You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2010.

It is Friday.

And in honor of Friday, I give you my ding dongs.

These dogs drive me absolutely bonkers.

Yet I love them like crazy.

How could you not?

Happy Friday!

XO,
Leah

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Do you have a Teavana near you?

Ooh, Nelly.

I hope you do.

I am an avid fan of coffee.

I want to be clear about that.

I will never leave nor forsake coffee for it gets me through the morning unlike anything else.

However, I do enjoy a cup o’ tea in the afternoon or evening- especially as the weather turns colder.

And Teavana delivers.

They have a million different loose leaf tea choices- white, green, black, oolong, and the likes!

Included in the options are high-octane caffeine filled teas and naturally caffeine-free teas.

I’ll say this.

The salespeople, at least in my store, are maniacs.

They love tea in an unnatural way.

And they put the pressure on you to love tea on the same level.

And they want you to fill your entire kitchen with the stuff.

But don’t let those zealots stop you from visiting.

You’ll like it- promise!

I suggest making tea a ritual. It brings a calm unlike any other drink in my opinion.

Here is my little cool fall evening tea ritual.

Boiling my water in my Target teapot.

Then I grab my canister full of my loose leaf tea.

I found this at, you guessed it, Teavana.

Pretty, non?

Tonight I’m making White Ayurvedic Chai Tea- it is cinnamon-ey and a little spicy.

My favorite all-time Teavana flavor is Youthberry. I keep a tin of that at work. It is fruity and light and deliciousl

I use my mesh tea bag.

Guess where you can get one of those?

Yep, Teavana.

By the way, this is not a paid endorsement.

I just love their darn store.

The whistle blew.

Tea time.

By the way, tea tastes better in your fine china.

If you have some, I promise it feels even more like a treat when you break out a special cup and saucer and make a cup o’ tea in it.

Have a good one my friends,

Leah

I was in college in the late nineties.

And *NSYNC was all of the rage.

My junior year I lived in my sorority house with 60 some other girls.

And many of these girls had a problem.

Obsession.

With this guy.

And yes, that is what he looked like during said obsession.

While living in the sorority house, I had two fabulous roommates.

I’ll call them Molly and Meghan.

Well, because those are their names.

In our room, we watched one of three things before we fell asleep before bed each night:

1. Tommy Boy- I seriously know every line

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation- Again, every line.

OR 3. *NSYNC’s Madison Square Garden Concert

Every moment of that video has a memory attached to it from that year.

This is the clip that really got Molly and Meghan going:

And then there was this one that my friend Anne would dance to- if I ever get myself a scanner, I’ll share some pictures of those moves with you.

This clip also influenced a Greek Week Airbands Legendary Performance. I’m certain I’m not biased in anyway.

She could do the moves at least as well as Lance.

Lets face it… Lance wasn’t the best dancer.

True?

Yes.

Just watching these videos, I’m dying laughing all while recalling the sweet dance moves. It makes me nostalgic for that time and that room. I would love to go back for just one more night of college-aged fun and debauchery. Grateful for those memories.

Now, I liked *NSYNC, but my real Justin crush started when this video came out:

For the premiere event of Cry Me a River, a group of us gathered around a community TV and had a mini heart attack with every frame of this video.

Lets all take a moment to remember when Justin was the jam.

And when he was making music.

Go back to the music Justy.

Please.

For me. And Molly. And Meghan.

Not going to lie.

That video still gives me the quiver.

Have a good day all of my dearly beloved friends!

XO,

Leah

I’m not going to pretend that I know anything about fashion.

I shop at the same stores in the mall.

I like classic clothes.

I wear a lot of black, white, and gray.

I’m not super adventurous and fashion forward.

And I’m really not going to pretend that I get runway fashion.

Most of it is over the top, and it all looks like art more than clothes.

There is one exception though.

Chanel.

By Karl Lagerfeld.

The man can make some clothes.

These pics are from last week at Paris Fashion week.

I strongly feel as if I need this dress in my life.

Someone, please make it happen for me.

Please?

I, in no way, have the legs to pull of this look but goshdarnitall, I love this outfit.

And can we please acknowledge those shoes.

Dying.

Love them.

Oh my Jackie O.

Classic.

Pink.

Feminine.

Beautiful.

Karl Lagerfeld is undoubtedly a fashion genius, but he is a strange, strange man.

If ever you see any magazine, newspaper, or online source boasting of an interview with Karl, drop what you are doing and immediately read it.

You will never feel more normal in your life.

Here are a couple of riveting excerpts from a fairly recent interview with Karl in Vice.

