September 25, 2012


Yeah, I'm roasting stuff again. You know you love it.

This time I'm branching out from veggies, though. I had a half-bag of black seedless grapes starting to get a little raisin-y, so I thought... it worked for raisin-y tomatoes... this... this could be a thing, right? Surely, someone has roasted grapes before. And, once again, the internet confirmed how unoriginal I am. I followed the proportions in this recipe - and totally got behind the addition of a few rosemary sprigs (from the garden, natch).

The finished product is way sexy. The color is absolutely lurid - almost inappropriately so. The taste combines all the best parts of berry jams and red wine - and the rosemary cuts the potentially cloying sweetness and makes it taste and smell all... grown-up. That recipe frames this as a condiment for cheese, but I've also successfully spooned it into my morning yogurt parfaits. Micah mentioned it might even compliment pork, in that way that sweet, fruity chutneys do sometimes.

::Starts rooting through the fridge, trying to figure out what-all to roast next::

September 24, 2012


Top two: Saturday's breakfast. Arugula salad with a fried egg and various homemade condiments (caramelized onions, hot pepper jelly), and a side of roasted potatoes and grilled Italian sausage.

Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Parmesan-jalapeño scramble with grilled Italian sausage and a Parmesan-jalapeño corn muffin. It was like the "Parmesan-jalapeño" episode of Chopped. And everyone won.

The first weekend of fall! And it was, weather-wise. Micah and I went on an hour-long walk around Duke's East Campus (ending, unexpectedly, in mediocre sushi from the new place on Ninth Street and beers at Dain's). The weather was so perfect and refreshing. Warm in the sun, but with a breeze, and chilly in the shade. Related: I'm wearing socks today!

September 21, 2012


So, my other favorite birthday present was from Jeremy & Kathleen. They gave me a Kindle - which is so perfect for me that it makes my brain hurt. I didn't even know how much I wanted one until they gave it to me (just before a fabulous dinner at Ludivine - easily one of the best restaurants in Oklahoma City, and definitely the most Durham-y). But Jeremy and Kathleen knew.

Because, fuck yes, I love to read. As part of my morning routine, as part of my precious air travel experience, as part of my general ongoing development as a human being. But. I'm also addicted to The Never-Ending Edit. To continuously paring down my wardrobe and belongings to the most beautiful and most useful. And books fall into a grey area here - because I find the information beautiful and useful, but damn, books take up a lot of space.

My "gentleman's library filled with over-stuffed Chesterfield sofas, whiskey vault, multiple roaring fireplaces, and books up to the ceiling" dreamings is in direct conflict with my "living in a modernist cabin in the wilderness with spare Scandinavian furniture and only the belongings I can carry in my fabulous leather backpack while I forage for wild mushrooms" dreamings. You know?

So this Kindle is my next step towards a minimalist library. I don't think I'll ever be able to get rid of all my books - some hold sentimental value that I can't shake, and some exist solely to be leafed through and touched. Behold, the power of design! But about 75% of my books are just fiction that I enjoy revisiting from time to time for the story. And now, I'll be able to carry all those stories with me on a significantly smaller footprint.

September 19, 2012


Micah is an amazing gift-giver. Like I said, he orchestrated my whole day to be relaxing and fabulous, so that in itself was a gift. And I also got presents! He presented them to me at various points throughout the day for maximum effect.

First, five bottles of carefully selected red wines. It's my drink, and I'm constantly trying to figure out what I like (and, honestly, what the difference between different types even is). Then, I got a box of the most beautifully designed and packaged tea I have ever seen. I'm pretty sure I'm keeping that box forever - and you guys know how I am about keeping things. Also! The tea is delicious. Subtle and ever-so-faintly floral.

(Speaking of keeping things! When the time came for Micah to wrap my thoughtful gifts, I had to sheepishly confess that, in a now regrettable fit of minimalism, I purged most of my desk/office supplies, including the scotch tape. Dude dealt with it like a boss though - he simply wrapped both wrappable gists in kraft paper and baker's twine COMPLETELY WITHOUT TAPE.)

But, I did have a favorite gift. He gave it to me right before we left for dinner and drinks. A necklace I had off-handedly tweeted about forever ago and then forgotten about. From the creator's website:

"Did you know that small mammals, like foxes, raccoons, and lynxes have penis bones that are disproportionately large to their body sizes? Well, they do. Graceful curves abstract the fact that this was cast from part of an animal's intimate anatomy. We've cast a 2 1/4" lynx penis bone and strung it on a 22" matching chain."

YES. A penis bone necklace. It's so perfect for me I still can't believe such a thing exists. And not only does it exist, I now own one (and have been wearing constantly ever since, and using it as a hilarious prop to make the best/worst puns ever). I can't wait for some stranger to innocently ask me about it in line at Kroger or something. Social awkwardness: the gift that keeps on giving. Happy birthday to ME.

September 17, 2012


Above: Sunday's breakfast. A poached egg on a bed of pesto-roasted potatoes, with sauteed mushrooms, homemade hot pepper jelly, wild green onions, and taleggio.

This weekend was a dream. Figuratively, because all my birthday activities were so thoughtfully planned by Micah, so everything felt like the brightest and most ideal versions of themselves. And literally, because I had no idea how much my birthday-morning massage would knock me out. I barely remember driving home. And I think I may have napped for a few hours, bobbing in and out of consciousness, hearing Micah readying presents, treats, and lunch (some of his grilled greatest-hits). It was still perfect though. As were the dinner (Rue Cler) and drinks (Alley Twenty Six) he treated me to afterwards. And the gifts! More on those later. Dreamy, all of them.

Sunday followed, rainy and unseasonably cool - which is an excuse to do nothing all day if I've ever heard one. I threw the windows open and did "nothing" as only a Virgo can: cleaned, made lists, double-checked upcoming dates and timelines on my calendar, and read. Dreamy.

