Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Image from Great Grandmother's Kitchen.

Lately, I've been toying with the idea of making granola. I don't know what got me thinking about it. Perhaps it was because I had a bowl of Cascadian Farm Granola recently at my daddy's and knew I could do better and not have to ingest all those random things that must be put into food before it goes into boxes to live on a shelf for an indeterminate amount of time.

This morning, I put my plan into action.

You are also going to need to put my plan into action. If you like granola of course.

I browsed a few recipes online, and I quickly realized that homemade granola is pretty much a free-for-all. The only required ingredient is oats. After that, you're on your own if you want to be.

For my granola, I combined the following:
  • 3C old-fashioned oats,
  • 1-1/2C roughly chopped raw almonds,
  • 1tsp kosher salt,
  • 1/2C light brown sugar,
  • 1/4C maple syrup, and
  • 1/4C olive oil.
I mixed the dry stuff. Then I folded in the wet stuff. Then I spread it on a foil covered sheet pan and baked it in a 300 degree oven for 45 minutes (stirring a bit every fifteen minutes). Then I sat it on a cooling rack for a bit. Then I added some dried cherries. Then I put it in an airtight container and put it away in the pantry because otherwise I'd have sat down and eaten the whole thing like the glutton that I am.

I love that the salt and olive oil gives it a savory vibe while the granola still maintains its sweetness. I cannot wait to try a bowl with milk in the morning. You should think about doing the same.

Here are a couple of recipes to give you some further ideas. I know I plan to use dried blueberries next time. I just happened to be fresh out of them today.

Orangette's Olive Oil and Maple Granola (my inspiration for this morning, but only because I was sadly devoid of bittersweet chocolate)
Spiced Pumpkin Granola (sadly not suitable for Andrea)

That ought to keep you in breakfast for a few days, no? As Molly says in her French Chocolate Granola post:

I mean, hell, breakfast happens every day.
You might as well be prepared for it.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I have this friend who is fabulous. We don't know each other well, but that's mostly logistics. The time we have spent together has been lovely, and we seem to have almost precisely the same taste in almost precisely everything.

So, despite the fact that Mr. Ouiser and I watch almost precisely zero current television, I decided that Dara could not be wrong...that Mad Men must be worth watching. And since the first four seasons are streaming on Netflix, I decided to give it a whirl, so I sat down during T's nap and watched the first episode. And then I almost died of happiness. And then I immediately texted M and told him that I have our new show to watch. And it's all over but the shoutin'. I'm hooked. I'm loving some Jon Hamm, and I am really loving some Christina Hendricks. I had loved the visual aspect of the show since its inception. The fashion particularly.

Anyway, when we went out Saturday night to see Mary Poppins, we decided to go British in honor of the practically perfect heroine and went to Fleet Street Pub for English beers and pub food. I had the beef and Yorkshire pudding with rosemary gravy. And a couple of London Porters. M had a cocktail. And as I sat there next to my handsome, tall husband in his sport coat having a cocktail I thought, "Yes." It was a modern interpretation of the Mad Men vibe. I don't believe I would've traded Mr. Ouiser at that moment for anyone. Not Jon Hamm. Not even George Clooney. And then, as he regularly helped the girl sitting next to us during the show, the girl who had recently undergone ankle surgery and couldn't walk, I knew that cocktail or no, I'd never trade Mr. Ouiser anyway. He is my lobster.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Sorry for all the Negative Nancy yesterday. You'll be happy to know that I pulled myself together nicely. Going to the gym got me going. Plus I got to go see The Hunger Games last night. I thought they did a nice job. I was skeptical about Josh Hutcherson, having only seen him as Laser in The Kids are All Right, but he really was good. The banter between him and Caesar Flickerman was perfect. Mostly because Stanley Tucci is always perfect. Also, Woody Harrelson was perfect. And Lenny Kravitz is basically the embodiment of perfection. It was just good. Anyway...

I was just thinking about perfect days. I'm not saying I've had one today. It's been a really good day, but not one of those days. Those days where you just realize you wouldn't have changed anything. However, I was looking at Pinterest a moment ago, and I noticed that I am often drawn to photographs of books and coffee, of bookshops, of front porches, of rainy streets in Paris. So I was wondering what my perfect day would be if I could design it from top to bottom. I think I'd have to create multiple versions because there are perfect days with husbands, perfect days with kids, perfect days with dear friends, perfect days alone.

