Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Revisited

I realize now my post from yesterday was kind of bitter. I don't want it to seem like I'm overly dramatic about the year so I thought I'd talk about a few things that really stuck out to me. Far too often we don't realize the importance of an event until it passes. Afterwards you look back and just know that a particular moment in time was singular in some way. For me, they're usually the times where I was perfectly content exactly where I was. I was just happy. You wouldn't think that alone is all that special, but for me it means everything.

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Talking to my grandma for the last time.

Okay, this is one of those bittersweet memories. The kind where you look back and wish you would have known. Like all really important moments though, I didn't realize how big this one would turn out to be. A simple phone call where I was distracted and not fully invested in the conversation turned out to be the last one I ever got with my grandma. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Stargazing while camping.

This is another one of those moments that just felt perfect. The cost afterwards was more than I would have liked, but I'll always look back and wonder how I could feel so happy just looking up.

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Hanging out in Park City.

Even though I have a lot of good memories from the weekend I spent in Park City (and some not so good ones cause by a slightly shocking amount of whipped vodka), one of the best memories I have is just hanging out with Tiffany. I remember there was one particular moment when I just felt okay with everything. I no longer felt scared of the prospect of moving in with her and felt confident things were gonna work out the way they needed to. You can't really put a value on a moment like that. (The hot tub was pretty awesome too.)

Holden seeing the ocean for the first time.

When I think back over the year, this is one of the first things that stuck out to me. The beach is something I grew up with so it was a lot of fun to watch Holden experience it for the first time. You could tell he didn't know what to think and he wasn't comfortable in the water (he loved the sand though). He wanted a bucket full of water and I told him to just bend down and get some when a wave comes in. As you can see by the picture it took him a few tries to get the hang of it. I still laugh when I think of it.

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There are other moments that stick out to me. Holden playing with my oldest and dearest friend's daughter, waking up in a tent surrounded by the coolest people I know, riding the ferry back from Coronado, carving pumpkins in the park, throwing handfuls of colorful powder with strangers, and many more that hurt to think about now. So no, the year wasn't a total wash. I'm still happy to say goodbye though.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Can't Say I'll Miss You 2011

This is the time when everyone looks back over the last year and says some cheesy crap about what they learned or how they can't believe how quickly the year has gone by. Well screw that. This year sucked and I'm not gonna pretend otherwise. Yeah some pretty awesome things happened, but far too often they were the direct result of something super crappy happening first.
Let's see some of the things that happened this year:

1. My grandma died.
2. My boyfriend of almost seven years broke up with me.
3. I had to get rid of my dog.
4. My mom relapsed and had to go to rehab.
5. I got my first F this semester.

I could go on but just typing that has made me a little depressed. So yeah, 2011 can suck it. Bring on 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DIY Contact Mic

I took an audio production class this semester with the hopes of learning a little more about different type of sound equipment since I've been toying with the idea of starting a podcast for a while now. Even though the class was a lot different from what I was expecting, I walked away with a lot of interesting information I can bore my friends with. (Seriously, no one cares about the difference between the sound quality of mp3s or the Doppler effect.) Even though we didn't get to do any hands on stuff for the most part, this DIY looks like it might be simple enough for even me to pull off.



Also, there's something about a smart man that just does it for me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Golden Nugget of Thought: Pain is a Right


I love this quote because I think we've all felt the pressure not to feel what we feel at least once in our lives. I may do or say the wrong things, but I will never apologize for feeling the way I do. Ever. It's the most honest and genuine thing I have to offer the world. No matter how misguided or uncomfortable it might make someone. Numbness is never the answer.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Music Thursday


New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are. Also, I've decided I'm gonna start adding an old favorite to the mix since old loves are just as important as new passions.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Chains Of Love by The Dirtbombs:



Give Up the Goods by Mobb Deep:



Move to town by Milow:



Lonely Boy by The Black Keys:



This song is all over the radio but I just can't resist.

