Blogging about a variety of things I enjoy. Also peddling my wares at Thicket and Thistle on Etsy.

Monday, January 23, 2012

wall flowers

I bought one of these ceramic wall tiles from Element Clay Studio for my sister for Christmas, hoping that one day I can afford to give her a couple more to create a set.  They come in micro tiles, which I purchased, as well as larger 9" squares.  They are both soft and stark, detailed and simple.  Heather's glazed bowls are pretty swell, too.

And what do you know, Dilly Pad, another Etsy seller featured on their front page yesterday, sells similar wares but in less abstract (i.e., floral) forms and with the option of a glossy finish (and, ahem, a bit less expensive).

So pretty and unique. unique as anything can be anymore.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

a few finds

I love this upgraded yet laid-back leather butterfly chair from CB2.  It would be mega cool sitting atop a flokati rug in a teenager's bedroom.

A perfectly acceptable alternative, and at $200 less, is this Urban Outfitters version.

Also adore this uber literal trash pail, which I think I found via somewhere else but now I can't remember. A plain galvanized steel bucket would work, too, and when you think about it, the handle is genius practicality.

plum is yum

A simple snack of my favorite plum chutney, cream cheese, and Carr's. I buy a few jars of chutney every year at the Appleton Farm stand at my high school's Christmas bazaar. Chutney is one of those things that sounds so rewarding to make but I know I'm never going to. I'm fine with sticking with small-batch, local (they're based in Middleburg, VA), and commercial. At some point I'll have to try Virginia Chutney Co.'s version, too. The makers were featured in the Washington Post last August and the article really paints such a quaint picture of chutney-making. Sounds like a plum life.

daily servings of fruit

After an enormous, heart rate-accelerating, food coma-inducing meal at our favorite Mexican restaurant (all I had was a taco with beans and rice...and at least a pound of chips with salsa and queso and guac...and a margarita), the whole family went home for dessert made from scratch by my brother. We should have just cut to the chase and skipped dinner - that's how delicious dessert was. Check it: Lime Pie: Not to be confused with Key Lime Pie. I might prefer regular limes. They lent a slightly tangier bite, especially as my brother had included their zest in the custard. So, so good and refreshing. You know what they say - a slice a day keeps the scurvy away. Banana Cream Pie with Bourbon Caramel Sauce: He hadn't had quite enough time to let it set but I loved its ooziness. We decided it would be perfect in ramekins as a sort of miniature trifle. I have to admit, I drizzled some of the leftover sauce onto my finger, straight from the saucepan, several times. The graham crust and whipped cream for both pies were homemade, too. Funfetti Cookies: Last and decidedly least, my contribution. The kids loved them, of course, but they were plebeian amongst the desserts that actually took time and thought and effort. It's probably for the best that I stick to simpler, boxed sweets. The last and only time I tried to make crack pie, this is what happened: Speaking of pie, this place recently opened in Georgetown. I have yet to go but I think my brother could give them a run for their money.

Friday, January 20, 2012

viaje al sur

La Creperie, Key West, Florida
December 2010
The lady sitting behind us while we ate banana and lime juice crepes asked for a glass of wine with her breakfast. Either she has a problem or she's a really cool lady. 

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West, Florida
December 2010
We went unprepared for beach-going so we strolled the grounds instead.

Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida
December 2010
Home of the best damned pina colada-rum runner combo I've ever had.

All photos by me. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

a review

I literally just finished reading Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken. Excellent stuff, even if I'm more than a year behind the publishing date. A note up front: It's funny how e-readers draw out books. Mine turned the already lengthy bound version (496 pages) into 947 e-pages, including the preface and epilogue. Frankly, I feel doubly proud of myself, having flicked my finger across twice as many pages as hard copy readers did. Talk about endurance. The content and writing carried me through to the end quite quickly, though, and it was an incredibly worthwhile read. It not only focuses on the Pacific arena in WWII, which I personally believe is often overlooked in favor of the European one, it literally drills down to the quotidian lives of actual soldiers, with their specific roles, ailments, memories, which are, usually necessarily, generalized and summed up in history textbooks. Upon reading Laura Hillenbrand's acknowledgements and bio, I was prompted to Google her referenced illness and learned that she has suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since college. For a book that clearly was researched meticulously and basically is an enormous string of facts and figures layered atop Louie Zamperini's life, it's striking that an author who is home-bound had the energy to do it all. Here's another stat I find bewildering and a testament to its reach and relevance: Unbroken has 2,049 Amazon reviews and counting. Well-deserved, in my book. And last but not least, Louie Zamperini is one precious old man. He'll probably get himself into trouble in Heaven for playfully pilfering angels' wings but it won't really matter because he's Louie Zamperini.