Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It has been far too long and my excuses are unworthy. I live in Oregon again and it's a little disconcerting but mostly beautiful. Bad days are cured with taking a step outside and breathing in deep, rare craft beers are sold at the grocery store at the bottom of the hill, and nothing is more stunning than the way the sun hits the trunks of the pines and makes them glow when it starts to set. I am trying to remember all of that and more but this transition from living in a big city by myself to sleeping in my childhood bedroom every night makes it hard to stay positive. I don't know what I want to do with my life. Write, probably. But to succeed in writing takes a great deal of self-discipline and I lost mine somewhere between finishing college and losing my very first grown-up job. It's strange because sometimes I do want to put time into things. I never ever struggle when it comes to keeping up with a cute boy and I am more than happy to put the majority of an hour into accessorizing. But work? When it's called work? I think I've lost my spark. So here I am blogging again because that has always made me happy and there is nothing anyone is better at than talking about themselves. I'll talk about fashion, too, of course. And my dog and makeup and how much dating makes me want to crawl under my bed and never leave. Oh, the lifestyle blog. Everyone has them and no one wants to read them. 

I have to get ready for work but please oh please watch this space. Love to the lot of you. Always. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Once I nearly went on an internet fast. It was a very good, healthy idea. The things I saw on Pinterest made my apartment downright depressing. Fashion bloggers and their expertly styled outfits left me wanting nothing more than to drop $200 at ASOS. And then there's all the guilt that would just layer up on me whenever I came across some faded image of a stormy sea with "Action is the foundation of all success" emblazoned across it in big bold Helvetica. The internet fast never happened because I realized that at its core, it was an excuse to avoid reminders of my own laziness and impulses. Now instead of being frightened of coming across ambition online, I use all the creativity online to inspire me. I keep Pinterest close to my heart, carefully curating each board like it's my very own personal style manifesto. Sticking with the fashion bloggers has been a good thing, too. Instead of feeling that irrepressible urge to go out and by two cardigans in beige and blue, those fashionistas of the world wide web have instead inspired me to refine my closet remixing skills. Because every dress can take on a new life as a skirt if you throw a cute sweater over it. And now instead of feeling guilty when I see an ambitious individual post a quote about the very long term relationship between labor and success, it's just the prompt I need to stop scrolling down my Google Reader and get some real work done. 

I hope you are all doing well this beautiful Tuesday evening. Now if you'll excuse me I have an episode of Downton Abbey to watch and a cup of tea to drink. 

images via we heart it

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It's time for my favorite Thanksgiving practice: Giving thanks! I'm flying home to Oregon tomorrow (!!!!) and do not plan on spending any time at my computer except for the occasional check-in with my office. So I am posting this today. Things I'm grateful for, and there are a lot of them. This post is rather self-indulgent, but I think it's a necessary exercise. We all need to take a  couple moments to reflect on what fills us up inside with warm fuzzies.

I am grateful for....
Parents who still very much love each other. A dad who is more than happy to guide me through these new and intimidating post-grad obstacles. A mom who encourages all of my creative whims. A sister who doubles as a best friend. A brother who shows his love in quiet, meaningful ways. A family that I love to be around. A boyfriend who makes me laugh and swoon and think. Long, rambling text message exchanges with friends who live far away. Blossoming friendships with clever, interesting people. Brunch. George R. R. Martin. The way street lamps look at night on a tree-lined street. Public transportation. Malbec. Puppies. My job. Being challenged by my job. Having the means to pay my rent.  Coffee. Tall boots. My 10 toes and 10 fingers and eyes and nose and mouth and ears. Art. FaceTime. The first person to ever shave black truffle on top of risotto. Scallops. Forgiveness. The Actors Cabaret of Eugene. My sharp memory for little details. Black opaque tights. Artichokes. Late nights out with friends that begin and end with cocktails and laughter. Sunshine. Rain, especially at night. Low-maintenance house plants. Goat cheese. The family farm. My aunts and uncles and cousins and grandmas. And grandpas, may they rest in peace. Candles. Cuddles. Sundays curled up on the couch reading a new book while Sean watches football next to me. The skyline. Airplanes. Arugula. The ability to cry. Color. Shimer College. Mountains. My independence. Lily and Helene and the comfort of knowing that as long as we're all alive, we'll never be alone. Fresh air. The fact that nail art is totally a thing now. Musical theater. Parties. Inside jokes. Vodka gimlets. Letting go. Prayer. Recipe blogs. Songs you can sing along with. Microbreweries. Loving, being loved.