Old Love:

Be Be Your Love by Rachael Yamagata:



I posted this song forever ago, but I recently fell in love with it all over again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

X96 Nightmare Before Xmas

Last night I went to see The Naked and Famous and Cake at the Saltair with my friend Brett. While I was most excited for The Naked and Famous, Cake's performance was golden. They just have a stage presence that will blow you away. All of their songs are upbeat and even if you've never heard the song before, you'll find yourself swaying with the rest of the crowd and getting quite excited. Seriously, they're brilliant. While The Naked and Famous pumped everyone up, Cake was able to take that energy and channel into something more focused and unabashedly awesome.
The Naked and Famous at Webster Hall
My knee is a little sore from standing for so long and I'm a bit tired, but it was worth it. I'd forgotten how live music is it's own beast and I see more concerts in my future.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Moving

Once again I've gone far too long without blogging so I thought I'd let you guys know a little bit about what's been going on with me. I wish I could say everything's been wonderful, but life is frustratingly fickle in that regard. I can't get into all the details yet (the story isn't finished and I'm not ready), but I can say I went a little crazy for a moment and almost ruined something important to me. Luckily I've been swamped with moving and haven't had too much time to dwell on things.
This is not what I look like while moving.
Ah moving. Everyone knows how much moving sucks so I won't bore you with the details. I will say I have a ton of work ahead of me so don't be surprised if I disappear again. I'm loving the new house though and it doesn't hurt that I'm living with my friend. Already I feel more like myself living with someone. And in case anyone is wondering, Holden is settling in quite nicely. If I could just figure out how to get my box spring up the stairs and the heat more evenly dispersed throughout the house it would be perfect.

So that's that. Not much I know, but I'll be back soon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Music Thursday


New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are. Also, I've decided I'm gonna start adding an old favorite to the mix since old loves are just as important as new passions. Also, I hope everyone is having a good Thanksgiving!

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Blood Pressure by MUTEMATH:



Lost In My Mind by The Head and the Heart:



We Found Love by Rihanna (ft. Calvin Harris):



I know this song is all over the place, but I can't stop listening to it.

Gone by Fly Union:



Old Love:

Fix You by Cold Play:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Coffee Love

Since I'm moving this week into a new house, I've been thinking about what should go on the walls. There's the great spot in the kitchen for a large poster, and I'm thinking something coffee related would be perfect. I love coffee and I'm not even exaggerating when I say coffee with friends has been a life saver this last month. I'm a firm believer that a good friend and a cup of coffee can change your whole day.


1. 12 Easy ways to prepare Yummy Coffee
2. Coffee is Always a Good Idea
3. Make Coffee Not War
4. Coffee Lover Art Print
5. Coffee is Good
6. Coffee stains
7. Don't Call It 'Expresso'
8. The Perfect Pour

I think I like the first one the most because the colors work well with the walls, but I'm not sure. I also love the idea of a more abstract poster with just rows of coffee rings (number 5 is actually a link for free coffee stain vector graphics but I like it). Picking out decorations is the best part of moving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Park City

Some friends and I went up to Park City this weekend for a little mini vacation. I'd never been up there before so my lovely friend Tiffany rented the most amazing hotel room I've ever stayed in. This thing was unbelievable. It's the kind of place you hope to someday live in and if you're ever in Park City I can't recommend the Sky Lodge enough.

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We only took pictures the first night we were up there, but I'm happy we got even those. I'm ashamed to say I don't remember much of what happened on Friday but I hear it was quite interesting. I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the city though. I knew Park City was adorable, but I felt like I had stepped into a Thomas Kincaid painting. The snow covered houses were lovely and I can't wait to visit again when I can take my time exploring. For now, it's back to real life though.

Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic is one of those quintessential dishes everyone has to try at least once in their lives. While some people may be turned off by the amount of garlic, this is actually one of the least garlicky dishes I've ever had. Something happens when the garlic simmers in the sauce and you end up with something surprisingly delicate. In fact, this is the perfect dish for when you'd like to make something special for someone who isn't crazy about bold flavors. So don't be alarmed. I'm sure you'll be just as surprised as I was by how subtle the garlic taste is and how wonderfully moist the chicken comes out.

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I left out the Cognac since I didn't have any and I skipped the blanching step with the garlic. Instead I just peeled the cloves by slightly smashing them. Next time I'd probably just buy a jar of peeled cloves from the store to make it easy.

Would I make this again? Honestly, I don't know with this one. While the dish was definitely good, I felt like it lacked a punch. I've never had Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic before though so I'm not sure how this dish compares to other ones, but I think it definitely needs some red pepper flakes or something to bring it up a notch.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic

Ingredients:

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 tablespoons Cognac, divided
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

1. Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

2. Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, saute the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula; you don't want to pierce the skin with a fork. If the fat is burning, turn the heat down to medium. When a batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to saute all the chicken in batches.

