Wednesday, September 30, 2009

That's What She Said

I saw this site earlier, and well, it's hilarious. A website devoted to that's what she said afterthoughts...I love it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Le Plus Beau Du Quartier

I just finished reading My Life in France by Julia Child (with Alex Pud'homme), and it is a marvelous expose of the pleasures of preparing and enjoying cuisine. My favorite part of the book (a large chunk, at that) is where she talks about the process of writing her famous collaboration: Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was such an interesting book to read; she was in the first televised cooking show, The French Chef, I guess everybody else already knew that......and she used to work for the governmental department now called the CIA. I always thought that she was French, but she's from California; I suppose she got her accent from all the moving to and fro abroad.
I always wanted to go to Paris growing up. For what seems like an eternity, any and every French product has seemed a delicacy to Americans--the bread, the cheese, cosmetics, perfumes, couture, champagne, etc. I wanted to experience the most romantic city in the world, and scale the Eiffel Tower holding a loaf of French bread. I checked out a book from the Russell County Public Library on French cooking and my mom helped me fix a French meal for my Dad and brother, although I'm quite positive that it was I who was assisting her in the preparation (either way, she humored me, and honored me as the chef). When it came time in high school to choose a foreign language, the two options were French and Spanish. I had always planned on learning the French language, but alas, everyone persuaded me to take la clase de espanol instead, saying things like, "Spanish is much more practical to learn than French," "You might actually get to use Spanish one day..." I took Spanish for 3 years in high school and 1.5 years in college and could probably hold my own for about 5-10 minutes of a casual, introductory conversation with a native-speaker. It's kind of sad, but then again, I'm not submersed in the language. Either way, I regret not taking 4.5 years of French; it's just so beautiful. That's one of the reasons I love Carla Bruni--I have no idea what she's singing, but her songs are absolutely fabulous. My favorite song of hers is "Le Plus Beau Du Quartier."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paperback Writer

(Image above taken from www.magcloud.com)
I cannot remember how I found this website called MagCloud. It's a website that publishes a magazine that you create. You lay everything out; and turn it into a PDF file, submit it and *POOF* you have a magazine for sale on their website; you name your own price (it costs you $0.20/page). I promise I won't regularly post little mini advertisements, but I thought it was just a really cool idea. Someone please start a magazine with me!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Before I started work full-time I went through a bunch of things in my room at home in Lebanon, and I found some jewelry that I had made back in the day. I was really into making elastic necklace sets; I think it was a craze probably ten years ago, and I strung seed beads like my life depended on it. Here are a few sets of them.
These green beads were the first glass beads that I ever owned (I always call them my first "real beads."). Not quite diamonds, but hey, you've got to start somewhere, right?
And here is the first pair of earrings that I ever made (to go with the necklace below): This is still one of my favorite colors to date.
I always loved this wooden bead...
I too went through one of those hemp stages from about age 11-16; I have enough hemp necklaces rationed up for an army at Mom and Dad's house. But here's some a necklace I made years ago with beads that Mom and Dad got for me from Hillsville:
(They're made in Ghana)
I have Plumb Alley Beads & Gifts to thank for advancing my skills in jewelry making; I started working there when I was a junior in high school and worked there pretty much over breaks and all through college. So I started in 2004 and my term there ended in 2008; it was definitely my favorite job ever. I got paid to do the thing I love to do: create (the helping people part was fun, too). As a result, I learned so much from the ladies with whom I worked; they taught me so much about beading. Another treasure that I found was a "Forever Friends" necklace from 6th grade-ish (?). It may have been 4th grade, actually. Anyways, my best childhood friend Holly has the other half.....at least I hope she does because you know, base metal is making a comeback. We used to ride bikes around her neighborhood all the time and map out secret forts under trees and shrubbery in people's yards. It was awesome.
BFF's, right Holly?
The other night, Java Lady and I were craving a midnight snack (because everybody knows that's the healthiest time to snack), but because we had to roll into work at 9:00 the next morning, we had to make it snappy. So below is a video featuring Java Lady making one of her favorite treats: "Fried Banana and Fudge Sundae": The best part--it literally takes about 2.5 minutes to make!
All you need are the following ingredients:
Browned butter 1 banana 2 heaping spoonfuls of fudge sauce 2 bowls full of vanilla ice cream And now for our feature presentation...
Dessert for the Working Woman: Fried Banana and Fudge Sundae with Java Lady
video

