(wo)men in tights!

I love winter so very much, really. The sledding, the hot cocoa, the incessant craving for beef bourguignon, the lack of sweat pooling in your shoes as you walk home, the excuse to stay under the covers for an extra half-hour because it's cold outside... I have made friends with winter, and we hang out.
Winter annoys me with its Tyranny of the Pants, though. At a certain point (say, the fifth or twenty-third day in a row of sub-30's temps), you realize you've been stuck wearing pants every single day, and you're beginning to look like a xerox of the outfit you wore two weeks ago. Jeans, black v-neck, black flat boots. Yawn. I want skirts and dresses and the ability to break away from denim, dammit!

Solution: layered tights and the American Apparel thigh-high knit socks I love so well. A pair (or two) of tights and a pair of thick knit socks, and hey! my legs are warm and toasty and freed from jeans. Bonus: people at the bar look at you admiringly and think "damn, that girl is seriously hardy".

Wool beret, berets.com; tie-neck blouse, Express; cardigan, the Gap; high-waisted
sailor skirt, H&M; American Apparel cable-knigh thigh-highs; Bandolino boots.

Yes, I wore heels. But heels can actually be practical when the streets are snow-packed
and slick, as I tend to shift my weight and use the heels like crampons while walking,
which I'm sure looks very odd, but hey, whatever keeps you from slipping, right?


calendar girl

This evening, I was discussing our respective preferred calendar/planner systems with some classmates (including, for some, the complete lack of any system), and the conversation came back to my current Big Tech Frustration: the lack of cross-syncing software for Google Calendar and iCal.

I have everything in my iCal, color-coded (why yes, I had everything color-coded by ink colors and highlighters colors in my paper schedules, too) and synced to my iPod. My old, AARP-ready, geriatric iPod. This means I cannot add any new events to the calendar if I'm out and about with just the iPod, and I also am completely screwed if I'm out sans iPod and need to check an appointment.

Google Calendar is the way to go, yes? Except: it doesn't sync with my iPod, so I must be online to use it. Wouldn't it be excellent to be able to edit and sync my calendar from EITHER iCal or Google Calendar? I cannot possibly be the first person to have thought of this, as there is a half-assed application (Calaboration) through Google that syncs GCal with iCal. But: it does not sync the other way around (rather, cross-sync between the two applications), because that would fit my needs.

Somewhere out there, a frustrated software developer must have this same problem, yes? Someone who understands that I can't afford an iPhone or even an iPod Touch with the ability to add calendar appointments? Someone who will magically hear my plea and create a brilliant program that will cross-sync the two color-coded charts that keep me slightly sane and functional?


morbid manicure

No-shine black nail polish? Oh, yes please. It's so much more elegant than the previous incarnation I've done of this look: coloring in my nails with a Sharpie during 10th grade trigonometry class.

(Never mind that $22 could fill my gas tank instead. Matte black fingernails! Matte black toenails should not occur, however, unless you're going for the "frostbite is eating away at my feet" look.)



(Disclaimer: I don't consider 8" of snow exceptional, really, considering it's January and all, but southern Ohio sees the weather forecast and immediately begins making plans to shut down the city just in case we get some snow over the next three days.)

Current: Cloudy
Wind: NW at 2 mph
Humidity: 60%
27°F | 18°F
27°F | 20°F
27°F | 16°F
Chance of Snow Showers
29°F | 16°F

In light of the above forecast (and recalling last year's failure to properly appreciate the joy that an early March snowstorm can bring when one lives next to a very hilly park), I went tearing out of class this afternoon to procure sleds, hot chocolate mix, and another bottle of bourbon.
You're never too old to wake up and hope for a snow day.


you should love xkcd.com, too

This is pretty much how I decided to make every dinner, ever, for about two years.

Mmmmm, nachos.


things I failed to retain from the Metric Unit in 3rd grade math

Last week, in anticipation of making ganache for my cake, I stopped by the grocery with the simple mission of buying 24 oz of semisweet chocolate, and 24 oz of heavy whipping cream. Fancy chocolate in the cart, I moved down to the dairy case.
Shit. Heavy whipping cream is sold, inexplicably, by the half-pint. Also listed on the carton is the volume in milliliters. Neither of which is helpful in any way to me. OK, there are 8 oz in a cup. But I do not know how many ml are in a cup, because metric is like Latin in that no one knows anything about it and we ignore it. How many cups are in a gallon? Are there two pints per cup, or three? Or is it four cups per pint?

(If you're smacking your head and saying "hey, THINK OF A PINT OF BEER! and measure from there!", you have a point. But I was confused and the only context I have for "how many ounces are in a pint of beer?" is the vague knowledge that an American pint and a British pint are actually different amounts, so really that line of thought would amount to more confusion.)

I ended up buying four half-pints of heavy cream, which was quite a bit more than needed, but meant that I used the "leftover" carton for an impromptu fancy pasta dinner. Also, this proves that I really, really need an iPhone for situations like this.


the word "need" is not strong enough here


You're telling me that someone out there has taken my childhood Scooby Doo dreams of things like trapdoors and revolving bookcases, combined this with my wine lust, and created a trapdoor spiral wine cellar?