Karl communicates via fax and courier service- no phones. What the heck?

“People I’m really friendly with have faxes. Anna Wintour has one. We speak via fax. And in Paris I send letters to people. I have somebody to deliver letters all over every day.”

Karl doesn’t like people droning on about charities:

“(Being politically correct) means people talking about charities. Do it, be charitable, but don’t make a subject of conversation out of it because then you bore the world to death. It’s very unpleasant. But I don’t go out a lot so I’m not so exposed to people.”

And then there is this quote on intimacy. Wowzer:

And I personally only like high-class escorts. I don’t like sleeping with people I really love. I don’t want to sleep with them because sex cannot last, but affection can last forever. I think this is healthy. And for the way the rich live, this is possible. But the other world, I think they need porn.”

So, maybe Karl doesn’t offer words to live by, but he sure can make some pretty clothes.

Have a great day my friends!

XO,
Leah

When I was growing up, I had it good.

Really good.

I would come home from school, practice, or a friend’s house and my mom would have a well-rounded dinner prepared.

Every night.

The meals would always contain a salad, protein, carbohydrate, and a vegetable.

And we always, ALWAYS sat around the table together (yes, all seven of us- many times with extra friends there as well) to eat and talk and spend at least 30 minutes together as a family every day.

And look how well we all turned out!

You know, even in my teenage years when I could be a little less than pleasant (shocking, I know!) dinner around the table was just what we did. There was no complaining… it was a routine, an expectation, and in retrospect it was one small thing that kept us all informed and engaged in one another’s life.

As a side note, Brad and I keep the same tradition now. I think it is far too easy- especially when it is just two of us- to plop in front of the TV with a plate of food on our laps. But I like the sit down, no distractions, focus on each other, focus on the food dinnertime plan.

And look how happy we are!

I grew up in a healthy food environment.

I’m forever grateful for it- I know it has helped shape me into an independent healthy eater that loves to try new things.

Additionally, my  mom made sure that her kids all had basic kitchen skills before we left the house to be on our own.

Let me say it again- I know that I was crazy fortunate to have a home cooked meal every night and about a billion other blessings as a kid growing up.

There is one area, however, that leaves me feeling slightly gypped.

We never, ever, EVER had breakfast for dinner.

I did not even know this was a thing until later in life.

And when I encountered breakfast for dinner for the first time, I knew my life was forever changed.

I think there is something calming and homey about a hearty breakfast after a long day of work.

And thankfully, breakfast for dinner is about as easy as it comes in the preparation and execution department.

The other nice thing is that I almost always have enough of the breakfast ingredients on hand that I can whip something up without having to stop at the store for anything to complete the meal.

And after a long, frustrating, or particularly tiring day, there is nothing better than breakfast comfort food for dinner.

Believe that.

So, with the craziness in our lives lately, I have not been super inspired to get creative in the kitchen.

Here is the quick and super simple dinner (but you can make it for breakfast or brunch) that I whipped up.

I didn’t have a whole lot in my fridge, but I did have some eggs and some potatoes.

For my carb, I decided on some hashbrowns.

Take your potatoes and use a cheese grater to shred them. I had a mixture of red, yellow, and purple potatoes which made for a pretty little mixture.

After they are shredded, use an old (yet clean) kitchen towel to wring out the extra liquid.

Heat a pan over a burner on medium.

Drop in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil along with 1/2 tablespoon of butter.

Put your potatoes in one flat layer that is no more than a 1/2 inch thick.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Now, leave them alone.

After a few minutes you may want to peak at the bottom.

The goal is for them to brown slowly and evenly.

You’ll know your pan is too hot if it gets extremely brown quickly. If that happens, simply turn your burner down a bit.

If they aren’t browning at all, turn up your heat.

Simple stuff, people!

Once they are a good brown color, flip your potatoes over like a giant pancake.

If you are like me, your hashbrown will break in half and it will no longer be picture perfect.

But that is perfectly ok, because it will still taste delicious.

Salt and pepper the other side.

Take your spatula and divide the hashbrowns into servings.

Shred a little cheese on top, if ya like.

Keep those in the hot pan until you are ready to serve.

Next up, my protein… the incredible, edible egg.

I love a fried egg especially. So, I put a good pat of butter in the pan, and crack in an egg. After it cooks a bit, I give it a careful flip. I like all of the whites cooked, but I love a runny yolk.

But eggs are a great ingredient because you can fix them anyway you like… fried, scrambled, poached, sunny side up… the list goes on and on.