Tomorrow I fly home, but tonight Maura and I have plans to eat vegetarian chicken  nuggets and watch too much Family Guy. Life is beautiful, isn't it?

Art by JR Schmidt

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Casual dresses for when all the leaves have fallen.

These go best with opaque black tights, high heeled oxfords, and a tailored wool coat.

This flattering number also comes in black, but I am trying to avoid the days when my wardrobe consisted exclusively of everyone's favorite slimming shade. I love the peter pan collar and the subtly sexy keyhole front. It's the essential playful basic, and will take you everywhere from brunch with the boyfriend's grandparents to a night of bar hopping with your best friends. 

Gorgeous, minimalist perfection that would be at home in the office or your favorite corner coffee shop. And it's so put-together on its own that you don't even have to worry about layering to get a complete look. I love dresses like that because I am a touch lazy when it comes to accessorizing. All you need is a soft scarf for some extra warmth and a cozy coat to make this December-ready.

I know I said I'm avoiding black, but this dress is just too sweet and simple to ignore. I know a potential go-to frock when I see one, and our black and cream friend here has all of the qualities. It's basic and flattering with fashion-forward touches. It will go with your new cardigan, it will look great with your funky vintage boots, it is easily updated with patterned tights. You could live in this dress! I would wear it to church or work or even a pair it with a glittery headband for a swinging holiday party. 

Today is crisp and cool and sunny like a freshly picked Pink Lady apple. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beauty Pick: Make Up For Ever Super Lip Gloss

I started using Make Up For Ever Super Lip Gloss last week when I realized that lipstick wasn't fitting into my lazy beauty routine. You can wear Chanel Rouge Coco all you want so long as you carry a compact in your purse and know how to fend lipstick off of your teeth, but having a good gloss in your purse takes you from bland to beautiful with little more than a twist of the lid. Right now I am loving on Make Up Forever's gloss in Beige 1. It's a sparkling rosy nude that makes my lips look fuller than Rachel Barry's on the latest season of Glee. And it has a yummy smell, kind of a vanilla floral. I highly recommend it, although Sean has aired his grievances against the sticky kisses I give him when I wear it. He's tough and can deal, though, cause this lip gloss isn't going anywhere.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The lazy chef's pantry

After consuming several cups of coffee intermittently throughout my workday, I am caffeine crashing hard when I get home from work. All I want to do is pour a glass of red, curl up on the couch, and catch up on my shows. More often than not, Sean will jump into the kitchen and bake some chicken with broccoli or grill polish sausage and kraut while I languish on the sofa (seriously have you ever heard tell of a finer boyfriend?),  but after three nights in a row of his tasty, filling cooking I start to feel  little guilty. Fairness and love dictate that I should also contribute to the weekly menu, but this obligation twists my head into knots. Lazy Hillary would much rather just order sushi or a pizza but Lazy Hillary can't exactly afford to do this. As such, I've gotten together an arsenal of easy mix and match foods that have me back on the couch in no time at all.

Quinoa is mildly nutty, perfectly toothy, and good for you to boot. You can mix it into salads, use it as a base for casseroles, or throw it into a soup for a filling edge. I love this stuff, and it also does well in your lunchbox the day after.

Canned diced tomatoes are especially useful in soups, but nothing works better for a quick and easy pasta sauce or a relish for chicken or steak. Mix it into anything you have going on the stove top for ripe and fruity flavor. And I know a lot of people might disagree with me, but there is nothing better than biting down into a chunk of stewed tomato in the midst of the rest of an entree.

Garbanzo beans are a miracle staple. At my best, I make sure there are at least two cans in my cupboard at all times. They make soups heartier and can give plain greens and dressing more heft. Oh and have you heard of this little thing called hummus? You don't even need a food processor - I once made some fork smashed hummus that disappeared within minutes. One of my favorite chickpea ventures was a salad I made with tuna, diced onions, chopped cilantro, and loads of lemon juice. It was light and bright and filling and took me all of like 8 minutes to make.

Beef stock is my broth of choice for soups. I like to use it for heating up kale, too, and it can be subbed in for water in many a recipe for bonus flavor. Of course, you can use whatever stock you please, but I think that the beef stuff has the richest flavor.

Whole wheat  sliced bread because sometimes a girl just needs to make a sandwich.

Fresh tomatoes are a must. One evening, Maura and I made a particularly spectacular quinoa and kale bowl, and the added topping of tomatoes was a beautiful and welcome flavor addition. And of course, no sandwich is truly complete without some sliced tomatoes. 

Arugula is my favorite green. I don't know why anyone would ever use anything else. It has so much interesting flavor on its own and makes me go back for salad seconds. Oh and on sandwiches? My goodness it's a treat. 