Oh my god, I need to find a way to get $30,000 for the installation and $80,000 or so to purchase the bottles that will fill said trapdoor spiral wine cellar. TRAPDOOR SPIRAL WINE CELLAR!
(Now, with student loan debt and my current employment prospects for 2009, it will only take me... 413 years to save up enough money for this project! Oh, and I suppose having a house would help too. Make that 562 years until this can come to fruition.)


skills: being delicious, database management

Too many times this conversation has occurred between myself and an advisor:

"What's this stuff on the budget vs. actuals for 2007?"

"Um, probably taco sauce."

Thank god the job applications I'm working on today are all via email and do not require extra proofreading to make sure balsamic vinegar has not made its way onto my résumé.


eating cake in fancy clothes

Satin headband, Forever 21; silk dress with custom pink silk details, the lovely Lady at Lacquer (I cannot
believe how perfect this dress is. It arrived in the mail and fits like it was made for me. Serendipity!); heels,
vintage YSL via Housing Works extravaganza; studded bangle, Stein Mart; rhinestone bracelet, vintage.

Was it a good idea to wear a dress last night to run down the street in arctic weather? No. Was it too pretty to pass up? Yes.



Team Birthday Cake, that is. I defy any of your Pie People to look at this beauteous creation and then to tell me that cake does not reign supreme.

I've been making my own birthday cakes since I was in high school and decided that birthday cake could be an excellent way to be a show-off. I've dabbled with Birthday Crème Brûlée in the past, as well as Birthday Flan, but this year, it's back to cake. I used a recipe for chocolate-almond cake from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, filled it with ganache and roasted slivered almonds, and glazed it with a chocolate-chili ganache and added the marcona almonds and chili-sugar dusting.

(Not pictured: the mess of ganache drippings and sugar spills on my kitchen floor and almond-oil smears across my glass-front cabinets.)


if you pronounce it "ex-press-o", I will mock you

Homework is always made more palatable by drinking espresso out of an adorable demitasse cup. I picked up my box of "too bulky/fragile/heavy for the airline baggage handlers" presents at UPS yesterday, and the set of five vintage espresso cups and saucers survived the shipping intact. I think they yearn to be filled with panna cotta in the near future.


gold dust woman

I've been caught doing a lot of accidental twinning lately. It would seem to the casual observer that C and I have matched sets of everything, as we've been showing up in the same ensemble quite a bit lately, which is only made better by our decision to wear our respective glasses on the same days.
I was only partially joking when I said to myself "wear the gold pants today, as C does not own any gold corduroys". Tomorrow, I'm sure, we'll be back to wearing matching grey dresses, pink scarves, black boots, and leather cuffs. It's inevitable.

Chunky grey cardigan, stolen from Noah; black tee; gold corduroys, JCrew; suede boots, Chinese Laundry.


it's educational, I swear.

No, really, Ms. McCardell, what shall I wear? Because I'm still wearing my robe at noon today.

This would make a most excellent present for me (though the upcoming reprint is probably best to ensure all that good advice does not crumble off the page when touched, and also about $75 cheaper).



This morning, while taking my gigantic handful of vitamins (Supa-B! Holla!), one escaped unnoticed and nestled in my bra. I found it at lunch.


hello there, 2009. can I offer you a drink?

You know that "we've gone insaaaaaane!" feeling you get when you've been in a car too long and suddenly you are incapable of functioning like a normal human being when you get out at a convenience store and are unable to walk or talk or buy the damn soda without cracking up?
Yes, a 12-hour drive from NYC to Cincinnati will do that to you. Hence the absence- the residual insaaaaane wore off sometime on Monday.

"Insaaaaaaaane" might also be an apt description of my New Year's Eve, but only in the best air-guitar-ing, dancing-to-Prince, eating-whiskey-cake (insaaaaanely delicious, even with a slightly overcooked top) way. Following that, I had to sit down and think about resolutions, and why I kind of hate them.
I think, first and foremost, it's the way that "resolutions" makes me think of pompous twits in high school debate clubs who like to begin every other sentence with "resolved: I will eat pizza for lunch" and such. So, in lieu of calling them "resolutions", I vacillate between with the labels Things I Want To Do and Wouldn't It Be Awesome If I...?, and so my TIWTD/WIBAII list for 2009 is as follows:

Get a job. Preferably one that starts just after graduation, so I'm not stuck being unemployed and jumping into paying off debt from grad school in June.

Travel to Asia to visit the boyfriend.

Once again, eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal. This worked out in 2008, mostly, and was most excellent when I decided that fresh salted chili mangoes are the greatest fruit snack ever.

Take salsa dance classes. The learning curve is going to be killer, as I cannot dance for shit, but the opportunity to wear sexy salsa shoes (bronze and gold snakeskin?) on a weekly basis will make up for it. (Bonus: there's a bar rather close to my apt that has free salsa lessons every Monday night. I don't have to get up on Tuesday morning anyway, right?)

Take martial arts classes once again. Many years ago (twelve, actually) I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and then a year later, every extracurricular activity known to high school sophomores essentially took over my life and I quit going to to the studio. I have done no martial arts since then, save the occasional drunken demonstration of a spin side kick in C's living room. Martial arts classes don't come cheap, but will be worth the money spent if saying "no, thanks, I must go to my Mixed Martial Arts class that evening and think about how I'd like to hit you in the kidneys" proves a more effective deterrent to unwanted attentions than simply saying "no, thanks, I have a wonderful boyfriend".