It’s the Freakin’ Weekend!

Hooray, you’ve made it to the weekend! I just got back from a glorious outdoor run where I listened to an old ipod of mine I found and you guys, can we just talk about how wonderful music was circa 2000-2007? I forgot about how amazing R. Kelly  can make weekends feel. I really think I might want to start a club that only plays music from the early ’00–because let’s face it, that would be awesome. Maybe we can throw in a 90’s night for good measure.  Whose with me?

In other news, obviously I really fell off the blogging wagon this week and I’m sure you are all very sad for it. No great excuse except that sickness hit our house therefore nothing really blog worthy happened. C’est la vie.

Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? I am going to try and hit up a new brunch spot in town which always makes me happy and continue reading the Fiery Cross because I’m addicted.  Whatever you are up to, I hope that it includes at least one moment where you listen to Remix to Ignition and bounce, bounce, bounce.

Here’s some fun links I saw around the web this week:

8 awesome podcasts: I really love me some podcasts and absolutely want to listen to every one on this list.

Would you try seltzer in your scrambled eggs? I’m kinda skeptical but am totally going to try this out over the weekend.

This Harry Potter Wall is amazing: I am super impressed with how straight she got those lines. But, I think if I were doing it I might pick a different page–too much Dursley for me.

Ask a French Girl:  This lady has so much wisdom. Repeat after me, you don’t have to have it all under perfect control.

12 ways to commemorate your travels: I love the idea of celebrating your travels around your house.

Does anyone want to tour the world with me just to eat breakfast? Because this list, seriously. I want to try everything.

Poll: is a solid gold toilet art? I vote no. Also, I bet you anything there will be a line out the door to use this loo.

House shaped bed for guests: I think this is kinda genius but there is no way the Texan would fit in it.

Cucumber/Coconut eye masks: These look heavenly.

15 easy dinners when you don’t feel like cooking: this will def come in handy over the summer when turning on your oven is the worst.

Happy, happy weekend to all!! xo

 

Have a lovely weekend!

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Yay, we’ve all made it to the weekend. Do you have any exciting plans? I feel like I’m going to spend most of it trying to comprehend a world without Prince in it. So sad. So lacking in blouses. But, in addition to listening to Purple Rain on repeat, we are going to watch Game of Thrones which I’m so excited for and also maybe go see the Jungle Book (even though animals that talk kind of freak me out).  Whatever you are up to, I hope it includes dancing your life away like it’s 1999. It’s what he would want.

Here are some fun links I saw around the web this week:

What’s in Prince’s fridge? I know there are like a million stories about Prince on your newsfeed but chances are most don’t  include his love for Dunkaroos.

Dave Chappelle as Prince is seriously everything.  Game Blouses.

Simple rules for Croques Madame/Monsieur Seriously you guys, I’ve been having dreams about this sandwich, must make it this weekend.

Prince Harry and William get in a light saber fight. Team Harry forever.

Speaking of royals, the Queen turned 90 this week and rocked a fab green suit like it was nothing. She’s the best.

Given what a spaz I am in photos, I am seriously impressed by Posh’s ability to nail this perfect sassy hip every time. (She will always be Posh to me. Zizga zig-ah!)

Whipped Asparagus Pesto spread  For realsies, this looks delicious.

Woman Double Fisting Pizza on kiss cam is an American Hero. Also, she needs a cooler friend because that girl seems kinda embarrassed.

Squeee tiny tree houses for your houseplants. I want this so much!

Prettiest deserts to make this spring. I’m totally making a lemon meringue pie this afternoon and that basil mint coconut cream pie is going on my list.

Julia Child’s trick for perfect poached egg. I’ve found Julia is rarely wrong (except for all the love for aspics, ew).

Hope you have a lovely weekend!!

 

Best DIY Lip Balm

Now that I officially bummed all of you out with my last post (sorry!), I am going to take a moment to talk about something super important: chap stick. Because seriously, I am addicted to it. Pretty sure there hasn’t been a moment of my life since I was 11 that my lips have been dry.  I think this obsession first started thanks to Bonnie Bell lip smackers. The flavors, omg who didn’t love the lemonade kind or Dr. Pepper? Plus, it also was a necklace, what else could you want? It was basically my dream in life to look as cool as this girl and also have all those chap sticks. (I would have been so jealous of her side braid).

