Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summery soups

Happiness is discovering that your food processor, while a picky little bugger, is NOT, in fact, broken. This leads to a cold soup fixation and even more happiness. 
We've been cooling off with this chilled cucumber mint soup and a bright, tasty batch of gazpacho. Any other chilled soup faves I should whip up?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Brothers Bloom

Last night, the boy and I had a movie and Indonesian food date. We saw The Brothers Bloom, which I thought it was out-and-out terrific. 

Also, I have a newfound love for Rachel Wiesz. She pulls off approximately 2 capes, 2 adorable black hats (see above, and the smaller one in the movie trailer), lace-up boots, and a leopard-print coat.
There's been a little green hat at Stray, our local vintage shop, that I've been eyeing. I have to say, I've been sorta against the hipster-hat trend, but I think that's because I haven't seen anyone pull a hat off adorably instead of goofily. Rachel Weisz makes me wanna go snag it.

Anyway, this movie was fun and stylish and clever. I think you'll like it, folks. As for dinner...

Having grown up in Jakarta, Indonesian food is Chris's version of mashed potatoes (homey comfort food), so thankfully Bali Nusa Indah on 45th gets the down-home taste just right to satisfy his cravings. Glad we live in a city where we can track this down!

Hope you're having lovely weekends, dearies. Whatcha up to?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gym songs

People, I need help. My running playlist demands diversification. What are your favorite running/working-out songs?

Cat belleh

One of the best ways to brighten up a dreary day is to give the cat a belly rub. I give you Roger's furry, stripy littly belleh:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Love my lil' bag

I recently got one of these little Flip and Tumble bags as a gift. I am in love. It is so, so handy, and I love to marvel at the practical and innovative design. I stash the little balled-up bag in my regular purse and carry it at all times. Bring on a surprise trip to the market or last-minute stop at the drug store—my trusty little bag can do it all. 

The bag holds up to 25 pounds. Major props also for the shoulder strap (so when you carry 25 pounds, you don't rip holes in your hands, like you'd end up doing with a plastic bag). Best of all, they work exactly like Popples:

Now that you get the nostalgia factor, what are you waiting for? As with Popples, there are lots of colors available, so go get one!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

A beautiful weekend full of beautiful food: Grilled fish from our local fish market, crisp asparagus, fresh whipped cream, juicy strawberries. On Monday, we returned to Brooklyn for our dear friends' official Memorial Day housewarming festivities. Remember, they of the red kitchen? 'Twas a lovely time...

Their garden is a tad Secret Garden-y, no?

Ginny showed our friend Eran how to most effectively assemble his first self-assembled sundae at the sundae bar (and that's homemade ice cream in the front, YUM!).
We also accomplished a lot on the wedding front AND found time to take in some live Irish trad music in the neighborhood. A lovely, long weekend. Back to regular weekday activities now...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Now that's a vanity plate

Saw this car on Broadway this morning. Guess "Big Sexy" was taken?
And what's with the funny license plates lately? Jenn just posted a couple great ones here and here.

Every Time I Turn Around

This morning, I remembered this song existed. You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mourning Manny's

After 74 years, Manny's Music on 48th Street is closing its doors. Don't ask me how I missed this story when it broke a couple months ago, but I just came across it in the New Yorker last night and became deeply sad.

Every time I have to pop into the (godawful) Midtown Sam Ash for some trusty Thomastik Dominants or W.E. Hill and Sons rosin (which they haven't had for months, ahem), I make a stop at Manny's. They don't have violin stuff, but they do have walls lined with photos, autographed by everyone from Clapton to Dylan to the Beatles to Simon & Garfunkel...the list goes on forever. On display on the first floor was a sample guitar favored by George Harrison on his visits to the shop. All of the greats walked Manny's halls. It was a free museum of rock.

I loved to take my guitar-nerd friends here, and to pick up and play the acoustics upstairs. I've made small purchases here over the years, but it was really more about the visiting experience for me. Even the delighfully antiquated 3-layer, dot-matrix printed, carbon-copy receipts were charming. Popular suspicion seems to indicate that the rest of Music Row will follow suit in shutting down, but I am positive that no place will be missed more terribly than Manny's.

[image via Flickr]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Grow, baby, grow!

Parsley and sage on the top, tomato on the bottom. Behold the first plants inside the house that we've been able to successfully keep away from the cat! (Apparently you can buy hanging tomato contraptions, but we were not aware at the time Chris rigged this up. If you're lookin' for a project, here's how to DIY!)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Play ball

[Warning: Long post about baseball. Feel free to skip.]

Why baseball? Up in the nosebleeds in 50-degree weather on Sunday, watching two teams in which I have no personal investment, I couldn’t have been happier. Of all sports, why does only baseball hold a romantic allure for me? I could say it’s all those hours spent at the Little League fields while my brothers moved from tee ball to real ball to fall ball to all-stars. But I think it’s more than that.