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

For the record, I received the most hilarious email forward. It was called, "20 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Level of Insanity," and it's literally been cracking me up about 48 hours. Some of my favorites on the list include: #1 At Lunch time, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down; #7 Finish all your sentences with, "In accordance with the prophecy"; and #14 Put mosquito netting around your work area and play tropical sounds all day. Something in me really believes that the crazy and pointless email forwarding system is part of a pyramid scheme, so I don't really forward things to people; however, I might make an exception if anyone is interested.
One of my favorite things about the real world is that when 5:00 rolls around, you go home and don't have "work" to do. College was very much the opposite; most of the time I really liked going to class because it meant that I wasn't reading on the required 247 pages for the next shebang of classes on the following day. As soon as you got home from all the classes, you had to get to work.........of course there were recreational activities in between, but I had a really hard time doing something totally fun during the week because I felt guilty. I thought things like, "Man, in the time I spent at Chipotle this week, I could have written two papers.......dangit, Bobby." But now that I have a job, I can do whatever I want after work, which is both my favorite and my least favorite thing about the real world. Sometimes I can't wait to get home and work on a project or watch a movie or eat a scrumdidliumptious meal. Then there are other days when I get excited about going home, but then I ask myself, .......to what? I have a hard time not having plans, but I also like to have an open schedule.......it's all very oxymoronic. With all the extra time on my hands after 5:00 p.m., I decided to take a pottery class for 8 weeks. I have worked with clay only a couple of times; my aunt teaches high school art and does really neat stuff with clay in her class, so as a girls-night-out when I was younger, we made beautiful pots at her house. Then in high school, I learned basic techniques, and now, I'm trying to make some lovely dishes/cups/trays/whatever I feel like........which sometimes tests my patience. I have tried my hand at making many things, and I must admit that I have a newfound respect for potters; I mean, how on earth do you get everything to look so perfect? I fell into a slump at my last class and was giving myself a silent pity party because my stuff didn't look like anything that anyone would be caught dead displaying in their house. Sigh, maybe next week my hands will be able to work some magic...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Summerlong Part Two

So, as promised, I'm posting the video interviews with Chazz and D. Pet from the football game on Saturday against TCU. Here's what they think about being alumni, our terrible football coach Al Groh and medical school (please don't judge my amateur video editing):
D. Pet: Thoughts on Football and Alumni Status David was saying things to K. like, "Doesn't Michigan run this offense too? I think it works for them...," so I took his word for it and considered his football knowledge to be vast. Safe to say that when he says it's time for Groh to Go, I concur.
video Chazz: Thoughts on Medical School
video
My favorite conversation during the game occurred while I was eating my hot dog. I was telling Chazz that I had thought about him when I saw the Rockies play at the Coors Field in Denver last year because I saw an ad for Hebrew International-- they make kosher hot dogs (My question is, how can any hot dog be kosher? The mystery remains...). As you might have guessed, Chazz is Jewish; when I told him this, his response was, "There are so many Jews in Denver." Chazz knows everything!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summerlong Part One

This weekend was absolutely fabulous. On Saturday, I went to the Farmer's Market with my landlord, dear friend and co-worker K., also known by her license plates as "Java Lady."
We've established a ritual of going to the farmer's market and then going to a coffee shop for a latte afterward. We've discovered the absolute best mocha lattes in Charlottesville at a place called The Baker's Palette:
Here's the girl making our yummy mocha lattes; isn't that wall-hanging awesome?
And this is why we call her "Java Lady:"
I then went to the UVA v. TCU football game with K., K.'s parents and two of his former roommates, Chazz and D. Pet. It was D. Pet's and my first football game at UVA as alumni, and I must say that it was kind of strange. It made me feel a bit nostalgic about college, but then again, I can't really say that the team did us proud, and the weather was perfect, so who cares?
Go 'Hoos!
Cav Man! (apparently, Cav Man fell off his horse during the course of the game, but I was unable to see the hilarity occur.)
I video-interviewed Chazz and D. Pet about their experiences at the game on this day. D. Pet used to work for UVA as a media sports photographer while he was in college, so he's very knowledgeable about what was going on in the game, unlike myself. Chazz is in medical school at UVa now, and I got a little glimpse of what that must be like (not really)...I'm going to add those videos soon. Maybe tomorrow... On Sunday, I found a hidden treasure practically in my back yard. There is a path through the woods beside of my house that leads to Azalea Park, complete with a ballpark (a kickball league monopolizes this space) and.........wait for it, wait for it, a playground. And swings. That was my favorite thing to do during recess in elementary school.
Here's the path:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On the Road Again