I always have at least 3 different versions of lip balm/chap stick/ lip gloss  that I use in rotation depending on the situation.  Regarding lip gloss, I am very particular about it because I think having sticky lips that feel like someone glued them together is an excellent form of torture.  Worst. Thing. Ever. And for some reason, there are loads of lip glosses that are sticky, icky. My go-to affordable lip gloss: NYX Butter Gloss. I have about 4 of these and every time I wear the cherry pie shade people always ask where I got it. For chap stick, I really like Burt’s Bees. Goes on smooth, moisturizes and they have a ton of amazing flavors. For lip balm, I’m a sucker for Eos.  I love that I can always find that little egg in my purse. Currently in love with the vanilla mint flavor.

If I were kidnapped and taken to desert island and they told me I could only have 3 things, one of them would be chap stick. Or better, it would be coconut oil so I could make mine because I just learned that it is super easy to do it yourself.  If you are mad for lip balm like me then you should absolutely copy this super easy recipe for homemade lip balm. I usually use this when I’m about to go to bed and I wake up in the morning with super soft lips.

DIY Lip Balm

  • What you’ll need:
    • Lipbalm container (I used these from amazon)
    • 1 TB Coconut Oil
    • 1 t honey
    • 1/2 TB bees wax (they sell this at most craft stores)
    • mixing bowl
    • lip stick for color (optional)
  • How to make it:
    • Step 1: Mix coconut  oil, shaved bees wax (I used a cheese grater because it melts faster) and honey together in a bowl. Either use a double boiler or a bowl in the microwave for about 20 seconds. It should be liquid and mixed together. If you want to give it some color, you can melt some lip stick into the coconut oil.
    • Step 2: Pour into lip balm container and let set. I put mine in the freezer which I think helped to harden it faster.
    • Step 3: Once it is hard, you are done! So easy and you will never have to go without lip balm again, woo hoo!

 

When the cry read is too much

Writing has always been a way for me to process the way I feel. I started my first journal at 7 years old and keep one to this day. I wouldn’t say that my journals represent my best writing or anything I would ever want anyone to read but I always feel better after writing.

It’s in that spirit that I decided to write here to tryimages and process through my feelings on the latest book I’ve read because it continues to haunt my thoughts. If you are a reader, there’s a good chance you’ve come across A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara, released last year. (Note: I’m going to try my best to not reveal serious spoilers about this book but if you are sensitive to these sorts of things and want to read the book, maybe you should skip this post).

A Little Life was critically well received, being short listed for the Man Booker Prize and a National Book Award Finalist. It’s a story about 4 young men who are close friends and recent college graduates that move to New York City, telling the story of their lives. It’s clear from a quick glance at the back cover  that this book isn’t a typical tale of friendship, it is about trauma and abuse. You go in knowing that you are about to read about a subject that is painful. And yet, even with warning, I wasn’t prepared for how incredibly awful this book made me feel. It is not a short read at over 700 pages and it feels like nearly every bit of it is full of anguish. I cried so many times reading this book I lost count. I know I said before that sometimes cry reads are good but honestly, this one hurt.

The abuse in this book is revealed slowly through flashbacks to the main characters childhood. There are moments of a normal story of coming of age in New York (something I clearly can relate to) but in the corner are these allusions to abuse, like a big, scary gorilla, waiting to be released. When the abuse is first revealed, I sobbed tears  of outrage, as if there was an idea of “fairness” that wasn’t being followed. Because in my sheltered life experience, all children are precious and protected. It really wasn’t fair. It went beyond fair, it wasn’t fathomable. I wanted to believe that this is something that would not really happen to anyone. And while I sincerely hope it is impossible for that many different kinds of abuse to happen to one person,  I know it depicts abuse that is a reality for children across the world.

By the end of the book, my tears flowed silently, the rage I felt was gone. Much like the character, it seemed to me that the abuse was inescapable. It didn’t matter how accomplished he became, how many friends he had or what kind of support system was around him. None of that could erase the abuse that he experienced and the power it held over him.

And of course, there were times when I was so frustrated with him (and I felt guilty about). Why couldn’t he see that he had people who loved and cared about him now? Why did he let himself believe the things his abusers said while being deaf to the love that was around him? Why didn’t he see that hurting himself hurt others?  Why did he refuse therapy for so long? I don’t know.  But, the thing is, I really don’t have any context for relating to him. The atrocities he experienced are the kind that you don’t want to understand because the only way you  could would be through experience.

The Texan watched me read this book and at times questioned why I kept going if it was making me so sad. I think it helped that I was reading it with my best friend. I honestly don’t know if I could have read this book alone. At the very least it helped to get texts from her that reflected the same feelings I had: oh this book. It’s so sad. How do we even talk about it? I think what makes this book extra sad is there really isn’t any hope. The author isn’t following the script we are all used to where things eventually get better. The hits just keep coming.

When I finished it, he asked me if it was a good book. I said yes, but also no. It is an incredibly well-written book. So much of it is just beautiful writing. It is also so painful, I’m not sure I would subject myself to it again. But, maybe everyone should read it, just once. Maybe instead of turning away from this sort of thing we should try to understand because maybe it’s not about us. Maybe it’s for them. For who they represent, for the pain that is all too real for too many. And maybe not all books are to be read for the escapism they provide, maybe some books are meant to provoke, to haunt you, to make you think differently about the world. Days later, I can’t stop thinking about it and I also don’t want to think about it. Maybe that’s a sign that it is a worthwhile read after all.

 

Have a Wonderful Weekend!

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Hooray, it’s Friday! What are you up to this lovely spring weekend? The Texan and I are making a serious attempt at assimilating to our local culture by going bowling tonight with friends. I am not exactly confident in my ability to bowl, but I plan to handle it humbly when I claim Gutter Ball Queen title tonight.  Whatever you are up to, I hope it is at least as grand as bowling on a Friday night in a casino.

Here are some fun links I saw around the web this week:

Grown up versions of your favorite teen decorating trends: I absolutely want that painted night sky bathroom. Painted with glow in the dark paint.

30 recipes you should know by 30: This is a great list and I think applies to everyone, even those already past 30 who haven’t mastered no knead bread yet (me).

40 stunning bathrooms with incredible views: I fantasize constantly about having an amazing bathtub. But, I’m  afraid I would end up like Margot Tennebaum and never leave the bathroom.

15 memorizing pottery videos: Feeling stressed? Just zone out and watch these videos because they are amazing.

12 Actors who got real about roles they did for money: None of these are very surprising (Jaws: Revenge was seriously a movie?)except for the the heart breaking revelation that Alec Guinness hated being Obi Wan. Saddest thing I read this week.

Drink more water with these refreshers: Seriously, I love flavored water. Currently have the basil/orange combo in my fridge and it is everything.

5 ways to update thrift store art: It’s posts like this that make me wish my husband appreciated quirky art more.

10 fav 90’s movies on Netflix: I love 90’s movies and want to watch everything on this list though I’m not sure I can subject myself to My Father, The Hero. I remember finding it creepy when I was a kid, I feel like that feeling will get worse.

Household tips for finding lost things: This list is pretty amazing and full of a lot of common sense ideas that I will probably be too lazy to do.

Whoa, these almond joy bites look amazing.

Have an amazing weekend full of white Russians and inner peace.

 

Weeknight Dinner: Lemon Thyme Chicken

I distinctly remember a time, when I was a particularly angsty teenager, and  I turned to my mother and said, “are we having chicken for dinner againnn?”(Holding the “n” for whiny emphasis because my life was so dang difficult). Now, as with most things, I absolutely understand her wisdom in cooking us chicken so much. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to feed your family and the possible modifications are seemingly endless. But still, it can be a challenge to constantly come up with new ideas for dinner, especially if you have an ungrateful teenager in your house who is impossible to please (sorry, mom).

The desire to try something new brought me to this recipe for lemon thyme chicken that is actually super basic but also super delicious. Plus, it gave me an excuse to use my cast iron skillet and I’m basically always looking for those. I don’t know what it is about that skillet but I feel like everything I make in it tastes better. Plus, I feel like my arms get a work out just lifting that thing (I kid. Kind of.)

This is a super easy weeknight meal that you should absolutely add into your chicken rotation. Plus, it will give you an excuse to the lovely fresh thyme that I’m sure is just waiting to be picked in your garden.

Lemon Thyme Chicken via The Kitchn bc5f4f34-aca9-4876-9589-cc32b7dc0805

  • What you’ll need:
    • 2 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on (about 4 to 6 thighs)
    • Olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • Black pepper
    • 1 lemon, sliced thin
    • 5 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • How to make it:
    • Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400° F. Drizzle the chicken thighs with olive oil and season them well with pinches of salt and pepper.
    • Step 2: Place the thighs in a large, cold cast iron skillet, skin-side down. Place the skillet on a burner over medium heat. Let them cook, undisturbed, for 14 to 15 minutes.
    • Step 3: When a lot of the fat has rendered out and the skin is crispy and brown, flip the thighs so the crispy skin is up. Dot the cast iron skillet with lemon slices and thyme sprigs and stick it in the hot oven. Let the thighs finish cooking in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 165° F. If you’re in doubt, leave them in for another few minutes.