Baseball has a wider appeal. It’s not just for the jocks who stuffed your skinny stepbrother into a locker. Your skinny stepbrother loves baseball, too. He brings a notepad to the ball field and crunches numbers. He knows batting averages, records, dates. He gets respect for this, because annotating the annals of this sport is important. Baseball has a history and a mythology of its own, deep and entire, yet inextricably tied to the history and mythology of America.

And baseball’s not just for rich folks or the incredibly tall or for ruffians. It’s for everyone. It requires minimal equipment. It can be played anywhere. Even professionally, it is not played under cover. Wind, rain, and beating sun affect the players just as they’d affect anyone else.

As for baseball players, they make mistakes. Heck, this is a sport with a statistical designation for “error,” right up there on the JumboTron for everyone to see. And so we understand baseball players—they’re like us somehow. Even with the major leagues, we feel like the players are boys we’ve known forever. We give them nicknames as if we used to share after-school milk and cookies. When we watch them play, they’re not covered in pads, strapped to skates, or otherwise burdened by equipment. They are men. First, foremost, visibly.

Baseball is not only mental or only physical; it’s both. It’s not just a team sport or just a solo sport; it’s both. Golf is a game of a guy with a stick and a ball; baseball holds more appeal for the showdown factor—a guy with a stick and another guy with a ball, and nine unfolding innings of the infinite possibilities of physics contained in the 60 feet between them.

So, why baseball? I guess the appeal lies mostly in the players. It is this factor, I suppose, that makes baseball steroid stories so upsetting. The game is then no longer real, the players no longer human. It’s Hollywood; reality-plus: a 65-year old person without laugh lines. Players who juice pollute the dreams of kids who believe the ball player's life is something to aspire to and ruin the romance for adults who like to believe that you can know a person. After all, we like our game built the way our country was: From the ground up, equal parts emotional fortitude and elbow grease.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Southern-esque fried goodness

I have an incredibly low tolerance for mayo, except as used in my mom's potato salad and these yummy sandwiches—bay scallop po' boys with spicy mayo. I haven't spent enough time down South to know what a "real" po' boy has to offer, but this find from the Martha Stewart recipe bank has become a weeknight favorite in our house. If you get a hankering for scallops, fried goodness, and/or hot sauce, do these up.

Rainy days

If it's gonna rain all the time, at least we finally had the first intoxicating, earthy pre-rain smell yesterday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wii would like to play

If you happen to have the extreme good fortune of already owning a video game system (like our Nintendo Wii), getting your game on at home is a recession-friendly way to have some hilarious fun. Plus, you might be able to catch your boyfriend pretending he is Rafael Nadal.

What the what?!

I came home to a six-foot assemblage of metal pipes in our study last night. "What the what?" I asked. 

"I am building a letterpress!" said the boy. Apparently he got inspired when saw me drooling over some letterpressed cards on our last visit to the paper store.

No idea yet as to whether it will actually be used for wedding-type projects...but who doesn't love a boy building a letterpress? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tweets from space

Ever since I read this New York Magazine piece back in February, I've been intrigued by Twitter, but haven't latched on. I've had trouble understanding why it would be a good addition to my arsenal of Interweb distractions. Friend updates are cool, but Facebook has that. And so what if John Mayer had salami for lunch? If Oprah's having a bad hair day? But this is officially fuckin' cool:

NASA astronaut Mike Massimino is sending "tweets" from space. His first update:
"From orbit: Launch was awesome!! I am feeling great, working hard, & enjoying the magnificent views, the adventure of a lifetime has begun!"

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Just finished my newest book club pick, Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion. Check out the cover image: Didion herself in 1967. Are people even allowed to be that cool?

Vampire weekends

We has Buffy. As Chris put it, a smorgasboard of Buffy. Am I becoming a vampire junkie?
If I am, I'm not the only one; some scholars can't stop re-examining Bram Stoker's Dracula over a century after its publication. There's a real vampire trend right now, and I'm sort of on the fence here. Sure, I liked studying Dracula in my Gothic Lit class back in the day, but then there's Twilight

I saw the movie Twilight when it came out, without really knowing what I was in for. I thought it was pretty much awful. (Side note: I saw a great Twilight-backlash t-shirt on our trip to Disney: Vampires don't sparkle in sunlight, they burst into flames and DIE.) Regardless of my opinion though, the Twilight novels have sold millions of copies. They're breeding a whole new race of vampire junkies. And I'd rather steer clear of that camp.  

On the other hand, the Buffy series is so good it makes me want to up my vampire media intake quotient. I've read some terrific reviews of HBO's True Blood, but the promo for the second season looks kinda too-scary for me. Anybody seen this? Thoughts?

I guess what's really so great about Buffy is that it falls between the soft-and-cuddly Twilight world and what seems to be the pretty scary realm of True Blood. It's dangerous, but not unbeatable. With the right amount of strength and smarts, a girl can come out on top. Best of all, it shows us that there's a little bit of slayer in all of us. So maybe I'm not a full-fledged vampire junkie...but for sure a vampire-slayer groupie.

Have you been sucked into the vampire trend? Why can't we humans get enough?

