Archive | February, 2010

Things I Love Thursday

25 Feb

<3 I love that Rhea and I do little shout outs to each other, because it’s nice to appreciate each other. And when she manages to do this, even when she has so much going on in her life, as she battles MS. I really adore her and all of strength.

<3 Trips to Niagara where I wear a pretty dress and imagine all sorts of funny little things and smile and curl up and I’m very happy.

<3 watching movies all day long and eating a lot of bowls of fruity pebbles.

<3 Skins. My crush on Cook. Coveting Katie Fucking Fitch’s red hair.

<3 watching the Darjeeling Limited and remembering listening to certain songs from the soundtrack, laying on my couch with Ryan and drinking port on a very lonely christmas and smiling at the memory of having such a great friend.

<3 the fact that my mom thinks it would be a good idea to sell the beautiful mahogany piano in our living room, that I never really learned to play, so that I can use the money for my insane and foolhardy backpacking trip. I love my mom. she’s amazing.

<3 again, those words ‘i miss you’, but this time, for real. And written so many times that it becomes a mantra.

<3 Nicole and getting to be the housewife who fixes her yummy dinners for when she comes home from work.

<3 I’m going to go ahead and give Cap’n Crunch its own entry.

I’m so tired and I have so many things to do today, before my plane leaves, so that’s it for today. But I loved seeing everyone I saw and doing all the things I did and I am happy that I know so many fucking amazing people.

Never Travel With Anyone You Do Not Love

22 Feb

I like to write stories and I like to write stories about things I have done or seen, so it makes sense that I really love to travel. When I was younger I was so nervous about being uncomfortable, and I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, that I felt that it was an impossibilty to ever really get very far away from my home town. I grew up in upstate NY (I’m practically Canadian we’re so far north), so my youthful travels were mainly to Canada and nearby cities for concerts and camping. My parents had traveled extensively during their lives, as my father was in the Air Force, but I never had the travel bug. Maybe because I spent so much time as a small child moving around the world (I was born in Germany, then we lived in Cornwall, New Mexico, and then NY and in between all those moves my parents loved to go visit different places in Europe….camping with a 6 month old!?!), I never wanted to go anywhere that wasn’t absolutely familar. I didn’t even like to throw things out or rearrange furniture in my room because when things changed it made me very nervous.

So I think everyone was really shocked when I suddenly packed up my bags and moved to Scotland. And then didn’t freak out. And then didn’t come back. I’d taken a holiday there with an ex boyfriend a year before I moved there and trust me, I would have never gone that first time without him: I needed him to hold my hand and be the outgoing one. But for some reason, once I got there, once I saw that I could explore things on my own and make friends on my own, everything changed. When my white skirt got covered in mud on the first day during a hike in the highlands, I just laughed it off and washed it out in the sink later that night.  (For all my friends from Scotland, this was my first night in Stromeferry in Gordon’s house!). And by the time I got home, I was different, although I didn’t notice it at all yet.

I haven’t travelled as much as I wish I have; if I had an infinite amount of money (or a lovely trustfund), I’d be all over the place, every day. I also still retain a big part of that childhood need for comfort: I much prefer to live in a place then just visit it. So, when you spend  years living in a place, it does cut down travel time…

But this summer I am terribly excited that I have been planning on taking the Orient Express from London to Istanbul and stopping in a lot of places in between, like Brussels, Paris, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary. If I don’t run out of money, Italy and Greece are on the list too. You can do the whole train trip in about a week, but I plan on doing stop-overs in a lot of cities and spending a month on the whole trip. A month could be a long time, and I thought to myself that I needed to find a travel companion, but it dawned on me as people looked over their work schedules with a furrowed brow that I certainly wouldn’t mind going it alone.

Because traveling alone means I can talk to anyone at anytime, write in my notebook without seeming rude, wear the same dress for five days in a row, and not have to visit anything I don’t want to see or, worse, miss out on something I want to see. Also, for some reason, whenever I am with someone else, I get almost nervous, like I won’t be doing things just the way they want them to be done, and then I mess up a bit. But when I am on my own, I hardly ever get lost (or if I do, I can usually resolve it pretty quickly), and I’m less stressed. If things aren’t perfect, I only have myself to worry about and that eases my worries.

Being the terrible girl I am, I did wonder how I would manage to survive a month on a train with limited luggage. I had already decided that the only bag I am bringing is my rucksack. And EVERYTHING must fit in it. So I was all productive (dorky) today and made a polyvore set. honestly, I’m beginning to learn the art of packing light. It’s taken years and the realization that if I really love an item of clothing I will want to wear only that, no matter what. So, if I only pack one dress that I really love, I’m good to go and that saves so much packing room. Another reason to travel alone: freedom to admit that changing your clothes every day is totally over-rated and not nearly as important as the story you are going to get out of the adventure.

And now, to bastardize my hero Ernest Hemingway:

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Scotland as a young woman, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Scotland is a moveable feast.

and also:

Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.



How To Make a Starbucks Chai Latte and stop having to leave the house

20 Feb

Whilst I know that this is a writing blog, part of writing (for me anyway) is drinking copious amounts of tea. My friend Rhea and I have been talking about how on earth to recreate a Starbucks Chai Latte at home. It’s important to me because I spend entirely too much money on these addictive drinks. In the winter, they warm me up, in the summer they cool me down (oh, an iced latte is heavenly!) and give me a jolt year round. Love, love, love. But leaving the house to purchase them means I am not getting as much work done as I should be. Plus, I am not a high powered executive, so spending all that money is not great for me either.

Now, the problem with re-creating these is that Starbucks uses a concentrated liquid, a flavor shot if you will, to make this drink. And yes, I suppose you could do some google hunting and purchase this flavor shot and a milk steamer and an espresso machine and so on, but you want one right now (I know I do) and so, let’s pretend that this isn’t an option and move on from there.

What I currently have in my kitchen to work with: Tazo Decaffeinated Chai Tea bags, Tetley Black Tea Bags, Splenda, water, and milk.  I wish my chai tea had caffeine, but it doesn’t. I don’t suppose it matter either way, since my black tea does.

Here’s exactly what I did to make it taste JUST like my Starbucks baby:

With a medium to large sauce pan (the one I originally used was too small and my milk boiled over the edges. Avoid that, it’s messy), put about a cup of water and two chai tea bags and one black tea bag  in and bring to a slow boil. I let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

The simmering is super super important because you are making your own tea concentrate basically. The water should half and the tea remaining should be super dark. To this, add about three tablespoons of Splenda (if you are using sugar, I guess you need more? my mom says Splenda is sweeter than sugar) and a bit more water…I eyeballed it, but maybe a 1/3 cup of water. (PS, the tea bags are still in there!).

Keep simmering until the water steams away again and the liquid in your sauce pan is thicker. It;s not going to look like a syrup or anything, but if you really wanted to, you could keep adding sugar and water, slowly, until it does look a like a syrup. I just found this wasn’t necessary for my purposes. But maybe if you wanted to make a lot to use up later on, this would be a good idea. I just didn’t do it, so I can’t tell you if it works).

This whole time, I didn’t really have to pay any attention to it, because I kept the heat low and put it in a pretty good sized sauce pan. If you wanted to make it for more people, I would honestly say you don’t need to add a lot more tea bags, just another chai one and another black one, because you are simmering it so much and for so long that it starts to get very very strong. Obviously.

The only part you have to pay very close attention to the pot is the next step, because it involves boiling milk.

So check the amount of liquid in the pot. Again, I just eyeballed things, but for two cups of chai tea, which is what I ended up with, you want the concentrated tea to be at about 1/2 cup and then I added another 1/2 cup of water. Then I added about 1/3 cup of milk (I used 2 %) and brought to a boil. Then I quickly removed from the heat.

Then, because the tea bags had broken (all the boiling really destroys those bags), I used a small strainer and poured the liquid equally between two mugs. There was some left over and I just topped off the mugs later.

The milk will NOT be super super foamy, sorry. That’s what happens when you don’t have a steamer. But it does taste exactly like the one I always order.  You could always buy one of these frother things, which my old flatmate Damon used to have at my place in Edinburgh. It’s nice to use with coffee and stuff, but if you use it, it does get a bit complicated because you sort of have to choose between having foam on the top or having the milk mixed in really well into the latte. I prefer to boil the milk with the tea because it makes it taste like Starbucks. But you could always do a mix of the two…

It does take a good bit of work, but I think I could just make a larger batch next time and leave the extra in a tea pot that will keep it warm and then just microwave any future cups.

I also like the idea of making a tea syrup to use as well, so maybe I will test that one out next time I have a bit of time to kill. Like next time I have some writing to get done ;)

Things I Love Thursday

18 Feb

<3 Canada and all Canadians! I had a great time this weekend, so thank you so much Ben and Peyton and June and Jeff and Matt and all the other amazing people I got to meet. I had a great time dressing up and making gin bears and shopping at Kensington Market and eating amazing Italian food and exploring Honest Ed’s and taco bell twice in one day (stop judging us, it’s awesome) and mangos and trash bags full of baked goods and the winter Olympics and dancing around to Miley Cyrus and Marco Longfelllow and Amber Augusta (hehehe) and people loving my coat and tramping around in the early morning in my pjs. Also, Popples. Always Popples.

