Friday, October 8, 2010

Cooking to-do list

For the past month and a half of having a puppy and happily obliging him in his need for constant love and affection, cooking has totally fallen by the wayside. I'm fed up with Arroy Thai (even though I love you) and pizza (not the homemade variety, but the frozen and ordered, even though I love you). So aside from making actual meals, which who am I kidding, will probably just be something stew-like in the slow cooker, I've been wanting to make the following for quite some time:

First up: Vafler for Saturday Breakfast

These aren't going to be true vafler as our waffler is for much thicker, American waffles. What's important here is the cardamom and the sour cream. Recipe from Sons of Norway which will have to be adapted so it's not so runny for our maker. I'll serve with jam and we thankfully have some Gjetost cheese that I've been meaning to devour.

I knew you'd come in handy

Savory Apple & Cheddar Galette for Sunday Brunch

We have a whopping three friends running the Chicago marathon this weekend. That's a crazy amount of friends doing a crazy amount of running. To celebrate, we're going to a brunch while they run :) I've been wanting to make this galette for some time and I think this is the perfect excuse.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spring 2011 Collections Part I

I have by no means finished culling every bit of pretty from the Spring 2011 Collections (experienced through New York Times slideshow), but here are many things by which I've been inspired thus far.

I won't pretend to be literate in high fashion. So consider this an official cop out from saying anything of real credibility below. Commence the pretty:

Jil Sander, Milan Fashion Week

The colors! This brings me back to the excitement I felt when Crayola launched their fluorescent range. Razzle Dazzle Rose, Unmellow Yellow, Neon Carrot... they could work it together back then and they're back together to work it in 2010 on the Jil Sander runway. This time around, it's a more sophisticated if not more edited color usage than that found in my coloring book circa 1990. I would wear all of this*.

*But it is important to note that I cannot support the goggles on the top center.

Jonathan Saunders, London Fashion Week

This Jonathan Saunders collection is Spring. I can feel the slightly chilly, breezy air just looking at this -- the time of the year when you stubbornly ditch the boots and wool tights in anticipation of nicer weather -- willing the new season to come even when it hasn't yet. I always feel drawn toward preppy and athletic that time of year too.

The sheer panel cut-outs are super sexy. And that yellow dress makes me wish, once again, that I could successfully wear yellow. The whole palette is gorgeous and I suggest checking it out. One wish: some of those dresses weren't so damn short. I ask for just one more inch, Jonathan.

Paul Smith, London Fashion Week

Paul Smith felt like waking from winter hibernation. The palette was heavy and masculine and a lot of the styling was disheveled -- in a state immediately before it's totally shed.

But what I really want to talk about are the double-belts here. I dig this detail and would like to incorporate, but I'm a wee bit concerned about the real-life application. This is an element that could easily stray into the 'mom trying to be trendy, but just missing the mark' aesthetic territory. And no, you don't have to be a mom to be in that territory, they've just defined the aesthetic. They're ironically too busy being selfless to pull-off effortless-chic most of the time. Why do I feel like I'm getting into more and more trouble as I try to explain my association?... I love moms.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Masterpiece Theatre is really channeling the bleak lately. Gone are the days of yet another (but still welcomed) Jane Austen adaptation. This season ended with "The Diary of Anne Frank" and "Small Island." Both were really, really well done, but they ended with the same really, really pathetic scene: me choking on my sobs, clutching an open jar of peanut butter, questioning the goodness of humanity from my couch.

Eating this solves problems

And it feels wrong to be distracted by one of the dresses in the wardrobe of "Anne Frank," and I promise I felt guilty, but the palette is too awesome to go unnoticed. Love the desaturated green and peach paired with the orange-red belt.

Ellie Kendrick as Anne Frank from BBC One

In fact, the entire wardrobe was beautiful.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chevron Mania, or 'Chevrania'

For the past year, I've been preoccupied with chevron, so preoccupied that I consulted my desktop thesaurus and came up with a name for it: Chevrania. This barely beat out 'Chevsession,' which is arguably just as void of wittiness. Celebrity tabloids have taught me many things, but one of the biggies is that if you want to coin a term for something, just awkwardly merge two words or names that are associated (e.g. Brangelina, TomKat) and force feed it to people until it sticks.

