Friday, November 20, 2009

Good Morning (just barely)

My sister arrived from Washington last night, so I am sleee-py this morning. The water for my french press can't boil fast enough. Luckily she's on west coast time, which means I'll be able to get some work done before she wakes up.

In my not-so early morning daze, I've been waking up by looking at some of my favorite websites. I always find it interesting when someone reveals a regular stop on their daily web route, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite places with you.

The Hostess with the Mostess combines many of my favorite things: good photography, food,decorating tips. There are a many good Thanksgiving ideas up right now.

100 Layer Cake is a wedding blog. My favorite posts are the Real Wedding ones. I've been compiling ideas from this site... premature? maybe. But you can't be too prepared.

Websites like F My Life and My Life is Average can be pretty entertaining when you've got some time to kill. My favorite of this genre is It Made My Day. The snippets on here aren't quite as negative as the other two. My favorite recent one: "My brother of 4 years old said, “I don’t really believe in God. I don’t think that God exists. I think he’s made up. Maybe we should ask Santa.” IMMD"

One of my professors is confessed earlier this semester that he is addicted to Arts and Letters Daily. Out of curiosity, I checked it out. And sure enough, I always find something interesting to read. Most recently, this article about Jane Austen was a fascinating read.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We've been talking about going to see the Nutcracker this year. I'm super excited. I haven't been since I was a kid, and I don't really remember it all that well. There's just something so romantic about dressing up for the ballet, especially at Christmas. If I had a surplus of cash, I would get myself this dress from J Crew to go in. I love the spiced wine color.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Santa's Helper: The Reader

Okay, so this is cheating because I'm pretty much making a list of the books I want to read, but I'm a reader, so it works. Here are a few suggestions for the bibliophile in your life.

I loved Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Since I've been a vegetarian for nearly four years now, I was really excited to hear about his latest book Eating Animals, which is about Foer's own struggle deciding between being a vegetarian or an omnivore. While I had been hoping for another work of fiction since I loved his last book so much, I am very much looking forward to reading some of his nonfiction on a topic that is important to me.

Let the Great World Spin has topped many lists his year. All I keep hearing is that it is very powerful. I think this will be one I tackle over Christmas break.

Oh, how I love Augusten Burroughs! Mikael already told me he's getting me his latest book You Better Not Cry, which is a collection of essays about his holiday experiences. If you've read Running With Scissors, you'll understand why this sure to be a hilarious read.

I want a Nook. It's official. It would be so handy for reading my pdfs for class. Also, I took a peek at one in person last week, and it was quite sleek and the screen was easy to read. I also enjoyed watching the dude at Barnes and Noble try to convince an Amish couple that they needed one. Not exactly the best target audience.

And what book lover doesn't love bookmarks. I love these wooden bookmarks I found on Etsy. I especially like the Little Red Riding Hood one. These would make great stocking stuffers.

Friday, November 13, 2009

'tis the season

. . . for Christmas cups at Starbucks. Yay!!! I have officially had my first peppermint mocha of the season. I know they have peppermint syrup year-round, but I always save my peppermint mocha order for the holiday season. It makes me feel festive.

I'm headed home for the weekend. Not exactly sure what our plans are. Mikael only has one day off of work (he has been working toooooo much), so we have to fit in all our quality time into Saturday. The rest of my time will be spent writing a 20-page paper. Oh, the joys of grad school.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Santa's Helper: Dad

My dad is surprisingly easy to shop for. He loves hockey, nonfiction, woodworking, and anatomy. Odd, I know, but that's him. Here are a few things I've gotten him in the past, or may get him in the future.
One year I got my dad a truck very similar to this truck. I was at a loss, but I thought that it'd be fun to get him something different. It was a huge hit, and we all spent Christmas afternoon taking turns playing with it.

This year, I already bought this book for my dad. I saw a review for it in Newsweek and knew it was right up his alley. He loves history books, so I'm always on the lookout for a good one.

Okay, so this might be a bit selfish, because I kind of want this DVD series. But I know my dad would love it.
When it comes to the men in my life, you can't go wrong with a sports jersey. I once I got Mikael a Denmark (he's danish) hockey jersey with his favorite number and name on the back. It was a huge hit. My mom also got a Red Wings jersey for my dad one year, also a big hit.

A few years ago I got Mikael a little putt putt set. I didn't exactly think it through since it spent the next month taking up a large part of our living room. However, it would make a great gift for my dad.

There you go. Get Dad something fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sick Day

I am not feeling well at all. I know I'm supposed to give you my second installment of Santa's Helper, but I just haven't had the time or energy. Check back tomorrow. I'll give it my best shot. Plus, no one has suggested who to shop for this time. So, who's the toughie on your list this year?

In the meantime, here are some cheery Google logos. These made me happy all week. Who didn't grow up with the Sesame Street? My favorite is the Count and Oscar the Grouch. I've always been partial to Oscar, even as a kid. That speaks volumes, I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cozy Up Your Coffee

Confession: I hit up Starbucks at least three times a week. I'm sure there are people out there more addicted than me, but I feel like I go too often considering the cost. In my Etsy "pouncing" I recently discovered a bunch of coffee cozies. I haven't purchased one, yet, but I'm thinking about it. If I'm gonna spend all that money at Starbucks, I might as well not use a new cardboard sleeve every time.