<3 Ambition. Having some. It’s been pretty cool.

<3 Long conversations that trail through emails to texts to msn and then back again.

<3 Feeling excited.

<3 Cowboy hats.

<3 Did we mention Taco Bell?

<3 Rash decisions.

<3 Long drives.

<3 Niagara Falls.

<3 Singing along to the Violent Femmes at top volume.

<3 Better Off Ted and The Middle. Totally enjoying these two sitcoms. Really brilliant. I actually laughed out loud about a hundred times at Better Off Ted…

<3 the word ‘adore’. A fan of that just now. Best when mixed with cutting wit.

<3 “It Happened One Night.”

 <3 This link…it’s all cute vintage slips and dresses and adorableness: Here’s Looking At You Kid

<3 getting an etsy shop up and running so that I can maybe sell my pillows and get my little butt to Istanbul first class ;) Rabbit Hearts at Etsy

…also, the shoes in this picture that look just like ones I have!

Writing Prompt

17 Feb

Oh wow, this is such a great picture…

My Hero

16 Feb

I sometimes wonder if it is wrong to love Penelope Trunk as much as I do? I think, in real life, we would probably argue a lot and that she wouldn’t be that fun to have drinks with. But she also reminds me a lot of women that I have had in my life that I have thought of as mentors. And I love her latest blog post, “Do you want to be interesting or do you want to be happy?”

Well bunnies, I think it’s pretty clear which one I pick and that’s why I love Penelope. She absolutely would rather be interesting, no matter how much she attempts to live her life in such a way that would make her happy. When faced by the choice of doing the sane, rational thing, the thing that will give your life stability and comfort, or leaping before you even know what you are jumping for, Penelope is always out on a ledge, flailing around. If she’s afraid of failure, you can’t see it on her. And she’s not some crazy blessed person: she fails all the time. She’s gone bankrupt, she’s been divorced, she’s lost book deals she already spent the advance for, she had a very public scandal about her tweeting about her miscarriage. She has no filter and this gets her in trouble all the time. But she picks herself right back up and goes at it again, almost instantly. Of course, she may change her mind about what she wants to do and alter her course every two seconds. Who cares? Let’s be honest: what makes her happy IS being interesting, even if it’s only to herself. She is absolutely my “Fuck Fear” hero.

I love this article as well, My Financial History, and Stop Whining About Your Job. Everytime I start to get a little bit stressed, I re-read it and I think: yeah, if you are even a little bit unhappy with what you are doing, pick up and change it, even if it means moving to Wisconsin. Or Montana, as the case may be ;)

This qoute should totally be tattooed on everyone’s forehead:

I’m not saying you have to live in rural Alabama or forgo having kids. I’m saying you need to be an adult, and realize that adults make big decisions. Things don’t just happen to you. You have power to decide what your life will be like.

And if you set your life up so you can’t change jobs, take personal responsibility for that. It didn’t just happen to you. You are making decisions about that.

Pin Ups

15 Feb

Light Casting Day!

12 Feb

Today is such an amazing day, so take advantage of it and have a beautiful one…

Lightcasting Day

Things I Love Thursdays

11 Feb

I love that I got picked up from the train station by the person I will always consider my twin. I love that while it was strange and sad to see him again after nearly four years, it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was all silence and that jaw line that still cracks open my heart and juts right in to fill up all the seams. Saying goodbye yesterday was incredibly, unexpectedly, overwhelming and I did cry. And I loved that I cried for all the right reasons this time. Holding my hand and saying things I wish that he had said years ago when I was feeling lost…we’ve both lost a lot in this time, but it’s building right back up and I’m happy we got to get some closure. I didn’t say it at the time, but I would do the same for you, no questions asked. dove le parole non sono il sentimento rimane

I am madly in love with freckles, across the nose, splattered over shoulder blades, and running down a back.

Aprons. Beautiful aprons that look like dresses from Anthropologie. Things made of lace that are not actually aprons, but would be good if you were baking at the Playboy Mansion. Sewing aprons.

