Thursday, February 25

bibliophile [catch up 3]

Ready for round 3?

The Dovekeepers, Alice Hoffman. Another must read. Long, but beautifully written with the characters I've loved best in a long time. It takes place during the final days in Masada. In an incredible coincidence, D was literally walking through that town while I was reading this novel. I was telling him about my book over the phone, and he was telling me about his day in Israel, and we put it together. Anyway, read it.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Fowler. Did not like at all. Super annoying narrator, and subject matter I just could not care less about (experiments to raise chimps as part of a family in the 60's). Just weird. I get mad just remembering how much I disliked the "protagonist". UGH. Is every book ever written a NYT bestseller?

The Husband's Secret, Liane Moriarty. Not worth it. Chick lit, which I adore when done right, can be a TOTAL waste of time when done wrong.

Thursday, February 18

bibliophile [catch up 2]

Continuing on with our bibliophile round up of what I read in the past year.

We started a family book club, and this was the first read: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. Hailed as the new "Gone Girl", it most certainly fell short. But, as a thriller with a deeply untrustworthy narrator, it was good and quick- just disappointing in comparison. A fun beach read. (FYI, our second book club pick was The Martian, which I loved).

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart. Heard this touted as a YA novel. I thought it was paced very well, a quality book with interesting characters and family drama. Definitely some twisty suspense and turns I did not see coming. One benefit of doing these reviews so much later is that my opinions are really distilled- this one definitely stayed with me. I'd recommend it for sure.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. Hated. I think they're making it into a Broadway play, if they haven't already. If you want a good book written from the perspective of an autistic narrator, The Rosie Project (by Graeme Simsion) was excellent. Read that earlier this year as well.

Thursday, February 11

bibliophile [catch up 1]

So even though I stopped blogging, I certainly didn't stop reading. I'm going to do a briefer roundup of the novels I devoured in the off time, 3 at a time until I catch up.

Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. Post-apocalyptic but more for adults than the trilogies of the last few years. A good novel- the fact that it's after a huge disaster is almost secondary to the characters. Unusual connectivity between the characters spanning different generations. I haven't read the rest of them- apparently it's the start of a series.

All the Light We Cannot SeeAnthony Doerr. A must read, Pulitzer prize-winning novel set in WWII. As good as everyone says it is. Go get it.

The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters. Enjoyed, some parts dragged, interesting look at non-traditional relationships post WWI. OK it's a novel about 20th century lesbians.

Wednesday, February 10

Imbibe [DIY orgeat]

Every since I visited 3 Dots and a Dash in Chicago (shoutout KP, Timbo, and JLVee!), I've been interested in classic tiki cocktails. This is not your all-you-can-drink resort crappy rum mixed with frozen pina colada mix. Tiki has had a resurgence (just read this, From Tiki to Tacky...and Back; if you're into the story, this article from Eater is awesome, too).

I'm fine with admitting part of the fun is the garnish, which is all about fruit and flowers. In case that would influence your ordering decision, the menu at 3 Dots includes pictures:

Another thing I adore about tiki is the nut-influence. Macadamia garnishes, nutmeg shavings on top of a creamy coconut drink, and orgeat, an almond-based syrup found in some of the classics (think mai tai). I made my own last week, and D and I enjoyed a few tropical sippers while Jonas blew through DC. It was quite transportive. Unfortunately, our pre-storm supplies didn't include limes, so we had to stick to tiki drinks featuring lemon instead, of which there are very few. Ultimately we made The Improved Japanese Cocktail (brandy)Attorney Privilege (bourbon)and the Strange Weaver, featuring gin. We're going to try a mashup of the first two: bourbon from the AP, lemon from the JC. Or we'll just go buy some limes.

On to the recipe I used for orgeat! It's a mix of a few different recipes.

2 cups raw almonds, sliced or chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup water
2 teaspoon orange flower water
2 ounce vodka
Splash of rose water, touch of almond extract

1.Toast almonds at 400°F for 4 minutes, shaking halfway.
2. Once cool, pulverize in a blender of food processor. If you have a vitamix, make sure you don't make almond butter!
3. In a saucepan, cook the sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Add pulverized almonds and simmer on low heat, stirring frequently. When mixture is about to boil, remove from heat and cover. Let it sit for a minimum of 3 hours and no more than 12 hours.
5. Strain steeped mixture through three layers of cheesecloth into a bowl, squeezing the cloth as you go.
6. Add orange flower water and vodka, then stir. Funnel into glass jar or bottle.

It is totally delicious, but I think I'll just rough chop the almonds next time. Without a nut bag, squeezing out the almonds was a total pain. With the vodka, this shouldn't spoil for a good long time. I might try coconut sugar next time, and cut it back- it's very sweet, but it's supposed to be. Happy imbibing!

Monday, February 8

DC Digs [hallway]

After giving you all that lovely hallway inspo, I forgot to share what ours looks like. Note: it is incredibly difficult to photograph (tiny, dark) hallways. With that disclaimer, here is our hallway shot from the bedroom into the main room.

Ugh lighting! But as you can see, we went for a simple hanging of 3 prints. A little anti-climactic after my inspiration images, no? But D really didn't want the visual clutter, since it is a pretty tiny hallway (I believe 8ft). We also wanted to use what frames/art we had on hand, since we had DRASTICALLY more than we needed after the massive gallery wall we did at 907- unfortunately the only photo I can find of that at the moment is when we were moving out, but here ya go:

Even looking at that chaos is giving me breathing issues. Moving on. You can see that two of the prints above were re-framed in simple black frames (Ikea), and the print on the left was just rehung in the hallway. We bought a special piece of art earlier this year (upcoming post), so our art/framing budget has been used. It's nice to know that refreshing a frame or a location can make old art feel new again.

It helps that we still love the prints, from 20x200. Using a Groupon, I bought the Portugal beach scene by Christian Chaize, and D bought the descent of Apollo 17 spacecraft into the Pacific Ocean. I hate this phrase but don't have a better one: I love how they talk to each other. Interesting use of blank space, umbrella vs parachute shape, stark black and white vs colorful scene, but both focusing on the ocean. A happy accident. The print on the right I printed in a photography class I took in college, and is of my hometown harbor (Scituate!). Again, the ocean from a different perspective.

We hung a TON of art lately, so more to come on the rest of the house!

Friday, February 5


No link up this week, but I just lost 30 minutes to these teasers (or full runs!) of upcoming  super bowl commercials. Take a gander if you need a giggle. D and I will be trying a Belgian bar that just opened last night in our old stomping grounds, Georgetown, and maybe catching a movie. A quiet date night before a weekend of parties. Enjoy yourselves (and maybe make a snack stadium and send me pictures).

Thursday, February 4

pink [pinned]

Quick, send help: I'm becoming a pink person. Specifically blush, but also a deeper, dustier rose. As long as it isn't too saturated, I'm smitten. Our living room has gone very neutral, since we only have the one big room, which leaves a lot to coordinate. Neutrals are just easier, safer. Lots of gray, taupe, white, wood, but also threads of goldenrod and dusty pale pink. I'll share some pictures soon. Can't say I hate it.