I do believe wholeheartedly, that you can never go wrong with books and coffee in the morning. And a fresh croissant wouldn't hurt anything.

What do you think? Could you design a perfect day?

Friday, March 23, 2012

wanted: motivation.

I can't be the only one who has these days. The kind of days when you have zero motivation. As in I actually woke up thinking, "I do not want to do anything." By anything, I definitely meant that I didn't want to be constantly headbutted by my son (he crawls up and rams your legs with his noggin when he wants you to pick him up). I meant that I did not want to have this week's umpteenth argument with my daughter about why she may not talk back/disobey/stick her tongue out at me. If that child has been sent to her room once this week, she's been sent a dozen times.

It's not just that, though. I don't want to read. I don't want to spend an hour on Pinterest. I don't want to paint the chairs that need painting. I don't want to scrub the toilet.

I want to take a nap. In a hammock. On a beach.

You have these days, right? Good. I'm glad it isn't just me.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go parent my children and head to the gym. No motivation is not an excuse to be lazy. Just keep swimming, eh?

Sunday, March 18, 2012


My friend Frank, the one that was injured in the fire, passed away. His son is recovering well, but the boys have lost their father. His wife has lost her partner. Many people have lost a friend.

My heart is broken for them. I cannot imagine going through what they'll have to go through.

If you didn't check your smoke alarms last weekend, you really should. A working smoke detector might have saved Frank's life. After you've checked your smoke detectors, hug your babies extra tight. Hug your husbands or your wives or your mamas or your daddies extra tight. Remember to look around and be thankful.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotations by Garrison Keillor:

Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough.

Monday, March 12, 2012

yuckedy yuck.

It's rainy and cloudy and muddy outside. Blech. We've been teased with so many gorgeous Spring days that when we have days that don't allow us to be outside, I'm a grumpus. Today is one of those days.

However, because I'm so hopeful and joyful about Spring coming, I've made our Spring to-do list. I added one item that I actually did yesterday because I wanted to feel accomplished and cross something off the list. I do that sometimes...add items to my to-do list that I've already done just so I can cross them off and feel better about myself. You do that, right?

And here are some pictures of Spring that I've found around the ol' internet. Just for inspiration on this dreary day.
All images via Pinterest.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

your favorite part?

I'm back to posting random, useless things today, though I'm assuming you've all tested your smoke detectors. Ours are hardwired, but M installed a new smoke/CO2 detector in the basement yesterday.

I've discovered a new black hole on the internet. A blog called A Cup of Jo. I'm rather fascinated by it in a weirdly voyeuristic sort of way. I just ran across a post of hers from January asking her readership about their favorite body parts. You can read her brief post to understand where the topic came from. And since most of us spend whatever time we spend thinking of our bodies in a negative way, I thought it might be nice to force you all to say something you like about your bodies. And none of that "I like that I'm strong," kind of mess. I'm talking purely physical, purely shallow stuff.

I like my neckline and shoulders. It's likely part of the reason that I wear my hair in a pixie cut most of the time. I like that part of my body, so I like to focus on it. When I have long hair, I usually wear it up for the same reason.

So, you're up. What's your favorite body part?

Friday, March 09, 2012

a favor.

I know that most of the time, I post about things that don't actually matter the teensiest little bit. (Lancome, anyone?)

Not today.

A friend of mine from college and his son were critically injured when their house caught on fire in the middle of the night two days ago. He wasn't a great friend, not even a good one really. He was a geographer, so we had a few classes together. He worked at Wild Oats and would bring me oranges. Then we'd eat an orange on the steps of Johnson Hall and smoke our after-class cigarettes together. I have very happy, though brief, memories of him. I remember him being a genuinely nice guy with a quick and sincere smile. The kind of guy you want to have around as a friend, really.

Anyway, he and his four-year-old son are in critical condition. His wife and their two-year-old son are physically okay, but I can't imagine what sort of psychological or emotional toll this would have on a grown person, let alone on a toddler.

