blue moon



Would rather lie down in a beer box than a cat bed.

5 things



I love about our new apartment:

  1. All the light.
  2. A bedroom. With a door.
  3. The fancy-pants stove.
  4. As much hot water as I need.
  5. No more bugs.

taste the rainbow



I want a dress made from candy!

(Via Fashion Gone Rouge, from editorial All You Can Get, photographed by Ryan Yoon for Virgine #1)

my favorite candles







Organic Living Birthday Cake scent candles (from Bed, Bath & Beyond).

I love vanilla-y, sweet foody scents, and this is by far my favorite I have found so far. (Bonus: hubby like them too.) When I light these, the whole house smells like cookies are baking! I always peel the labels off after I buy them, and they look much classier.

dinner tradition



Just about every single night, hubby and I sit down to dinner with a glass of wine and a game of Skip-bo. We keep the cards in a lovely sparkly bowl in the center of the table, and he usually shuffles and deals while I serve the food. It's pretty hilarious, and one of my favorite parts of the day.

my favorite model


I particularly enjoy seeing the different ways she is styled depending on the country the magazine is published in. This photograph is by Peter Lindbergh, from an editorial for Vogue China, June 2011 [via dustjacket attic].

my happiness project



I picked up this book the best way, randomly, in an airport. It seemed funny, quirky, and like a quick, light read. The author reminded me of myself, happy generally, with a great husband and a nice life, but puzzled as to why she's often in a bad mood or how to minimized the stress, snapping, and aggrivation to savor and appreciate everyday life. Something I need. I go to sleep so thankful and peaceful an happy, and sometimes wake up and just want to bury my head back under the covers.

days are short, years are short

And so are months. After reading the book (in just a few hours, it was a very quick read), I related a lot to the author's personality type, particularly for her love of analysis, spreadsheets, charts, and checklists. Want to be happy? Let's start with a spreadsheet! I love it! But seriously, I did realize one reason why I've been sucking so badly on my resolutions - checking in once a month, at the end of the month no less, is not gonna. Especially since my resolutions are so tiny this year, nothing really big or life-changing, and, at the same time, nothing with dramatic results to encourage progress.

My resolutions basically revolve around what makes me feel bad, and on the flip side, what makes me feel good. Basically feeling well (healthy eating, exercise), looking decent (skin care, hair cuts), having a clean/orderly apartment, and feeling productive. So, I sat down to make my resolutions list, or happiness project spreadsheet. I also tried to think of tiny things that give a little lift to the day and the first things that came to mind were lighting candles and playing music. 15 second mood boosters for sure.

And I came up this daily checklist (it's pretty much the same as my new year's resolutions, which I realized had the same goal: improve everyday life):

Read a book (for 15 minutes or 15 pages).

Keep house clean:
Clean cat litter every day (yep.).
Vacuum (1x/week).
Change sheets.
Buy the little things we need without hesitation.

Health:
Eat fruits and veggies.
Drink 8 glassed water.
Limit alcohol intake.
Exercise.

Little things:
Light candles.
Play music.
Wake up by 9:30.

Like the way I look:
Wash face right away.
Wear nice clothes.
Wear makeup.
Fix hair.
Maintain manicure.

Did you notice play guitar is gone. When it came down to it, that just isn't something I want to do, not everyday at least, and not on demand. So, it's only been two weeks of this happiness project, and it hasn't been perfect at all, but I think it's been a lot better than the previous months of the year, and will continue to get better. I open my chart every morning, which acts as a prompt to do the little things: get a glass or water and light a candle for instance. And then, I really get a thrill from checking the things off my little lists.

I would definitely recommend checking out the book, and also The Happiness Project blog.

cookbooks

I cleared a good amount of clutter for the move a few months ago, among it were a box or two of books, including my only two cookbooks that I though I would use and never ever did. I brought them all to Half-Price Books for trade-in, but while I was waiting I discovered a little trove of old rotary club-type cookbooks, they are the type I remember my mom having around when I was a little girl, and I just couldn't pass them up.

