Category Archives: All About It

All About It: Because I Say So

If I had to give one illustration to show how I’ve been feeling lately, it would be this:  for the past couple of weeks, off and on, I’ve been binge-snacking on unsalted bread.  Seriously.  True story.  Sad, sad true story.  That pretty much sums it up, too: my life has been feeling dull, plain, and pathetically out of control.  But today was different.  Today I felt the wise words of my acquaintance Carolina coming on: “Fuck it!”

Carolina is an architect from Sao Paulo, Brazil, whom I met in a hostel in Paris back in 2008.  We went out to a wine bar and ate decadent desserts and drank a bottle of Syrah and talked politics while Moby played in the background. Carolina was pretty great, but the greatest thing about her was that every time she did something wrong or embarrassing she would simply say “Fuck it!” and move on.  It’s a really lovely sentiment, if you think about it; who cares if you bump the table or spill your creme anglaise?  Can’t take it back, might as well get over it.

My point is, in a roundabout way the Gospel of Fuck It has reinvigorated my appreciation of…well…me.  Less worry, more loving things and doing things simply because I want to.  I’m taking back control, dammit.  First I pulled weeds, now I’m planting flowers.

So, in that vein, here’s my (really really belated) All About It post:

1. Washi tape

I know I’m not a trendsetter in the Japanese washi tape craze, but I’m jumping on the bandwagon now and I’m kind of obsessed.  I just bought some here and I especially like this post for making Japanese washi tape magnets.

2. Doppelganger myths

This goes along with my love of the book The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski and, yes, a little bit with How I Met Your Mother.  In most cultures the doppelganger is a bad omen or an incarnation of death.  I’m fascinated by the idea of a person’s double, and all the layers of similarities in actions, memories and thoughts that different cultures attribute to these double-walkers.  It’s a really interesting idea of identity and individuality…and how spooky would it be to see your own doppelganger??

3. Thai food

Nothing revolutionary here, I just can’t get enough curry or rice noodles.  This could get problematic.

4. Edie Sedgwick

Okay, I guess this started when my coworker wanted to start planning my birthday party (yes, five months in advance) and I suggested a pop art/Factory theme.  I don’t really know that much about the scene, but I’ve since become fascinated with Edie Sedgwick…which is weird because I totally don’t get into that celebrity watching stuff, and she was basically the Paris Hilton of her day.  I like to romanticize the trendsetting, art world, fuck-all aspects of those black and white photos, but then I’m also struck with the harsh color world of reality and the fact that she lived a tortured and probably unhappy life.  Still, the idealized carefree girl is still refreshing to me right now.

5. Gang documentaries

This isn’t really a new thing for me, but Frontline put out a really good one on Valentine’s Day (yes, this is how I spent that day…along with my boo, some Thai food and some really good beer.  Win!).  Crips and Bloods: Made in America is another good one.  I realize it’s kind of a morbid fascination with something so far removed from my own life (except for the kids I sometimes work with – sad), but I think it’s a good perspective and definitely makes me reconsider my own judgments.

So there you have it.  No pictures yet since I’m about to be late to capoeira, but I’ll try to post some later.  These things are awesome…because I say they are.


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Catching Up and Pumpkin Pancakes

Don’t say it.  I know already.  I didn’t post yesterday for All About Mondays.  Apparently I’m incapable of sticking to an ed-cal.  *Sigh*

In short form, I am currently all about:

1. The Suzan.  Awesome Japanese riot girl band that mixed addictive beats with a pop-jungle vibe.  I especially love Come Come and Home.

2. Pho.  Specifically, vegetarian pho.  This Vietnamese noodle soup is traditionally made with beef, but there are a couple good places in Denver that have veggie varieties – broth included.  A huge, spicy bowl of soup is perfect for a cold day – and it’s supposed to snow tonight!

3. Smitten Kitchen.  I know, everyone and their mom has heard of this site already.  I hadn’t.  I just found it.  I love it.

4. Arsenic and Old Lace.  Cary Grant?  Yes please.  This Halloween movie is absolutely  hilarious, in a classic, clever way.  I can’t even say how much I adore this movie – one of my seasonal favorites.  Plus I love the nostalgia and romance, as you know, of eras in which I never lived.

5. Old-fashioned candy.  Like Bit ‘O Honey and burnt peanuts and Charleston Chews.  Again, my tendency to romanticize bygone eras is at play here, but I always do that around the holidays and this particular holiday includes a lot of candy.  Okay, so most of it is made with corn syrup and refined such-and-such, but I feel cooler eating Jordan almonds than I do eating a Snickers.  …Except I also like Snickers.  Shut up, judgey.