I piled my hashbrown on my plate, and I topped it with my egg.

And then for good measure, I added a little more cheese on top.

I served them with these roasted tomatoes and a simple berry salad.

Oh, breakfast for dinner. I’m so glad to have you in my life.

Have a good one my friends!

XO,

Leah

Oh my.

I just finished reading this book.

It is a lovely fall Saturday, and I woke up, poured a large cup of coffee (or two or three) and settled in on the patio with the goal of finishing The History of Love.

This book is so hauntingly lovely.

It is the story of Leo Gursky, a man who dreams of his lost love that he last saw in Poland before the war 60 years ago. And it is the story of Alma Singer who is trying to find the cure for her mother’s loneliness.

This book swells with characters that cause you to feel what they are feeling and hope for what they are hoping for.

And the author, Nicole Krauss, uses words like these:

“And if the man who once upon a time had been a boy who promised he’d never fall in love with another girl as long as he lived kept his promise, it wasn’t because he was stubborn or even loyal. He couldn’t help it.”

and

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering”

and

“For her I changed pebbles into diamonds, shoes into mirrors, I changed glass into water, I gave her wings and pulled birds from her ears and in her pockets she found the feathers, I asked a pear to become a pineapple, a pineapple to become a lightbulb, a lightbulb to become the moon, and the moon to become a coin I flipped for her love…”

I loved this book.

Loved. It.

If you are looking for a book to sink into, I recommend this one.

You will not be disappointed.

Happy Weekend,

Leah

I think these are the cutest (and most practical) little gift idea.

http://www.mykleenextissue.com/

Here is a screen shot of what the custom box looks like…

I have given my mama one of these before with her kiddos’ picture on it.

They are $4.99 without shipping and handling, but come on… pretty stinking cute, right?

So, if you got married or had a baby or have a hilarious roommate or co-worker pic, this seems like a no-brainer.

That little mock-up above took me a total of 3 minutes to put together on the site.

Happy Shopping and  Creating!

XO,
Leah

Acorn.

This word has had a bum rap in our house for a few weeks.

You know, because of this incident.

Acorns aren’t meant to used as dog food. They just aren’t.

Instead, acorns should be planted so that you can harvest a delicious acorn squash.

Wait.

That isn’t right.

Acorns = oak tree.

Acorn squash seed = acorn squash.

Science is confusing.

These are acorn squash. Squashes. Squash.

Say the word squash out loud three or four times. It starts to sound really strange.

Not only are they pretty, they are also pretty delicious.

And they are easy to turn into a simple supper.

The hardest part of cooking with an acorn squash is the first step in the cooking process… cutting them in half.

You may have to put your back into it.

You may break a sweat.

But I believe in you.

Use those muscles and cut through the squash.

Please keep all fingers out of the way.

I would like for you to retain all of your digits during the making of this Acorn Squash Soup.

We need to get those pesky seeds out of there.

Here is a fun fact: acorn squash was originally harvested for the seeds- not for the flesh.

Turns out that fact wasn’t really all that fun.

It was more of a mundane, fairly-interesting-but-not-really sorta fact.

Sorry.

I like to use a grapefruit spoon for this job- its sharp serrated edges give you the scooping edge.

Blam.

Score these guys.

I don’t mean score them on a scale of one to ten for attractiveness or flavor profiles.

That would be plain silly.

No, I mean use a paring knife to cut slits into the flesh of the squash.

Scoring them will help with three things:

1. Cooking evenly

2. Seasoning them

3. Enhancing your knife skills- how else are you going to win Iron Chef?

Now, oil ’em up.

Get ’em good and greased.

Slather ’em.

Then, salt ’em.

Throw ’em on the pan.

Cook the squash cut side UP.

I added about a cup of water to the pan before putting them into the 400 degree oven.

The water helps the skin from getting scorched.

And it helps the cooking process along by providing a little steamy action in the oven.

Roast these for approximately 40 minutes. Depending on the size, it may take a little less or a little more time. You want the flesh to be tender.

Why does this whole recipe sound like one innuendo after another to me?

Dr. Freud, I’d like an answer.

Scoop out the flesh, and reserve it in a bowl.

Toss out the skins.

Now, we shall begin our soup making.

Turn a burner on medium.

Into a medium sauce pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, throw half of a chopped red onion, two stalks of chopped celery, and 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic.

Push it around to coat it in the oil.

Chop up some herbage.

I think thyme would be the best option for this recipe. Thyme is fall-ish and kind of tastes woodsy.

I didn’t have any fresh thyme.

