Tuesday, April 22

happy birthday M [and birthday freebies]

Happiest of 22nd birthdays to my small one, M. Wish we could be together today, but at least I'm seeing you on flanking weekends, which is almost as good. We agreed that the only widely applicable novelty of turning 22 is the ability to sing along to Taylor Swift*, but I have to say that it was a good year for me, and I hope it is for you, too. Here's a mini montage, and I'd like to point out that we've always had our "sides", even since the day you were born.

she got the killer eyelashes
she got the killer poofy sleeves
sunglasses that match one of your many nicknames
that time we almost froze #goodpresent
you better blonde it out STAT
favorite activity at our favorite place (as long as there's an mlous nearby)
"relax in an atmosphere of cool" (name that birthday card)
More importantly, don't forget to get all your free ish. A reprisal of my most valuable shared list to date:
*ew can't believe I linked to that. Or that it has 148 million views.

pinned [feeling blue]

I would go to any of these places for a good cry and a snuggle with loved ones. Enjoy some moody interiors with your Monday blues.

Cathy Echols

Friday, April 18

link it up

Lourdes Sanchez does some lovely watercolors. Check it here
Just couldn't get motivated to spend time blogging this week- too hectic before heading to BOSTON for the Easter holiday. I'm sippin' on a Mary Lou's right now, about to watch Ellen with mom, then happy hour with friends and dinner with the family. Pretty durn pumped. Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

Really good marketing getting done over here. Total must-watch. And OF COURSE, the semi-trolling polar opposite response (don't check it out until after you watch, it'll ruin the twist).

Some of the jokes I've heard before on SWA, since I fly pretty durn frequently, but I still enjoyed listening to this.

If you need a giggle, some people are reallllly dumb.

A-Z of dance, or, the best dance video ever.

Very interesting to see one of the most famous Brooklyn brownstones in history redone in a completely apposing style. It'd be hard to mess with those bones.

If you're a gladiator, you may enjoy this and this. Oh and this. (why is she everywhere for me this week??) OH and buy her wine glasses here. I'm done.

Wednesday, April 16

discover [unroll me]

I'm always interested in email hacks. As a devoted follower of inbox zero (with varying level of success), I've truly come to appreciate the small but effective changes we can put in place to use our technology in the best way. From filtering messages to email templates, I love some good automation of the most time-consuming but least value-producing of activities.

Like checking gmail. Ugh.

I'm a ruthless editor (of all things but my home, the lamp count is double digit now), so I have no problem with excessive subscriptions- if I'm on your email list, it's because I want to be. That doesn't mean I want to spend time every day going through them, which is why my discovery of unroll.me was so exciting.
Signup once and let it get situated- you can either wait while it aggregates your subscriptions or you can have them send you an email when the process is complete. I had 221 subscriptions. Jeez! Go through them and select what you want to unsubscribe from, what you want to leave alone, and what you want added to a daily "roll up" email. From the daily roll up you can easily open anything you want to see in more detail, and otherwise, hit delete once and get on with the day.

I adjusted my settings for the first week, adding or removing things I'd rather receive as individual emails rather than in aggregate, and I've settled onto a process that works quite nicely. I can visit my roll-up on their website and see emails by category and even what's coming my way tomorrow.

Check it out! And while you're at it, let me know if you have any other amazing life hacks I should know about.

Friday, April 11

link it up

grilled fruit bruschetta. I'd do it.
Happy weekend everyone. We're looking at 70's (or 80's!) and sunny here, so grilling is a must. I LOVE grilled peaches and pineapple, any type of seafood, ONIONS, and kabob everything. My healthier side is all about these grilled salads, my less-healthier side is all about these grilled desserts.

I deeply enjoyed reading this: art is a waste of time. Despite the sensationalist title/description, it's actually well-written and includes one of the most tolerant and curious comment sections I've ever seen. Read it (thanks K).

Like Airbnb? Then you'll love Airpnp. Not joking.

D and I listened to this together a week or two ago, and I think got a lot out of it. Habit and routine can be very strong.

THERE'S A NEW VITAMIX IN TOWN everybody freak out.

AHHHH KELLY CLARKSON! A funny (to me anyway) video in support of testicular cancer. D, watch this, no doubt you'll be cringing.

Oooh...I really like this art series. Called Oooh. I want to play with them. They make me think of this.