I never really thought Labor Day was super great until this year, you know, since I have a full time job now (since college was lame in that I had to go to class on Labor Day)...3 day weekend! I left work on Friday, headed down Rt. 29 and over 460 W. to Lynchburg, VA then on over 460 W. and down I-81 to Radford, VA, down I-81 to Rt. 100 to Hillsville, back to Radford, Lynchburg and then finally to Charlottesville once again. Sounds kind of laborious, doesn't it? It was the complete opposite; low key dinner-out on Friday night with K.; lazing around on the couch all day Saturday with Jug and Mel; walking around Hillsville, VA with my whole fam on Sunday, and then wrapping up on Monday in Lynchburg once more for a day of running around the town all day with K. and Hanban.

The highlights of the weekend consist of Saturday's eating fest in which Jug, Mel and I participated. We ate at a Mexican restaurant called "Mi Puerta," munched on roast beef with potatoes and carrots that Mel had fixed (which was totally outstanding), made dents in two boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts (cake doughnut holes and yes, the chocolate covered creme filled ones) and made break-and-bake birthday cake and chocolate chip cookies. And then we sat on couches. All day and evening. It was glorious, until I caught wind via a sportscaster that William and Mary's football team had beaten UVA, and then I remembered that I went there for academics and not sports and it was okay again. Otherwise, I might have cursed; instead, I just laughed.

Jug, Mel and I drove down the highway to Hillsville "like a band of gypsies" from Radford on Sunday to meet some of our family (Mom and Dad, Christy and Larry, and Ali and Rex) for antiquing. Every Labor Day weekend, the whole town of Hillsville, Virginia turns into a ginormous flea market (complete with a Copenhagen tobacco dealer, gun dealers and the most delicious greasy food you've eaten since the last county fair you attended), with a concentration in antiques. And every year, my family goes to Hillsville on this weekend and every year they tromp around wheeling and dealing for the antiques that they collect, but I think my dad's favorite part is the homemade ice cream. Right after the first bite, he said, "Hm, this is highway robbery!" When I mentioned that I was going to this event to a lawyer-friend for Labor Day weekend, he replied with, "Oh my gosh, that is so southern of you!" I replied with, Southern and wonderful.

Here's just a glimpse of all the yum yums you could buy:


Here are Mel and Jug eating turkey legs for lunch!

I took $113.00 in cash with me to the event, hoping to find addends to my antique tea cup collection as well as my Imperial Candlewick dish collection (first introduced by Imperial Glass Company in 1936 and was a company mainstay for nearly 50 years before the company went bankrupt in 1984). I am proud to say that I stayed under budget by $25.00. Look at all the loot that I bought for $87.00:

My beloved Imperial Candlewick 1/4 lb. Butter & Cover (400/161)


Imperial Candlewick "10.5" Butter and Jam Tray (400/161)


Vista-Pink tea cup by Mason's Ironstone, featuring a pink landscape with a scalloped edge


Fabulous turquoise beads

This is everything (above), excluding a pair of $5 sunglasses (Jug and I got the 2 for $10 deal, since we were both dimwits and forgot ours). I left the glasses on the front hood of my dad's truck Denver when Jug, Mel and I left, so they're safe and sound in the custody of Dad and Mom. I also got some good house-warming gifts and easy-whip-ups for parties or surprise company.

