Monday, May 31, 2010

I (heart) City Life.

City living is rough sometimes.  The traffic, the litter, the junkies...sometimes it can just get to a gal.  Recently, our car was broken into while parked right near our house. My next door neighbor and I both had potted plants stolen off of our stoops. The rats have even made a home outside of our kitchen.  A mouse just ran across my floor as I wrote this. 


Here in Baltimore, there is an infamous bumper sticker that says (across a happy, yellow background) "I (heart) City Life". 

While I wholeheartedly agree that living in the city has advantages galore in terms of art, music, food, and culture, I'm almost sure it was the Baltimore Police that devised the bumper sticker as a means to propagate urban living in this, a widely depressed city.  But, I digress...

The one thing most cities are missing? The thing I miss most living in a city?  Clean, green, quiet, open space. 

Sometimes, when all the frustrations and annoyances of urban life begin to mount, open space is just what is needed. 


Any chance Ryan and I can get to see a little more green and a few less people, we jump.

This weekend we hopped, skipped, and drove to Loch Raven Reservoir for a little nature hunting.  Not even 10 miles from the heart of the Baltimore lies this fantastic nature reserve.  Brimming with fresh spring foliage and the sounds of baby birds, it was a perfect way to start the weekend.   

There's a little speck of blue in the middle there, that's Ryan.

We saw a herd of baby deer on the trail , very sweet!

Green trees and fresh air!

Thank you nature for replenishing me with healthy oxygen levels and allowing me to re-enter the urban landscape feeling renewed.  Sometimes it's just what a gal needs.


How did you spend your weekend? Was there any nature involved? I'd love to hear, so leave a comment below, if you like. 


Friday, May 28, 2010

Domestic Therapy

"The holistic life, the life of health, requires finding a balance within the boundaries of all three separate but interlocking economies; all three are bound together in a sacramental relationship that lasts always."
-Sam Hamill, Shadow Work


Cooking makes me feel better.  Cooking gets me up and on my feet, it invokes my creative spirit, it provides me a distinct sense of satisfaction and productivity.  There is something quite mystical that can happen in the kitchen. 

I've never been much of a runner, but I've heard of the so-called "zone".  I'd like to think I can find that "zone" while chopping vegetables or whipping butter.  A place of intense focus, of satisfaction, of actively pursuing a means to an end.

Sure, not everyone feels this sense when in the kitchen.  As with many domestic tasks, the joy can be lost in the demand and strain these chores add to our lives, as so many other voices and obligations scream out in competition for our attention.  But when we stop and give attention to the task at hand, push aside all the other voices and demands, there lie a beautiful opportunity at hand, right there in the kitchen.

Tres Frijoles

Tasty little morsels

Basil from my container garden

Italian Parsley from my container garden

Chives from my container garden

First corn of the season

Herbs, tomatoes, peppers and seasoning mixed together

Something to take the edge off
*actually, it's just blood orange soda,
I often serve juice in a martini glass just for the effect.
The same goes for wearing high heels when no one else is around...
again, it's those little things in life!


I hope this long weekend allows time for you and yours to find rest and renewal.  And a few tasty morsels, too.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smiles for Thursday

It is Thursday, right? Sometimes I forget what day it is given my current state of employment.  I also sometimes forget what time it is.  Like last night when I woke up in the middle of the night and could not fall back asleep and (reluctantly) hopped on my fiance's computer to do a little soul-searching.  Well, the computer said it was 11:05 PM.  Not bad, I thought.  That's not too late to be up. 

After an hour of eye-straining internet-searching I figured maybe I should head to bed (since birds were starting to chirp outside, afterall).

But, this morning when I woke up I looked at his computer to see what time it was (we could probably use a wall clock, yes). 7: 20 AM it said. 

Wait.  There's really no way either of us would be so early. The construction workers across the street NEVER start before 9 AM.

That's when I remembered that the clock on his computer is still set to West Coast time.  Arg.

Last night was a late night. 


So, for those who didn't sleep well night, those who did, those who were celebrating 1/2 birthday's last night (me, a'hem), those who were still coping from the dissapointment of the Lost finale or the trauma of the Grey's finale or just the hum drum of mid-week, here are a few things to make you smile. 

Something for your garden...

Something for baby (and dad, too)...

Something for someone who wishes they went to Rushmore...


Something for a fan of classic cars...


Something for the new mommy you know...


Something to wish for...


Something that's pretty and nice...


Hope this Thursday brings you a smile.