And now, ladies and gents (probably just ladies): the real post.  It’s about pumpkins (surprise!).  Have I told you yet how much I love pumpkins? Because I DO.

This past Friday my friends and I went to a pumpkin patch.  Like a legit pumpkin patch, where you go out in the field and cut your pumpkin on the vine and then go pet goats and draft horses and run around in corn.  (You remember Christine, right?  She was there taking awesome photos, as usual.  She took the photo above.  This is her below.)

It was a gorgeous fall day and so much fun.  Now I have to decide what to carve in my pumpkin.  Last year it was a zombie cat…maybe this year it should be something REALLY scary, like a Republican in the White House.

Anyway.  I’m also excited to roast up some pumpkin seeds, which I’ll post about.  But my latest pumpkin creation has been pumpkin pancakes with apple-maple compote, which I got from Shutterbean, who got it from Honey and Jam, who apparently got it from 101 Cookbooks.  They are, in a word, fantastic, and the perfect ending to a weekend that included all my favorite autumn things: the pumpkin patch, the annual Denver Zombie Crawl, and watching Arsenic and Old Lace with a boy I like a lot.

(That’s him.  And me, of course.  Christine took the photo.)

Pumpkin Pancakes (adapted from Honey and Jam)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine the dry ingredients, then stir or beat in the buttermilk, eggs, pumpkin and butter.  Pour onto a well-buttered pan; flip when the edges start to look dry and bubbly.

Apple-Maple Compote (adapted from Honey and Jam)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 semi-tart apple (like a Gala), sliced
  • cinnamon
  • pure maple syrup

Melt the butter in a small sautee or sauce pan, and add apple slices.  Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste, and sautee until apples just begin to soften, stirring often.  When the apples are al dente, add enough maple syrup to coat or cover the apples (again, to taste) and satuee a couple minutes more, until apples are to your liking.  Spoon over pancakes – the extra syrup at the bottom will be extra buttery and a little caramelized!

So perfect.  Just…amazing.  I can’t imagine a better breakfast in the fall.  Next up: pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds, homemade gift ideas, budget updates…and more?

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All About Mondays

I’m not really all about Mondays.  It’s not that I hate Mondays – it’s not their fault they kick off the workweek, after all.  I just don’t dig them as much as, say, a Saturday.  Or a Thursday I call out from work.  But I digress.

I am all about a lot of other things, and I’ve been meaning to start some sort of editorial schedule in this blog, part of which will be a list of things I love/am in to/recommend.  A la McSweeneys.  So in the interest of convenience I’m going to start doing it today: hence, All About Mondays.  Here goes.

1. The Whole Foods bulk aisle

I have mixed feelings about Whole Foods, but you can’t beat their bulk aisle for baking.  Who wants to pay five dollars for a teeny-tiny bag of grocery story chopped walnuts, or worse yet be forced to buy a ginormous bag of walnuts, when you can just waltz into a Whole Foods and buy just as many as you need?  Appreciate the little things in life, people.  I for one enjoy control where I can get it.  AND it’s eco-friendly if you use those little reusable burlap bags…which I totally don’t.  But I should.  Plus they sell roasted, salted, unshelled bulk pistachios (pro tip: you will eat ALL of these if you buy them) and amazing little ginger cookies that are crispy and spicy and perfect for snacking.

2. Old-school wooden puzzles

There are so many good things about these: the authentic vintage charm, the portability, the aesthetic appeal and decorating value, the hours of entertainment.  Seriously, hours.  See that puzzle there?  It took me two solid hours to put back together.

3. Created Equal by Mark Liata

Mark Liata‘s magnificent portraits are paired in thoughtful, touching and sometimes arresting dichotomies of the human experience.  So beautiful, so enlightening.  Love love love.

4. The work of La Touchables

I love the found-art quality of the jewelry made by Dawn of La Touchables on Etsy.  If you read her featured seller interview, especially, you really get a feel for how she creates and the unexpected inspiration that drives her art – like the resourcefulness of poverty.  I especially love this cuff, but all her work has a certain worldly, ethereal, rough-hewn-but-somehow-prim quality that I adore.

5. Bessie Smith

I love all Blues, but lately I can’t get enough of Bessie Smith (well, and Muddy Waters).  The smoky voice, the sometimes doleful, sometimes flippant lyrics, the whole feel…perfection.  I can’t stop listening to her anthology, especially when I cook.

6. Boots

Duh.  As if I have to say any more.  This is like one of the only photos I have of me in boots…Why?!

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