Monday, July 21, 2014

Delicious Plans

Seth and I were walking through Yountville in Napa Valley this past Saturday and were talking about how delicious our lunch from Ad Hoc had just been. We realized that the past three weekends, we have eaten wonderful meals out. 

July 5 - Sunnyside Grill in Tahoe City. Best bite: Hula Pie
July 12 - Mundaka in Carmel. Best bite: Pan Tomate (bread lightly covered in pureed tomatoes, salt, and olive oil)
(also pictured are Chef Miller's "Ugly Tomatoes" - heirloom tomatoes and mozzarella in a saffron gastrique)
July 19 - Ad Hoc's Addendum in Yountville. Best bite: buttermilk fried chicken. 
This is not an all inclusive list of our delicious dining forays, but it is the food we've traveled for. Can't wait for the next couple weekends. We have more deliciousness in mind....hence the eight miles on the trail this morning. Need to earn all the delectable food. Happy eating and happy exercising!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Shining Girls

The Shining Girls: A NovelThe Shining Girls: A Novel by Lauren Beukes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't normally seek out books that center around violent characters.  I read Bohjalian's "Light in the Ruins" because a good friend gave it to me as a gift. I read Flynn's "Gone Girl" for a book club. Yet again, I decided to read a book with a friend, hence "The Shining Girls" - a book that is about a time-traveling serial killer. It's horrifying. It's graphic. And yet it's so well constructed. Beukes is smart and deftly tells a story with an antagonist that is beyond feeling to the point that you get chills every time he fixates on his next victim.

The reason I like this book has everything to do with Beukes' characterization of Harper's victims. Those women, who buck against the status-quo, who work tirelessly to achieve their goals, who are flawed but genuine, compel the reader forward. I hated Harper from the beginning and thought that maybe I wouldn't read this story - how could I? He disembowels his victims, and Beukes tells us exactly how he does that. But I was slowly getting caught up in Kirby and Zora and the architect from the 50s and the social worker and....

I can't tell you to read this book. It's unsettling and profane, but it's crafted in a way that you're left thinking about it after you're done. Beukes commentary in the reader's guide in the final pages convinced me why this was a story that needed to be told. And for better or worse, I'm glad that I stuck it through to the very end.

Happy reading!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thin Mint Milkshakes

Seth and I sometimes eat like we're kids whose parents have left for the evening and we now have full reign of the kitchen. We abandon all responsible choices aka anything that resembles a well-balanced meal, and we settle in for French fries and shakes. The combination is too delicious not to just enjoy those two things. I wanted to let you in on a little secret - the thing that makes our shakes better than any homemade shakes I've had before.

The secret: we don't add milk to the shakes. Most of my life I have been putting ice cream in a blender, pouring in the amount of milk that will give me the texture I want, and calling it a yummy day. I'd like to say that Seth and I consciously decided that milk dilutes our ice creamy goodness, but genius is typically born of not having what you need....in this case, milk. Our solution that night many moons ago - put a little ice cream in the microwave and then add that as our liquid to the ice cream in the blender. I promise, once you do it, you'll never go back. The shakes really are that much better.

As for the Thin Mints for a Thin Mint milkshake (versus the vanilla ones we almost always have), just add Girl Scout Thin Mints until you reach the level of minty wonderfulness that you were hoping for. I keep a box of Thin Mints in the freezer just for this purpose.

Happy summer!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Counting the Seconds - Part Two

I always think it's worth noting how different reality can be from what we envision. Don't get me wrong, I had a delightful Friday night with Seth, but it was a little different from what I wrote would happen yesterday. We did make macaroni salad. We did watch Friends, but we didn't quite make it to shakes and a movie. Don't think we got up to anything too saucy or dramatic. Somewhere in the third episode when Phoebe was choosing between the fireman and the teacher, the week took its toll, and Seth fell asleep. He was out - I, at first, was just curled next to him thinking he'd wake up soon. No, no. He was dead asleep. So I reached the other remote with my foot and turned on Top Chef courtesy of Huluplus. Two episodes later, Seth came back to life. There was laughing and silliness, and then we both fell asleep. That is a hot Friday night. ;)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Counting the Seconds

I've never really thought of myself as one of those girls who waits around for a boy, but here it's late Friday afternoon and I am counting down to when Seth gets here and Friday night begins. We have typical Friday night plans - we'll make dinner (macaroni salad out of his mom's Betty Crocker cookbook that seems to be straight out of the Arnold family kitchen in The Wonder Years) and a delicious snack (tonight it's thin mint milkshakes). We'll watch a movie and maybe a couple Friends episodes. No need to go out when it's been a tiring week, and tomorrow night's date is dinner in Carmel at the wonder that is Mundaka. Better go pretend to read or keep adding to the list of what I want to cook this year....Happy Friday!!
For the record, Mrs. Norma Arnold aka Alley Mills also played Majorie Quinn on Dr. Quinn. Can't say that everything in life is a Dr. Quinn reference the way it's a Friends or Gilmore Girls reference, but you'd be surprised how I often I can come up with one. Don't judge...too much.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

To Continue or Not To Continue

I used to love signing into blogger and writing whatever randomness came to mind. And truth be told, I still love to write, but I don't make time for it any more. Instead I scan instagram far too often and look for any excuse to text Seth. I also hardly read blogs anymore despite actually wanting to read the musings of some really fantastic people. The decision then becomes, to keep writing here or just let it go (that phrase ps and by the way has been taken hostage by Disney characters and I haven't found a substitute yet).

I am actually journaling daily now - as in I, the person who always had an excuse about my journal, write at least a couple sentences each day. It's not overly profound or even a perfect chronicle of day-to-day events, but it is a record that I can look back on. And yet, it's not the same as sitting down and typing here. So maybe, just maybe, I am going to give this another go. I'll attempt to write once a week for the second half of 2014 and see if I can rekindle the blogging love affair that was going so strong a few years ago.

Bear with me as I ramble and perhaps repost what appears elsewhere. Now it's time to give my full attention back to the U.S. - Belgium soccer game. I'm supposed to say I believe the U.S. can win, but at minute 70, I just don't know. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Happier at Home

Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday LifeHappier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life by Gretchen Rubin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this book ages ago, but in approaching my summer decided it was time to finally finish. Rubin's ideas speak to me. I know some of them aren't relatable to my day-to-day life, but the idea of setting themes and goals for a month matches my style of wanting to be more but often having a short attention span or so many goals I can't just pick one. The first Happiness Project probably deserved a 4.5 star rating from me and then one a 3.5, but Goodreads doesn't do half stars and this book's ideas stay with me. I love that. I love that at random moments I think about who I want to be and get inspired by Rubin's writing even when I haven't picked up the actual book. Her main idea is simple - we can be happier. We just have to actively seek that happiness. There's no pill or magic bullet to get us there. Happiness often takes work or doing things that are unsettling, but in the end, we feel more satisfied, more at peace, and ultimately more happy.

I originally borrowed this book from my friend Megan, and just couldn't bring myself to send it back. I want to reread it and Rubin's first book whenever I need reminding that it is up to me to create the life I want for myself. And let's be honest, how can I resist encouragement to kiss more, to aside time for the things I'm passionate about, and to be more organized?!

Happy reading and happy living!