if there's ever an answer


With so much going on in the world today, it's so important to remember what this Italian proverb promotes: you can never go wrong with LOVE. I heard the Dixie Chicks song "More Love" this morning and, while I always thought it was a quasi-breakup song, I realized how relevant the lyrics are to our everyday lives. If we can lay down our preoccupations for just a moment, we might just realize that what we really need to do is give others a little more love.

"More Love"
I'm so close to you baby
But I'm so far away
There's a silence between us
And there's so much to say
You're my strength, you're my weakness
You're my faith, you're my doubt
We gotta meet in the middle
To work this thing out

More love, I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love, I know that's all we need
More love, to flow in between us
To take us and hold us and lift us above
If there's ever an answer
It's more love

We're afraid to be idle
So we fill up the days
We run on the treadmill
Keep slavin' away 'til there's no time for talkin'
About trouble in mind
And the doors are all closed
Between your heart and mine

More love, I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love, I know that's all we need
More love, to flow in between us
To take us and hold us and lift us above
If there's ever an answer
It's more love

Just look out around us
People fightin' their wars
They think they'll be happy
When they've settled their scores
Let's lay down our weapons
That hold us apart
Be still for just a minute
Try to open our hearts

More love, I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love, I know that's all we need
More love, to flow in between us
To take us and hold us and lift us above
If there's ever an answer
It's more love

I can hear our hearts cryin'
More love, I know that's all we need
More love, to flow in between us
To take us and hold us and lift us above
If there's ever an answer
It's more love

don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks


Happy 77th birthday to my all-time favorite, the incomparable Willie Nelson!



"To understand others is the
greatest asset of human life."
-Bonita Wa Wa Calachaw

you don't need no ticket


While some may see American Idol as a shameless corporate ploy to churn out pop stars and rake in the big bucks, I can't help but get sucked in every season. I love the show because it showcases the fact that there is talent everywhere, in unexpected places waiting to be discovered and cultivated. Now, Idol has had its fair share of ups (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson) and downs (Clay Aiken & Justin Guarini, anyone?) but the bottom line is: the show emphasizes true, authentic talent. While the voting may not always reflect these goals (go ahead and thank America's teenage girls for keeping you around for so long, Tim Urban) it's hard to deny the fact that the show exposes the public to fresh, unique singers, many who go on to find great success. Probably my favorite contestant of all the seasons is Crystal Bowersox. True to herself with raw talent that can't be taught, I've been on the Bowersox Bandwagon since her first audition. She sings with so much emotion and passion that it even brings her to tears at times. Watch her performance of "People Get Ready" from last week. Then try to tell me that American Idol is a sham.

"bacon...is good for me"

Probably one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time. If you're having a tough day, watch King Curtis as he loses it over the thought of no more bacon. I guarantee it will lighten things up and make you laugh, even if it's just for a little bit.

"She can't run in those little high heels..."

internet crack


So, I've done it. I've become one of "those engaged girls" who is OBSESSED with looking at wedding blogs (my favorites are The Wedding Chicks and Style Me Pretty) Aside from being practical tools for getting ideas for my own wedding, these sites have become my little escape from the stress that is seeming to multiply like rabbits on speed. A recurring tip on most of the websites is for brides-to-be to make "inspiration boards"...kind of a cheesy name for something that's really a great idea. So, in a very concerted effort to avoid studying yesterday, I made a few of my own inspiration boards on PowerPoint (nerd alert) from some of my favorite online wedding images. Keep in mind, I don't really plan on having a feast for 500 under a canopy of twinkle lights, nor will I be walking barefoot down the aisle, but some of these things were too beautiful not to include. There are things that I found that might actually sneak their way into the final product, namely, a bagpipe player (don't act so surprised). Corey and I, being Scottish and Irish, respectively, have talked at length about having a bagpipe player at the wedding (again, are you really that shocked?). If this actually happens I really, truly might just DIE.
Click on the photos for larger versions

