Friday, February 27, 2009

Conan and Colbert Dance Off

Conan and Colbert invisible strings dance off.  The perfect video to get your weekend started out right.  

Learning to Cook: Chronicles of a Kitchen Klutz

I'll be the first to admit I am not much of a cook.  I can bake a mean cookie or brownie, but ask me to do a meal and I become a bit of a klutz in the kitchen.  But I am honestly trying.  I dream of the day that I can just whip something up from the ingredients in the fridge.  When I can experiment with flavors and know exactly what ingredients to substitute without googling it.  

Turner has started a nice little incentive with me that if I pick out the recipe at the beginning of the week, he will get the ingredients and I'll cook it.  I'm looking forward to trying new recipes and hopefully becoming more comfortable in the kitchen.  I decided to start chronicling my cooking successes and failures once in a while on here.  This will keep me going with my personal cooking project and I'll be able to track my progress.  And maybe this will offer a little bit of inspiration for my fellow kitchen klutzes out there.

Wednesday night was the first week of my cooking challenge.  It was also one of the first times I completely strayed from a recipe and it turned out amazing!  Because of time issues, Turner did step in and help me with this one.

We started out with an extremely bland simple stir fry recipe but added red peppers, carrots, and ginger.  Instead of Peanut oil, which we couldn't find at the store, we used a stir fry sauce watered down with olive oil.  

I made an additional honey peanut sauce recipe, which was amazing and gave it an extra kick.  Instead of rice vinegar (which we also didn't have on hand) I used fresh lime juice.  I'm learning so much about substitutes!  We served everything on top of general stir fry noodles from the chinese aisle of the grocery store.  

There was so much adding and substituting, I'm not sure if we could recreate it again.  But it has definitely given me more confidence to stop being so rigid with the measuring cup and ingredient list and just start playing with my food!  

While I ran out to get a few extra ingredients, Turner was in charge of chopping up the veggies.  When I got home, this is what he had created for me.  Such beautiful presentation!

Turner stirring everything up.

The final product (before the noodles)

Good Morning: Morning Shadows

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Days with My Father

Days with My Father is a photo journal of sorts about a son's relationship with his aging father after his mother passed away.  While he does not have Alzheimers, he has no short term memory.  His accounts are heartbreaking, joyful, funny, touching and sad all in one.  The beautiful photography is so full of real human emotion.  

This journal reminds me to be thankful of the time I have with my parents.  It is also a sad reminder of my grandmother who suffers from Alzheimers.  She had always lived in Ohio when I was growing up.  But there was a short time a few years back when we were all living in the same place and I was able to be a part of her life.  It was scary how quickly her memories seemed to fade away.  And I will never forget the day when my memory and identity no longer held a place in her mind.  

She is back with my aunt in Ohio now and unfortunately I am not able to be a part of her everyday life.  Sadly most of her memories have escaped her at this point.  I only wish I had been more diligent about keeping a visual account of our time together like Phillip is doing.  

Lisa Hannigan: Lille

If her voice sounds familiar at all it is because she used to sing for Damien Rice.  Lisa Hannigan has been a wonderful complement to his music over the past few years and it is nice to hear her on her own.  Her style is definitely similar to Damien's, quiet and chill yet still full of passion.  The perfect music for a relaxing quiet night. 

Good Morning: Shooting with Film

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Finish every drop

I am in love with these soup bowls which have graphics and stories that are revealed as you eat your soup!  The bowl itself is slanted to encourage you to finish every last drop.  The goal and statement of the design is to reduce food wastage in domestic environments.  

On a side note, looking at their website, these bowls can also be customized with whatever you would like to write.  This would be an extremely cute proposal idea or a customized gift for a loved one.

Harry Potter Cover Redesigns

M.S. Corley has taken the liberty of redesigning the Harry Potter covers to reflect the style of classic Penguin books.  Now don't get me wrong, I love Mary GrandPre's illustrations, but these are just so great.  I am a sucker for two color design and having read all the books, I love the simple significance of each cover.  Scholastic hasn't bought into these redesigns, but I'm really hoping they do as an alternative.  Corley will also be offering these covers as prints in the near future.  

It also makes me wonder, does it ever upset you when a favorite book cover is redesigned?  I absolutely hate it when they make a movie out of a book and put the movie stars on the cover.  But I also love it when I go to a used bookstore and find an older cover design of a favorite book that I had not seen before.  In this case I am in full support of multiple designs.  And I'm also very thankful that they never put Daniel Radcliffe and his pals on the cover as an alternative design.

{via Oh?}

Good Morning: Going in Circles

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Simple pleasures for winter doldroms

My block covered in snow

It is about that time of year again when the winter doldrums set in.  It has been cold for a while and I'm very much over bundling up in the now not so latest winter fashions.  I find it is easy to get down this time of year, there is not much else about winter to look forward to.  Yet spring still seems so far away.  So I have to look to simple little pleasures to keep me going until the big thaw.  Below is a list of little things that help lift my spirits or give me something to look forward to.  Hope it helps to brighten this extremely windy day!  Feel free to share your own simple pleasures in the comments. 

-fresh baked cookies with milk
-trying a new recipe (especially if it is successful)
-big comfy sweatshirts
-feeling clean right out of a shower
-getting lost in a great book
-smores at Cosi with friends
-capturing a great photograph
-walking through the city by myself while listening to my ipod
-playing the piano
-flipping through graphic design books at the Borders on 14th (which has a better selection than the Barnes and Noble on 12th)
-trying a new restaurant
-making my nephew laugh
-a new 30 Rock episode
-exploring a different part of the city

The World at Work

With the economy in trouble, there is a new important focus on jobs.  And no one can ignore the constant reports of jobs being cut and eliminated.  The Boston Globe has compiled a photo gallery that gives a glimpse of the world at work.  It is also a reminder of all the jobs that people do, whether big or small, they are all important.

Electric Time Clock Employee Walter Rodriguez cleans the face of an 84-inch Wegman clock at the plant of Medfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
A Belarussian man works in a felt boot factory in Smilovichi, some 35 km east of Minsk. (Victor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images)
An employee works at the Ferronikeli smelting complex in Glogovac, central Kosovo.  (Reuters/Hazir Reka)
The Boeing 787 line is shown at Boeing Co.'s airplane assembly plant in Everett, Washington.  (AP Photo/ Ted S. Warren)

A laborer walks over newly-made pipes at a cement plant in Yingtan, Jiangxi province, China. (Reuters/Stringer)

Good Morning: Standing still in time

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Weekend in Pictures

Happy Monday, hope everyone had a great weekend.  Mine was extremely low key and relaxing, which was exactly what I needed.

I went out to Dino in Cleveland Park, with my friends for Restaurant Week.

Took Max (Turner's Dog) to Lincoln Park where he completely disobeyed me and didn't listen to a word I said/yelled.

Did a lot of relaxing in bed, watching Arrested Development and working on my computer.

Went out to RFD's in Chinatown with some friends.

Did my usual errands which included stocking up on my week's supply of Vitamin Water (I'm addicted).

Had brunch at my favorite restaurant, Sticky Rice

And did some more relaxing and lounging around with Turner

Monday Morning Metro Thoughts

Going to the same Metro stops every day at around the same time, I always wonder how many people do I cross paths with on a regular basis but don't even know it.  One day last year I rode in the same Metro car with a guy both to and from work.  I thought it was funny that we had chosen the same exact car both times and had gone to work and home at exactly the same time.  With trains coming and going every few minutes I thought this was quite a coincidence.  

For a while there was a blind man that I started to notice on a regular basis.  He rode the same train to work with me, after a while I realized he worked in the same building as me, I even saw him at the grocery store a few times.  He honestly amazed me at how well he could get around a busy city that he couldn't see.  And he had no idea I recognized him as a familiar face.

But it leads me to wonder how many other people do I encounter on a regular basis that I don't even realize or recognize.  Our lives constantly intersect at restaurants, grocery stores and on the street with so many people.  We are probably even living similar lives to other people we encounter but don't know.  Going to the same favorite bars and restaurants, relaxing at the same park, taking the same route to work.  It reminds me to look around a little more and make an effort to smile at those familiar strangers.

Good Morning: Let Go and Fly

Friday, February 20, 2009

What would you like to happen by the end of the day

Fifty People, One Question: New Orleans from Benjamin Reece on Vimeo.

Fifty People, One Question is back with more beautiful videos.  Their first video was in New York with the Question, "Where would you like to wake up in the morning."  Now they have produced several more videos in London, New Orleans, and back again in New York.  Their newest question is "What would you like to happen by the end of the day."  I am in love with their style and the way they are able to capture people so naturally.  The simplicity of it all just makes me so happy and I'd love to see a video done in DC.  In the mean time you can still give your own profound answer by going to their website and posting it on their message board. 

For me, I'd like to manage my own successful design firm, not have to worry about my electric bill and spend quality time with everyone who is near and dear to me by the end of the day.  But in the realm of things that are actually possible I'd like to have a not too stressful Friday at work and enjoy a good italian dinner with friends.

