March 28, 2013


Above: Some highlights from the last year. See the entire Flickr set here. But maybe have a snack first.

This week (Tuesday, to be exact) marks one full year of Weekend Breakfasts! Main takeaways after seeing the image above: 1) EGGS. We love them. (This also reaffirms, for me, our decision to have chickens when we buy a house. Can you imagine how much better these dishes would've tasted?! I can. In fact, I'm doing it RIGHT NOW. Mmmmmm...) 2) Circles look great in a square grid. 3) I am one lucky (and hungry) woman. 

Here's to a million more years of Weekend Breakfasts.

March 26, 2013


Above: photos of ME ME ME from Micah's Instagram feed.

I don't know if it's because I'm a visual person, or just like looking at myself... but I love when Micah takes pictures of me (and I especially love being in pictures with him – something that we don't have near enough of). Even though these pictures are usually taken after a few drinks, or when I've already taken off my make-up for the night and am sleepy/cranky, or when I don't even know the picture is being taken - he always manages to do me the kind of justice that only someone who knows you (and still loves you) can, you know?

So I guess I really love seeing how he sees me... which is apparently always walking off into the distance, or on the verge of eating. Sounds about right.

March 25, 2013


Top two: Saturday's breakfast. McDonald's breakfast redux! Sharp cheddar, egg and Italian sausage "McMuffin," sweet potato shoestring "hash browns," and "apple pie" crumble. Micah is a genius.

Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Sweet and savory phyllo tarts. Sweet: sauteed vanilla pear and ricotta with granola and homemade habanero honey. Savory: mushroom and spinach scramble with white cheddar, bacon and scallions.

Ah, this weekend. Spring cameth, and Spring ...went...eth away. Micah had a devil of a week at work, so I took him out for dinner and beer at the Federal (our favorite Durham dive-bar-that-serves-disproportionately-inventive-food). Then he took me to Six Plates (we sat right next to the cellar) for dessert and wine and bracket-monitoring.

Sunday was rainy, and blustery, and sunless. We watched movies and old episodes of Cheers (Netflix has all 275 episodes, and I've never seen it before - get ready for lots of Sam and Diane references!) and Micah made fajitas in Jolene, his cast-iron skillet. I also churned the custard I made on Friday (for the most magical chocolate ice cream that I talk about whenever I talk about ice cream), and pushed it all the way to the back of the freezer to set up and deepen in flavor for three whole days, like a goddamn fine wine. It's a practice in patience that I will gladly repeat over and over again.

March 21, 2013


Since my initial introduction to making pasta, I've started to experiment with flavored and stuffed varieties. In the last two weeks, I've made spinach angel hair, and roasted red pepper ravioli (stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, ricotta, garlic, and wild chives).

I love the vibrant colors (and nutrients) that these plants add. I love that I'm starting to gain an intuitive feel for how different ingredients are going to affect the elasticity and texture of the finished product. I love seeing the tiniest of streaks in the dough - or any other imperfections that say "homemade." And I really love having leftover pasta in the freezer – I usually use about half of each batch that day, then freeze the rest for future easy-but-impressive meals.

March 20, 2013


Happy Spring Equinox, everyone!

Today marks the first day of Spring. Spring means the return of non-root vegetables to the Farmer's Market. Spring means strawberries, and longer, warmer days, forsythia and dogwood blossoms, and having to shave your legs regularly again.

I'm celebrating by planting this sage seedling I bought yesterday. I've already started mentally bookmarking cocktail (...and food, I guess) recipes to use it in. I'm also thinking of working from my backyard this afternoon. And maybe howling at the next full moon (March 27th, if you'd like to join in). Anything is possible. It's Spring!

(Previously: What Summer Means)

March 18, 2013


Top two: Saturday's breakfast. Everything bagel with plain cream cheese from Bruegger's. Yes - this definitely turned my poop green.

Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Cackalacky fried egg over roasted vegetables. Side of biscuit and mushroom gravy.

This weekend I honored St. Patrick's Day as tradition dictates, by celebrating way too much. At least I kept it classy though - ducking out of the cold and having wine and crostini at Pizzeria Toro while Micah ran around and took pictures of a nearby carnival / rap video shoot (oh, Durham). Then we headed over to Alley Twenty Six for a few more rounds of wine / beer / crafty cocktails. I crashed early and now here we are: two days away from Spring and back in the workweek.

This week I think I'll start planting seeds or seedlings for whatever form our garden takes this year. My potted kale is still going strong, and my potted rosemary / Christmas topiary seems to love all seasons, but I'm ready to celebrate Spring as tradition dictates - with something fresh and new.

March 14, 2013


Above: my wardrobe credenza and closet. And favorite denim jacket that I've had forever.

So, after a few rounds of The Never-Ending Edit, here's what I'm left with. My current wardrobe. (This doesn't include accessories, socks, or underwear – but I promise I have them, and even wear them from time to time.)

3 long-sleeve shirts
3 boatneck 3/4-length shirts 
8 deep-V short-sleeve shirts
2 chambray button-ups
2 silky racerback tanks
1 peasant top
1 tunic
4 cardigans/wraps
3 sweaters
(27 pieces)

4 pairs pants (2 pairs wide-leg, 1 pair cropped skinny, 1 pair skinny corduroys)
3 pairs jeans (1 pair flares, 2 pairs skinny)
2 pairs shorts
(9 pieces)

5 short dresses
2 long dresses
(7 pieces)

2 winter coats (1 long, 1 short)
1 denim jacket
1 black blazer
2 pairs boots (1 pair biker, 1 pair rain)
9 pairs shoes (1 pair heels, 1 pair wedges, 3 pairs oxfords, 3 pairs flats, 1 pair running)
(15 pieces)

2 pairs pajama pants
1 pair comfy shorts
2 pairs leggings
4 tank tops 
2 t-shirts (1 Duke, 1 Michigan)
(11 pieces)

...which adds up to a grand total of 69 pieces. (Unless my math is wrong, which is very possible...)