Basically, you can find anything at this Hillsville shindig. For instance, one such tent that Jug, Mel and I ventured into before the others arrived had an older woman having a new nail product appliqued to her nails. Rubber stamps for finger nails. She was so excited to have slot machines on each individual finger nail, that I kind of wondered if the nail lady had hired her to market this to women with gambling problems. Gotta get your fix somehow, right? Somebody must have gotten really bored with scrapbooking one day and thought, "Hey, I should invent a rubber stamp tattoo.....I don't think anybody's ever done that for nails..." Whatever. They were trying to suck Mel and I in, but between our shocked grinning faces, we were able to barely yet successfully exit the tent without buying anything. We then proceeded to the next tent where Jug and I bought our sunglasses for the day. Here are some other great things I saw/found at Hillsville:

I kind of wish I would've bought this vintage apron, since it matched my shirt and everything...This is Dad and me.


Christy found this neat little toy circus train set:

More Candlewick dishes! They're so awesome.


And then, for the oddest piece of the day, I'd have to say this little guy:
I hope that this posting is enough to recommend that everyone should go to Hillsville next year to take a bite of the past and take it home with you. What a great Labor Day weekend, even if a lot of it was spent on the road!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New York, New York

On Friday morning, August 28, 2009, I found myself sitting in Starbucks in New York City, reading My Life in France by Julia Child, and drinking the most unbearable cup of Joe with my coffee cake. I went up to visit two dear friends J. and M., except M. didn't know I was there yet (it was his 30th birthday). So I flew out of Richmond at about 7:30 a.m. and arrived at LaGuardia Airport around 9:00 a.m. Because M. works at Google, he can basically set his own work hours; therefore, I was waiting on him to get to the office. I stepped out of my taxi in a white shirt into a sopping drizzle, and my cabbie carried my luggage into Starbucks for me; sigh, how chivalric of him (I think it was because he forgot to set the taxi meter from the airport all the way to Stuytown (East Village-ish/Gramercy/Lower East Side-ish). I ask J. where exactly their apartment is in Manhattan all the time (which, unbeknownst to me, is quite the loaded question), she always tells me a description of an area rather than just a name; she describes the neighborhood as having a "full-blown neighborhood identity crisis." So I have found in my limited experience with taxi drivers that the street name and the avenue is the only way to get around. Speaking of taxis, here is a picture of J. and I going to Google to surprise M.!

Anyways, for M.'s birthday, we went on a City Lights tour on Friday night, which was awesome. We started on the West side of Manhattan and rode down the Hudson River, hit part of the Atlantic and then went up the East side of Manhattan, under the Brooklyn bridge, the Manhattan bridge, and I think the Williamsburg bridge...We then turned around and went down to the Statue of Liberty, which is really beautiful up-close-and-personal, and back up the Hudson River. We had this really monotone tour guide who was giving the history of the Native Americans on Manhattan, which is cool, but he kept saying these two phrases every other word: "the native Americans" and "the late natives." We were positive that at any moment he would tell us his family tree and of how it related to the Native Americans, but he only told us that if we became bored with his guide that we should all go to the deck to see the lights, and that is precisely what we did. I had many failed attempts of picture-taking during this endeavor, which is a pity, because the lights were beautiful.

Here is one failed attempt of the Brooklyn Bridge


J. and M. having a smooch in front of the Statue of Liberty


M. and J. have found their favorite Italian restaurant in the city, which was absolutely amazing. It's called Da Andrea Ristorante, and even the olive oil for the bread tasted like a dream. We ate there on Saturday night after a day packed full of shopping in SoHo. M. got these delicious flat buns served with "parma" imported prosciutto. They were heavenly:

Le Tigelle Modenesi Con Prosciutto Crudo di Parma


For dinner I just got a plain Italian staple (at least it is around my dad and mom's house): Spaghetti alla Chitarra con Salsa alla Bolognese (also known as, homemade spaghetti with Bolognese meat sauce). The noodles were fresh and the dish was steeping full of beautiful notes; it was a symphony for my mouth:



We ate at the round table by the window. So quaint.
(This photo is from http://www.biassanot.com/)
This trip served to remind me that as long as you have good company, the only other accompaniment that you need is good food.