25 April 2012

Beach House, All Day and All Night, Forever and Ever

I don't know about you, but I know I am definitely riding the Beach House wave lately. I find their dreamy tunes to be relaxing, springy, summery, lazy, lethargic, and happy all at once. I want to listen to Teen Dream and Bloom all day and all night, forever. I'm officially counting the days until I can see them and Vampire Weekend at Pitchfork Music Festival this summer. 81 days.

24 April 2012

HBO Girls

Girls via source
I don't know about you, but I am definitely enjoying the pilot season of Girls on HBO. After seeing Tiny Furniture and absolutely adoring it, as well as following Lena Dunham's Twitter for the last year, you can only imagine the amount of anticipation I had for the release of this show. I love Lena Dunham's voice, and I do believe she is a voice of our generation, if not a generation, to quote the show. The first two episodes have been really good thus far, covering the bases of sex, abortion, drug-use, and the general "What the F am I doing with my life after college!?!" haze that I totally relate to. In light of her parents cutting her off, Hannah struggles and strives to keep her chin up and her feet on the ground in order to find herself and most importantly be herself in New York City. There's no point in drawing comparison to Sex and the City (a show I love as well), because this is a different group of women at a different point in their lives with different ambitions and expectations. I think it's incredibly refreshing to have smart, educated, funny women speaking their minds as candidly and filterlessly as possible. Amen. Check out the trailer and the first episode!

Oh and I forgot to mention that Judd Apatow produced this show. If you're not sold on this point alone, then we can't be friends.

21 April 2012

Cold Spring Night Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

I found this recipe in a magazine I only read for work, Town & Country - but after trying it for myself, I am definitely going to think again before raising an eyebrow at the source of a recipe. I've always had a soft spot of asparagus soup, ask any of my college friends. I was one of the only students at Knox College who ever made a b-line for the cream of asparagus soup in the Hard Knox Cafe. One friend upon seeing me eating a bowl of this soup described it as looking like "baby vomit", but to me, it was heaven in a bowl.

With asparagus season upon us, I'm looking for as many ways as possible to get this divine vegetable into my system - and my apologies to my roommates if my pee begins to smell like asparagus... sorry in advance! I just love asparagus. I like it roasted with lemon and parmesan, I love it in vegetable risotto, and yes, now I love it in this soup!

This recipe combines a lot of really yummy fresh flavors. The leak and garlic take a bath in butter, getting soft as they mingle. I used homemade chicken stock that not only tastes great, but is a gorgeous golden color. The asparagus was tiny and tender, and the final addition of dill and cilantro really lend themselves to the soup in a way that awakens your taste buds.

I'm not going to lie, I finished my first bowl before I could finish one article in Talk of the Town, it's just that good. I'd serve this up with some crusty bread and butter, a nice salad, or more asparagus.

Serves 4 to 6
30 minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, pale green and white parts only, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound asparagus trimmed
6 sprigs fresh dill
12 sprigs cilantro
Sour cream for serving

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan until the foam subsides. Cook the leek and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the leek is soft but not browned, about six minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
  2. Cut the asparagus into two-inch pieces and add to the stock. Cook until tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and dill. Transfer to a blender in batches and blend until smooth
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Recipe courtesy of Ian Knauer via Town & Country

20 April 2012

Buffalo Joe's

Buffalo Joe's

When asked where to eat when visiting Chicago, I never skip a beat. More often than not, I ask what the visitor has a taste for, what their price range is, or if they have any dietary restrictions... but then I remember Buffalo Joe's. Buff Joe's has hands-down my all time favorite buffalo wings. The sauce is unparalleled. I'm talking tangy, sweet, with just enough heat. The little wings are fried to perfection and each batch is individually tossed in a metal bowl of the age-old secret sauce. Served up with waffle fries, the world's best cheddar, and a refreshing RC Cola, these wings will honestly make you think twice before considering making a trip into Buffalo Wild Wings. While Buffalo Joe's isn't in Chicago proper (ahem, Evanston), it is totally worth the trip.

Buffalo Joe's 812 Clark Street / Evanston, Illinois

19 April 2012

My Father and Cats

For as long as I can remember, my father has "reviled" cats. Doesn't matter if they're our cats or belong to someone else, he just doesn't like them. Well, last weekend, I found myself digging through old photos and found a little spark of evidence that maybe, just maybe, my dad secretly LOVES cats. See for yourself! Spinky and Robert 2 Cat Robert Spinky and Robert

Living Room

Living Room

Here's a shot of my living room. Between watching the Julian Fellowes Titanic miniseries and James Cameron's Titanic (nearly seven hours of Titanic related entertainment), I spent a majority of my weekend in this room. Thought I'd share it with you. Isn't it charming?

18 April 2012

The Time My Family Met Barack Obama

My father with Barack Obama
When I was a junior in high school, my entire family had the opportunity to meet Senator Barack Obama. A friend of the family was his lawyer, and hosted an event at their home as a sort of meet & greet. I turned the invite down, to stay at home and do homework, ie surf the web. I did not know that this man was going to be the next President of the United States. I did not know that this man would be the first African American President.

This is one of my biggest regrets in life. Occasionally, it’s good to unplug, leave the house, and meet people. You never know who’s out there or who they are going to become.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

I have been putting off watching Martha Marcy May Marlene for far too long. I think I procrastinated in part, because I was told that this film is really disturbing, and to prevent myself from having self-anxiety created nightmares, I decided that I didn't want to watch it alone, and I definitely didn't want to watch it in the dark. I know, I'm crazy. I put off watching this movie for very silly reasons, stemming from my own difficulty to separate fiction from reality. I'm nuts. But what's worse is, I had nothing to fear, you see, because I am friends with people who worked on this movie. That's right, I put off watching a movie because I was scared of being disturbed by a fiction that was put together by people I am friends with. Who am I?

