Sunday, December 2, 2012

Music: Solange ~ "Losing You"

I love this! Solange (Beyoncé's rad younger sis) filmed this video with the colorful and fascinating members of the Le Sape society.  Le Sape, which stands for Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People), is a fascinating subculture of the Congo in which men  dress in beautiful designer and handmade clothing while living in abject poverty.  The Sapeur culture puts a heavy emphasis on high standards of smart dress and personal cleanliness among the Congolese regardless of any societal differences.

If you'd like, you can read more about Le Sape here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Brown Sugar Cookies

There have been some amazing things happening around these parts since entering Funemployment.

One such thing?  I've started cooking and baking.  While I understand that these two skills are the norm for most people living in
Americathe world, I'm more than happy to order takeout from Thelonious Monkfish  4 days out of the week and subsist on ice cream from Toscanini's for the other three.

I kid, I do.  A few months ago I was able to hide behind the excuse that I was "too busy to cook", but I have a lot of time on my hands now and frankly, it was about time that I stopped being lazy and started taking action.

I'm getting there, sloooowly.  One of my biggest successes so far happened last Friday.  My mother hitched a ride with a family friend and made a last minute trip up to Cambridge to visit me and my brother.  As (my) family gatherings are wont to do, it expanded to include my cousin, husband, husband's friend, and husband's friend's girlfriend.  I love that I, along with John, have created an atmosphere where folks feel absolutely comfortable popping in for a visit.  I don't love that I never seem to have enough food on hand to feed them.

Tea time is a pretty big tradition for my family, and when 4pm rolls around if I don't have tea and a biscuit, there's hell to pay.  Tea is never lacking in our household, but I didn't feel like serving my guests store-bought treats from the bodega across the street.  For the first time since moving into our house (a year and two months ago), I had flour, butter, sugar, eggs, spices, and baking powder in large enough quantities to attempt to make cookies.  WELL, they weren't a disaster.  In fact, they were pretty delicious, and all 24 cookies were gone by the end of the night.

Because the cookies were such a success, I'd love to share the recipe with you.  It's fast and foolproof, but I was pretty proud :

Brown Sugar Cookies 
(You can find the recipe here)

You will need:
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

How to Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Place the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a separate bowl and mix well. Add to the butter mixture and beat until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.

Drop large teaspoonfuls of dough onto an unbuttered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake until the edges are just brown, 8 to 12 minutes.

Let cookies cool, then serve with some tea or a glass of cold milk.  Success!

I hope you enjoy. xxxx

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Emerson Fry New York

I really like Emerson Fry New York (formerly EmersonMade?) clothing.  It's simple, clean, and so pretty.  I'm pinching pennies at the moment, but it's always good to have something to work towards!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend Travels: New York, NY

I usually don't travel much in my day-to-day life, but recently I've been making all sorts of trips to not-so-far-off places.  I spent this weekend visiting dear friends in New York (Brooklyn and Manhattan to be exact) and experiencing what the city had to offer.

Cambridge is my home, but goodness I love New York.  I love the kind of energy it produces--manic, magnetic, and buzzing.  Oh--and the people--the people!  Everyone is beautiful in New York, even if they're not.  How is that? How does that work?  Is there something in the water?

Maybe I drank the Kool-Aid, but luckily I like the taste of it.  Here's a sampling of what I did and who I saw while I was there (sans photos because I am sadly without a camera and I'm not the best cameraphone photographer):

Visited my famous blog friend (who also happens to be one of my dearest real-life friends).

Ate at this delicious sandwich shop.

Drooled over the goods at this store.

Ate at another delicious restaurant.

Brunched at this other delicious restaurant.

Then I finished off the weekend by having a home-cooked meal at my parents' house in Connecticut.  Not a bad weekend if I say so myself.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Portland, ME (a cozy city)

I just had one of the loveliest weekends in a very long while.  John and I took a trip to Portland, Maine to see one of his childhood (teenagehood?) friends marry one very lovely lady.  I have lived in New England for 17 years.  Somebody please tell me how I made it all this time without visiting Maine?

Portland is the largest city in Maine and unbelievably charming.  Cobblestone streets, brick buildings, delicious food, and lighthouses.  So cozy.

I had such a good time that I forgot to take any pictures, but here's what the streets of Old Port look like:

{Photo via Google}

We eschewed the usual hotel joints and opted to stay at a B&B called Morrill Mansion.  Again, charmant.  Morrill Mansion is an 1800s era townhouse that now functions as an inn.  It's small and quiet, located in the heart of Portland's West End district.  There are seven rooms available, homemade peanut butter squares, a huge DVD collection, and...wait for it....WIRELESS INTERNET.  John and I stayed in the Burnham Room, located on the second floor next to the snacks :).  As an added bonus, our innkeeper David was respectful, nice and full of good recommendations.

Everything I had heard and read about Portland prior to visiting indicated that it is a huge foodie city.  I saw and ate nothing that would indicate otherwise.  If you go, I think you should very seriously consider going to Fore Street Restaurant for dinner.  Fore Street believes that "good food travels the shortest possible distance between the farm and the table", and their menu changes daily based on what is available that day from a community of Maine farmers, fishermen, and cheesemakers.  I feel like Boston hasn't quite caught on to the farm-to-table movement yet, so this was a good opportunity for us to experience some local cuisine.  I had sardines to start, John Dory for a main(e) course, and a peach shortcake/trifle-type thing for dessert.  John had a tomato salad to start, roasted chicken as an entree, and a chocolate tart for dessert.  It sounds so simple, but I do not have the time nor the words to describe the complexity of this dinner to you.  That said, it's a great place for dinner.  A word to the wise- go with a reservation.  We went without and ended joining a line of people outside the restaurant who were waiting to be put on the wait list.  I think we ate at 5:45, which is prime senior citizen time if I'm not mistaken.

On Sunday it was raining, so we headed out to the Freeport Outlets.  This is, as the name indicates, an outlet mall.  It's also the place of the original L.L. Bean.  Sadly, we left with no fuzzy slippers or monogrammed backpacks, but rest assured--it's all there if you need it!

The wedding was pretty awesome.  Our friends know how to throw a pretty epic party.  Their reception was held at Grace Restaurant.  The restaurant is housed in a renovated church and there are high arches and wood beams, stained glass windows, and a bar where the pews are supposed to be.  The kitchen is on the altar.  The DJ spun where the organist sits, and we danced the night away under the watch of some higher being. ;)

We got on the road pretty early the next day, but not without making a stop at Portland Dry Goods Co. for a few souvenirs.  I wanted to take everything in the store home with me, but since I am on a budget, I ended up with some Portland-made earrings.  John ended up with a pretty sweet Western-style shirt.  We didn't get to visit the Portland harbor islands, but this just means that we will have to make a return trip.

I would highly recommend a weekend in Portland if you have never been.  It was such a nice respite from our daily life.  I imagine it would be pretty awesome in the colder months as well--fewer tourists!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Well, hello! It's been a while.

Hello ladies and gentlemen!

After a wonderfully eventful year, I'm back to blogging again.  I'm happy to be back. Stay tuned!