Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer Tidbits

I saw this poster of Johnny Depp for Sauvage by Dior that is a bit too appropriate considering what he's recently been accused of... wondering if Dior is rethinking him as a model?

I went back to Illinois to visit family, and my parents resodded their lawn and the dog was loving it.
There was some china in the attic that I asked my mom to save for me when I was 11 or so.  I'm now 31... it's quite cute though.  I think once we move into another home, I'll bring it to NYC.

Our friends had a summer BBQ in New Jersey one nice, and they happen to be friends with a pastry chef who brought oodles of tartes.  My favorite was the Saint Honoré.

Botanical Drawing Final Project

Since becoming an adult, I like to take classes for fun.  I had taken a couple of introductory botanical classes in the past, and then earlier this year I decided to try the next level course.  Every week we had a ton of homework that took hours.  My work was probably mediocre to not great compared with most of the other students, but I'm still proud of myself of completing the course.  I think I'll take something less challenging and technical the next time I choose a course.

I had to draw a plant including its root system for the final project.  We learned that this is called the plant habit.  It's also extremely difficult to draw when you have no formal art background and are not great at shading.  Also, tracing paper is confusing and tedious to use, but necessary for this kind of art.
Here's the side by side.  I got a B-, but am still pleased with myself for drawing something that looks like a plant habit.  There's a certain amount of fiction and artistic liberty that goes into this kind of drawing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cats and Bikinis

Our tabby is very into my yoga gear.  He likes to sleep in the basket where I store my mat, blanket, and blocks.

He also likes to sleep on my yoga blanket.

I bought a vintage-style highwaisted bikini from J. Crew for a recent beach weekend.

It's gingham and seersucker, and I really like the way it fits.  Great for a relaxing weekend on the beach.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Trying Plated

I recently tried using Plated.  I would like to be better about cooking and budgeting and so I signed up.  There have been a couple of not so great recipes and several very good recipes.  We were doing the three recipes a week and are now doing the two recipes a week, which is more feasible.  I like that you can swap meals instead of being stuck with what they choose and the recipes are very well done.
Chicken Paillard with Roasted Parmesan Asparagus and Smashed Potatoes
One Pot Linguine Ingredients
Simmering in the one pot

Random 2016 Photos

Here are some photos from 2016:

A doodle of our cute little family.  It's probably the size of a quarter.
Enjoying my new Acme latte cups.
Easter breakfast of Trader Joe's jumbo cinnamon rolls.
One of our kitties craning his neck and being cute.
The other kitty getting himself into a tough spot.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pot Roast Dinner Party with Recipe

We had another couple over for a pot roast dinner the few weeks ago and above is a photo of the tablescape: fiestaware plates, POSH Chicago glasses, Laguiole flatware, and CB2 votives plus some cute owl salt and pepper shakers that are probably from TJ Maxx or Marshalls.

Fresh out of the oven and smelling heavenly.
I like mine with a lot of juice that can be sopped up with crusty bread.
I'm still loving Club W, and this wine Les Bobos is adorable.  A bobo is what French people call a hipster.  It means Bourgeois-Bohème or basically someone with money who wants to come off as bohemian.  And the wine is tasty.

I used the "Classic Beef Pot Roast" recipe below, but I also added a packet of Lipton's onion soup mix and a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup to add to the flavor and make more gravy.  It was pretty amazing.


1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 cup dry red wine
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º.
Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.
Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.
Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Life with Cats

 When you get a package in box form, no matter where you place it or the size of the box, your cat will find a way to sit in it.
 Your packing assistant will be very lazy on the job and even try to dissuade you from leaving on a trip at all.
Your sous chef never washes his hands and, in fact, licks his own butt.

Shake Shack vs. In-n-Out Burger

So I have been eating Shake Shack for several years now.  It is definitely over-hyped, but also very yummy.  In-n-out burger has been calling my name for years, and I finally had a chance to try it.  Here is the verdict:

Shake Shack: 1 (Please note the shake stack here is not as yummy as the regular burger or smoke stack, but it's the photo of my last meal there... wonder why I'm not losing any weight?)

In-n-Out: 0.5
We ordered our burgers and fries "animal style" with all the fixings (grilled onions and thousand island dressing) and it was fine, but not as juicy or flavorful as Shake Shack.  The cheese on the fries was American cheese and not delicious cheese sauce.  The burger lacked some flavor.  It was very good, and I would be happy to eat it if it was in my neighborhood, but in my opinion, Shake Shack is better.  Which reminds me I need to go back to Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien... so dang good.

Bad Omen?

I was walking to a pretty unpleasant doctor's appointment when I saw this huge flock of pigeons perched in the trees.  Should I have taken it as a bad omen?  Do you find it foreboding too?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Frittata and Ta-ta to 2015

One of my goals for 2015 was to bake a frittata in my Lodge cast iron skillet. On December 30, I realized I still hadn't done so yet and so I remedied that by ad-libbing this little beauty:
Base of potatoes, red peppers, onion, and garlic

Fresh out of the oven after cheese and egg mixture was poured on top of base

A yummy slice of frittata
I was pretty happy with the way it turned out, even though when I first took it out of the oven and tried to turn it over onto a cutting board raw egg came oozing out.  Once I flipped it back over and put in back in the oven for some time, it was tasty.  Also, it made a great leftover lunch for work.

2015 was a year full of challenges and disappointments, but also of family, love, honesty, forgiveness, acceptance, and hope.  This was one of my toughest years on this planet, but I hope that I have grown from it and become stronger and more able to accept future struggles.  I am so grateful for all that I have: my parents, siblings, husband, cats, job, home, health, and spirit.  Let's hope that 2016 is the best year yet!  Here's to the Year of the Monkey!