For the history nerds who love books

I believe it was Napoleon who once said, “History is a set of lies agreed upon.” That dude was full of some choice quotes, like this one. Jerk. But, as much as it pains me to say it, I’m inclined to agree (in part) with the tiny man responsible for the unhelpful complexes heaped on all short men (sorry dad).  I would, however, amend it to say that history is a set of stories agreed upon. Because really, I don’t think people set out to lie. Sometimes when you are telling a story about what happened way back when, its way more fun if it has a little pizzazz. Plus, people will probably be more likely to remember the story if it has a little drama and that’s really the goal.

As I’ve previously established, there is nothing I love more than a good story. Even if it is slightly exaggerated. (Don’t fret, dear reader, I never do this. All my stories are 100% true accounts, promise). And, thanks to a sassy Brit who taught me European history in high school (and knew how to tell a good story) I absolutely love history. Especially European History. Because, sorry America, but our history, (with the exception of  the civil war and the founding) is kinda boring and short.  European history is way longer and has all the royal family drama and religious upheavals and did I mention royal drama? Because it’s the best.

So, what is a history nerd with a love of books to do in order to continue her education ? Why, of course, turn to this lovely thing called historical fiction, books based in history but usually involving a lot more drama (and sex, because, duh).

I really wish I would have discovered that books like this existed in my teen years because I would have totally got the Tudors . The Texan is also a history nerd but he is a purist that would never read my novels which I’m pretty sure he sees as historical Us Weekly. However, I like learning and I also like being entertained and these books are like putting those two things into one.  I’m all for books that add a little excitement to the story but I really hate stories that completely change history. The movie, Elizabeth, for example, was award winning but so historically inaccurate I spent the last half of the movie shvitzing and shouting at the TV, come on! Walsingham totally didn’t do that! (Told you, I’m nerdy for this stuff).

So, for those of you who love books and history, here is a list of my 5 favorite historical novels I’ve read (so far)… Have you read any historical novels that you loved? Please oh please share them in the comments, I’m always down to read more!! 

  1. 41eRe72tKtL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_The Historian, by Elizbeth Kostova: Okay, I know what you are thinking, Dracula totally doesn’t count as history. But seriously, I think he might. This book is great, it’s scary in a good way and includes a lot of real (and horrifiying) historical events. Even though at times I wanted to put it in the freezer, I read it in a few days and loved every minute.
  2. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain: I went 51rHDATyEkL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_through a significant Hemingway/1920’s phase (okay, I’m still in this phase, it might be life long) where I was obsessed with reading about the so-called “lost generation.” This book totally satisfies those curiosities from the perspective of Hemingway’s first wife who was amazing and he was completely unworthy of her. Great read.
  3. The Saxon Chronicles, by Bernard Cornwell:
    I’m kind of 51b5YG6Y1rL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_ashamed to admit this but I got into these books first by watching the TV show, The Last Kingdom, on BBC America. The show is fantastic and I really wanted to learn more of the story so the Texan and I started reading the books together.  Great writing and interesting history to learn about. Plus, lots of battles if you’re into that sort of thing.
  4.  The Memoirs of Cleopatra, by Margaret George: 51i-t6z5WVL._SX300_BO1,204,203,200_I am absolutely fascinated by Cleopatra  who was a total boss. Her story is totally awesome and also tragically sad. I love reading about Queens, especially ones like Cleopatra who was so sassy she chose death by snake rather than being Rome’s puppet.
  5. Outlander, by Diane Gabaldon: I have already 51UFuek-6WL._SX297_BO1,204,203,200_established how much I like the TV show but the books are like a million times better. There are so many settings its almost overwhelming to think about how much research the author had to do. The series takes you to  1940’s Britain, 18th century Scotland, the West Indies and early America and where else, I don’t know yet as I am actively avoiding spoilers of any kind. I totally devour these books and am on the 5th one. I have to force myself to read something else since the dang library waiting list is  a million people long. Worst.

Have a FAB Weekend

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Hooray, it’s Friday! I hope that you have some fabulous plans for this weekend or perhaps you are just going to embrace the sheer joy of doing nothing. Because sometimes that is just what you need.   I am planning on planting some herbs (I know, be jealous of my exciting life) and also watching Outlander on Saturday because it’s back, yay!