But enough of my inner-monologue, let's get down to the brass tacks.

Martha Marcy May Marlene was a real treat. Visually speaking, I was immediately drawn in to the expansive landscape of the Catskills. I wanted Martha's seemingly free spirit. The ability to skinny dip and jump off of cliffs into cool pools of water. The simplicity of her cutoffs and bruised legs. Her hair. I wanted to quit my job, live off of the land, maintain self-sufficiency, become a part of a different kind of community. Initially, it all looked so good, so tantalizing, so ideal. But as the story unfolds, things aren't as they appear. And what worked so well about this film was the way in which we the viewer are handed the story - in a way that helps us to determine what happened, even though the "facts" are coming from a character that we can't necessarily trust.

There were a few things that helped for me aided in the success of Martha Marcy May Marlene. For one, the cast was the perfect size, and this resulted in a true feeling of community within the story that lent itself beautifully to a film about a cult commune. There were no distractions. The styling of the characters was simple. There weren't too many details. I never found myself confused or asking questions. I found myself absorbed in the story, wondering what happened to Martha that left her with such a heavy case of PTSD. I found myself eating out of the palm of the cult leader Patrick's hand, only to feel the same betrayal and fear that Martha felt with the turn of events. I never once felt sorry for any of the characters - this film has a lot to do with decision making. With the very definition of right and wrong. And with the ideals and values which various communities are based. It's scary to think that no matter where we end up, or what kind of community we choose to subscribe to, there are always flawed ideologies in every system.

In the end, I wound up watching Martha Marcy May Marlene in the dark, alone, and wound up having nightmares, waking up drenched in sweat. The next day, I went to work, but for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was just going through the motions. Maybe what terrified me wasn't the brainwashing, the violence, or the paranoia of this film, but rather the reality of existing in a complex and rich society that is truly laden with it's own set of brainwashing, violence, and paranoia - 21st century America.

Thanks Brett and Esther, for bringing this movie to me and to the world! You two are wonderful, creative and an inspiration!

17 April 2012

Two Girls Two Shirts

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Between the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, turning 24, and various quarter-life-crises, I can't imagine having anything interesting or internet-appropriate enough to share off of the top of my head. For instant gratification or to know what's going on follow my twitter. Thanks everyone who's been cool and put up with my crazy in the last few weeks. You're rad.

Anyways, this video might be one my favorite skits from Portlandia. I know I know, I'm totally biased toward anything featuring Miranda July. But after discovering that Miranda and Carrie are BFF IRL, I couldn't not fall in love with this. Plus, their attitude to NYC is so telling and so obvious. I feel like there is a little too much truth to this vid - and all I have to say to these women, is thanks and Preach!

10 April 2012

The Marriage Plot

Last week I breezed through Jeffrey Eugenides' The Marriage Plot. I'm not quite sure if I read it so quickly because I've been working through some heavy duty non-fiction (ie the gigantic biography of Frank Lloyd Wright) or because it was fun to read, but either way, this book was a quick read in the best sense of the word.

The story finds the protagonist Madeleine as she finishes up her senior year at Brown, in the early 80's venturing into the strange world of a new relationship in the uncertain year following graduation. Though I didn't go to Brown in 1982, and I've never spent much time on the east coast - this book perfectly encapsulates what it is to be in the post-grad-funk when the question on everyone's mind is always "What do I do now?" I related to this character in a number of ways, from her academic interest in something so specific, the marriage plot in Victorian literature, to experiencing the strange phenomenon of being in a new relationship, while at the same time figuring out which of her skills and interests are marketable in the sense of the uncertain job market. The book follows Madeleine, her new beau Leonard, and her close friend Mitchell on their journey from the graduation podium and beyond. Mitchell, a religious studies major, fulfills the post-graduate stereotype of finding himself while traveling around the world always chanting a familiar mantra in his head, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner," not in the religious sense, but merely regurgitating the words of the misguided fictional Franny Glass. Maddy and Leonard move to the Cape together, and without spoiling much, end up in a bit of a bind, regarding, you guessed it, the marriage plot. 

While things do get chaotic, the book resolves quickly - similarly though not with as much tact or grace as J.D. Salinger's books neatly tie themselves together. There are a few loose ends, but not many. And though the book seems to be about "nothing" in the end, the journey is where the story lies. I'll give this book a B+ because it was fun, and meaningful to me - the epitome of a misguided post-grad with who is constantly wondering if she is "living up to her potential".  I say, if you're going to read something by Eugenides, go with Middlesex. The story from start to finish is much more enriching and entirely more satisfying! Or, if you'd like to see the journey of a just as frazzled post-grad, why not cut out the middleman and read Franny and Zooey, one of my all-time favorites!

06 April 2012

as of late

Things have been quiet over here on the blog, due to running around, several failings in the kitchen, eating new things, reading books, and recently discovering Boardwalk Empire. No worries, I've been taking care of myself, between going to the gym and spending lunches in the library at work. Sometimes, stopping to smell the roses is exactly what the doctor ordered.
  Holy charcuterie!!! Welcome home, Chairman Mao photo Untitled

1 charcuterie platter at 694 / 2 Warhol's Mao, 1973 in the Modern Wing / 
3 my "running errands look" / 4 stinky pretty flowers