3. Remove the last chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and saute for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is done. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste; it should be very flavorful because chicken tends to be bland. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

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Source: Ina Garten

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Golden Nugget of Thought: Cynicism as Wisdom

Go Team Go

Yesterday my lovely friend Tiffany took me to my very first college football game. As some of you may know, I'm not a fan of sports. Like at all. I just don't see the appeal and in my (very limited) experience sports are often just an excuse to drink all day. Now while drinking all day is definitely something I can get behind, I usually just cut out the illusion of acceptability (i.e. the sports) and go straight to the booze.

Tiffany though, was determined I see what all the fuss was about and it turned out to be pretty awesome. Yes the weather was bad and there was some stress with getting me a ticket, but I can really see what people enjoy so much about tailgating. There's a sort of pageantry that goes along with it and it's a great excuse for everyone to get together. Plus, there's the booze.

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I learned five important lessons yesterday though:

1. People will judge you if you wear a skirt to a football game. Even though I had on more layers than most people, they couldn't believe I wasn't cold. I even saw some people wearing leggings. Those are the people who had to be cold. I was totally fine and yet people kept asking me if I needed pants. It made me really self-conscious and I hate being self-conscious. (This is why I always dress nice in the first place.) Next time I know better though.

2. Tailgating and Las Vegas are the only two places where it's perfectly reasonable to start drinking in the morning. (And maybe cruises. I wouldn't know though cause I'm poor.)

3. Being lost in a crowd of shouting people feels nice. It's like a socially acceptable form of revolution without any of the effort.

4. If you and your friend are talking about how much fun it is to drunk dial people, you're both probably still drunk.

5. Cinnamon whiskey. That is all.

So yeah, as you can see most of my football experience revolved around drinking. It's probably why I enjoyed it so much. I look forward to going when it isn't raining or snowing though. And next time I'll wear pants. Go Utes!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Music Thursday


New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are. Also, I've decided I'm gonna start adding an old favorite to the mix since old loves are just as important as new passions.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

Paradise by Norwegian Recycling:



This is just brilliant.

Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy:



Talk To Me Dance With Me by Hot Hot Heat:



Jesus gonna be here by Tom Waits:



I have a friends who adores Tom Waits, but no matter how hard he tries to convince everyone of Waits' brilliance this is one of the only songs I genuinely like.

Old Love:

O' Sailor by Fiona Apple:



I can't stop listening to this song lately.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Salsa Verde Chicken with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

The pictures of this dish aren't that great, but don't let that fool you. This dish is filling, easy, and ridiculously tasty. Served over rice, this is the type of food autumn just screams for and I can't wait till I can make it again. I would have never thought so few ingredients could turn into something so delicious. I served mine with a little cheddar cheese on top and the rice makes this dish go that much further. It also reheats like a dream.

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Fans of dumplings will love these. They were not only super flavorful and absolutely perfect with the salsa verde, but there's also a good amount of them. In fact, there were actually too many for me. I'm not a huge dumpling fan though so I'm sure others will find it perfect.

Would I make this again? Most definitely. Next time I'll probably halve the amount of dumplings though. Just personal preference.

Salsa Verde Chicken with Herbed Cornmeal Dumplings

This stew can be made 2 days ahead up to the point of making the dumplings. Reheat it before topping and baking. If you wan to double the recipe, use a large heavy roasting pan set over two burners.

Ingredients:

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1 jar (15 ounces) salsa verde
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
1 large rotisserie chicken, meat deboned and left in large chunks (about 6 cups)

Dumplings:

1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large (11 – 12 inch), deep ovenproof skillet or 5-6 quart Dutch oven. Whisk in flour to make a paste. Mix broth, salsa verde, and evaporated milk and whisk in all at once. Whisk, vigorously at first, until mixture simmers and thickens to sauce consistency. Stir in chicken, heat through, and cover to keep warm.

2. Dumplings: Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until steamy. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, scallions, and cilantro in a medium bowl with a fork. Stir in milk mixture to form a smooth, firm dough. Pinch off Ping-Pong-ball-size peices of dough with your fingers and drop onto chicken mixture.

3. Return chicken to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover and transfer pan to oven and bake until dumplings are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve.

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Source: Pam Anderson’s Perfect One-Dish Dinners: All You Need for Easy Get-Togethers

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Music Thursday


Hello random people on the interwebs! I feel like I've been gone for so long. My Halloween party was a lot of fun, but I needed some time to recoup. Not only am I starting to feel a little too old for weekend benders, but my head feels like it's full of cotton after all the words I wasted this weekend. I've been looking forward to New Music Thursday since I have some new loves in my life.