hipster kitty


It's getting to be that time in New Orleans when the temperature starts rising and everyone flocks to Audubon or The Fly to bask in the still relatively tame won't-melt-you-into-a-puddle sunshine. With this solar worship comes the parade of sundresses, shorts, bathing suits, tank tops and flip flops. Everyone lives and breathes the glorious late spring Louisiana weather. Everyone, that is, except the hipsters. New Orleans is teeming with hipsters, from the "I spent $50 on this t-shirt from American Apparel but shredded it with a cheese grater so it looks vintage" kind to the "I don't even remove my super pointy toed boots and black skinny Levis to shower" type.
And as much as I applaud hipsters for being the so-called champions of subversive style (however subversive you can be while wearing Urban Outfitters) I will never understand the inexplicable need to wear a beanie and a flannel button-down in 80 degree weather. We get it. You're a HIPSTER. But even hipsters sweat, right? Or does one transcend the state of perspiring when wearing the prerequisite uniform of thick-framed glasses, deep-V neck shirt and carefully sculpted anime-esque jagged mullet? Judging by how warm I get even while wearing a breezy dress, I think it's safe to say hipsters have to be wringing out their skinny jeans on lunchbreak or something (ew). So is there a solution to help this over-heated, over-perspiring subculture without asking them to sacrifice their oh-so-carefully executed look? (We can't have dehydrated hipsters littering the streets for goodness sakes!) Unless the geniuses at Urban or American Apparel whip up a warm weather-friendly beanie, I wouldn't hold your breath.

Enjoy Hipster Kitty. So coolly aloof in his hipster-ness and aversion to all things mainstream. Except Starbucks. And Nylon Magazine. And PBR. And Macbooks.

ever been verbally stampeded?


Don't get me wrong...I love to talk, tell stories, converse with people about their lives and interests. But everyone knows one or a few of those people who revel in the sound of their own voice and who will stampede a conversation even if their point is entirely irrelevant. Just to get a word in. Many of them have great intentions, and many of them have very interesting things to say. What I've been trying to keep in mind lately (I think in an effort to avoid becoming one of those dialogue ambushers) is this: enjoy the art of conversation. Give, take, listen, agree, disagree, share your two cents. It's not the amount of words you say that matters, but rather it's what you say and how you say it. And if you can keep it short and sweet, even better.
Keep it simple. Keep it to the point.

present vs. future



LIFE IN THE VERY-NEAR (but hurry up already) FUTURE:

What a difference a few weeks will make (ok...so the beach might be wishful thinking, but I can dream, right?) In the meantime, I need to keep reminding myself that is the final push in reaching the goal I've been working toward for two long years...actually, make that the past TWENTY years. If that little hamster can keep running on that wheel, then so can I!

samuel beckett


Humorous words from Samuel Beckett. If you're going to fail, by God, just do it better next time! Of course, if I replace "fail" with "persevere" this becomes the perfect reminder to keep treading water and stay afloat during a time of paper grading, presentation giving, research paper writing and the black hole of thesis revising.

It's things like this that keep me from repeatedly banging my head against a brick wall.

the house that built me


No song could better capture the attachment I have to the house I grew up in. Our big, red, barn of a house in Colorado holds such a huge place in my heart and an infinite number of stories, memories and secrets. It was the house where: my family and my cousins all gathered for every Thanksgiving or Christmas, we played flashlight tag in the backyard until 1am in the summertime, we dared each other to jump out of the hot tub and do somersaults in the snow, watched "Selena" on repeat in the garage apartment, rigged up a message-carrying system from room-to-room with string, bells and tiny baskets, strapped a helmet on Bekah and pushed her down the stairs in a laundry basket, worked for hours cleaning and sweeping out the garage so we could have a place to rollerblade when the ground was covered in snow, we broke the German cuckoo clock playing volleyball inside, I flashed codes from my bedroom window with a flashlight to my friend who lived on the mountain facing us, Moses the cat died a tragic death by garage door, Nate Miller taught us to drive his stick-shift Volvo when we were 11, I heard the news of 9/11 on the radio as I got ready for school, we would film fake Calvin Klein commercials and Martha Stewart kitchen segments, we could watch bald eagles soar over our backyard, hear the Roaring Fork river from open windows at night, pick wildflowers from our yard, hang lazily in a hammock for hours on end in the sunshine.

It was an amazing place to grow up.


“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ―Etty Hillesum

kitchen creativity


Tonight marks a truly monumental accomplishment for me: the first time I made up a recipe ENTIRELY ON MY OWN. While this may not seem like much to toot my own horn about, you must remember that I am the same person who has not once, but repeatedly, screwed up cake-in-a-box, burned simple quesadillas so badly the fire department almost came, over-boiled pasta to the point that it disintegrated, and generally left a tornado-sized mess after each endeavor in the kitchen. But not tonight...tonight I channeled my inner Giada de Laurentiis, Martha Stewart, Julia Child, and Barefoot Contessa (whose real name is "Ina Garten" and has been the subject of much debate among me and my friends. Is she a real Contessa? Does she always go shoeless?) to think on my feet and pull something together when the original idea failed.

Corey and I had planned on cooking shrimp tacos using some leftover corn tortillas from last week, along with a collection of random vegetables that had accumulated in my fridge. Upon returning home from Whole Foods with the shrimp, I discovered, to my horror, that the tortillas were covered in a grayish-blue fuzz, rendering them entirely inedible. SO instead of spiraling into a panic about having to face the lines at the grocery yet again (which, as everyone certainly knows, are akin to the Seventh Circle of Hell come 5 o'clock) I decided to make do with what I could scrounge up. Prepare to be amazed...

Frozen, fully-cooked wild shrimp
Penne pasta
Half a white onion
Shredded red cabbage
Feta cheese
Juice of one lime
Olive oil
Preferred seasonings: kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne, garlic salt

After finding all of these treasures (minus the shrimp) in my fridge and pantry, it was practically a scene right out of Top Chef (minus Padma.) Keep in mind ratios of pasta to the vegetable mix while you make this, since you don't want the pasta to overpower the dish and vice versa.

Step 1: Boil water for pasta, cook until it is the desired level of mushy (umm...al dente?!?!), strain and rinse with cold water. Put in the fridge to chill.

Step 2: While the pasta cooks, thaw the shrimp in the microwave (place in a bowl and cook for 2+ minutes, checking every 30 seconds that they are only thawing, not cooking), drain any excess water/shrimp juice (ew) and season to your liking. I used kosher salt, garlic salt and little cayenne. Sautee in a large pan or, if you're like me, break out the George Foreman. Now, I know these little guys are already fully cooked, but if you know me...you know my irrational neurosis about under-cooked meat. So I just gave them a little sizzle on the grill for good measure. Put in the fridge to cool.

Step 3: Place diced avocado and onion in a mixing bowl with shredded red cabbage. Drizzle with olive oil, squeeze the juice of one lime on top, and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Add in as little or as much feta cheese as you'd like (I was a little on the liberal side with the feta...shocking, I know.) Mix everything together.

Step 4: Combine everything. Eat. Return for seconds (Corey loved it so much that he did! Or maybe this is part of his new fiancee duties...to eat anything I cook regardless of whether it tastes like a charred tire or smells questionable. Either way, between the two of us, we scraped the bowl clean!)

Like I said, this probably seems a little over-the-top, celebrating a simple little cold pasta salad-esque dish with only 5 real ingredients BUT let us not forget the kitchen tragedies mentioned earlier. So, until the next time my house is filled with smoke from some culinary misadventure, I will continue to gloat in my newfound Giada-ness.

product of an evil genius

This evening, I was watching one of my all-time favorite shows, Unwrapped, on the Food Network, featuring Marc Summers, the host of one of my other all-time favorites, Double Dare ("Pie in the Pants" was my favorite Physical Challenge. You guessed it...they caught pies in a giant pair of pants they wore.) Anyway, this episode of Unwrapped featured the world of chocolate and I may have just been introduced to the GREATEST INVENTION EVER.


Sam Adams' Chocolate Bock, a seasonal brew, isn't the only beer of its kind but is brewed differently to distinguish itself from the pack. While there are other chocolate beers in the world, many don't actually contain chocolate. They're brewed from roasted barley malt, toasted so dark that it gives off some of the same flavor compounds as cocoa. But during the brewing process for Samuel Adams' Chocolate Bock, they steep premium chocolate nibs into the brew --"Cru Sauvage" from Swiss chocolatier Felchlin, made from wild Bolivian cocoa beans. So there's lots of actual chocolate in the bottle.

