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.

Monday, January 25

pinned [hallways]

D and I have a 10-foot long hallway that gave us some grief. I love runners, I love chair rails covered in prints, I love busy wallpapers, I love gallery walls...all things that are visually cluttered and take up space. Space is what we don't have. But I do like when there is something in a hallway. It helps make the transition between rooms, it can be it's own quiet respite between busy rooms or an exciting punch between calm ones. We made a decision that is definitely toned down, so for now, I'll have to enjoy these punchy looks from afar.



Friday, January 22

link it up

We're supposed to get 2 feet of snow today and tomorrow, holy cow. Feels like New England. I hope it doesn't interrupt our triple-date tonight to try a new ramen place, or our solo-date tomorrow at the Kennedy Center. Woe is me, to have too many fun plans I worry about having to cancel. Hope you have equally enjoyable events, or a cozy weekend inside.

I have one of these! Truly has been a great help for last-minute hosting.

The Fermi Paradox. You pretty much MUST read this if you have any interest in the universe and life.

If you do way more domestic work than your partner, and it drives you mad, maybe just stop. I'm not 100% behind this, but it's worth considering how much of what I do in the home is really necessary.

An interesting thought: how many days from the past month can you distinctly remember? For most people it's just a few, meaning each year we have just a month's worth of time we notice and remember. I didn't like the whole Ted Talk, but the effort to make your life more memorable is honorable.

D and I might start saving for one of these. Talk about cozy.

Thursday, January 21

chai breakfast bowl [cheap eats]

I've had a wonderful, busy start the the New Year. This week is the first where I'm really feeling settled- into my home, into winter, into DC, into my new routine of working from home. One perk is the total control I have over what I'm eating and drinking: cold brew lattes every morning, salads with roasted vegetables for lunch, soups and stews I can have simmering all afternoon for dinner, all things you can't make happen from an office 9-5. It has been delightful.

On these chilly mornings, hot breakfast bowls are my go-to (poor vitamix, he probably feels neglected lately). Total game-changer: toast your oats before making oatmeal, a tip from the Whole Grain Mornings cookbook (first learned about it here). I put a drop of coconut oil in a saucepan, then add my dry oats and toast them for about 5 minutes until they are a golden brown. Then I pour in almond milk (my recipe for homemade is here!), maple syrup if you need sweetness, a pinch of salt, and any spices that will go with the toppings- maybe cinnamon, ginger, vanilla bean, or even something savory. When the milk has soaked in and the oats are the preferred consistency (just keep adding more liquid and cooking down until you're happy), pull the oatmeal off the stove and devour.

This morning, I tried something different. When I added the almond milk, I also added a chai tea bag, thanks to this little recipe. So, so delicious. If anyone can figure out how to make oatmeal look attractive in a photo, please send help.

I stirred in chopped dates, apples, and added some almonds on top. The nut butter is cashews blended with cardamom and baking spices, very tasty (see, that vitamix is still getting use!).

Friday, December 11

link it up

It was a busy but successful week in San Francisco, but I'm happy to be home for a holiday-fun-filled weekend. I'm going to make D watch Love Actually on Sunday, and on Saturday we have a fancy fete for his company, a black tie gala at the Library of Congress. Expect pictures. Anything good on your dance card?

I took a break from my Kombucha brewing during my transition from Durham to DC, since the timing is so sensitive. Can't wait to get back to it after the holidays. This profile of the "king of kombucha," GT, is fascinating.

Me, wanting a cat. Perhaps also coming after the holidays?

Mrs. R- this is the article I mentioned when I visited: I've Never Thanked My Parents for Anything. A very interesting, nuanced cultural difference.

I loved this video about addiction. It's short, graphic, compelling, go watch it.

'Tis the season of giving. But: Is philanthropy bad for democracy?

Friday, December 4

link it up

This sweet pup reminds me of my friend's dog. Hi, A&J!
What are you up to this weekend? We have a friend's holiday party in our old college-town tomorrow, and a big date night tonight. We're trying Plume at the Jefferson Hotel, which has a fancy schmancy tasting menu. I'm feeling more holiday spirit-y, mainly because I've slightly decked the halls and am listening to non-stop holiday tunes. Have a great one!

How I will be making my poached eggs from now on. I HATE the wispy whites that get away!

Need a burner email to sign up for things? Try this.

I just finished listening to Aziz Ansari's audiobook, Modern Romance. Love him, and this article. Anyone here watching Master of None? I'm thinking of starting it soon.

Just learned about Lost Type, another free font resource. Gorgeous!

I made it to Trader Joe's just in time to get their Pumpkin ice cream, my favorite seasonal flavor. What a fascinating company, and story.

Wednesday, December 2

DIY (refinished dining set)

Here's the little reupholstery project I've been meaning to post for ages. D bought this table and chair set when he first moved to Durham for a steal- we think $40, but he can't quite remember.

I wish I had a photo of how damaged they were by the time we were leaving- the screws had come out of the bottom of the chairs, which holds the seat in place, and some piece of mail had basically melted, with highlighter orange, into the top of the table. Even once we scraped off the mail, the stain was still in the table top, and on blonde wood, it was very visible. Plus, check out the print of these seats:

I cringe just looking at it.

So, a quick re-fresh was in order if we were going to sell them before moving. For the table top, I sanded probably a 1/4 inch off the top. No joke. That orange highlighter stain had gotten DEEP. After sanding, I just wiped down and did a coat of polyurethane on top, no staining necessary. It got pretty badly scratched by movers, so I had to sand down and coat again, which was annoying but easy work.

Other than the seat, the rest of the chair was in great shape- sturdy, finish on the wood still good, etc. I tried to reupholster the chairs in this nice floral fabric I'd had forever, but I didn't quite have enough. I thought I could make it, but instead I got this:

So close, and yet so far. This is truly the EASIEST form of reupholstery: rip off the old fabric, pull new fabric tight, and staple in place. I didn't replace the seat cushions, which saves some time and money, since they were in ok shape. I had to pick another fabric that I don't like as much, but is more neutral in color. After reuholstering the seat portion, I drilled new holes to attach the seats to the chair frame. This way they'd be tight and sturdy, not drilled into already stripped holes that caused the nails to keep falling out.

I was able to sell them on our apartment building listserve, which is mainly other Duke grad students that need quick furniture for short-term living. We got $180 for them, which is a crazy good price...I think the guy was just tired of eating on the floor and didn't have the time to head to Target or Ikea. I'm bummed that all my photos are such crap quality, but you get the idea!