Black and White from EcoSmart
Felt with tree from by Mindy
Button from OC Styles
Knitted bear from Monkey Travel Club

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nerdy Fun

A couple of my friends recently introduced me to Potter Puppet Pals. Now, when I'm feeling a little low, in addition to America's Funniest Videos montages, I watch some of these. This one is my favorite.

And if that doesn't make your Monday, I don't know what will.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Much Better

Today is Friday. And I'm no longer alone.

The whole weekend is ahead, and we don't have a single plan.

The only thing I hope to accomplish this weekend is trying a recipe I found for pancakes from scratch. And sleeping.

Happy weekend!

C is for Cookie

Last night, I decided to make these cookies. I saw them featured on Cupcakes and Cashmere, so I thought I'd give them a try. They turned out good, but I wouldn't say they're the best cookie I've ever eaten.

These are:
These are orange cookies. They are so soft and perfectly sweet. A few years back, my mom brought home a batch of orange cookies from an Amish bakery in Indiana. We went nuts over them and proceeded to scour the Internet looking for a recipe. After some tweaking and combining of a few different recipes, we've come up with a pretty close imitation of what we enjoyed so many years ago. So, today I'm sharing this recipe with you. You can add it to your Christmas arsenal.

1 c. shortening
2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. orange juice
4 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 c. butter
4. c powdered sugar
3 T. thawed orange juice concentrate

Beat shortening, sugar, and eggs until fluffy. Beat in buttermilk and OJ.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and soda.
Stir flour mixture into shortening mixture. Mix until combined.
Drop rounded tablespoons on prepared cookie sheets.
Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. While still warm, spread frosting on.

Frosting - combine butter, powdered sugar, and OJ concentrate. Beat until smooth. Add more OJ concentrate to reach desired consistency. Yields 6 dozen cookies.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Santa's Helper: The Dog Lover

I'm a good gift giver. I don't know why this is, but I tend to do well in this department. So well, in fact, that I've been told it's both a good quality of mine and an annoying one. I guess I've set the bar too high too many times.

Well, I thought that since I've already accomplished a hefty chunk of my own holiday shopping, I would help my large body (are we up to three yet?) of readers with some holiday gift giving ideas. So, every Wednesday from now until Christmas I will give you some quality gift ideas.

I'll start out with something easy. Everyone has at least one family member who loves his or her dog with a fervor that borders on inappropriate. For my family, I am this family member. So, pretty much, I hope my mom is reading this blog, so Maddy gets a cute collar for Christmas.
I just purchased this dog bed for Maddy. I haven't even gotten it in the mail yet, but I know I'll love it. It's adorable. And it's green! You stuff a mesh bag full of your old sweatshirts, towels, and blankets and put it in the duvet. It's genius. I'll have to post a photo of Maddy using hers once I get it. And I've already purchased one for a Christmas gift. Visit Molly Mutt to see many other cute options.

I have yet to meet a dog that doesn't drop every other toy to pick up this one. Maddy originally got this as a gift from one of her "aunts". Now, every time I try to let her pick a new toy out at Petsmart, she will always find these. Usually she tries to rip off the packaging before we even get to the checkout. Also, my dad has dubbed this "the tampon". Lovely, I know.

I don't believe in dressing up your dog with more than a bandana once in a while. So, I like to find cute collars. Maddy is definitely due for a new one, so I've got my eye on this one. There are so many to choose from in the Dog Gone Knitting Etsy shop. Also, The Mod Dog shop has tons of cute options as well.
Now, I haven't gone this far for my beloved pooch yet, but I do frequently get homemade treats for her from one of my mom's friends. I'm not sure where she gets her recipes, but Maddy cobbles up homemade treats faster than the store bought ones. This is probably because most of them contain peanut butter. Should I choose to venture into doggie treat baking, this will be my first purchase.

I've had this cute dog tag in my Etsy favorites for a while. Urban Puppy's Etsy shop has tons of cute togs to spruce of a pooch's collar. I like the one above 'cause it functions as an ID tag, but they have plenty of just for fun ones as well.

So there you have five perfect gifts for the dog lover. If you have any suggestions for next week's recommendations, let me know. Since I've got things under control with my shopping, I'll be happy to help you. I'm looking at you, Jessica.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

False Starter

So sorry to leave you hanging when this venture is still so new. That's no way to get loyal readers. I promise, if I leave for a weekend and won't have Internet, I'll schedule posts so I don't have to feel so guilty and you have something to greet you in the a.m.

I had such a lovely weekend at home. Reading by the fireplace. Eating my mom's cooking. Kissing. Movie viewing.

If you haven't seen The Brothers Bloom, you must. It's beautifully filmed, equally sad and funny, and has Adrian Brody. Rachel Weisz is amazing in it too.

My favorite lines:
Penelope: I think you're constipated.
Bloom: Constipated?
Penelope: Yeah. You're constipated - in your fucking soul. I think there is a great, humongous wad of poop up your soul's ass.


Happy Tuesday!