As a result, this is a hugely chocolate beer. Apparently, when you first pour a glass and take a sniff, it smells a little bit like you've walked into a candy store --there's an aroma of cocoa, but also of caramel and vanilla. The malt smell is strong, but there's little presence of alcohol. It smells like a confection more than a beer. Naturally, Chocolate Bock would work brilliantly as an after-dinner beer, or as a treat on a cold day. And it would be amazing if you used it in a beer float -- pour a glass and drop in a scoop or two of ice cream.

This takes the famous Benjamin Franklin quote: "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" to a completely different level!

sweet intuition


I've already mentioned that this was my first Easter spent away from my family, and although I loved getting to be a part of my soon-to-be family's holiday, a part of me was still very homesick and a little sad not be be hunting eggs in my backyard (yes...I still do this) and eating bunny cake with my family after church.

I didn't mention any of this to Corey, but after the day was over he ran to the store to pick up some things to cook dinner, and showed up with beautiful stargazer lilies, some of my favorite flowers. I was so surprised and blessed by his sweet gesture and before I could say anything he said, "I could tell you were missing your family today and thought you might need these to brighten you up a little." The intuition he has about how I am feeling and what he does, even if it's the tiniest thing, to cheer me up if I'm having a bad day, encourage me or make me laugh is one of the things I love the most about him. Having someone who knows you so well you don't have to say anything, yet they understand exactly what you need, is a tremendous blessing and one I am so grateful to have. Thank you for being so great, Corey.

One of my favorite songs by Lyle Lovett "Nobody Knows Me" explains this so simply, yet so perfectly:

And I like cream in my coffee
And I like to sleep late on Sunday
And nobody knows me like my baby
And I like eggs over easy
With flour tortillas
And nobody knows me like my baby

And I like cream in my coffee
And I hate to be alone on Sunday
And nobody knows me like my baby

orange crush


I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about all the dresses, shoes, jewelry, purses, etc. etc. etc. I am infatuated with so before I continue, a disclaimer: I LOVE clothes. I will keep posting entries about them, because for me, my choice of wardrobe is an outward expression of my personality. I take pride in how I present myself and in my personal style, because when I am put-together, wearing something that I creatively constructed from my own closet, I feel happy. Simple as that.

That said, I am currently drooling over this Marc Jacobs orange leather clutch. The description claims it can be used to "protect all your important documents while traveling." Hey, I might not have any of these so-called important documents but by God, I will find some to put in this case and then take the kind of trip where they'd need protecting. (So I guess this means I am obligated to take a trip if I buy the clutch...something I am completely open to negotiating.) Everything about it is perfect: the size, the gold hardware (oh, don't get me started on my obsession with gold hardware), the padlock, the orange color that, believe it or not, would go perfectly with so many things. I guess if I want this to become a reality, it's time to start stashing away a little cash every week. Of course, so much easier said than done.

food revolution, part two


Kind of a follow-up to my post about Jamie Oliver's show "Food Revolution" and Michelle Obama's initiatives to re-vamp school lunch programs and the general health of American kids and families. The Huffington Post just featured this great article about Oliver and Obama's efforts. Read it HERE.

do whatcha wanna

On April 11th, HBO will premiere their new series "Treme," documenting fictional characters' lives in post-Katrina New Orleans. While it may be actors portraying New Orleanians, the show's creator went to great lengths to ensure the authenticity of the show, hiring writers from the Times Picayune to help with the script and eliminating the cheesy put-on "New Orleans" accent (that sounds nothing like the real thing.) There have been several productions, most notably "K-Ville," that tried to capture the atmosphere of the city, but failed miserably. "Treme," however, promises to deliver a product so reminiscent of New Orleans that the actors will no longer seem like fictional characters, but will call to mind someone you met at a bar, the trumpeter of your favorite brass band, or even your next-door-neighbor. Along with hiring local writers, the show filmed all over the city (including one block from my house) in places known to locals, places that will make you sit up during the show and say "Hey! They're drinking a beer at ____!" or "I drive past that restaurant every day." I hope that "Treme" delivers on these promises and gives the nation an accurate glimpse of the city I fell in love with (even if it is set in some of New Orleans's darkest days.) Below is the trailer for the show, which features the song "Do Whatcha Wanna" by Rebirth Brass Band, probably the most well-known and well-loved brass band in the city.
(sorry that some of the video gets cut off on the right-hand side, but it is the smallest version i could find!)

eat your heart out martha stewart


This is my first time spending Easter away from home, and I wanted to bring a little of my family's traditions to my soon-to-be in-laws (I can't help but think of George Banks in 'Father of the Bride' when I say this word:
"You know, that's another thing.
I hate that expression: in-laws. What does it mean anyway? We're legally bound to these people? I don't wanna be 'in-lawed,' especially to people who live in Bel-Air."
Of course, I have quite the opposite feeling about my future in-laws...but in my mind that will always be the scene tied to the phrase.)
Anyway, back to the point. Every year for Easter, since my dad was little, my grandmother would make a bunny cake (pretty self-explanatory: cake shaped like the Easter bunny.) Last Easter was our first one without her, but we vowed to carry on the bunny cake tradition. So, not being at home this year, I wanted to keep things going and bring a cake for everyone to enjoy after Easter lunch. I thought it would all be so simple. Gather ingredients, bake, and assemble. I quickly realized that, of course, things would not be so easy. After the cake refused to stay in one piece and chunks of it were sticking to my hands, I had to resort to using not one but two giant tubs of frosting and dump copious amounts of coconut which, I've discovered, covers a multitude of baking sins, on top to cover up what looked like an Easter bunny who just got out of a street fight. Despite my struggle with Betty Crocker and her "Moist Deluxe" cake mix (maybe I should just buy plain old "Moist" next time?) I think the cake turned out pretty well. That's not to say I won't be holding my breath when we cut into it, hoping it doesn't fall to pieces all over the carefully-dyed coconut grass and jellybean Easter eggs.

"rhetoric or not, it's dangerous"


I typically keep my opinions regarding politics off of the internet and to myself and I usually steer clear of watching 'The View' but today I have to break both of these rules. In the video below, the conversation regarding fear mongering and hateful speech being spewed by a party that shall remain nameless explains EXACTLY how I feel about the political climate today. It seems as though a particular sector of Americans have lost the ability to tactfully debate their differences and have instead resorted to throwing bricks through windows, leaving coffins on lawns, and placing gun target crosshairs over the names of politicians--cowardly acts promoted by the talking heads of the media who, unlike those actually committing these acts, will not face the consequences. The fact that 'The View's' Elizabeth Hasselbeck, a very vocal and probably the most public celebrity endorser of the party, rebukes these actions as "despicable" and "disappointing" and calls this hateful rhetoric "an abuse of the First Amendment" convincingly proves that these opinions are not exclusive to the opposing party. That's all the time I'm going to spend on my soapbox about this, but I really do think that no matter what your political persuasion, we all must be very careful about what we listen to and believe, because today's seeds of hate will lead to a very divided tomorrow.


"L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle.

The love that moves the sun and the other stars."

loving now

“true friendship isn't about being there when it's convenient; it's about being there when it's not”

A vintage 1920s flapper dress that I am dying to wear to the Rehearsal Dinner (which, I know, is a year and a half away but I can sill dream, right?)

Melissa loaned me her copy and I read it on my trip home from California. I am officially OBSESSED and will probably have to devote an entire post to my favorite quotes from the book. Elizabeth Gilbert, I bow down.

J.Crew's latest stroke of genius: the Minnie Pant. This is the 'Pixie' style, a retro-chic ankle-length pant silhouette that has a fit so incredibly flattering, even on those of us who aren't exactly "pixie" sized. Because of their stretch ponte fabric, they're able to straddle the boundary of pants and leggings (and let me tell you, this is a very fine and much-debated line). I bought a pair today and was thisclose to wearing them out of the store.

Speaking of J.Crew, this is a preview of their Fall 2010 collection. Oh Jenna Lyons, can I just be you for a week, please?

San Miguel de Allende. Major swoon. My parents will be there for 4th of July to celebrate my Aunt Sydney's 50th and have invited us to come along. This is where teleportation would come in handy since airfare costs about as much as a new washing machine.

Crystal Bowersox, the most talented former subway-station-playing hippie mama, and probably the coolest contestant to ever grace the American Idol stage (yes...I do happen to have a teenage-like infatuation with AI). She is so original and refreshingly real and reminds me of some of my favorites: Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin.