Saturday, October 29, 2011

thinking about tape art

A cold and rainy Saturday morning means an extra hour in bed and homemade apple sauce! Some of the pink ladies that we picked last weekend wasn't quite ripe yet so I made some applesauce out of them with honey and cinnamon. Hot applesauce for breakfast! I also caught up on some blog surfing, and came across this great idea. Refinery 29 takes a look at dorm room decor and I thought this one in particular was so inspired - tape art! It's so creative and inexpensive, too.
From Refinery29 via Cup of JO

Monday, October 24, 2011

Camping is good for my soul


We went apple picking and then camping this past weekend, and it was glorious. The apples were crunchy, the trees were flashy, and the wilderness was friendly. Also, it was Rusty's FIRST camping trip ever and he was a rock star. Rusty is in his element when he is in the woods! Plus, now that he is able to romp around without a leash, it makes it all the more fun for all of us. A wolf dog!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's been a long week and I have holes in my teeth to prove it

  1. We've been sleeping in our guest room these past few weeks because it's fun and sometimes we make the bed and sometimes we don't.
  2. I am wearing a shirt that reminds me of Star Trek. I'm not quite sure why, maybe I add a picture of it later and you can tell me if you agree.
  3. I had the most out of sorts of days yesterday. One of them sorts where I felt I must crawl out of my skin or die. Some of it may have to do with the fact that the temperature dropped to below 60 degrees. Some other parts of it may have to do with the fact that I haven't been writing this past week, or exercising. Also, work has been the opposite of uplifting.
  4. Absolutely necessary self-medication (especially for the colder months) is moisturizing, exercising, writing, and maybe painting.
  5. When I think about my dream house/apartment, it is pretty simple: a one-level, with high ceilings, big windows that let in natural light, and an open floor plan. Recently, I've added an indoor heated pool to this dream place.
  6. I'm thinking about how to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie, whether it's worth trying to bake pumpkin butterscotch cookies, and what to pack for our camping trip this weekend.
  7. The dentist says I grind my teeth! Stress, she says. Whatever it is, it's causing holes in my molars, and I don't like it one bit. After she pointed this out, I've been noticing that I am tense in my jaw. So I've been doing this thing at work where I let my head fall back and mouth hang open for a few seconds to 'de-stress' my face. C'mon face.
  8. "The Dinner Party" by Joshua Farris, is a short story that prompts discussion and thought about the prickly and complicated nature of relationships. I am in love with how stories can do this.
  9. I would like to find a giant black picture frame that is about 7 feet by 3 or 4 feet. Does anyone know where I could find one?
  10. One of the things we are doing this weekend is going up to a mountain to pluck some apples off of trees, and believe you me, I am excited. I am excited about how crunchy delicious they are when they come off the tree, and I am happy that we are going to be camping afterwards. First camping trip for Rusty!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Things to do in RVA this weekend

Are we having an Indian summer? Either way, I’ll call it that as long as I can still pretend it's summer once in a while.

Indian summer, idyllic Autumn, demise into winter - whatever you want to call it, last weekend was great weather and it looks like this weekend is going to be pretty nice, too. Good thing that there’s plenty of fun things happening around town this weekend for you to sniff out and be out and about for. We already have plans for this weekend with a volleyball game, friends and a birthday party, some Sunday school teaching, and maybe something having to do with pumpkins, but if anything falls through, we'll check out one of these events:


Richmond Folk Festival, Oct 14-16 in Downtown Richmond Riverfront (from Second to Seventh streets.) We went last year, and it was huge. The festival has six stages of continuous music, vendors, and food.

Shocktoberfest, Sat., Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at 17th Street Farmers' Market. They will have German-Hungarian foods and beer, Eastern European polka music and traditional dancers.


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8pm, until Oct 15, at Firehouse Theatre (1609 W. Broad St)

The Merchant of Venice, Thursdays-Saturdays, 8pm, until Oct 15, at SPARC Center for the Performing Arts (2106-A N. Hamilton St.)

Box Five <3's Edgar Allan Poe Tour, Sat., Oct. 15, 6 p.m at The Camel. A stage show with specially-composed musical works inspired by Poe's short stories and poems. $5.

Alfred Hitchock’s Marnie, Sat Oct 15, 11AM and Sun, Oct 16, 11AM, at Bow Tie Movieland. Part of Movieland's Movies and Mimosas series! $5.50


Art Trunk Show, Sat., Oct. 15, 12-4 p.m. at Quirk Gallery (311 W. Broad St.) Claire Berry is having a Trunk Show to raise awareness about Breast Cancer, featuring PINK items. 10% of profits will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Art in the Bottom, Sun, Oct 16, 11AM to 4pm, at 17th Street Farmer’s Market. There will be local artists along with beer crafters, live music, entertainment and more.


Richmond Symphony: Shostakovich and Dvorak, Sat., Oct. 15, 8 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 16, 3 p.m Carpenter Theatre at Richmond CenterStage (600 E. Grace St.)


Beers and Banjos, Chester River Runoff on Friday, Oct 14, 6pm, at The Camel,

Feast RVA, on Friday, Oct 14, 7pm at the Quirk Gallery. Enjoy dinner and drinks and vote on artist presentations who will receive money to fund their ideas. Music provided by the Bird and Her Consort. $25.

UR Here: Eating and Antiquing on the Avenues Food Tour, Sat., Oct. 15, 2 p.m. This is a 1.5 mile walking tour exploring restaurants and shops along Libbie and Grove avenues. $39.

Indian summer, heey now

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's in my bag

Listening to: M.Ward’s Post-War album.


Here is an homage to my chambray shirt (thanks S!) that I wear all the time these days. I like how versatile it is, because I can wear it with a work skirt, with black jeans, shorts, or with a dress. This shirt and grey and rust/gold nail polish are my favorite thing to wear these days.

I just noticed this morning how much of a weird toiletry-carrying-grandma I’ve become. That or an extremely prepared hypochondriac. The tragedy of it all is that I don’t even like carrying big purses, I’m constantly wishing aloud to some barely listening store clerk about how I wish they would just come up with the technology to combine all my cards, keys, and money together in one thing that I could keep in my pocket. But as a lady, I sometimes wear things that don’t have pockets, so maybe it could be that all the necessary information is embedded into a nail polish that you could put on your big thumb’s nail and have it scan everything? But not an embedded chip, because you’d want the option of taking it off.

Anyways, currently, in my large bag, I am carrying the following pharmaceutical (?) items:

  • Essence of Beauty Sunblossom Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Eucerin Intensive Repair Hand Crème
  • Interdental Brush & Toothpick
  • Antiseptic Mouth Rinse
  • Xtreme Clean Dental Floss
  • Visine Advanced Relief Eye Drops
  • Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm
  • Ibuprofuen

This all of a sudden seems bizarre to me, someone who usually considers herself to be pretty low maintenance, but I guess I err on the side of preparedness and hygiene more and more as I get older. Also, it mostly has to do with the fact that working in an office 8 hours a day requires you to be prepared. Plus, the weather be getting colder, you feel? Which is why the hand lotion is extremely important. My usual go-to hand lotion is Kiehl’s but since I’d have to order that in, and I need a stand-in until I do, I decided to give the so-called new and improved Eucerin a try.

Other things I have in my purse right now:
  • small make-up bag
  • earphones
  • iPod charger
  • wallet
  • unpaid parking ticket
  • pens
  • peppermints
  • whipped honey

To explain the honey, I got some amazing honey- both whipped and raw – from the Farmer’s Market and I love it. It is soo good. I put it in my tea, coffee, eat it with vegetables, and sometimes put it in my butternut squash. Also, as an aside, honey is good for face masks/scrubs (Try it: crush non-coated aspirin with some water and mix into honey. It works! I think I did a post about it somewhere), and good for extremely chapped lips.

Lastly, in my figurative bag (yeah, I’ll go there), I have:
  • three short stories that I really love right now (Cowboy, by Thomas McGuane; Concerning the Bodyguard, by Daniel Barthelme; and In the Reign of Harad IV, by Steven Millhauser),
  • songs by M.Ward and Breathe Owl Breathe,
  • Romans (the book of the Bible),
  • an idea for a painting, an idea for a pastel/font,
  • a to-do project to make a chalkboard in a frame.

There you have it. Oh! And I should also mention, I also have a paper clip in my wallet, but no band-aid. My dad used to tell my sisters and I that we should always carry around a paperclip and band-aid, in case of emergencies. Somehow this makes him the best dad, ever.

What are you carrying around in your bag these days?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

French dinner

We have some good friends who embody a lot of what is good about the French culture, and sometimes they say they want to make dinner for us like they do back at home, and we are happy to partake!

In order to fit the theme, I picked up some
a bottle of Domaine Labbe 2010 Abymes Vin de Savoie at River City Cellars. This wine is made from Jacquere grapes produced in the French Alps just south of Geneva, Switzerland, and it is delicious. It is a crisp and dry white wine with a taste of green grapes, along with a light floral aroma. It has a sweet and smooth finish and went well with the chicken main course. I also got some Bon Bouche and French Goat Cheese Pico, both excellent for different reasons. The Pico is a clean and easy goat cheese, with a slight kick to keep it interesting. The Bonn Bouche is actually from Vermont, but made in the French way (ash-aged) and was aged to perfection. It is extremely creamy and is topped with blue mold. Funky, complex, rich and deep, this cheese keeps you thinking about it for a long while after you've had that bite. It's amazing. I also picked up a bottle of Coriberes at Kroger's (2006 Chateau Aiguilloux Corbieres Tradition, Languedoc-Roussillon, France), which is a red blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, etc, and was not terrible impressive. It leaned towards a heavier bodied wine, but had an herbal quality that didn't finish as well as i wanted it to.

Picnik collage

Following the French order of courses, this is how the meal went: appetizers, main course, salad course, cheese plate, dessert, and a digestiv! With bread and wine throughout, of course.

The risotto balls with swiss cheese and ham for a starter was delicious and got me in a creamy mood. Adrien had prepared a chicken with cream and mushroom dish, which was really delicious, and along with Ashley's homemade (!) mashed potatoes, it was comfort food to the tee. We then had a salad with balsamic vinagrette that helped to clean the palate, and we went on to have the cheese plate with giant grapes, that Julia had brought. The cheese plate also had sharp swiss, smoked gouda, and another delicious cheese that tasted like a mix between a brie and gouda. Julia also brought a decadent chocolate cake, which I thought I was going to be too full for, but lo and behold, I wasn't. I mixed up a quick autumn cocktail for the finish, and there you have it. Three hours of eating, and we were stuffed!

I don't have much pictures from the night because I forgot my camera, but here are some images from my iphone.

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Thanks again, Chaumards, for having us!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Baking soda hair wash

Ah, Friday.

I'm going to start off by talking about the weather - I'm sorry, I can't help it, it's a big part of determining my mood, whether I like it or not. Everyone (the weather-telling folk) kept saying the weather this weekend was going to be perfect fall weather. After being butt-to- office-chair for most of the day today, I decided to go see for myself. I took a walk in the cobbled streets around my work, and yup, pretty darn good. It was the kind of day that makes you forget bad weather even exists. I walked slow, as if I was in one of those slow-motion montages where everything is nostalgic and tinted lomo-rifique, cause that's just what I do sometimes when the weather is this way.

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Shockoe bottom

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Found this corner at the Fountain Bookstore, and had to resist strong urges to sit in the sun, read a book, and forget the world.

Before I get to the real reason I wanted to write this post in the first place, which is baking soda, there is something else I need to address, which is, the Wu-Tang Clan Name Generator. Naturally.

Maybe I am slow on the uptake on this one, but I just found this out and thought this should be shared. Do you watch Community? It’s a show, on NBC, and it’s good. Ken and I used to watch it every week, but we stopped having cable and DVR, so not so much anymore. Donald Glover (no relation to Danny Glover) is an actor on that show, and on one of the first episodes, he did a short rap that had to do with la biblioteca, which husband and I thought was the bee’s knees and repeated to each other ad naseum. Come to find, he has been releasing hip-hop albums online since 2008 under the alias Childish Gambino. I rifled through some of his stuff and don't have too strong of an opinion either way - it's not great, it's not terrible. But that’s beside the point. On being questioned about the origin of his alias, Glover explained that he got the name from a website that generates Wu-Tang Clan member names.

When I heard this, all of a sudden it seemed very important that I find out what my alias could and should be were I to recognize myself as a Wu-Tang Clan member. I first entered in my married name and got, ‘Pesty Hunter’. Huh? No thanks. Does that sound like PESKY hunter to you? Yes. So I renounced my new last name for a hot minute and typed in maiden name and got ‘X-cessive Overlord’. Okay, better. Then I tried husband’s name, both in the short and long versions, and got ‘Sarkastik’ Hunter and ‘Tuff Dominator’. Take your pick, baby.

If I were to take any sort of meaning from this whatsoever, it would be that both of us got rap versions of our names that are hunter-like and overlord-like. Which means that if we were to make a rap group and use this incredibly helpful tool, we would be Pesty and Sarkastik Hunter! Or X-cessive Overlord and Tuff Dominator. Booyakah.

Here is the site if you want to check it out for yourself.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk baking soda. Baking soda is a sodium bicarbonate and it helps regulate pH balance. It neutralizes acids and breaks down proteins. What that means for us is that it is good for almost anything that has to do with cleaning, treating and deodorizing. Some examples of its uses are:

  • use as toothpaste or add to toothpaste for extra boost
  • use as face scrub, exfoliant, or shampoo
  • treat insect bites and itchy skin, or as an antacid
  • baking
  • clean pots, counters, fruit, oven, floors, shower curtain
  • fresh carpet, stuffed animals, sponges
  • etc.
See how the back of the box has both instructions on how to clean pots and digest it? So versatile!

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Basically, baking soda is awesome.

I'm sure you knew a lot of this already, but what I didn't know and had not tried before was washing my hair with it. Apparently, a baking soda hair wash will clean out the excess product, remove impurities, and super clean your hair. Shampoo does wash your hair but it sometimes leaves extra residue of chemicals in your hair, some of which are trying to do good, but some of which are unnecessary. Washing your hair with baking soda once in a while is like a cleanse, to get it back down to basics and working better when you do use product in your hair. Plus, this method allows you to wash your hair less often, if you're into that.

I tried it for the first time tonight ("I'm sorry, but I'm going to be busy washing my hair!") and I am a big fan of this. I took the box of baking soda to the shower (i.e. yelled out to husband to bring it to me) and poured some into the palm of my hand. Then I mixed water into it and applied it to my hair, from the scalp to the tips. I waited a few minutes and then washed it out with warm water. It feels slightly gritty, but it's not too hard to wash out. I didn't use a conditioner so that I could get the full experience of a clean wash. When I got out of the shower, my hair felt and sounded squeaky clean, different than usual shower hair. When I was drying the hair, my hair was getting tangled really easily because it wasn't smooth from the shampoo product. But once my hair was dry, it was super soft...! I could actually feel that there was no product in my hair. I had to make sure to brush it out because it was all tangly (which doesn't usually happen after a shampoo and conditioner), and it was a different kind of softness than what you get from a shampoo-conditioner, but it felt great and liked knowing that it was a cleanse for my hair. It was also more obedient to hair stylings. I think I will be doing this regularly from now on, once or twice a week, to mix it up and get my clean on.

Let me know what you think if you try it, and everyone else, get it on this weekend by enjoying the glorious weather!