Thursday, April 10

imbibe [red hook, or a very cherry manhattan]

If you, like me, are constantly ordering your bf to add more grenadine and cherries to your Manhattan, it may be time you try a Red Hook. Basically we're replacing half the sweet vermouth with maraschino liquor, Dolan and Luxardo in our case (although many recipes I've seen call for Punt e Mes). 

It's a lovely drink, maybe my new go-to. The bitters are optional, but a nice balance to the sweetness. Or something. Maybe I just don't like recipes with so few ingredients and had to toss a few more in there. I've always said a mixer is 2 ingredients and tastes like college, a cocktail starts at 3 and tastes like...business school?

If this is too sweet for you, maybe give the Brooklyn a try- less maraschino liquor, and a dry vermouth instead. More on that later, obviously.

Wednesday, April 9

discover [craftsy]

I'm always looking for ways to learn new skills in an affordable way, and recently discovered a new way to satiate my desire to self-educate on the cheap, not to mention with complete flexibility: craftsy.
Craftsy is a destination for downloadable online instruction in all areas of craft. Watch the videos at home on your own schedule and build skills! You can do it all here, from learning how to crochet socks to amazing cake design with frosting to jewelry and paper classes to developing photography skills. Once you select an area of interest, you can see classes, projects, and a blog specific to that craft. The latest blog post for food is about making your own extracts.

If you're just getting started and want to sample the goods, try out a free mini-class; I'm currently enrolled in Complete Knife Skills, which covers basic knife skills, shortcuts for produce, and even sharpening and honing instruction.

If you're ready to take it to the next level, try a paid class. You'll get more access to the instructor, who will participate in group chats with the students, and the videos are longer and more in-depth. I've got my eye on the Building Flavorful Soups class, taught by a James Beard Award-winning chef.

What would you like to learn today?

Tuesday, April 8

cheap eats [chia jam]

Chia jam is my jam. It's crazy easy to make, healthier than regular jams, and goes deliciously in all my favorite things (Greek yogurt parfaits, overnight oats, over ice cream, etc). I keep some in the fridge at all times.

I first heard about it over here, which helped give me an outline for a recipe. Basically, you're mixing fruit, chia seeds, and a sweetener of choice (or not) over heat. I like to use what I have on hand, which was strawberries on their last legs and black chia seeds. FYI, I bought this 2lb bag of seeds for $20 at Amazon, and it's great.

For every cup of fruit, add the juice of half a lemon and two tablespoons of chia seeds, stirring all over low heat. I cooked it down for awhile, because I like a thicker jam, but keep in mind it will set more in the fridge. Strawberries are pretty sweet on their own, so I didn't add any sweetener, but a tablespoon of honey or even liquid stevia could balance the tartness of other fruits, like raspberries.

If you want to follow Sarah's recipe, she used frozen fruit (so convenient) and added the chia seeds after she had made the jam. Doesn't she take the most lovely food photos?

Monday, April 7

bibliophile [me before you]

We haven't discussed this one yet in book club, but I'm sure it'll cause a stir. Oh and I'm COMPLETELY unsurprised they're making this a movie, and will totally go see it.

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

This was an interesting read. A quick one, too. It's one of those books that you kindof rush through because you're waiting for a resolution that you know won't come until the end, but it's not such incredible writing that you're missing a masterpiece by hurrying it along. Basically this novel deals with the question of dying with dignity and a person's right to end their life. Here's ya blurb:

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

It wasn't until I was halfway through the book that I realized I've read Jojo Moyes before- and even reviewed her book here on the blog. I guess I'll say I like both of her books, and I give her a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. I liked the characters here, and found their relationship to be very realistic in its development, but some aspects of the book felt peripheral and unnecessary (most of her familial relationships, for example). I also thought that from 40% until 70% of the way through this book was frustratingly circular- nothing moved forward, no new emotions, no POINT to each chapter. In the movie format, this will for sure be a montage.

Anyway, give it a read. I find "dying with dignity" to be a multi-faceted issue and am really looking forward to discussing this with my girls next week.

Friday, April 4

link it up

Heading to Philly for the weekend to witness baby M's last play of her collegiate career. Tear. It was either this or go to graduation, the most pointless-to-witness of all rites of passage, so needless to say I'm looking forward to it.

An app that's basically an over-protective mom. Cue my battery dying and D freaking out.

Best flight to be on ever? Sometimes humans are awesome.

I love a good flash sale. This is Gilt for wine.

Miss April Fools? I typically don't mess with food, but these are some good ones. Edible pizza box?! If only...

Why my job is fun. Thanks New York Times!