I've seen some people limit themselves to a certain number of items, or force themselves to get rid of an item whenever they acquire a new one. I'm not sure what path I'm taking, I just wanted to take stock of what I own. The Never-Ending Edit strikes when it strikes... I'm sure that won't end just because I've made a list. (Though now that I see that extremely sexy yet random number, a little part of me does want to just cut it down to something round and catchy like 50.)

The exercise of tallying and listing everything was more powerful than I expected. I'd highly recommend it if you're even pondering editing down your wardrobe or possessions.

I'm also super-excited that now I have a definitive list I can update whenever I edit or purchase anything in the future. Organization!

UPDATE: I've donated even more since this post.

March 13, 2013


Yesterday morning, I put out two paper grocery bags full of clothes on my front porch for VVA pick-up. This round was slightly different than past donations, in that it had a bit of a theme: color.

Last year I wrote about my style wheelhouse – what I gravitate towards, buy multiples of, and wear constantly. I came to the conclusion that pattern just wasn't for me, that I'm more of a dark-neutrals-with-bright-redhead-pops kinda woman. But even in rereading that now, I can start to see The Never-Ending Edit slowly work its way a little farther into my brain (and heart). Bright color was an exception then. Maybe I just wasn't ready to commit to something more streamlined, more extreme, more... edited.

But, just like clockwork, a few months pass, the season changes, and I revisit my closet again to see what's worth keeping. The first few items into the "donate" pile were brightly-colored versions of items I also had in dark neutrals (like these corduroys). They were exactly the same in every way except color, yet they weren't getting near as much wear. I know a pattern (pun intended!) when I see one. So I leaned into it.

(Though not without a practical pause now and then. I have two winter coats, one short and one long. The long one is HELLO FIRE ENGINE RED, and I kept it – because I need a long winter coat!)

(...OR DO I?...)

Now I'd guess my wardrobe is about 40% black, 40% grey, and the remaining 20% is nude, white, navy/chambray, with a rare "pop" of rust or evergreen – the last bastion of my redhead-palette past. It feels more "me" than it ever has. Each round, I get a bit closer to a closet where I can unthinkingly reach in, grab anything, and wear it with any other item, have it coordinate, and fit my body in a comfortable and pleasing way.

Many of you have been curious as to what exactly I do own (or rather – choose to keep through round after round of The Never-Ending Edit). So tomorrow, I'll break down my wardrobe in all its shrinking entirety.

March 11, 2013


Top two: Saturday's breakfast. Egg pile! Toast square, fresh spinach, sauteed asparagus, egg fried in balsamic red pepper sauce, shiitake mushrooms, and shaved parmesan. Side of rosemary roasted sweet and purple potatoes.

Bottom two: Sunday's breakfast. Breakfast sandwich! Toasted whole wheat pan bread with melted cheddars, avocado, cilantro, spinach, and scrambled egg. Side of fruit salad.

This weekend was all about celebrating the sun's slow but steadily-increasing presence in our lives. On Saturday, we walked around the farmer's market and checked out Nomadic Trading Company, a worldy and eclectic warehouse emporium that's been unknowingly right under my nose for years. Then we enjoyed a beer outside at Fullsteam, went home, and I set up a chair in the backyard to soak up even more sun (and watch Micah do some yardwork).

On Sunday, we drove out to Eno River State Park, and hiked slowly along the river to once again take advantage of the perfect sunny-with-a-breeze spring weather. Everywhere we looked, trees were budding, and tiny flowers were pushing through three months' worth of dead leaves. And once again, we set up camp in the backyard afterwards, had a drink, and soaked up all we could until the sun set and we were forced inside for the night.

This week, I'm looking forward to temperatures in the sixties, and after-work walks with Micah, both sponsored by the bonus hour of daylight we just got. I'm also donating another round of clothes, and laying out for you guys exactly what my wardrobe consists of now.

March 6, 2013


Photo via my Instagram.

Yet another drink that I probably didn't actually invent, but at the time thought I did. I call it: the Sangmosa! Not quite a sangria, and not quite a mimosa, but it makes you just as casually brunch-tipsy as either.

Yet another kitchen-sink cocktail born on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I had an open bottle of lambrusco, and a lot of citrus laying around. I mixed mostly lambrusco, a little orange / grapefruit / lemon juice, and a few lemon slices in a wine glass. Done. Like its parents, it would be easily to scale up, or add fruity liqueurs to. Best served in late-winter sunshine with no plans (besides watching your boyfriend grill and soaking up some vitamin D). Cheers.

March 4, 2013


Above: Sunday's breakfast. Crisp tortilla topped with Micah's home-refried beans, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, avocado, and a garlicky fried egg.

I actually made this Weekend Breakfast!, as Micah was a bit... incapacitated after spending a night out with new friends. We also later enjoyed some of the leftover fettuccine I froze last week - still obsessed.

This week I'm simply waiting until Sunday at 2am, when we "spring forward" an hour and begin to feel a little bit more of Spring in the air. I've been missing the sun – so much so that I've actually scheduled time this afternoon to just go sit in the backyard and soak it up for a bit.