Chevrania started when I saw this dress on BurdaStyle. Since then, I've been saving images of anything in the shape of a zig zag.

Dress by michelleiswell. The asymmetry really makes it. I could pass on the collar, but who am I to critique?

Vintage chevron dress from Elizabeth Wren

* * *

My Chevrania has been mainly focused on interiors lately.

The combination of the herringbone parquet and overlay flooring is pretty awesome / Roman and Williams

Aside from the flooring, this is just a really amazing kitchen / Roman and Williams

Shot from Remodelista

Erin Adams Herringbone for Ann Sacks

Really expensive rug by Madeline Weinrib
And I know it's expensive because they don't even list the price. You have to 'contact to inquire'

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Old Friend, New Friend

Rob won Christmas this year by a landslide. I gave him a casual watch for everyday use. He gave me a digital SLR.

* * *

Before the coming of the Christmas Camera (1 day B.C.C., if you will) I was still glowing with satisfaction over my Panasonic Lumix with the Leica lens. Pre-Lumix, my life was a medieval abyss of disposable Kodak Funsavers. I relied on pillaging photos from friends' Picasa albums to update my Facebook account and fill my iPhoto Library. And this was 2006 (3 B.C.C). So the Lumix was quite a renaissance.

Panasonic Lumix, shot by Canon EOS Rebel T1i

But then I opened up my Christmas present this year and became an instant snob, forgetting all the lessons I've learned and friends I've made during the Funsaver years.

Canon EOS Rebel T1i, shot by the Panasonic Lumix

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Make Me Feel Like a Grown-up

Rob and I recently bought our first piece of adult furniture. I was so excited that I just stared at it for a couple days. Then I progressed to taking a lot of pictures of it -- a reaction more appropriate to the birth of one's child.

The baby

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's the International Year of Astronomy!

If you were in the dark on this, no worries. I overlooked it too, but we still have a little over a month to celebrate. Here is some recommended party decoration:

Official IYA09 poster series

New York Times Magazine featured posters being used for the IYA09 designed by Simon Page. I love them for their retro-textbook feel, simple geometric patterns.

"The result is a beautiful exercise in conceptual minimalism, with a clear geometric bent that betrays Page’s math-nerd origins." Alexandria Symonds, NYTimes Mag

The part that really pisses me off about this Simon Page fellow is that he wasn't even trained in design. His background is in applied mathematics. He just sort of picked up design as a hobby two or three years ago. If I were to guess, he's also a champion fencer, a published novelist, and prefers to spend his free time volunteering at a hospital for children.

But perfection can be bought and is now available for purchase in his store.

love the use of white space in this one

* * *

I took cosmology in college -- the lovechild of astronomy and philosophy. By the end of the semester, I took away a few things:
1) Theoretically, we could be sucked into a black hole and routed to a parallel universe at a different point in the space-time continuum;
2) I thought that would be really cool as long as I was transported to the time of Jane Austen and was part of the landed gentry (requirement), but I don't think it works like that without a DeLorian DMC-12 outfitted with a nuclear reactor;
3) My mental capacity was much smaller than previously thought; and
4) Stephan Hawking has fathered children.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This Is Cooler Than My Obama Action Figure

A former coworker at The Royal Order, Scott Thomas, went on to fame as the Design Director for the Obama campaign. He's coming out with Designing Obama, a book dedicated to artwork surrounding the campaign. There are forwards by Steven Heller and Michael Beirut (design celebrities!).

The book shows the role of art and design in the official campaign and also includes unofficial pieces done by grassroots supporters. Hopefully Obama Hot Sauce (it exists) is included. And Obama-Fingers certainly are because it brilliantly melds racial stereotypes with images of the Golden Gate Bridge and the American flag.