Here are some fab links I saw on the web this week:

This desk hammock might be something worth investing in if you value naps and aren’t afraid of maybe suffocating under your desk.

Cat undercuts are becoming a thing, apparently.

Try to look at these tiny doughnuts and not squeal a little bit (even if it’s only in your head). Basically impossible.

Adult coloring books are therapy. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of coloring but seriously crayons? NO. #coloredpencilsforever

A Tale of 9 months. Neat.  I’ve watched this video multiple times and I still can’t decide if I should be offended by the balloon comparison. Leaning towards yes.

Would you paint your bedroom black?  I think it’s pretty awesome. Now, if only my dream of owning a home I can paint can come to fruition. Someday.

In creepy tech news, they are making contact lenses with cameras in them. This is seriously straight out of an episode of Black Mirror and I don’t like it one bit.

Feminist bake sale leads to death and rape threats. Seriously depressing and shows how strongly cupcakes impact us all. (JK)

HOORAY Sookie is going to be on the Gilmore revival. I mean, how could she not be?

24 ways to cook a spring chicken. Because you can never have enough ideas on how to cook chicken.

Okay, go forth and get your weekend on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weeknight Dinner: Homemade Falafel

One of the many things I miss about Los Angeles is the food. I haven’t had a decent taco in a coons age (as the Texan would say) and I can’t remember the last time I had salsa that didn’t closely resemble, in both taste and appearance, chunky ketchup.

My food longings aren’t limited to Mexican food. I desperately miss decent sushi (shockingly, living in land locked, slot machine hell deprives one of sushi)and I most ardently miss Zankou Chicken, a Lebanese chicken place that is so amazing I’m not sure I can put it to words.  Suffice it to say, any Angeleanos reading this will understand immediately the intense depression that would follow being deprived regular access to that garlic sauce.  This place is so iconic there was an episode about it in Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David joked that the giphychicken was so good it could have ended the rift in the middle east.  And, it’s not just the chicken and garlic sauce that I miss. It’s the shwarma, the pita bread, the falafel. I even miss those little peppers I was usually too scared to eat.

Given that I am 466 miles from the nearest Zankou Chicken (yes, I actually looked it up) I had to take matters into my own hands last night and made some delicious falafel, chicken and rice. I didn’t even attempt to make the garlic sauce because that would be  sacrilege. While my version was nothing close to the real thing, it was pretty awesome. So good, in fact, that I didn’t remember to take a picture before it was too late. Apologies to those of you that enjoy my sub-par photography skills (seriously, I need help).

Since there are at least a few of you who are also sadly deprived of a Zankou Chicken within driving distance, I thought I’d share the recipe for falafel here. I modified it from this recipe I found from some quick googling.

A few of my changes: For the falafel, I switched out the parsley for cilantro because I like the flavor better. I increased the caynne pepper and cumin slightly because the Texan loves spice. For the yogurt sauce, I added some lemon juice to the yogurt sauce. I didn’t use mayo (because gross) but I did use plain greek yogurt because that is my jam these days. I added more cucumber too. For the falafel prep,  I made it all in the food processor and the consistency was fine.

This is a healthy, easy and delicious weeknight meal that I highly recommend.

Falafel and Yogurt Sauce, from AllRecipes.com (with my modifications) 

  • For the yogurt sauce:
  • For the Falafel:
    • 1 egg
    • 1 dash pepper
    • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • How to make it:
    • Step 1: In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, dill, salt, pepper  and mix well. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
    • Step 2: Mix chickpeas, onion, garlic and cilantro in  food processor–about 5 pulses should do it. In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Add to chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.
    • Step 3: Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides. Serve two falafels in each pita half topped with chopped tomatoes and cucumber sauce.

 

Have a Fun Weekend!

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Hooray, the weekend is here! Take heed of the assignment  from Ms. Geist, (everyone’s favorite do-gooder teacher with lipstick on her teeth) and have some serious spring fun this weekend! No April Fool, I totally mean it.

Despite the snow we got at the beginning of the week, it’s set to be in the 70’s this weekend which pretty much feels like heaven to me.  I plan on spending much of it outdoors, preferably enjoying a cocktail. Whatever you are doing, hopefully it’s filled with loads of fun and includes a viewing of Clueless because, as if! what fun weekend doesn’t include that?

To get your weekend started right, here are some fun links I saw around the web:

Happy weekend to all! I’m outie!