But I did have some dill.

So, dill it was.

And I don’t regret that decision.

I think that chives or rosemary would also be lovely instead of the dill.

I used about 1 1/2 T. of the fresh stuff.

If you are using dried, I would cut it back to a teaspoon.

You know, ’cause the dried stuff if potent.

Toss in your herbage.

Give it a stir.

Bask in the instant aroma that occurs in your kitchen the moment a fresh herb hits the heat.

Pretty fantabulous if you ask me.

Now, we shall thicken our soup.

Guess what we are using?

That is one heaping tablespoon of either:

A: Cocaine

B: Powdered Sugar

C: Flour

You will have to correctly guess the ingredient here, ’cause I’m not telling.

Stir it in so that it doesn’t have a raw flavor.

Now add four cups of stock.

Veggie or chicken will do.

Toss in one lonely bay leaf.

Add in your roasted squash.

Then a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Bring that to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.

Now, get out your immersion blender.

Or your regular blender.

Blend it baby!

Let it simmer away until you are ready to eat.

Now you can do a few different things to amp this bad boy up.

#1. Mix in a splash of cream. Regrettably, I had none. Boo.

#2. Sprinkle on some crispy bacon. You KNOW I had that. So, YAY!

#3. Chop up a tomato or a green onion or some herbs and sprinkle on top.

Serve it up with a green salad.

My salad had these amazing Burgundy Mushrooms on top.

It is savory and yummy in my tummy.

Hope that you  all are having the happiest of Thursdays.

XO,
Leah

I’d like to take a minute just sit right there,

I’ll tell you how my man started a movie making affair.

This is my annual reference to the Fresh Prince.

You know, he probably deserves more recognition than that, but the right opportunity doesn’t come up all that often.

So, my dear Bradley… he is entering in to the movie making business.

I won’t bore you with the plethora of details, connections, hard work, and planning that have all serendipitously led to this moment.

But I will tell you this.

Brad wrote an amazing script, recruited and hired a talented crew made up of both paid professionals and dedicated volunteers, and cast the most talented group of actors.

And now, he is directing a movie.

The main man directing.

There is something about a man in charge that really does it for me.

Can I get an amen?

We are halfway through the shoot.

I use the term “we” loosely. I haven’t really done anything outside of cooking some food for the cast and crew. But I do feel like this is a project that Brad and I share. Because, you know, we’re life partners and all.

So, this movie is happening now. And the really crazy thing is that there is another script in the works for the spring. That movie will have a larger budget, cast, and a longer shooting schedule.

I do know that God is working mightily to make all of this happen.

And I’m living in a serious state of gratitude.

I visited the shoot over the weekend with my parents. It is so fun to see everything come together. Hearing and seeing actors play the roles that I have read and re-read during revision after revision of the script is a pretty wild experience.

I snapped some pics- they aren’t great at all, but I think these are the moments worth capturing.

On a side note, I would like to state for the record that sleeping with the director will not guarantee you a lead role.

Or even an extra role.

What the heck?

Ha.

Here is some of the cast and crew.

This is Josh. He’s the lead actor, and he is wicked talented.

It has been a blast having him stay with us during the shoot.

I would like to state that this man is an incredible eater. He is about as fit as they come, yet he eats three times more than the average man. I love a good eater!

This is a very serious discussion about something very important.

This is Lori. She is the script supervisor, and she is one of the most incredible volunteers I have encountered.

Boom.

Boom operator.

I have learned that the black-and-white-start-the-scene-thingy actually serves a purpose.

Who knew?

Well, probably a lot of people.

But I didn’t.

I think the poor guy, Travis, holding the boom seriously has the hardest job.

I have a cramp just looking at him.

Camera man and actors with the director thrown in there.

Yet another serious discussion about a serious topic.

I’m sure of it.

Getting ready to capture sound.

Isaac is Like a Boss.

Lets make some magic, people!

I have decided that there is nothing cooler than seeing someone’s dream come true.

Especially when that someone is a man that you are just crazy about.

That’s all for now.

And, scene.

XO,

Leah

We live in a great neighborhood where kids play in their yards, ride their bikes around the block, and act like kids should act.

In the evening, the kids get called home for dinner, homework, and bedtime.

There is a neighborhood mom that calls for her son around dinner time every night.

This child’s name is Thomas.

So, neighbor mom comes out and yells:

“Thomas!”

“Thomas!”

“THOMAS!”

And all that I can think of is this.

And that’s all that I have to say ’bout that.

Have a good one!

XO,

Leah

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