This is one, a 1972 version by Tony Chachere:


I love these old recipes, the kind you just can't find on the internet, even though most are supremely unlikely to ever get made by me:


(Side note: I wouldn't use Half-Price Books again, for the value they give for books, I would prefer to give them to a thrift store instead.)

best ever bean enchiladas...


Seriously, these were so good hubby asked to put them in the weekly dinner rotation. We have some really great mexican restaurants around, and I actually prefer these. I never made anything like this before, and I was surprised by how quick and easy they were.

Disclaimer: I think mine were actually burritos, 'cause they were supposed to use 12 tortillas and mine only used 4. But I did leave out the 12 ounces of soy crumbles, (and the oregano) so who knows. We also used South Beach Diet whole wheat tortillas, which tasted really good with recipe and are kinda healthy? 9 grams of fiber each!)

Black Bean Enchilada/Burritos (recipe found here!)

Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Salsa (medium heat), small bottle
1/2 c. cream cheese
2 1/2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 tortillas*
Enchilada Sauce (medium heat), small can

Preheat oven to 350.
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until tender.
Stir in beans and spices, cook a few minutes.
Stir in salsa, cook a few more minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in cream cheese until in melts.
Add handful or so of cheddar, stir lightly.

(Ok, here the recipe said to warm tortillas, I did this by putting them in a stack in the oven for a few minutes while it was pre-heating. I'm not sure if it's a must, but since mine were refrigerated anyway, I figured it couldn't hurt.)

Coat bottom of glass pan with olive oil, then 1/2 enchilada sauce. Spread 1/4 bean mixture on each tortilla - top with a handful more cheddar on each - and roll up. Put each seam side down in glass pan. Spoon more enchilada sauce over them, them top with lots more cheese!

Cook for 20 minutes.

chicken

Oh, man.


Reading some of the press about the chicken industry after the crazy tornados in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I was reminded again how gross and awful the conditions are for chickens raised for consumption. I'm not completely against eating meat, but the gruesome living conditions make me sick. I looked into the labeling and guidelines to see if there was an easy way to buy ethically-raised chicken, but it seems that almost all of the terms are misleading and not really enforced, and that even the best conditions aren't that great.

I think my plan is to just stop eating chicken all-together. We already eat very few eggs, I use them rarely for baking, so it's no big deal to buy the more expensive organic and cage-free ones. Supposedly, this website here will tell you the most humane choices at your grocery store. I'm not sure how accurate it is or what it all means, but I guess it's better than nothing?

pretty hair

I'm so tired of super long hair right now, but not at all ready for short... I've been collecting photographs of long, but above the boob hair that I like:




vaseline glass


We were fascinated a display of pretty vaseline glass jewelry at a little gift shop... It was mostly green transparent but glows bright green to yellow under black light! I bought a bracelet and then did some research and found out the glow is due to trace levels of uranium!

Easter

When was Easter? I can't even remember! Anyway, I did a really good job on the baskets this year, I can tell because much more candy then usual got eaten, which is awesome ('cause that's less around the house for me to finish!). My mom had a tradition of using the same Easter baskets for us year after year, but since we don't have any special baskets, and I hate the thought of storing them except for one day of the year, I just use things from around the house. This year, it was two large clear chip bowls:


Perfect! And green too, right? Can plastic be green?

crazy trip

So, I had a hell of a trip last week with the most airline delays/cancellations/problems of my life. It all worked out though.

For the first night, I was stuck overnight in Newark and hubby was at a meeting in Manhattan. Yay! for an unexpected lovely night together, in a crazy Park Ave suite. Seriously, he booked a cheap room (for NYC, which is different.) and was upgraded to someplace we could easily live: Massive bedroom, 2 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, dining room and kitchen, plus the best wraparound balcony I've ever seen, with 2 table/chairs sets and great views from the 18th floor.













New York was gorgeous: flowers blooming, beautiful weather, people out and about everywhere. I really felt like this was our little Park Ave. apartment.