He looks like that fellow in the movies

Loving my bro's post today about his man crush on Cary Grant!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Score one for history

image via NewYorkology

History wins: Ellis Island will be receiving $26 million in federal funds for the restoration of the baggage and dormitory building. I can never get enough of Ellis Island. There is some sadness in the soul of the place, but mostly I leave feeling the residual effects of the determination, bravery, and audacious optimism that passed continually through it. To think some of my own relatives came through here from Ireland, ready to carve out a new life. More restoration details here.

Happiness is...

Five full ice trays in the freezer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What do you owe to your mother?

Happy Mother's Day, all. I actually really like this holiday, however greeting-card-company-contrived it may be. We all owe lots to our mothers—maybe our hair or nose, maybe a particular interest, and, y'know, life itself. Since I already wrote about my Mother's Day project, today I'm thinking about some things I owe to my mother...

1) My name. Just-Beth-Not-Bethany-or-Elizabeth. I once longed to change this to the more formal, old-fashioned Eliz(s)abeth, especially after my sixth grade social studies teacher kept trying to insist that I had not filled in my "full" name on our state standardized tests. Now I rather like Just-Beth, and as I understand it, the name was largely my mom's idea.

2) A love of baking. Sometimes I get the random urge to make a million chocolate-chip cookies, just like my mom.

3) "Seizures": Family term for when you're holding something just fine one minute and drop it the next, without the influence of any outside force. 

What do you owe to your mother?

Friday, May 8, 2009


I have discovered that I absolutely LOVE programming wedding ceremony music. Once one breaks away from the Pachelbel Canon, worlds of beautiful possibilities unfold. Don't get me wrong, it sure is a lovely piece, but musicians become burned out on it at an early age. The guy below knows what I'm talking about. Anyway, if'n any of you should be gettin' hitched and in need of a lovingly crafted violin-filled program, send me a note. It brings me so much happiness to imagine the scene and set the tone. (Backup career? I could change my backup list, even though I already told Chris that my backup careers, in order, are: calligraphy, fire eating, violin. But I think I only love doing this so much for people I know, when I can be sure it will suit their tastes.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Mother's Day is nearly here, so I undertook a little project that I found online. I played chemist in the kitchen with essential oils and citric acid and had a blast. Hopefully these pink and purple bath fizzies will bring the mothers in my life a relaxing day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Being back in rainy New York is not quite like being in Florida, and nothing like being in the bizarre time warp of an Orlando amusement park. Armed with some JetBlue buddy passes (a birthday gift to Chris), the boy and I hit the airport at 4am on Friday morning and waited for standby seats to Orlando. 

This trip was only semi-planned. If you know us, you know Chris and I are nothing if not planners, schedulers, list-makers, etc. This trip was very adventurous for us! Knowing that there was a chance we might not get a flight, we decided to book our hotel, car, and park tickets once we made it to Florida. 
And did we ever make it to Florida! We even ended up getting great last-minute hotel and car rental deals through Priceline.

We agreed to sit through a mind-numbing timeshare presentation on Saturday morning to save money on our theme park tickets. I wouldn't recommend this as a general practice, but in trying not to break the bank for a 4 day trip, it worked out well this time. As I told Chris, "Be a writer about it!" Anyway, once we skipped away from the salesmen, the cynicism was gone and we commenced acting like 5-year-olds.

I thought about Travels in Hyperreality a handful of times, but every time I started getting intellectual about the experience, there was some kinda spontaneous parade:

  Or ice cream!
Or fairy-tale thing!
We spent the first day at Disney, making it to nearly every ride in the Magic Kingdom park, staying til close and topping it off with cotton candy and fireworks. The second day we spent at Universal's Islands of Adventure, where Chris went on giant roller coasters like The Hulk and I was enthralled that there was an entire "world" constructed to look like Jurassic Park.
I find occasion to quote this film alarmingly often, as do, I believe, my brothers. I'm not sure why a movie about a failed science experiment involving deadly prehistoric creatures is so applicable to our lives, but I do hold it near and dear to my heart.

That just about sums up our whirlwind weekend! I don't know when I'll be in Orlando again—either in 2010 when Islands of Adventure finishes building their Harry Potter "world," or not until I've got little ones in tow. It's an interesting town, to say the least.

I am back, and Elisabeth

Hey, lovely readers! I know I've been absent, but I have not abandoned you. I was just off gallivanting around sunny Florida, acting like a 5-year-old, eating cotton candy and watching fireworks. I shall regale you with photos and tales of time-share presentations and Mickey Mouse's house soon enough, but until then, please enjoy this beautiful illustration by my talented friend Elisabeth Timpone.

Whenever I'm feeling low on creative energy, I listen to my playlist of music by friends and family. I draw a lot of inspiration from those I know, but this morning I realized one flaw in the playlist: No visuals. So I had to cure that by browsing Lis's site. She shows from time to time at Giant Robot here in NYC and has designed e-mailable valentines for Kate Spade for 2 years running. The intricate lines in her illustrations always hypnotize me; they're so full of movement and life.