September 14, 2012


Above: photo by Vienna Glenn Photography. I'd like to say this is from a French-movie-themed boudoir shoot I commissioned for myself, but alas. It is not. The photographer captured me in a rare moment of stillness while preparing for my good friend Ashley's wedding.

Today is my last day as a twenty-seven year-old.

It's been a fabulous, tough-but-rewarding, growing-pains kind of year - I'm starting to shake off the uncertainty of the last decade while refining and taking control of how I want my life to look for the next decade. I'm celebrating the end of twenty-seven by taking the afternoon off, getting my hair cut (I'm totally over trying to grow it out right now), getting my car detailed, and having a drink by myself on a patio somewhere.

Tomorrow, I'm starting off twenty-eight with a massage. Micah is taking me out for dinner, and we're trying out Durham's newest bar. It's going to be an amazing year.

September 12, 2012


I usually get in some quality reading time when travelling, and last week was no exception. I bought three books on a whim on the way to Oklahoma City, each very different, but each pretty indicative of the kinds of content I like to absorb:

Yes. A whole book about fonts. Not for everyone. But a great read for typography devotees and history buffs alike. I left this at Kathleen's house - the Page Six-like story behind the name of one of her favorite fonts (Mrs. Eaves - re: every italic on her blog), paired with the thoughtful analysis of typography's myriad impacts on our everyday lives, make me think she might enjoy it as well.

Sharp Teeth, by Toby Barlow
I picked this up because of, well, the impact of typography on my life and aesthetics. It's written in a poetically-structured kind of free verse that I had never seen before and knew would shape the way I experienced the narrative. And it did. It even kind of affected the way I breathed while reading it. Fun, werewolves-in-L.A. noir fiction - the kind of thing Bret Easton Ellis would write if he wasn't so busy trying to sound cool all the time.

Bursts: The Hidden Patterns Behind Everything We Do, from Your E-mail to Bloody Crusades, by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
I love fiction, for the power it has to transport and distract. But I also love nonfiction, for the power it has to probe and magnify. I love reading about human behavior (it might just be an excuse to think about myself). Not just the big, juicy aspects (serial killers, historical conspiracies) but the intimate, unfathomably small internal processes - for example, tiny sparks in our brains that shape daily perception and decision-making. Albert-Laszlo Barabasi is like Malcolm Gladwell's nerdy best friend: he dives into seemingly mundane aspects of human behavior, and illustrates them on grand scales and with engaging, literary asides until you are just as utterly obsessed as he is. And he would not have been surprised at my recent "burst" of reading activity. Fascinating and educational.

September 10, 2012


Above: Saturday's (very early pre-flight) breakfast. Room service!

I'm back in Durham, my eyes and brain and feet still recovering from last week. Yesterday I even made myself a ghetto foot spa by filling a styrofoam cooler with hot water, sea salt, lavender oil, and lemon. I soaked my feet for about an hour while watching Harry Potter movies, then pumiced all the nasty dead skin off and rehydrated with a mixture of castor oil, baby oil, and lavender oil. It was so relaxing that I'm considering making it a semi-regular thing.

Today I'm starting to oversee a new employee in our creative department at work - it's my first time training and working "over" someone, and it's definitely stretching new managerial muscles. I also moved office spaces and got a new computer, so... yeah. All kinds of transitions. Change. Onward! Upward! ...right after I take a million naps.

September 6, 2012


Bottom two: My hotel room views. I got a corner room!

Like I said, I'm in Oklahoma City all week, coordinating production on a client television shoot. I'm staying in the absolutely magnificent Skirvin Hilton, and it's making my travels feel terribly glamorous.

This trip is equal parts lonely and fabulous, hard and easy, big and small. It's reminding me of the freedom of living alone, and how much I miss sharing a bed and a home with someone. It's feeding my minimalism dreamings by making me believe that I could truly (maybe) live out of a suitcase - while hypocritically enjoying in one of the city's most opulent hotels. It's flexing my organizational muscles and letting my design muscles rest - but not really, because it's hard to turn off creativity. Once an art director, always an art director.

The shoot wraps this afternoon (hopefully), and I'm looking forward to tying up all the loose ends on Friday, sleeping for at least twelve hours in my huge square bed with six pillows, all alone, and then flying home to squeeze in one weekend day with Micah before the week - and work - starts up again.

September 4, 2012


Top two: Sunday's breakfast. Micah's leftover Dain's brunch (crispy sweet potato cake, sauteed tomatoes and corn, Farmhand Foods sausage link) with a fried egg and homemade hot pepper jelly.

Bottom two: Courtesy of the-one-and-only Kathleen. Sweet-spicy sweet potato hash with fried eggs. This is paleo, right?!...

Long weekend! Saturday's breakfast was also amazing - as I said above, we went back to Dain's Place (we are forever going back to Dain's Place, as they change their brunch menu about quarterly). I had this, which is basically a dessert grilled cheese for breakfast (I am forever ordering various versions of grilled cheeses, as they are my favorite thing ever). Saturday, Micah took me to a New Age-y concert he had won tickets for at the Durham Performing Arts Center. We got overdressed and enjoyed ourselves immensely, dispite being completely unfamiliar with the music. Sunday, I flew out to Oklahoma City (I'm coordinating props and wardrobe for another TV shoot). Monday, I spent some quality time with Kathleen and Jeremy, and tried to acclimate to this brutal Oklahoma heat that I'm no longer immune to. 

Today, I'm running around gathering last-minute props and wardrobe. This is going to be one of those super-long, super-tiring, super-rewarding weeks that I think is going to kill me going into it, but then remember fondly looking back it.