Baking. It always tops the list, always, but this past week I made a lemon cake with raspberry pie filling mixed in the batter and then frosted with lemon fosting, for Christian’s dinner party. And no joke, that cake was *devoured* in about 30 seconds. I was all blushes and smiles. Then I baked cherry chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. You guys know what so much baking means…

Dinner at Christian’s. Oh, wow. I was so happy to see Christian, cos he’s sooo amazing, but having him cook such a fantastic and terribly grown up dinner for me and Tedd and Adrianne…it was the best welcome home a gal could get. Cortland will always be a favorite place, how could it not be, with people like Christian and Adrianne running around. Seperately, spending another good chunk of day with everyone where we went to Ithaca and ate possibly the most delicious broccoli soup and helped buy a very lucky girl some pretty jewelry and other things from Jabberwock and then Tedd bought us cookies, which us girls went mad over.

RHEA AND THOM!!! Totally the highlight of being at home was the fact that the coolest girl in the world was *also* in Syracuse, apartment hunting. I’d say that it is total providence, the two of us managing to meet up like this. And so it was long car rides and chai tea lattes and puppies named Riley and the world’s cutest couple chatting away like we’d never even been apart for a day. I’d never really met Thom before, but I started the day off with a big hug because, any husband of Rhea’s is obviously the best guy in the world. Of course. And who knows, NY is a better place for having them in it, so maybe it will lure me back without too many misgivings.

When you get swept up before you even get in the door. Because that is everything you really want, isn’t it?

New business cards that proudly proclaim: Writer. Fuck yeah.

When I hear Em’s voice on the phone.

Not caring anymore which way is up or down and just deciding to let the cards fall where they may. Cos ‘if home is where the heart is, then we’re all just fucked’ but that’s okay because ‘a falling star fell from your heart and landed in my arms’ and ‘the stars and moon have all been blown out’ and now ‘i’m just ghosting.’ Thank you other people for writing me some lines to put here. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain…

I love that so many people have done so many awful things because it forced me to get going, get moving, and I get to be where I am just now, which is nice. And I want to hold onto this feeling, this knowledge, because when the shit goes harsh again, which it will, I want to remember that life is just an endless series of jumping from one lily pad to the next and they can’t all have pretty flowers on them. But this one does. And that’s great. And there will be lots more.

Patience. I don’t have any, but I would fucking love to get some.

Genevieve and her insanity, which nearly matches mine. I wish she wasn’t on Skye or I wasn’t here and we could rock out and see who could capture the most kisses. ;) And I’m glad that we didn’t let boys with Star Wars sheets come between us. ha.

Best mates. I hate that the way I live my life means they all live at least a 7 hour flight away from at any given moment, but I love that I can talk to them anytime I want and get a little verbal hug.

Punk Rock Is Dead

10 Feb
Punk Rock is dead so let’s burn an effigy of the mangled torrent of tears he left scrawled across the sky and sing songs about how we never liked him anyway, even though it tears us up inside to admit defeat. But Punk Rock is dead and we lay his body at your feet, hoping that we can trade this in for something new and different and screaming howls of mercy in the air, like duct taped dogs burning in the trees. Wishing he’d never forget the look on our faces when he said all those things he didn’t mean.

And now they ask, can I be in a story? Can I get a line or two and can you make it out like I’m the hero, the anti-hero, the underdog circling the hydrant and pissing on all the papers so that the words are soppy and our love is an unbelievable tale that never came to fruition so I can get that starring role in your memory, replayed, re-wound, projected up behind your eyelids when you go to sleep at night and it’s all white teeth gleaming off the side of the mountain?

But Punk Rock is dead and he was the nicest thing I could have dreamt up, scribbled across the pages over and over again, making black clouds of his name on all the notebooks strewn across my room, every line in every song has a piece of his bone, grinded up to make my bread. and they’ll never know what it is to be curled up next to me and have me really care, not like the broken vinyl cutting into my chest, all bones and blood and pick up sticks of lungs and ribs and a heart that beats, beats brains in and bats out and basically

fucks you over.

Cos it was only a dream, like a hip hop machine, bouncing around from the mockney to the gringo, hipster lingo sliding from his tongue down to his toes, punk rock died and he never fucking rose. so we all did a dance and we all went home, from east side thrilla to north end land, up ground down town, flights and plans, rollie in hand, but he never fucking liked her, stand by your man.

Sleep in beds with cocaine heads while the boys are just next door; write stories about it, and we’ll never fucking doubt it, cos we needed more two syllable words. if you read between the lines, and I know you’re here this time, i unearthed something under the snow that I never thought I’d see, but I’m not real sure if it was meant for me, loaded up and kicked back and slung over deep wells of pseudo love songs that tickled my ribs when my best mate pulled that shit, pulled me for kicks, kicks through kids and hits for lips cos a kiss with a fist would be better than this.


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