Sunday, January 31, 2010

Frozen Seafood

It's the end of January, and it's colder than ever in Maine (where I live). There is still plenty of snow on the ground, and we have at least another whole month of winter to look forward to (or be depressed about).

I have lived in Maine my entire life. I grew up here, and decided to stay in-state for college. Living in "Vacationland" is really nice; summers by the ocean are beautiful and the fall months are gorgeous. I can tell you, though, that the winter season is not the reason tourists flock to the state.

(here, two reasons why I love Maine)

One great thing about Maine, though, is that fresh seafood is always available. In an attempt to beat the winter blahs, I braved the freezing cold temperatures (it was 0 degrees, at most, on Saturday) and picked up some fresh seafood in order to try one of Martha's dinner recipes.

The meal was a pasta dish with fresh sea scallops. The picture doesn't really do the seafood justice, but they were the most tender and flavorful scallops I have ever had! A side of homemade french bread (recipe courtesy of Rachel) was the perfect complement. Overall, a great weekend meal!

Maine in the winter isn't so bad after all. I may have frozen outside on the trip to the store, but the seafood was certainly fresh!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Brighten Up!

It is positively frigid in the Northeast today. Not only is it cold and snowy, but it's extremely windy to boot.

The bleak, wintry afternoons and excessive amounts of snow have me craving color in a big way. These totally cheery accessories would be the perfect way to bring some color to my pasty white face. I love how over-the-top these are!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Kitchen, In a Perfect World

At 23, I have lived on my own for less than two years. As an undergraduate student, I chose dorm-life as a matter of convenience. When I began grad. school, I moved into the apartment my boy and I still share.

We accumulated a lot of furniture pieces and kitchen necessities from family. What we didn't have - but quickly discovered we needed - we purchased as cheaply as possible. The dollar store was our friend when it came to kitchen basics, and sadly, it still shows almost two years later.

I didn't have an interest in cooking at all when I moved off campus. I quickly learned that I needed to make an effort if I wanted us to eat sensibly, and it quickly became a passion of mine. Being in the kitchen is now one of my favorite places to be!

I have slowly begun to replace the horribly cheap cooking utensils, pans, cooling racks etc. that I originally bought with nicer items. It's certainly a work in progress, and I am trying not to be to hasty. I want to wait until I can afford only the things that I really want.

I thought I would throw together a little list of things I hope to accumulate in the coming years (hopefully much sooner than later). I ultimately want a very bright, cheery and efficient kitchen that is great for entertaining and just fun to be in. Right now, we have what my mom fondly refers to as a "kitchenette". Realistically, it is large enough for one person (seriously).

These are a few things I have been eyeing for a while now:

Cake Stand:

I really love the cheerful color of this simple stand. I bake a lot, and I love making cakes for special occasions (or just because). This would be perfect for displaying my latest confection.

Quality Chef's Knife:

I would be too embarrassed to use my current knife in front of anyone. It is so tiny and dull! Most cooks would probably use this knife only for peeling potatoes - I use it for vegetables, steak, poultry and everything else! This should probably be my first purchase..


I have loved this bright dinnerware since I was a kid and first saw the collection my mother inherited, but sadly sold. I would LOVE to get my hands on those original pieces! I love the way this line is a bit quirky without being over-the-top. These would look fantastic on our vintage 50's kitchen table.

Espresso Maker:

This is the latest addition to my wish list, thanks to Martha. I saw her show this morning, and she was raving about how fantastic it is to be able to make fabulous coffee bar drinks from home. She made one for her guest (the name of the country singer escapes me), and he was beside himself. Not only does Martha love this, but it seems that every chic kitchen tour I see over at The Kitchn includes one of these on the counter top. I am sold - I have to have one.

The One-And-Only ... KitchenAid:

It's true, and very sad, that I do not yet own one of these. I must resort to my little hand mixer whenever I bake (gasp!). It's probably not the worst thing, as our kitchen is so small. I am not sure where I would put it in this apartment. However, this will be my FIRST purchase once we have a larger place. Let's hope they still have this amazing color by the time I can get one!

I would post a picture of my current cooking space, but I am still in the process of installing programs back onto my computer after my computer crashed. I will post some soon!

