Friday, March 28

link it up

Fridayyyyyy I love you. I'm not sure yet how D and I will spend this weekend, one of our last free ones before he heads to Atlanta for the summer...not that he's going soon, mind you, just that we have plans up the wazoo. I'm attending my first barre class on Sunday with a friend, and might try out a new recipe with D. One of my resolutions was for us to cook a meal together each week...which we've done exactly zero times. Fail. I've said it 100 times, but I'm pretty sure the 65 degree weather we're in for this weekend is here to stay! What are you up to?

Does your apartment smell of rich mahogany and leather-bound books? If not, better pick up some of these.

Best format of an interview ever. Do they get time to prepare? Because if not, wow, she's so self-aware and on her game. I woulda stalled out 10 times. Love her.

Speaking of great formats, I found this short story (seriously, 5 minute read) to be utterly unique.

If you didn't even mind your bracket being f'ed by Duke's upset because you hate Duke more than you like winning, please read this.

It's admissions week for the college class of 2018! Which means dev officers are both high-fiving and commiserating about all of the legacy kids and their results. Here's how the admissions process works, if you're curious.

Honest pop-up notifications. HA.

BONUS: because this is the funniest, most creative response to a falling birthrate ever. Thanks D for the last minute send.

Thursday, March 27

imbibe [organized drinking]

If you're like me, you probably have more drinking-related ideas than you know what to do with. I'm constantly bookmarking recipes for fruit shrubs, asking questions about how to infuse with certain ingredients, snapping pictures of cocktail menus with my iPhone, and spending too much time in front of the wine tasters at Trader Joe's. How will you ever remember, organize, and access all the things you want to try?

D and I have a two ways to manage our overflow of alcohol-related thoughts. He likes to record what he can in Field Notes, awesome little notebooks that are handy, low maintenance, masculine/no-frills in design, and fit into a utilitarian bar theme (see more about these and an awesome leather case here). We use Field Notes mainly for complete cocktail recipes, which is why it stays at the bar.
For everything else, I've found Pinterest to be my bookmarking tool of choice. I use two boards to pull everything together: Cocktail Hour, which has recipes and pretty pictures I want to save, and Booze to Try, which includes boozy related products I want to buy. When I have a friend over, I can whip out Cocktail Hour and see what we have on hand to create. Or, the next time I'm at the Trader Joe's wine wall and can't remember which bottle my friend recommended, I can pull up my Pinterest app and take a look. Keep in mind that you can upload your own photos, so if I see something on the go that I want to try later, I can snap a picture and add my own pin. Plus, I can invite D to pin as well (ha, like he has a Pinterest account) so we can both contribute and access our ideas.

Any tips or tricks for me and D as we continue to educate ourselves on all things drink-y?

Tuesday, March 25

discover [pinrose]

Anyone here heard of Pinrose? I certainly hope not, because I want to be the one to share it with you. If you like sample products (ahem, Birchbox and my 34 friends that are subscribers), you will find this cool: it's a perfume company, of the bespoke-awesomeness-at-basic-prices model. Like, Everlane is to t-shirts what Pinrose is to perfumes (so they say).
They may have figured out the best way to sell something so intangible, like scent, online. You can do a quick quiz (better than most I've seen) from which they'll recommend a few scents to try, or you can read the descriptions yourself. Not really sure what sandalwood and vanilla would be like? Take a gander at the tumblr-esque photo lineup they have with each flavor. Not a visual person? They have playlists that go along with whatever scent you chose. Such a fun, multidimensional website that really speaks to the idea that scent stimulates, and communicates with, all the senses.

You can try all their scents for $5, but I went with 3 free samples. Shipping is always a buck, for everything, but I love mail and I love perfume and I love exploring new companies, so $1 is worth it for me. I haven't experienced the scents yet, but I'll report back when I do.

Until I can afford Tom Ford jasmin rouge (for now I'll just keep buying baby bottles on ebay), I'm willing to give this a try. It sure beats the mall spritz-in-face experience (< ha).

Monday, March 24

cheap eats [roasted chickpeas]

Easy, fast, healthy. Great on a salad. Crunchy without the fat of my beloved nuts. Pretty much a great discovery, thanks to How Sweet Eats. Roasted chickpeas!
I used one can of the beans, gave them a good rinse, and thoroughly dried with paper towel. Similar to when you're making sweet potato fries, you want these to be as dry as possible so they can crisp and have enough space between them to roast, not steam. Using a light hand, mist some olive oil on top and get to seasoning. I followed her plan of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder, but  you really can't go wrong. I'm looking forward to trying a cinnamon version and a curry spice next week. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, shake 'em up, and give it another 15.

They don't stay crunchy forever (more like two days) so I recommend only eating what you can consume. Make sure you aren't storing them until they've COMPLETELY cooled, or else they'll get soggy. 

Friday, March 21

link it up

I still have all the ingredients to make the above beauty: blood orange thyme palomas
Looks like we're in for a beautiful weekend: 70 and sunny around these parts! I'm ignoring the snow in the Monday forecast and being grateful for what I've got, while I've got it. It's D's birthday tomorrow! I'm taking him out Tuesday night for a special surprise that my friend may or may not have told him about accidentally...but oh well. Surprises are overrated anyway, right?

I'm making D a special birthday brunch. Should I add this to the menu?

This anti-social network is hilarious and, actually, a great idea. For the recluse in us all.

Monopoly plus philosophy plus it.

Don't leave your dog in the car. They don't like it. Neither will anyone nearby.

It should be mid-70's and sunny this weekend, but this still had me laughing.

This reminds me of one of my sister-in-laws odder quirks.

Thursday, March 20

imbibe [the little kiss]

This is a cocktail I should have shared for New Years, which is when we drank it, or for Valentine's Day, for which it is absurdly appropriate. Instead I'm sharing it on March 20th...because it's delicious and I can't hold onto it for another year.
In my book, the problem with cocktails that involve wine or champagne is that you don't always want to open a full bottle. Most weekends I'd be good to go, but on a Tuesday? Less enticing. You can either invest in a great wine or champagne stopper (we were given one like this from a guest we hosted this fall, who works for a liquor company) or you can save this for the weekend. Sunday morning mimosas, anyone?

Shrubs are a good thing to know how to make, since you can easily sub out different fruits and veggies to have endless flavors. It's like a flavored simple syrup- once you know the basics, you can get pretty creative. It's just as easy as simple syrup, too: combine 10 oz water, 4 oz white vinegar, 12 oz sugar, and 12 strawberries in a saucepan over medium heat until the berries are soft and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, mash up the fruit, strain, and refrigerate. Easily the most laborious part is the straining.
The juice is good to go for awhile, thanks to the vinegar- if it's sealed well, many months (see a way more legit recipe here, if you're making a big batch). And don't throw out those sugary, tart berries! They are AMAZING with pretzels and greek yogurt as a late night snack.

Happy New Years/Valentine's Day/March 20th.

Wednesday, March 19

bibliophile [one more thing]

In addition to our bibliophile post from this morning, HOW ARE MORE PEOPLE NOT WATCHING THIS? It's tres funny. I just put a hold on One More Thing at the library, but I may go back and select the audio version- apparently stories are read by Lena Dunham, Emma Thompson, and a few Office alums (Mindy, Rainn, etc). Let me know if you've checked it out!

bibliophile [the fault in our stars]

OMG. So teen angsty, so weepy.

The Fault In Our Stars, John Green

People are generally obsessed with this one, so I'm sure you've heard of it: star-crossed, cancer-ridden teenagers working through some pretty heavy stuff. They are both unrealistically intelligent, which makes their banter excellent but their believably absolutely non-existent. That's not necessarily a problem, but this is the least-likely to ever exist couple in ever. Thankfully, I suppose, I wasn't reading this for the teen love but rather for the unique approach to disease. TFIOS says some pretty irreverent, funny, terrible things about illness, particularly cancer, and I think it's worth reading. Blurb:

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Basically this is not OMGTHEBESTBOOKEVER as most media outlets would have you believe, but it is a fun read and a nice distraction from the 1,000 page monstrosity that is 1Q84 (expect that review in 2015). And I'll admit that I teared up ONCE during a eulogy. Sue me.

Have you already given in to the hype? Did you read it a year ago? One more thing: it's about to become a movie (although I can't say I loved the trailer). 

Tuesday, March 18

discover [top 5 things you need to know about the Insanity workout program]

Oh boy, insanity post! I've been waiting to write this for the 9 weeks it takes to complete insanity (one month, one week of "recovery" workouts, a second month). I respond very well to workout programs, because I can trust the structure and difficulty level rather than relying on my own idea of a complete routine, and because the mental energy necessary to decide whether or not to workout is eliminated. Um, you can't just SKIP Tuesday, you're in a routine! There's no hitting the snooze button once I've committed to a program.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know about Insanity.

1. You will build an intimate, one-sided relationship with Shaun-T and his posse of ab-flaunting, aggressive-exhaling, fake-high-fiving fitness machines. You're in the #shauntourage now, and you will embrace it. You will know that Josh is a total f*up when it comes to stretching, you will never have Ariel's abs, and Tania's exhale face is absurdly over the top. You will engage with them on social media and gossip about them with other insanity alums like you all went to college together.

2. You will start speaking in Insanity language. I do it because I wanna look goooood. That shit was bananas yo. I'm smiling because I love it.  C'mon y'all, 'SGOOOOOOO. Dig. deeper. Contract your core. Don't sacrifice form. Jack it out (?). Try to come back to reality.

3. You'll get bored of the repetitive nature of the videos (there are only 10), but if you make it 2 weeks, you'll complete it. Here's why:
  • Week one is a novelty. It's fun (-ish), it's new, you're confident you're getting a great workout.
  • Week two you're kinda in the swing of things. By the end of the week you're getting a bit bored, but you know you can't stop before you've given it an honest shot. We are not quitters. Plus you're maybe a bit addicted to the post-workout high.
  • Week three begins with a repeat of the fitness test you did on day one. You will blow your first fit test score out of the water, doubling the number of switchkicks, jumpy things, pushups, etc you can complete. You will look at your body with new respect for the bad-ass machine it is. This will motivate you all through the week, and you forget the boredom you were feeling.
  • Week four there is no escaping how much you hate it, but it's your last week before "recovery", so you stick with it. You are especially angry on the double days, where he tacks on cardio abs to the 45 minute, 500-calorie+ monstrosity you just completed. F you Shaun-T. He's smiling because he loves it and you want to punch him in his smug and fit goatee.
  • "Recovery" week is fun at first, because it's only 39 minutes long and you don't get as sweaty. On day three it sinks in that you have been tricked into doing the exact.same.workout. for six days in a row, probably only so you won't complain when the extremely intense 2nd month starts.
  • You will still complain when the extremely intense 2nd month starts. But once again, if you can make it through the first two weeks, you'll finish.
4. Oh month two. Nothing, not even insanity month one, will prepare you for this. It will be horrible, because the workout length has suddenly doubled and any confidence you felt will evaporate. Once you see the intensity of month two, you will realize that all the instructors were only fake working hard in month one. Things that may help: go shoe-less (seriously, I went barefoot for month two), drink crazy amounts of water, do some additional stretching on your own, and up your protein (I targeted at least 100 grams a day).

5. Results! As in, I hope you have more of them than me. I think I gained one pound, and while I now have half of an oblique (if I pose correctly AND add a filter #thatsanab), I can't really say my body has changed dramatically. Keep in mind the size and weight of fat vs muscle- go google image to see some pretty incredible photos of the comparison. I didn't measure myself to start and my clothes fit relatively the same, but my friend lost a few inches just in the first 30 days, so you may see transformation that way instead of on the scale.

All physical results aside, you feel awesome. You really do. Excluding my 10 years as a competitive athlete in a whole-body sport, I've never been in such good shape, from push-up ability to flexibility to mental tenacity. I would highly recommend this, and I look forward to trying a few others (T25 anyone?) now that I'm an Insanity alum. I'm also hoping to complete 2-3 insanity workouts per week from here on out, mixed in with yoga, running, more concentrated weight lifting, and hopefully some barre workouts.

Let me know if you have any questions, as this is pretty much my favorite topic of conversation at the moment (reminds me of the joke, "no one would ever run a marathon if they had to sign a confidentiality agreement first"...same thing applies here my friends).

Friday, March 14

link it up

Blueline No. 4 Print By Andrea Pramuk, reminds me of my friend J

Houston to Baltimore tonight for a fun reunion weekend with my friends from study abroad. Doesn't hurt that it's St Patty's weekend in Charm City, which is always...memorable. Anything good on your plate this weekend? The best part is probably D coming back from Brazil on Sunday, whoop!

Does social science count in business? I really liked this article, despite my flashback to the phenomenology course I took in college as a philo major. (While exploring this, I stumbled onto this Facebook page for your daily dose of applied humanities.)

I follow a few men's blogs, and it's posts like this (and subsequently this) that make it worth it. Like, THIS is what men's blogs do series posts? I die.

A beautiful (albeit long) story about the power of Disney.

Here's some DIY inspiration for your home from a very manly source.

This blog is over the top (she isn't called the hyperbalist for nothing) but her post on winter had me giggling.

Wednesday, March 12

furniture rehab [removing tarnish]

I have a bit of a thing for lamps. I'd say it's pretty similar to my thing for chairs, in that I have a hard time not hoarding them, even though we cannot reasonably use more illumination/seating.

When D and I spent a glorious Saturday in Raleigh, we went to the flea market and a few local thrift shops. I picked up an absolutely lovely brass lamp, which immediately reminded me of Jenny's. In fact, I think I pulled up her blog to show it to D in the hopes that it would help convince him of its value (it didn't, but he still let us get it).

Now, it was in pretty tarnished shape, but I've cleaned enough brass to know it's an easy enough fix. For this project I used Noxon, because that's what was under my sink, but Bar Keeper's Friend is good too (and has a cooler name). Noxon works on all metals, but I think it does exceptionally well with very damaged brass (when you get that green and white patina, not just a dull shine) and chrome.

The product is so easy to use I shouldn't even make this a post...I suppose I just wanted to show off the amazing floor lamp we scored. Step one, shake shake shake. The product will separate in the bottle and you'll get a watery dribble if you don't mix it up. I laid the Noxon on pretty thick with a Noxon-soaked sponge or towel for the base, where there was the most damage, and did a thin coating on the lamp heads, which were in better shape. It goes on completely white, but if left long enough, see how it will turn green over the worst patches of oxidized brass? I waited awhile, then used the same wet towel and a little elbow grease to rub in the worst patches. Buff the product in and off with a clean, dry cloth and you're good to go.

Now, I've heard that many recommend a clear coat of lacquer, like polyurethane, over your brass to protect your hard-earned shine. I'd rather just touch up with Noxon once a year than stress about getting a perfectly even, invisible coat over such large areas of solid brass. It's one thing to run a brush over a small handle, and quite another to cover an entire lamp. Besides, I like a bit of patina, to keep this from being too 80's.

Know what brass lamps love? LEATHER CHAIRS. Guess what D and I have? Yup, one of my most prized possessions, a leather club chair from Restoration Hardware (aka Craigslist). You'll need to wait to see our lamp all cleaned up, but here are a few inspiration images to get the idea.

Tuesday, March 11

craigslist creepin [Houston edition]

Since the only thing I do more than travel for work is stalk craigslist, I thought the time had come to mesh my passions into one. More regions to come, or perhaps I'll take requests if anyone is in need of some thrifty help in their area. For now, here's the hottest shtuff up for grabs in Houston, TX, where I will be this evening.

Houston is tough, because it's enough of a city to know what it's got. The best is when you're in the middle of nowhere and search "mad men" and get all this legitimate mid-century modern goodness from sellers that don't know what they have. Not the case in Houston, but still some goods to be found. I'm only looking at furniture, and maxing out at $500.

1. $100 for a chrome etagere? I'd take it.
2. Library ladders are the bomb, so don't let the price tag scare you ($350, worth it if it's in excellent condition). And ohmygosh he has 5!! And they're 9 feet tall!!
3. This is a really nice looking buffet, and how many are you gonna own? One. So if you love it, $340 bones is nothing. I bet you could bargain too.
4. So duh these chairs need to be reupholstered, but they're authentic and very cute. Been posted a few times so you KNOW you could get 'em for $60.

5. This little guy is cute, and could fit into a tight space. For $20, it's a good piece to experiment on as well.
6. I am not mad at these $120 electric blue velvet chairs, complete with faux bamboo/rattan. Seller is a DIY'er, she'll drop them for less.
7. Folks trying to offload superfluous, new-in-box purchases for their home will always come down. $100 isn't bad for a Restoration Hardware Scone, but they'll go lower for sure.
8. Looks can be deceiving: this is actually almost 6ft long, and looks to be in good condition. D and I have a campaign dresser just like this- if your room can handle the weight/bulk of it, they're amazing. They'll throw in the mirror that attaches to the top as well, a deal for $300 pre-barter.
And don't forget you're in Texas. Actually, I know D wouldn't be surprised if I came home with this (been hunting one down for years...the rug, not the cow).

Monday, March 10


Happy Monday friends. Easy post today of a few favorite bathrooms I've seen lately. I'd love to have a combination of the three: the half-wall tiling in the first is gorgeous and practical, I love the open plumbing and monochrome palette of the second, and third adds in some rustic, natural touches with the wood and greenery. 

There's been plenty of inspiration lately for art in unexpected places, like the kitchen, a closet/dressing room, or bathroom. I appreciate the idea that wherever you are, you should be able to experience something beautiful.

Friday, March 7

link it up

I've been a lazy blogger this week, traveling to Chicago and prepping for Houston next week. Looking forward to rocking the single-girl life this weekend (D is in Brazil) and have wine and cheese plans for the Duke UNC game. 65 and sunny this weekend is giving me something to look forward to!

How cute is that bar essentials poster? You can download it from Design*Sponge here. Would be very sweet over a bar cart in a more girly home.

A pet first aid app? If I owned a pet (don't worry, operation autumn kitty is in the planning phase) I would download this asap, from the Red Cross so you know it's good.

I am all for learning speed reading, especially as I work myself through a 1,000 page book this month. Check this out for a little free training.

Everyone panic: Chipotle guac is in trouble.

Monday, March 3

cheap eats [white bean hummus]

I love hummus, own a food processor, and have basic kitchen skills, meaning I should have been making hummus at home for years. My problem is that I lack tahini, and have never had the initiative to look up where to buy it, figure out how to use it, etc. What I do have at home is white beans: cannellini, great northern, navy, you name it I've got it. I've been moving half my pantry around with me since college, so using up canned goods in a priority in my house.

One of my favorite cooking pastimes is googling whatever ingredients I have perishing in the fridge and seeing what recipes utilize my leftovers. I have some cilantro approaching wilty-ness, and some vegetables in need of a dip. I started with this recipe from food network, but of course wanted to make it healthier. I replaced the sour cream with fage 0% greek yogurt, and left out the olive oil.

Into a food processor, toss:
1 can rinsed and drained cannellini beans (or any white bean really)
1 bunch cilantro (I'd say I used 1/3 cup)
1 garlic clove
1/2 t cayenne pepper (I used a bunch more, love the spice!)
1 T greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 lime

Blend blend blend until it's super creamy, then add salt and pepper to taste. With the motor running, you could add olive oil to reach your desired consistency, but I just reserved a bit of the bean juice to use for that purpose.

I searched a bit more and found that my fave food blogger did her own version of a cilantro lime white bean hummus (recipe is almost identical to the food network version). Damn she makes bean paste look good.

I'm currently in a high-protein eating phase, and this will get you 500 calories, 77g of carbs, 35g of protein, and 35g of fiber, with just 7g of sugar. Split it up over the week with some raw veggies for a wonderful afternoon snack at work; hard to beat that fiber protein punch!