Tuesday, September 27, 2011

i wish my smile was your favorite kind of smile

Do broken hearts ever heal? Or do they just eventually drift away?


I'm having a sleepy day. All I want to do is lay around and eat carbs. How good do these pumpkin scones sound? I could also go for some zucchini bread

And with that I am going to take a quick nap. One of the perks of being a student-- sleeping at 4pm on a Tuesday. 

Are you having any cravings lately?

Monday, September 26, 2011

braised chicken is a revelation

Even though it is still 80 degrees out I think I am starting to get into cool weather nesting mood. Today, all I want to do is cook. Not like, single girl throwing a meal together, but something that makes the whole house smell good and warm and delicious. I turned to the experts of comfort food: the Deens. While I tend to shy away from Paula "Everything has 2 lbs of butter" Deen's recipes, I do have a cookbook from her sons: The Deen Bros. Take it Easy. There is a lot of casserole in there, a little more midwest than my usual cooking, but I have found this one recipe that is a serious gem. I have made it probably 5 times and it is so simple, but tastes like so much more. 

You ready for this?

It is called Quick Braised Chicken with Rosemary and Potatoes. Try it. (Adapted from the Deen bros)

2 teaspoons salt, plus additional for seasoning
2 teaspoons black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil (I usually just do a few glugs)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I use the pre-chopped in a jar)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary 
2-3 lbs of chicken legs, with bone
1 pound small new red potatoes, cut into 8ths. 
1 onion, cut into chunks 

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and rosemary 
3. Place chicken in a large broiler-proof baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes and onions around the chicken. Pour the rosemary sauce over the chicken and make sure everything is coated.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Uncover and switch to broil for 5-10 minutes, or until the juices run clear for the chicken and it looks yummy and browned. 

Serve hot (about 3-4 people) with the juices spooned on top. 


Since I am a poor grad student I save the chicken bones and make stock with them :) 

I also pour about 1/4 cup of chicken stock if I have some around in the pan to make a bit more gravy. 

game changer

Saturday night when I was home I went to a fundraising dinner with my parents. It felt so good to get dressed up and mix with people in international work! I brought home a BCBG wrap dress and some black leather heels. It was a bit rainy but kind of humid. I needed something on my legs but was not looking forward to the idea of wearing the control top pantyhose I threw in my bag at the last minute. So! I went to Target and looked around and decided to try out a pair of thigh highs. I'd never worn them before but figured it was worth a shot. They were black opaque and looked like regular tights. I got them home and got dressed and was out the door. 

I can say with confidence that after 3 hours of standing, mingling, drinking and walking, those suckers stayed in place! I didn't have to tug them up once. I was imagining as the worst case scenario of having an important conversation and one of them rolling down to my ankles and awkwardly excusing myself. But these, my friends, did nothing of the sort. I don't see them on the Target website, but they were Hanes. I would definitely suggest trying them out next time you need to sport some legware. They look pretty sexy to boot!

(FYI, they did not have a lacey top, it was more of a thicker band. Not sure if that helped with the staying up.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

my favorite season

Today is the first day of fall!

Fall is my FAVORITE season. I love when the humidity drops and it starts to be sweater weather. I love cooking big pots of soup. I love going on dates when it starts to get chilly and it gives a guy an excuse to put his arm around your should to keep you warm and protected against the elements. I love the first time its cold enough to use a fireplace. 
Every year, on September 23rd, I feel like I am supposed to remember something. Do you have those days? The closest I can get is that maybe it was the anniversary with my first boyfriend when I was in 9th grade. 
I'm back up in DC this weekend. Hooray! It's rainy and icky outside so I am spending the day in a coffee shop doing a little work and then catching up with some friends and family tonight. It's good to get back to my roots for a few days. 
Have a fabulous weekend, friends. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

roots and wings

I have been IN LOVE with Stephen Kellogg for about 10 years now. I think I've seen him in concert at least 5 times and he is coming to Chapel Hill next weekend. You can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to see him! Since its a small town, maybe I can convince him to get a beer with me after. 

I really hope he plays Milwaukee. I just found this awesome live version to share with you all. Swoon. Who are some of your favorite artists?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

little updates from the south

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I have been seriously swamped at school and then had migraines 3 days last week. Didn't leave much time for blogging and fun stuff. 

I survived and I have had a really fun past 24 hours. A friend of mine from DC was down here yesterday so we hung out, got some froyo and wandered around Chapel Hill for a while. My man friend made me a delicious dinner last night-- shrimp scampi, salad, garlic bread and chocolate covered strawberries. Yum. Today we joined up with some friends and tailgated before the football game against UVA. UNC won- 3rd game in a row this season! 28-17. I've never been a college sports fan before, but now I am totally into it! It was a pretty rainy and cold day though, so I'm going to cuddle up in some fleecy sweat pants and hit the books. I know, crazy Saturday here. It's payback for taking the last 24 hours off. 

Hope you all are having fabulous weekends yourselves. I think tomorrow I need to do some grocery shopping. I really want to make this chickpea, corn and red pepper salad. Looks like such a great healthy lunch! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

the sisterhood

I feel blessed to have had a life full of fabulous female friends. When I moved to Virginia 13 years ago (!) I spent the first half of 8th grade floundering and then found the loves of my life in a school production of Fiddler on the Roof. Despite the goofy costumes, the girls I met that Spring are still some of my best friends. In college I lucked out with a wonderful roommate freshman year that I really felt connected to right from the start. I also sang in an all-female a capella group and spent a lot of time with those girls both in rehearsal and socially. I've seen them get married and have babies. It's been incredible. Once I moved back to DC a lot of my "homecrew" friends had moved away, but somehow I found a few girls through the guys I knew to be wonderful additions to the every expanding sisterhood in my life. It's been particularly fun to invite them all together to parties and see them get to know each other as well. 

Now that I am down in North Carolina, the fact that I would be studying and learning with a lot of girls was inevitable-- I am doing a Masters degree in Maternal and Child Health. Of course, there will be women. However, I wasn't expecting to bond with them as much as I have. We are all still getting to know each other, but I threw out the idea of a girls night on Saturday and ended up with about 10 of us hitting the town. We went to Good Fellows for a drink and then hit the iconic Top of the Hill where we were all dancing fools. It hit me just how much fun it is and how good it is to just let loose with a bunch of women. I am really looking forward to getting to know them all over the next 2 years. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011

what if it does

I came across this quote the other day on Le Love:

 It is a risk to love.
What if it doesn't work out?
Ah, but what if it does?

-Peter McWilliams 

How sweet and optimistic!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

that went well

God bless Molly Wizenberg and her delicious chocolate cake. After our dinner of salad, pasta and chicken parmesan (and a bottle of prosecco) I presented the cake on a lovely cake stand. Two slices were served and topped with whipped cream. He ate a bite of the cake, and then he came over and kissed me. Good.

If any effects could have been wished or hoped for, I think that was the best possible outcome. 

The next morning I gave him a few slices for his coworkers. A dessert like this is best if it is shared. 24 hours after I baked the cake it looked like this: 

I'm slowly chipping away at the rest of it, but mostly I would like it if he came over again to help me finish it off. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

winning hearts and minds

I've always loved to read, however, it is pretty rare that a book really catches me. Last year I was introduced to the wonderful Molly Wizenberg. If you haven't heard of Molly, allow me the honor of introducing her to you. She started off writing the food blog Orangette a few years ago, which eventually became a full-blown book: A Homemade Life. Her book is one of those special ones that captivates you and makes you feel like you are now best friends with the author. Molly (we are obviously on a first name basis) shares her life through food memories and passes along those recipes as well. It's glorious and glutenous. Read it. You won't be sorry. 

The last recipe in her book is one of her most famous. Its called the "Winning Hearts and Minds Cake."  This is not the most beautiful cake, but I would gander to say it is one of the most delicious. We are talking about 1 and 3/4 sticks of butter, half a pound of chocolate...this list goes on. The first time I made it was for my dad's birthday and the whole family gave it rave reviews. 

Tonight I am having a boy over for dinner. I made the cake last night and its sitting on a beautiful cake stand just waiting for the right moment. Fingers crossed that it lives up to its name.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

set fire to the rain

It has been pouring cats and dogs here all day! On top of that we had 2 tornado warnings! Pretty crazy! We have already had an earthquake and hurricane since I have lived in North Carolina. I always thought the east coast had relatively calm weather but these past few weeks have proved quite differently! I kind of like the idea of Zeus throwing lightening bolts in the sky to explain for all this chaos.

Today I've been listening to my current favorite "rain" song: Adele, "Set Fire to the Rain."

Doesn't that just sound magical? And how freaking amazing is her voice?

Monday, September 5, 2011

daily affirmation

I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me. 
Turn around and I'm back in the game, 
even better than the old me.

-Gavin deGraw

cougar town

Saturday night some new gal pals and I went out to a country western bar. We figured that we better get a real taste of the South, and what better way then to go line dancing! This place was just what we were looking for-- loud country music, a bar for girls to dance on, a mechanical bull and bras hanging from the ceiling. Klassy with a K. We got our $2 beers and hit the dance floor. 

After a while my friend said, "Hey that cute guy at the bar keeps looking at you, you should talk to him." She proceeded to drag me over and introduce me. Thanks, Capitan Awkward! Well he started teaching me some line dances and we were laughing and having a fun time. Then he pushed me around the dance floor solo for a few songs. It was a total blast -- it's been a while since a guy who really knew how to dance took me for a spin. 

Finally we needed a break and I asked him where his beer was. He held up his hand with a big black X on it and answered with a deep southern accent: "I'm not 21 yet." 

**Cue sound of heart shattering**

"Wow. I am so much older than you."

"How much, are you 22?"

"Ha. You wish. I'm 26." 

So that was the end of that! One more dance for fun and then the girls and I called it a night. I wasn't honestly considering pursuing this guy but I just realized, Wow, welcome back to a college town. 18 to party, 21 to drink. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Being back in school at 26 is like getting to do college all over again, but with a better sense of self. You meet new people, no one knows anything about you, you get to learn full time and go out and have lots of fun. One thing I particularly like is the power of decision making. When I was in undergrad sometimes I felt like I had to go to certain parties or have lunch with certain people just to make sure I was staying in the social loop. Even if I was tired. Sometimes just because I was lonely. 

Now that I am starting my life again I feel so much more in control of deciding what I want. As much as I loved my DC life, there was always this hectic pace where one day ran into the next and as far as deciding what I wanted each day-- well that was limited to what I would wear to work and what I'd have for dinner. I think you lose a bit of yourself when you have no time to sit down and think. Or have a cup of tea in your underware. Or go to a concert alone just because you want to see the artist. I was talking to a girl in my program last night and she feels the same way. She's contemplating a new hair color just to mark the sign of change in her life. I know I have done the same at past points of change. Because when you decide to go back for graduate education, I think it really has to be about you. Not just the academic version of you. The whole you, as a person, finding what make YOU happy. 

And just for fun: 

Friday, September 2, 2011

home sweet home

Prior to moving to North Carolina I spent an obsessive amount of time picking out stuff for my new apartment. My mother and I got into a long discussion about the best way to hang a shower curtain (clearly, with a liner on the inside). I was at HomeGoods, Bed Bath and Beyond, or on Etsy and design blogs non-stop. This was one tangible thing that I could control as far as the move was concerned. I never saw my apartment before I got the keys, and luckily I loved it! I'm still tweaking a few things, but here are some sneak peeks:

 Outdoor patio

 Living Room

 Curtains (World Market)