Kale will do nicely if you need a green that is more substantial than dainty little arugula. I don't actually like it much in salads but cooked with some ground turkey or lemon and garlic and I am in healthy-eating heaven. So tasty and the texture just works. Oh! If you have yet to experience the miracle of kale chips please accept the life-changing snack into your heart. I made a batch for Sean and his roommates last April. The three of them were suspicious at first, but when the chips disappeared off of the cookie sheet before they had even cooled, I knew I had something special on my hands. And it takes less than ten minutes of prep time.

Broccoli because roasting it with olive oil and salt and pepper is a revelation. Sean put it in a baking dish with chicken breasts and white wine last night and it got a little burnt and oh-so-flavorful. The florets are just irresistible when rendered slightly crispy. 

Onions drive me wild when they've been cooked just right. Some  skillet time with olive oil until they get soft and some of the edges are a little bit burnt - heaven. Cooked, they do well in soups or on top of meat. I also like to dice them up and add them fresh to a quinoa bowl.

Lemons are my favorite way to add interest to an otherwise bland dish. I made a terribly dull quinoa and cauliflower casserole last weekend and it would have gone in the trash were it not for a generous squeeze of lemon and some smoked paprika. I once made a chickpea turkey chili that tasted that much tastier with some citrusy brightening. Add. It. To. Everything.

Goat cheese is amazing and I've been known to devour it plain. It melts right into sauces and coats everything creamy and tangy-like when mixed into salads. 

Parmesan is my second favorite cheese and so so versatile. Roast it with your broccoli, toss it on your salads, and let it top off your minestrone soup. Oh and have you every tried to make Alton Brown's parmesan crisps? Watch them carefully as they cook and your diligence will be rewarded.

Greek yogurt is most beloved mixed with honey and granola as a breakfast treat. But I like to use it to thicken my soups and sauces. Mix it in with curry (I wish you could all try Sean's curry - it's genius), sub it in for sour cream, or turn it into a salad dressing with some lemon juice and oil and vinegar.


Chicken but in frozen breast form. Easiest thing in the world. Throw it in a baking dish with veggies and a sauce of your choice, cook it all through, and devour. Save the leftovers and use them to top off your salad or quinoa for an easy, healthy office lunch option.

Ground turkey rid me of my aversion to cooking with meat. It is delicious and so easy to work with. I usually prepare it with some choice vegetables before adding a soup to it or pouring it over a piping hot bowl of  (what else?!) quinoa. We don't make many pasta dishes here because Sean doesn't like noodles because he is INSANE but I imagine ground turkey would do very well in lasagna or a marinara.

Bacon will provide breakfast in a snap and is an easy, DELICIOUS way to add flavor and protein to dishes that otherwise lack it. People will drool over anything with bacon in it. Fry it up crispy and use it in a salad. Use it as your meat of choice in a soup. Or just settle your hungover self down with a plate and a tall glass of Gatorade. YUM.

Lunch meat because one must always be ready to resort to a sandwich.

The other stuff

Coconut oil is good for you and a necessity if you like Asian cooking even just a little bit. Use it in curries and stir fries and even give it a go in soup.

Pesto can be stirred into just about anything for added tastiness. A girlfriend of mine in college uses it in all her dishes, from roasted potatoes to eggs benedict to baked chicken. A jar of pre-made pesto will take you pretty far, but if you're more of an overachiever than I, you can make it homemade and store it in ice cube trays in your freezer.

Nutritional yeast is very at home on popcorn, but it's also my first mate for when I want to give raw or vegan cuisine a try. Use it in place of bread crumbs, or mix it with vegetables before roasting for a cheesy flavor without the dairy. On one occasion Maura and I pureed it with soaked cashews to make a vegan cheese for an absolutely incredible raw beet ravioli.

Dijon mustard is one of my favorite ways to flavor a dish. It makes for seriously amazing salad dressings and I love how it tastes with vegetables. My mom makes a chicken broccoli pasta dish with a creamy parmesan sauce that tastes divine and gets an extra special kick from the mustard. Stir it into everything, and, of course, spread it on your sandwiches.

Nuts. The variety does not matter but just always have some on hand. Toast them or put them in the food processor or use them to add crunch to your salads. My favorites for cooking are cashews and walnuts. My favorites for eating plain are pistachios and filberts.

Don't forget your favorite spices (mine is smoked paprika) and this quick-cooking cupboard will get you out of the kitchen and onto the couch before you can say "Dancing with the Stars." So much love to all of you. This is what we in the biz like to call a comeback.