Rusty's hair doesn't stay on him long enough for him to do a baking soda wash.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

'good things about autumn' cocktail

It’s the second week of October, and it’s a tinier bit colder and noticeably darker, and it’s officially that much harder for me to feel happy about going through the motions of the week.

I’m super happy about crunchy apples and apple cider making an appearance in the grocery stores, totally interested in cooking with all different kinds of squash, glad for the return of mulled wine, and content wearing my chambray shirt everywhere, but waking up cold in bed because Ken’s already left, and leaving work knowing there is only 30 minutes of daylight left, is really cramping my can-do-attitude. Also, just to show how emotionally tied to warm weather my constitution is: When I think about all the errands I must run, I feel 10 times more burdened about the fact that I have to run errands wearing boots or cold weather-appropriate shoes, than I would thinking about running my errands in flip flops or sandals. It’s true. My sigh of ‘so many things to do today!’ is made heavier by the knowledge that I am going to be wearing a jacket and my toes are going to be suffocated for the entire duration of said event.

I obviously like autumn, but here is my perfect idea of the season. I’d keep fall fashion, apples, hot cider, mulled wine, pumpkins, squash, crispy weather, spices, rust-colored things, and foliage, but the weather should remain between 78 and 88 degrees, and the sun should stay on its summer schedule of coming and going. Thank you very much.

Now to get to the point. To show how much I do appreciate the positive fall-related things listed above, I hunted down some apple cider and concocted a “good-things-about-autumn” cocktail.

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So delicious


First of all, I should say, I got it in my head to infuse some gin with apples and pears, and so I did! For the record, apple and pear infused gin is delicious.

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How to make the cocktail:
1) Mix 1 oz apple+pear infused gin, 1 oz apple cider (or more, i am liberal with the apple cider), 1/2 oz apple or pear brandy, 1/2 of bitters, and lemon juice together. Shake it up in ice, but if you don't have a shaker, just give it all an enthusiastic stir.
2) Top the mix with ginger beer
3) Add lemon garnish, or even better, a cinnamon stick
4) Enjoy.

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The gin is a nice compliment to the apple cider surprisingly, the small amount of brandy gives it a little weight, and the bitters makes the drink complex with all of its herbs. The kick of ginger adds depth and spice and the bubbles at the end is a nice touch. Best of all, it truly tastes like autumn!

It should also be noted that I cooked with spaghetti squash the first time, and made a spaghetti squash with turkey meatball dish, hoorah! I ate this with my “good-things-about-autumn” cocktail, and saw that it was good.

Last, but not least, another good thing about autumn: combining grey and gold nail polish.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Inhaling a gust of autumn wind

With the first of October came the crispiest weather. Crispy+ delicious shocks to the skin. And along with the weather came my sister into town for a visit!

Saturday, we slept in, played with Rusty, shopped for our boys at Rumors, studied at a coffee shop with all their windows flung wide open, whilst I listened to Tom Waits' Blue Valentine album. A throwback in order to get ready for his upcoming new one. Does Tom Waits move your underbelly like it moves my underbelly?

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Their selection and set-up keeps getting better and better. They now also have an online store, as well as a fun tumblr.

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For boys. Baja hoodie? Lacoste jacket?

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Val is going to be a fan, whether he likes it or not.

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coffee, omelet, and books at harrison cafe.

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red roasted pepper coconut soup

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Then we stopped by the new burger joint downtown called Station 2. Gourmet burgers, craft beers, good space, and the whole place is firehouse themed. The burger was pricey, but delicious, and the atmosphere was nice.

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For a starter we got deep fried green beans with WASABI aioli sauce. SO good.

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The classic burger on a ciabatta-like bread

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I like burgers

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Are we taking pictures together in the bathroom? No! (yes)

Later that night, at home with Rusty:

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Rusty with a baby pumpkin.

I could do with another Saturday....It was so nice to have seester in Richmond and be to and fro together. Come over more, sisters!