What kitchen items are on your wish list?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bringing Etsy Home With Me..

(The Snuggery, The Little Stitch, Kain-Kain Shop, The Home Centric all featured on Etsy)

This past Christmas, my parents were way too generous (as they always are). As a gift to my boy and I, they purchased a very nice, brand new couch!

A sofa just wasn't realistic for our budget, so we had been making do with a chaise lounge and a yard-sale-find chair. The set-up was not ideal, so I cannot tell you how thrilled we are about this new addition.

We joke that now we are more like real people* - we can actually entertain more than one person comfortably!

A new couch gives me a great excuse to support the fabulous and flourishing handmade industry. I became aware of the Etsy community an embarrassingly short time ago, and since then I have been dying to start incorporating the work of such talented artists in my own home.

I want to find a really eclectic mix of throw pillows for the new couch and our existing chaise. I am loving the great texture of these Etsy finds (particularly the gnome pillow that brings to mind the French movie Amelie).

I hope to post a little house tour in the coming week, as a way to document the updates and changes I make. My home is always a work in progress, which is a lot of fun!

* In my experience, and those of many others I have talked with, being a grad. student has a funny way of making you feel isolated. More posts on this random thought later..

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dear Stella, Can We Be Friends?

Way too much time has passed since my last post. At first glance it may appear that this blog is yet another unfinished project I pushed aside and replaced with text books and lecture notes. BUT, I have a good excuse, I promise.

Last Saturday, my hard drive decided that it would completely crash, mid-blog-entry! I was scouring the internet for fashion inspiration, plucking shots of fabulous civilians from style blogs etc., when my computer froze.

Long story short, I lost EVERYTHING. Pictures, old research, countless recipes, bookmarks, artistic inspiration - you name it. Several days of work on a current research project was erased, but it could have been much, much worse (thank you
little jump drive!).

It's my own fault for not backing up my data enough. But that didn't stop me from feeling sorry for myself and lamenting the loss of my "life" for about four days straight.

A week (and about $100) later I am back in business.

Since I lost the inspiration board I was planning to post last week, I decided to make a new one..

I didn't need to search any farther than the Stella McCartney look book. So pretty..

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Doing it Myself ... And Not Getting Far

This past week marked the beginning of the spring semester. This usually means that any DIY projects I started but did not complete during my time off will remain that way until May, at least.

Exhibit A: Several months ago I got the bright idea to reupholster the vintage 50's - style kitchen chairs I have in my apartment. I adore the table set, so I wanted to repair the badly damaged chairs (I love my kitties dearly, but they are so destructive). However, a grad. student stipend doesn't allow for such extravagant purchases. So, I chose to buy the materials myself and give it a go. How hard could it be, right?

As it turns out, reupholstering furniture is extremely difficult! It is such hard work, friends. In several months time, I have completed only one chair, and I dread the idea of having to complete the other three. My sole motivation to keep going stems from the fact that the first chair came out really well...

The new year, for me, marks a renewed attempt to keep up with the creative projects I enjoy (this one not so much, it turns out) even though I am back in school.

Let's hope I have a finished product to share with you very soon!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Abstract ... For a Blog?

I have been agonizing (truly) over how to begin this new adventure. I thought writing the abstract for a research paper was hard - this is a different beast entirely. Blogging is so personal, which is scary but exciting at the same time.

I am going to treat this, to some extent, as an exercise in letting go. The beauty of this project is that there is no set plan. I don't need an abstract, which is a relief! My hope is to let this blog evolve organically. I have no specific goals. My only objective is to have some fun and to connect with others.

I actually made my first official contribution to the blogosphere several days ago. I love fashion, but a daily schedule that largely revolves around lecture and research often results in a wardrobe driven by a desire to be comfortable. This is especially true in the winter when you live in New England, which I do.

To hold myself more accountable for my appearance, I joined a Flickr group devoted to showcasing the everyday looks of fellow bloggers. Bloganistas is full of fashion inspiration, and
I'm excited to contribute some of my own looks!

Here is me a few days ago..

I'm going to try to post my look each day (fingers crossed!) to the Flickr pool. It can't be that hard to pull it together each day, right?

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