As it turns out, their house didn't have a working smoke detector. The favor I ask of all of you is to take ten minutes this weekend to check the batteries in the smoke detectors in your homes. If you're one of the 12 people who reads this blog, then it's safe to say that I love you dearly, so I'd appreciate your keeping your tails safe.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I have LOVED reading all the responses to the informal poll. It sounds like most of you are keeping Neutrogena in business. I can't help but wonder...who are the people who are spending so much time and energy on facial care? I guess I don't run in the right circles for them. I'm cool with that.

Along those lines, I will say this:

My aunt gave me a handful of Visionnaire samples, and I've been using it since Saturday night, and I swear my pores are smaller. For serious. I'm going to use up all those samples, and then I'm likely to eat ramen for a month to pay for some of that mess because dang. I am hooked. It's like crack for my skin.

Thanks for all the feedback, my people. I love y'all.

Monday, March 05, 2012

an informal poll.

This weekend Mellie, Hil, and I went to visit my Aunt Diana for makeovers. Di runs the Lancome counter at the fancy schmancy mall in Nashville. I was ill prepared for what followed. Firstly, my girl "cleaned" my face. There was a milky cleanser, an eye makeup remover (despite my assurances that I had not put a single stitch of makeup on my face...just for her), a toner, two or three kinds of serums, and a moisturizer. Oh, and a neck cream. Neck Cream. Like I have a waddle or something. (I do not have a waddle.) So, it took the woman about 12 minutes to clean my face. I have never in my life taken 12 minutes to clean my face. Well, I hadn't until Saturday night, but I digress...

So that was the cleaning. When my girl and I spoke, I explained to her that I have very sensitive skin. Almost everything makes my face itch uncontrollably. It makes me all red and miserable. Then I told her that I've had problems finding makeup that didn't aggravate the dickens out of my skin and that I'd been having trouble with mascara apparently clogging some pores or ducts recently...

Then we proceeded to the making up.
If they'd made me look like this, I would've give them all the money in my bank account.

Concealer around the eyes. Waterproof base on the eyelids. Foundation. Blush. Bronzer.

We're good so far. She asked about my eyes. What do I normally wear? How do I do my eyes? I explained that I am a very neutral sort of girl. I just basically want to look natural and a little put together. When I need to punch it up or add color, I do it with lipstick. She said, "Great. We'll just do a really neutral eye."

"Perfect," I said.

Eyeshadow pallet? Taupe Crazy. Okay. Then, she brought out "a little accent." Purple Smoke. Then purple gel eyeliner. Then oscillating mascara. I think she honestly spent ten minutes on each of my eyes. If I've never spent 12 minutes washing my face, you can bet your bottom dollar that I've never spent 20 minutes doing my eye makeup. Never. Not ever. Not even on my wedding day.

Then we did my lips. Liner, lipstick, and gloss.

Then we topped me off with some powder.

When she was all finished, Mel and Hil went on and on about my eyes. I hadn't seen them yet, so I was curious despite the fact that my eyelids felt bizarrely heavy and my eyelashes kept sticking together whenever I blinked. My Aunt Diana handed me a mirror, and I almost fell over. My skin and my lips looked great. Truly. But this lady thought she gave me a neutral eye? Huh? I spent the rest of the day feeling a little clownish. It took five eye makeup remover soaked cotton pads to scour the eye makeup off that night. That just seemed excessive to me, but maybe it's normal.

So that was the makeup story. Now for the informal poll. While she was cleaning my face she asked me what I normally clean my face with. Cetaphil. I exfoliate once or twice a week. I use Oil of Olay Complete Sensitive Cream in the winter and lotion in the summer. She was, as I would've expected, a little put out by my $12 skin care routine. I suppose when you're selling $100 serums, a $9 pot of skin cream is like telling a French pastry chef that you had a Croiss'anwich for breakfast. She then proceeded to tell me about how every single product she was putting on my face to cleanse it was rigorously, scientifically created to mimic the skin's natural this-or-that. All I kept thinking was, "if this is supposed to mimic what my skin naturally does on its own, why on Earth would I pay you hundreds of dollars for it? Shouldn't I just try not to strip all the essential stuff from my skin that you're now having to replace?"

I've read all about various skin care regiments that have you wiping your face with lemons and slathering them with oils and whatnot. I've known old women with lovely skin that have sworn by Dove soap and Oil of Olay. I suppose skin care is different for everyone, but I'm curious. How much time do you spend on cleansing your face? What products are you using? Why have you chosen those products? Do you think I need neck cream? Please, discuss.