Good Morning: Eyes closed but not sleeping

Akbar Simonse

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Women Are Heros Project

JR is an undercover photographer who transforms his art into posters, using public street space as his gallery.  His latest project titled "Women Are Heros" is what really got my attention.  JR has spent the past year shooting portraits of victimized women in Africa, South America and Asia.  He is now plastering them all over buildings, trains, buses in post-conflicting zones where he wishes to share these women's stories.  

What really touches me is that he is using his art and talent in such a unique way to impact change and help the lives of others.  I also love that his photographs aren't all heavy and serious but many of the women in the portraits are having fun despite their tough circumstances.

It also started me thinking about what if he started a similar campaign here in DC.  What better city than DC, full of politically minded citizens and our nation's decision makers.  While walking to the metro through capitol hill this morning, I started visualizing these posters on sides of buildings or buses.  I'm not gonna lie it looked very cool in my mind.  While the logistics and building codes may be too tough to get around, I can still dream about using art to make a difference in our city can't I?     

Finally a visual way to express my road rage

Everyone who has ridden in the car with me knows I have a tendency to display road rage while driving.  Being a pretty nonaggressive person outside the car, I have no idea what switch gets flipped when I get in the car. I like to blame it on all the crazy Maryland drivers that drive like maniacs on the streets of DC.  And the Virginia drivers that drive like grandparents going under the speed limit and braking at every intersection.  (Full disclosure I used to be one of those Virginia drivers)  

There have been many times when I wished I could tell the drivers why they have pissed me off so much.  Whether it be because they stole my parking space, or cut me off then decided to go 5 mph, or the multi tasker who is doing anything but paying attention to the road.  Now I can finally speak my mind while driving with these 10 double-sided signs that range from "Are you Drunk?" to "I'm so sorry."  Because lets face it, there are a few times when I make a mistake and wish I could tell the driver I realize what I did was stupid.  I'd like to think this could help cut down on my road rage, finally being able to speak my mind.  But it could probably also dangerously encourage it.

{via Swissmiss}

Good Morning: Unread Stories

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tulip Memories

Turner surprised me with these on Saturday thanks to the little hint I dropped.  They made me so happy because Tulips are my absolute favorite.  He asked me why I loved tulips so much and it got me thinking.  

It wasn't at all for the obvious reason of them being so beautiful with clean colorful lines.  No my love for tulips started long before I developed any sort of aesthetic or even the realization of how special you feel when you receive them.  

My love for tulips started when I was a child and they were my mother's favorite flower.  At least that is how it started.  My mother was raised in a dutch home in a dutch community called Holland, Michigan.  It really was like a miniature Netherlands with windmills and wooden shoe factories and even a tulip time of their own.  I have so many fond memories of spending summers up there as a child.  

My mother was constantly collecting posters, photographs, and artwork of quintessential dutch scenes and tulip time.  It became a tradition that every summer we would add to our collection.  While I don't remember having live tulips in our house very often, the flowers still surround so many of my happy childhood memories.  Memories of summers with my family.

It has been close to 8 years since I have spent a summer in Holland.  And I am sure it is nothing like what I remember it to be.  But I am so glad that Turner asked me why tulips were so special to me, because I couldn't quite put my finger on it before.  But now I realize that one flower has all my carefree childhood memories wrapped up into it.  Because while flowers are beautiful on their own, it makes me really happy to know there is a special one that can bring some of my carefree days back to me.  And that makes me feel really lucky.

What really happens during commercial break

All I can say is wow and how long did it take them to come up with that routine!  But it is nice to see people having fun at work.  Judging by the crews lack of a strong reaction I wonder how often they do this routine.  

Good Morning: Snowy Walk

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Colors of Spring

It has reached that time of year where I am done with winter.  Done.  I've celebrated all the traditionally cold winter holidays, had my fill of jackets and hot chocolate, experienced the annual 2-inch snow fall and I'm ready to move on.  I'm ready to start dreaming up my spring wardrobe.  And what better place to start than looking at what colors are in this year.  

Pantone puts out an annual fashion color report that breaks down what colors to wear in the upcoming season.  My favorite out of the bunch include slate gray, fuchsia red, super lemon, palace blue, and dark citron.

"With bluish-green undertones, cool Slate Gray is a nuanced neutral that can be paired with any of the other colors"  

"With its blue undertones, this cool red is a real show-stopper, adding a sense of elegance to the palette."

"Super Lemon brings a fun, optimistic outlook to the palette.  Its luminosity is determined to evoke a smile and attract the roving consumer's eyes."

"Palace Blue, a favorite among designers, takes a steadfast, classic, spring navy-like tone and makes it sparkle.  Paired with just about any color in the report, it offers many intriguing spring combinations."

"Dark Citron, a citrus-inspired green, is calmer and more serious than most, offering an element of sophistication to the mix."

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