Le Revenge

Yesterday I posted a link to a story from the New York Times, a rather sizable spread featuring a portrait of M.I.A. that painted her as a potentially naive, contradictory figure, given her position on the ongoing war in Sri Lanka. 

Apparently M.I.A. wasn't too pleased by the story. In an act of retribution, she Tweeted the personal cell phone number of the NYT reporter for all the world to see. Yowza!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Radical chic"

Intuition, extrasensory perception, and knowing.

Lately I have noticed a particular kind of feeling. And thinking, too. They must be related to one another, because one comes after the next.

I'm miles and miles from many of whom I love and cherish. Phone dates, blog posts, emails, and Facebook updates are what sustains these relationships and what has (for the time being) become the medium for sharing life together when time zones and state lines are in the way.

I miss face to face coffee dates, side by side walks through the park, and meals shared across the table from one another. I ache for the spontaneous laughter that friends bring, to be able to know by the look in another’s eye that they are hurting— all of the everyday complexities of life that are absent from the here and now of my daily life.

In the meantime, I try (sometimes desperately) to remember the ebb and flow that is life, to look forward to new seasons of love and laughter that are soon to come with these who are beloved.

In the meantime, there is this sense. I'd like to think I have ESP. But I'm more inclined to believe the Meyers-Briggs test and say that it’s most likely intuition.

Lately, I find myself actively thinking and wandering about it my brain about people and places and sensing events that may be happening to those particular people. Maybe it’s just timing or maybe it’s because all the faces and images I see daily via Facebook that I am remembering people near and far? Maybe I’m merely a decent guesser? Whatever the trigger, I often trace the remembering, the sensing, the speculating to a deeper sense or set of feelings that seem to come from a safe place of intuition. It's a place within that remembers honest conversations, moments of vulnerability, and trusting my instincts about myself and my relationships.

Remembering the depth and breadth of these relationships makes my inclinations and hunches feel all the more trustworthy and reliable. I don’t so much speculate about how someone is doing, but try to let that sense push me to reach out across the void that is the United States and pick up the phone. Granted, intuition doesn’t always lead to action. But I’m trying to at least pay attention to these little moments of wandering, these thoughts and feelings that so often seem fleeting and insignificant, and use this sense to help guide me just a bit deeper into life and moments of meaning.

Right now, it’s friends who are pregnant, friends in love, friends searching for love, friends who feel aimless, friends blissfully unaware. Friends in silence, friends in pain, myself in silence, myself living in midst of pain. And how we are all connected, how the threads wind and weave in the silence, in the darkness; to see that which is hidden in the lines.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Avo-Citrus-Cilantro Dressing

Here is a recipe from my kitchen, a recent concoction that has been delighting my taste buds all week as I slather my salads with this creamy dreamy green dressing.

~Avo-Citrus-Cilantro Dressing~

1/2 Avocado
1 Pink Grapefruit
1 Lime
1 Bunch Cilantro or Italian Parsley, either will work quite nice
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

~Remove the pit from your avo, if it isn't gone already.
~Cut your grapefruit into halves, then halve them again into four quarters.
~Use a small hand size juicer (not electric!) to squeeze all the love out of the grapefruit quarters, but make sure you've not let any of the bitter, small seeds into your juice.  Lots of pulp is welcome.
~Do the same with your lime, then set the juices aside.
~In a mortar and pestle or food processor, add your clove of garlic and mash or mince.
~Add the cilantro or Italian parsley to the m & p or food processor, along with 1/2 of the juice, blend together until things become smooth and bright green.
~Add your olive oil, red wine vinegar, cayenne (add more for a little spice!), and then your salt and pepper to taste.
~Blend once more for a few seconds, then add your sliced or cubed avo to the mix.
~Blend until smooth, season to taste, and voila!

This should leave you with 1 1/2 cups of delicious, creamy dreamy green dressing, preservable for up to two weeks in your refridgerator.

Salad Reccomendation:
~Choose your favorite lettuce (a green that is crispy like a romaine or butter lettuce is especially nice).
~Layer the lettuce with the Creamy Dreamy Green dressing, black beans, and pan fried fresh corn.
~Garnish with a handul of grape tomatoes, a few slives of avo, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, then freshly ground salt and pepper. 

You could use this dressing as a dip served with fresh veggies or use it as a sauce with a nice piece of grilled Alaskan Halibut.

So delish!

Enjoy this salad all summer long, especially now that corn and fresh hersbs are in season.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

ESP is real. Conor Oberst, you must know I love you.

*You should also know I'm waiting to meet up in New York to drink macchiatos, share existential musings, and sing backup on your next album that we self-release together on an independent label.

+ + +

Anyone who has been to a Bright Eyes/Monsters of Folk/Desaparecidos/Commander Venus show could tell you there are a healthy handful of young women who are most definitely NOT afraid to confess their love of Conor from the top of their lungs, albeit from the bowels of the audience seats.

Whether in the middle of a slow, quiet song, during a banjo-flickering romp, between tunes, or in the middle of Conor's own monologue, the inevitable shrieks are as predictable as the shows male to female ratio: "CONOR, I love YOU!"

Eyes roll. Other women sneer from afar.  Men sigh with jealousy.  He's the poster child of indie rock for goodness sake! 

While the "I love you's" are disgustingly cliche, somewhere inside myself I'm thinking the same damn thing... I, too, want Conor to hear and understand how his words and voice have spoken to me on plane rides across the globe, late nights alone on the couch, on long drives through mountains and valleys, or in the backseat of a land rover whilst road tripping through southern Africa. 

It's due time I curated a selection of Conor's finest work, a gushing and admittedly loving ode to the Bright-Eyed idie rock prince himself.  No need to say more than to simply recognize his creativity and document the years of tear-stained, soul-searching journal entries that this list represents.

The List

*Tracks which are italicized reference brilliance
and are linked to strange youtube montages

Album: Monsters of Folk, 2009
Track(s): Temazcal, Ahead of the Curve, His Masters Voice

Album: Dark Was The Night (Red Hot Compilation), 2009
Track: Lua (with Gillian Welch)

Album: Outer South (Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band), 2009
Track(s): Ten Women, Nikorette, White Shoes

Album: Conor Oberst (self titled), 2008
Track(s): Sausalito, Cape Canaveral, Get Well Cards, Moab, Souled Out!!!, Milk Thistle

Album: Gentleman's Pact (EP), 2008
Track: Breezy

Album: Cassadaga, 2007
Tracks(s): Four Winds, Hot Knives, Classic Cars, Cleanse Song

Album: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, 2005
Track(s): We Are Nowhere And It's Now, Old Soul Song, First Day of My Life, Land Locked Blues, Poison Oak

Album: Digital Ash in Digital Urn, 2005
Track: Arc of Time (Time Code)

Album: Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, 2002

Track: Lover I Don't Have to Love


*Best Album Nod: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, 2005
Conor and his most noteworthy collaboration, Bright Eyes, at their purest moments...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Eat sh*t and die."

Before you're insulted at my use of profanity or scratch your head as to why I would suggest such a thing... recall back to 1989 when Shirley MacClain told Tom Skeritt this memorable quote in the classic film, Steel Magnolias.  Never seen it? Time to make a plan. 

This film is brimming with quotable lines, unbelievable 80's style,
and one extremely moving scene featuring Sally Field.  If you haven't taken the time to see it- put it on the Netflix queue now and plan a sleep over with your best friend. 

Steel Magnolias is a MUST!

My favorite parts of the film included the first act since it was all about Julia Roberts' character's wedding. 

Here are some of my favorite details:

"My colors are blush and bashful!"

Nothing could be more iconic from the film (other than Dolly Parton's hair) than this fabulous
Red Velvet Armadillo Groom's Cake!

Thank the Lord for rollers...

Make time for an evening filled with ice cream and
girlfriends, mothers, daughters, or just yourself and see Steel Magnolias now!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Replicca Clothing

Nursing mom? Hiding a hickey? Wanna cozy up just because? Replicca has got you covered.  These fabulous designs hail from none other than our great North Neighbor: Canadia.  Replicca clothing is hand made, sweat-shop free, and looks suuuuper cozy.  Hello, wish list!

                                                            'This Grey Cowl Tee' $55



'Orangey Peach Long Sleeve Cowl Top' $55

'Navy and Yellow Stripe Scoop Neck Tee' $30


       'Painted Garden Cowl Dress' $60

Macha "Jewels"

These lovely rings were today's find on These London based jewelers use chunks of precious metals instead of gemstones in their ring settings. No diamonds, sapphires, or other jewels on most of their rings. Just gold, silver, and platinum metals; now that's a rock.

Very beautiful, quite unique, and an interesting alternative to the classic engagement ring.


With all the lovely, noticeable, significant, tasty, surprising details around in life, there need be a place to catalogue them. Here is that, a virtual museum of daily inspiration.