Danke, Germany

But something tells me that the 'unofficial grassroots art' is going to be classier stuff than the Hanes tshirts with the iron-on transfer of an Obama family photo that were being sold 2-for-1 around Grant Park. There really has been some good-looking work created surrounding the campaign. I have no doubt that the book will be beautifully crafted, so I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

It's being self-published through Kickstarter (keeping with the grassroots theme). If you're interested, it's available here with a minimum pledge of $50, but the price goes up November 5. It's estimated delivery is around the first of the year.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Golden Birthday Spoils

My birthday on Wednesday. This was a big birthday -- the golden birthday -- 28 years on the 28th. I've waited a long time for this one and it didn't disappoint.

If there's one thing that I've learned from my experience of having birthdays over the years, it's that you need to set expectations high and be vocal about them. For example: I've never been happy simply with a single birthday, so I usually enforce a birthmonth celebration. This sandwiches the actual day with 15 more days on either side to exercise tyranny and partake of gluttonous pursuits.

This year, for the golden birthday, I was very clear that I expected all gifts to come in the form of gold. The real nutty part is that Rob actually takes them seriously and I received some pretty amazing earrings.

But the list of loot doesn't stop there...

I still receive birthday money from my grandmothers and I'm not above accepting it and spending it immediately. I'm on the search for some black boots (a search that deserves its own post), but then I got distracted by Amazon -- the black hole of shopping -- and never returned. I did score a ton of amazing books though to add to the library that we have no room to accommodate. The wine they're serving in the breakroom this afternoon may have something to do with it.

Graphic Design, Referenced
from UnderConsideration

The UnderConsideration online network includes, Brand New and FPO: For Print Only, both of which I read regularly. So I figured it was low-risk to invest in one of their books without paging through beforehand. This reference is 400-pages (so you know you're getting your monies-worth per page) cataloging basic principles, sought-after resources, influential designers, iconic work...

This book was recently profiled on grain edit. And it is now mine. All mine.

Images from grain edit

The Sartorialist
Scott Schuman

I use The Sartorialist blog as a motivational tool. It gets me out of the jeans, long-sleeve tee, and Converse sneaker rut that I'm prone to fall into. His eye for beauty is so enviable -- he finds it everywhere and unexpectedly. He reminds me to pay attention.

Paperback version cover

There's a hardcover deluxe version, but it's quite expensive. As much as I appreciate the craft of beautiful book design, I was really buying it for the photographs.

His girlfriend, Garance Dore, who keeps a blog that I value for similar reasons, hinted at coming out with a book of her own at some point in this interview my friend Amie did with her for shopbop (Super-cool name drop! Oui!). I'll support.

Penguin Classics
designed by
Coralie Bickford-Smith

When my brother, Mike, was in town this past weekend, we hit up the bookshops. Both of us could spend an entire afternoon paging through books, revising our to-read lists and commenting on book design. We disagree a lot, but we certainly agreed that the new clothbound Penguin Classics were super sweet. I snatched up Wuthering Heights that day.

The first set of ten already released

I bought a few more of the first set on Amazon. They're selling for amazingly cheap price of $13.60, so I couldn't resist when I added the extra inducement of wine in the afternoon.

The second set -- I don't know when this is coming out

And thus ends the tale of a very spoiled and happy birthday.

Bonne Musique

I've been listening to and enjoying Bon Iver (a Wisconsin native!). Yep, that's a bastardized version of 'good winter.' Apparently, questionable French language education is prevalent throughout the state. I spent four years of high school French spinning my wheels on conjugating passé composé, so I can relate to Mr. Bon Iver.

"For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)" was listed as #29 in Pitchforks Top 200 Albums of the 2000s. This list oozes pretentiousness and self-consciousness, but is still fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Invitations continued

I say I'm going to post something the next day, and then it takes me over a month to actually do it... Here are some shots of our invites. The quality of these images are not so good. In hindsight, I should have had our photographer get some shots, while we had her in our power.