For those who don't know, New Music Thursday is an attempt to keep my goal of listening to some new music alive and kicking. Not all of these bands/artists are new to me, but all of the songs are. Also, I've decided I'm gonna start adding an old favorite to the mix since old loves are just as important as new passions.

These are the songs I'm diggin this week:

First of all, can we bask in the awesomeness that is the The Joy Formidable for a second? I heard one of their songs on the radio and I had to look them up right away. They get two songs this week.

Cradle:



Whirring:



You Already Know by Bombay Bicycle Club:



I want to get in your Pants by The Cramps:



My friend turned me onto the cramps and I'm in love. There was some serious swoonage.

Old love:

Foolish Games by Jewel:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to make a Ringleader Jacket

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As with all costumes and DIY, this is simply one way to make a ringleader jacket. There are many different approaches one can take, but this is what worked for me.

Ringleader Jacket

Supplies:

Red jacket
Gold fringe
Variety of gold trimmings
Glitter paint
Card stock
Scissors
Glue gun

Directions:

1. To start off you need a red jacket. Luckily blazers is one of the places thrift stores really shine. I ended up buying mine ($8) in a larger size because it was longer and I was hoping to add coattails to my jacket. Unfortunately that didn't work out. I used another one of my jackets for reference and brought the thrift store blazer in on the sides and shortened the sleeves. If you buy a jacket that fits well you can avoid this step.

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2. After you have your jacket, you're gonna want to get a variety of different gold trimmings. I decided on some gold fringe, gold rick rack, gold rope, and this gold chain type trim. What you get is entirely up to you though.

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3. In order to make the shoulder pieces I cut my card stock in an oval like shape with one end flattened (the end that will be under the collar). Then I simply covered the card stock with some of the extra red fabric I had from step one. Then I simple hot-glued some of the rope to the pieces and added gold fringe along the out rim. To make it look a little more finished I used some glitter paint to fill in the middle. I added a popsicle stick for extra stability.

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4. At this point I started gluing the gold chain-like trim to the jacket. I also added a row of rick rack in the middle. I did this to both sides.

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5. Lastly, you want to glue the shoulder pieces to the jacket. I found it was easiest to use my plastic container to get the should flat, but I'm sure a table corner would work just as well.

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And that's it!

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This obviously isn't my entire costume, but I actually think the jacket goes well with my dress. You could also add some rick rack to the sleeves at the end, but I'm pretty happy with my jacket the way it is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

November Goals

I know November is a week away, but I thought I should make some goals for myself. It's not easy picking up the pieces but it's a little more manageable when you have a clear understanding of what you want. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

1. Start doing the things I love

When everything was going on in my life I stopped doing the things I loved. This is not good. I haven't been reading or crafting and I need to. I'm starting to feel like my old self again, but my hobbies are a huge part of who I am.

2. Get back into blogging

This goes with the one above, but I think it deserves to be on its own. When I lost interest in doing anything blogging was the first thing that suffered. And while I don't think blogging is of some extraordinary significance in my life, I like doing it and I didn't stop because I made the conscious decision to. Plus all the people I've met online have been wonderfully supportive and I don't want to lose those connections.

3. Find a new place to live

This goal is probably the hardest. Not only is it gonna be a pain to actually move and all that, but I have horrible credit so I got to figure out a way around that. I know it'll work out in the end, but it's stressing me out.

4. Be a better friend

As the dust settles on my relationship drama I've come to see that there are ways I can be a better friend. This goal is a little more vague, but I just want to make the effort to turn a few acquaintances into true friendships and make sure some friends are getting all the love and support they deserve.

5. Go out dancing

I haven't been dancing since I first started dating Ryan. Going out is something my friends and I have been talking about forever, but it's time.

6. Accept where life takes me

Ooh this one is vague and all existential isn't it? I just want to live life the best I can without over-analyzing everything. I tend to obsess over things and I'm really trying not to. I want to make a new home for myself with my loved ones and I can't do that if I'm not open to where life takes me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Camping: The Sequel

I don't know what's going on with me, but I went camping again this weekend for my friend Dan's birthday. That means I've gone camping twice this year. I feel like a venerable mountain man.

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We went to some place past Echo Reservoir, but I'm not entirely sure where it was. It was our friend Brett's place and it was quite lovely. Even though I froze during the night, I could see the stars in a way I'd forgotten about. The night had a few surprises and I found something I thought might have been lost. It was a great trip.