Thursday, September 4

discover [honey]

Are you an online shopper? Do you like coupons? How about saving money?

It's rhetorical question day, obviously.
I was thrilled a few weeks ago to discover Honey, which combines my affinity for shopping from my couch whilst in pajamas with my sincere appreciation for discounts. Here's the scoop: install Honey as a Chrome extension (much like the "pin it" button from Pinterest, or the Ebates extension, or my much-loved poach-it). It'll look like this, hanging out at the top right hand corner of your browser:

When checking out at Piperlime or Asos or any other online retailer, simply click the icon to see all available discounts- if you want, it'll even apply them for you. I used it at over the weekend. It didn't find any codes that I couldn't dig up in 5 or so minutes of Googling around, but the convenience and time-saved is well worth it.

Oh, and if you're not already using Google Chrome, you're silly. Almost as silly as the four-dude team that came up with an online shopping app and named it honey...oops, my gender stereotypes are showing.

Friday, August 29

link it up

Oh my amigos. I hope you've all been managing the dog days of summer better than I have. Back-to-back travel weeks always leave me weary, so I'm especially looking forward to a long weekend. Hoping to get a last beach trip in, maybe a date or two, and D is twisting my arm to visit the outlets. Enjoy yourself and be safe!

Bill Gates is the man.

Speaking of philanthropy, had a good email chain chat-ski with a few friends over this article, one of the few thoughtful pieces I've seen relating to ALS. Interesting perspective, but certainly not one I endorse wholeheartedly. 

I lift weights but do very little cardio, and really identify with this article. “Treating exercise as a means to be more, as opposed to viewing it as a never-ending struggle to be less, is absolutely a game changer.”

This is a total win. Best thing I read all week.

I'm a big fan of Khan Academy, and have signed up for a few classes in the spirit of continual learning. I appreciate hearing more from their founder about children (or really, anyone) and education.

Friday, August 15

link it up

On my way to ATL today, then straight on to Houston. I've avoided it all summer and hope I won't melt in Texan August. Anyone up to something awesome?

How good does this frozen custard place look? It's on my itinerary for Atlanta this weekend (along with drinks at Paper Planes, a dinner at Canoe, and touring CNN and the Coke Museum. If there's time, I'm trying to get to SweetWater and climb Stone Mountain too- busy weekend for me).

Stephen King's 10 favorite books. I've had a deep affinity for him ever since his public statement of JK Rowling-adoration and Twilight series-shaming. I've only read three of these so far.

Sad, sad news about Robin Williams. Aladdin and Hook are both in my top-ten favorite movies of all time, and Mrs. Doubtfire can't be too far behind. I liked this article about his most memorable food moments (invisible food-fight, anyone?)

How cool is this: professional photo editing for $5 a picture, less if you upload a bunch. This isn't just airbrushing- they can add in missing family members to a portrait, cut out your ex, remove awkward street signs or passerbys, and so on. I might use this in the future for a head shot or beloved family photo that could use some work.

Totally realistic captions for your alcoholic beverages...too good.

Thursday, August 14

DIY or buy [brandied cherries]

I'm going to call both for this one: DIY AND buy, no need to go either or. Why? Because a purchased brandied cherry (the good, Luxardo-soaked ones) taste completely different than the delicious homemade variety.

Cherries are pricey, but never more affordable than mid-to-late summer, so now's the time to try this DIY. I'm going to recommend you buy a cherry pitter- yes, it's a dreaded one-trick-pony, taking up precious drawer space and rarely seeing the light of day, but there is no fool-proof alternative. I cut all my cherries in half and then pitted, and my brother recommended this hack, but I found that the pit sometimes took a bunch of meat with it, like half the bottom of each fruit. Nuh uh. Get a cherry pitter (which I still don't year I suppose).

My recipe is below- it's an amalgamation of a few different recipes I found, and reflects both what I had on hand and what I wanted as the flavor profile. I made a very small batch, just 1 cup of cherries, because I want to try a few variations, mainly switching up the liquor (whiskey, dark rum, etc). The big difference between these and the Luxardo maraschinos? Well, mine were WAY less syrupy- the liquid mine were in had no notable viscosity, and was therefore a lot less sweet. In addition, my cherries weren't really masticated- they weren't as firm as fresh fruit, but sitting in the hot liquid for 20 minutes didn't do too much to cook them down. I think I'd like them a little more cooked next time, so perhaps I'll allow them to boil with the cherry juice, spices, and sugar before I let them cool and add the booze.

I'll be sharing a recipe I concocted for their inaugural tasting yesterday that is quite delicious soon.

Brandied Cherries

· 1/4 cup light brown sugar
· 1/4 cup cherry juice (puured and strained cherries)
· 1 stick cinnamon
· Pinch of salt, cardamom, nutmeg
· One thin 1in sq shaving fresh ginger
· ½ c brandy (try maraschino liquor, bourbon, or rum)
· 1 cup cherries

Over low heat, combine all ingredients except cherries and booze

When all sugar is dissolved, remove from heat, add cherries, and allow to sit 20 min (I let it cool because I don’t want to cook off ANY of the alcohol. I’d be less worried were I using Everclear or high-proof bourbon, but with 80 proof apple brandy, I need all the preservative qualities of the alcohol)

Add booze, stir to combine, and pour into canning jar. Set in cool dark place and agitate every few days for a month. Strain out spices, cinnamon stick, and ginger, and repack cherries with the juice. Refrigerate, devour.

Wednesday, August 13

life lately

It was a busy past week for me, what with a work trip to Chicago running straight into my dear friend K's wedding, which was an eventful and high energy weekend and an incredibly fun night. I've been too depressed since to do anything but drink cocktails with my homemade brandied cherries (recipe tomorrow), so I haven't had much to write. Instead, enjoy some pictures of me and my friends getting fancy.

Monday, August 4

pinned [inspired by The String Lights]

Seems I'm not the only one who is inspired to do something a bit more interesting with extra cording for hanging lights. Some of the images below are wonderful renditions of The String Lights (highly worth checking out- I can't get it out of my head!).

Joanna Laajisto
Sam Thies

Friday, August 1

link it up

Guess who comes to town today....D! Well, he thinks he comes today, but if I know anything about Friday traffic, I predict he'll be here at 1 am tomorrow, technically. We're in for a stormy weekend (drats, I was hoping to get some sun before K's wedding next weekend), but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless...movies and wine instead of pools and beers, perhaps?

Planning to open a hipster bar? Make sure you have your checklist on hand (laughing).

As someone who dislikes babies (there I said it), I have NO problem with this. (I don't dislike babies, I just dislike babies in inappropriate settings or inconsiderate parents. Plus it's awkward when they visit work and you just stare at them bc they can't do anything yet but squirm and cry but you're obligated to hover over them for prolonged periods of time and talk about how they're ohmygodsocute even though they look like potatoes)

This kitchen gadget has changed what I eat. Find it for $5 less on Amazon (but the images are better here) and see my creation here.

Ever loved a positive trait in a friend of significant other, only to discover later on that the negative side of said trait is unbearable? Where the ambition you love produces a workaholic, or a decisive and confident partner becomes domineering? It's called a "fatal attraction", and this article gets into it. Thank you D for the contribution, even though I'm positively sure I have no such negative traits.

I love Trader Joe's cilantro lime dressing, and like a homemade version even better. I'll share more details later, but I loosely followed this recipe to make a dressing last night and it was great. Poured it over a salad made from that kitchen tool above and it was a healthy and tasty dinner.

Thursday, July 31

DIY inspo [natural hangers]

I've posted about my driftwood before, and how I'd like to hang it somewhere as a pretty architectural piece of art. Here are a few more images of bringing nature indoors for a functional purpose.
The Merry Thought
Wood Melbourne

Tuesday, July 29

DIY inspo [architectural lighting]

The String Lights, designed by Michael Anastassiades for Flos, are such an architectural and visually stunning lighting concept.

I like to joke with D that I'm a minimalist at heart, because if I had no barriers to amassing the decor I love best, I would only need a few pieces (Eames chair, Robert Abbey lamp, vintage leather chesterfield, etc). These lights are just that: minimalist, but so striking and unique as to replace my need for clutter. 

The designer said, "when I sit on a train, traveling, and I look out of the window, I always see these strings of electricity that connect the pylons. And as we move through at high speed, I see these perfectly parallel string and find myself transfixed by the amazing sense of discipline - how can this be possible? It’s just so beautiful, and so poetic the way they connect the pylons whilst at the same time they divide the landscape. I wanted to translate this this vision and this discipline into an interior environment. They are like linear drawings."

I don't see why one couldn't attach a longer cord to any hanging light to create something similar (that is, until you've saved enough pennies to invest in the real thing). It's so practical, too- I'm always so frustrated with the placement of plugs, but this could make an asset out of something that was once a detractor from your decor.

But the last one looks like a spider.

Monday, July 28

bibliophile [1Q84]

Here's a doozy.
1Q84, Haruki Murakami

Let's get this straight up front: it's "one-que-eighty-four", but I called it "eye-que-eighty-four" in my head for the two months it took me to read it because I'm a dummy. I will admit to taking a vacation break to read all three Divergents (oh Honduras, how I miss you), but this was only to read something more lighthearted for a week, and not to escape this compelling, if LONG, novel. Here's your blurb:

The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver’s enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 —“Q is for ‘question mark.’ A world that bears a question.” Meanwhile, an aspiring writer named Tengo takes on a suspect ghostwriting project. He becomes so wrapped up with the work and its unusual author that, soon, his previously placid life begins to come unraveled.

As Aomame’s and Tengo’s narratives converge over the course of this single year, we learn of the profound and tangled connections that bind them ever closer...A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s—1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

Apparently Murakami is quite famous, perhaps more so in Japan, where this book was a huge hit. This was certainly imaginative, I'll give him that- the entire thing is surreal, as if the idea truly came to him in his sleep. I made the mistake of reading reviews before writing my own, and found this to be the most valuable:  "A typical feature in his books is to present an idea, an object, a reference from one perspective, and then repeat it, often multiple times, from other perspectives. Only through these repeated narrow views does the reader begin to piece together the true import of what is being presented. This layering of perspectives, added to the unusual nature of what is being seen, is core to the world Murakami unveils to us in his fiction. The problem in this book is that the perspectives are over-layered and at some point lose their power." I suppose my takeaway would be this: his style of writing is interesting and worth experiencing, but perhaps I would get a taste on a shorter work, rather than embark on this 1,000 page trip which is, I agree, repetitive. It was certainly still worth reading, but I expect when I get around to picking up some of his other novels, I may like them better.