Folded up, referencing our Save the Dates

In the process of unfolding (I'm trying to give the full experience)

Lots of info for those not inclined to use the internet

Not the most accurate map, but people should really just use the internet.
Grandparents, let that be a lesson to you.

Flip side: the Alphabet poster that took a large chunk of my life to illustrate
The letters G, S, and T are supposed to coordinate with the itinerary on the other side.
Don't know if that was clear.

I do like to design me some icons

Personal stories surrounding the alphabet.

Wedding invite and tourist brochure

RSVP cards -- Rob lobbied to use the phrase "meal of food"

Weeks later, Rob pointed out a typo. My instinct was to get really angry at him, then cry. It was a small misspelling, but it's enough to annoy me for all of eternity.

My intention is to turn this into a more generic poster for Door County and to seek my fortune in the gift shop circuit (that will hopefully cover cost of production). This time, there will be no misspellings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Some Favorite Things: von Trapp skirts

Every year, the community theater in my hometown puts on a production of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever." It was kind of a big deal to 10-13 year-old me and I tried out a few times.

During my first year of auditions, I was inexperienced and did not come equipped with a song, so they told me to sing "Happy Birthday." Halfway through, I forgot the words and froze. Then I just nervously wandered off the stage, thinking that if I just exited casually, they might not think I was actually auditioning.

Reflecting on my performance afterward, I decided that I should have been more spontaneous and just made up a whole new birthday song. They would have said 'she may be an idiot, but dammit she has the moxie we've been searching for in this talentless town.' Lesson learned. Next year they would see moxie and the addition of some choreography.

So the following year, I came fully armed with a routine to "My Favorite Things" from the Sound of Music. In my interpretation, there couldn't be enough physical zest to express "raindrops on roses" and "door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles." I tended toward the literal in my interpretive dance. But when I ran out of ideas, I filled time by waving my arms in a sunrise motion while tapping my heel. My mother told me that it was a performance to remember. I agreed and imagined the casting director discussing my star quality over dinner later.

Much to my surprise, I didn't get a call back.

Not taking the hint, "My Favorite Things" appeared again for my third audition. This time around, it tasted strongly of bitterness. I was thirteen and started to be conscious of my degradation as I waited to be called, sitting between the 8- and 9-year-olds who were all cast in the play last year. Sadly this didn't end my career in theatre and I continued to seek out humiliating roles in school plays, such as "Hippie Dancer," "Santa's Third Reindeer," and "Elderly Betsy Ross."


That anecdote is a very off-point segue into the reason for this post: von Trapp-inspired skirts.

Rob's sister, Elinor and her friend Evelyne are starting a custom clothing company called E&A&E&A&B&K&Co. One of their designs is called the Von Trapp skirt and I love it, especially the contrasting interior pockets. The fabric is of course inspired by upholstery. I'm convinced if I had worn this as part of my audition ensemble, I would have clinched a speaking role.

They're on Etsy or you can bid on one of their custom creations at the Seduction of Duchamp Live Auction. So if you're auditioning anytime soon, this is a must:

This one is my favorite

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From Miss to Ms!

The title 'Ms.' is noncommital. It inhabits the bland middle ground between Miss and Mrs. that is very unclear. Are you a divorcee, widow, or just really hate bras? Who's to know which? And whatever the case, it implies a learned cynicism or a world-weariness that I'm fortunate not to possess at the present.

I've started to brainstorm a friendlier version that says 'I'm keeping my maiden name but I also like my bra and heels.' 'Ms!' is as far as my wits have taken me.


I am now officially a Ms! and very happy to be so. Besides the obvious bonus of being married to my favorite gentleman, I also don't have to plan a godforsaken wedding again. To be clear, I loved our wedding and was overwhelmed with warm fuzziness, but the week preceding the day was a circle of hell I would rather not reenter.

Our photographer, Erin Hansen did an amazing job at capturing the warm fuzzy parts of the wedding and making us look better than we do in real life. Here are some people shots: