city on foot, seeing the sights, meeting fabulous fellow bloggers (merci to Crystal, Lauren, City Girl, and Julia - LOVED meeting you gals!!), and surprisingly, NOT spending tons of money. Yay!

DC - Thanks for having moi! See you soon. :)