Feb 28, 2010


At the boy's request, I made some cookies today - chocolate chip cookies (recipe here). I will admit that I did not refrigerate the first batch overnight. Instead I popped them in the freezer for 45 minutes and made the first dozen. They are much too fluffy for my tastes, but the boy liked them loads. The rest of the batter is in the fridge for an overnight stay. I'm hoping the time in their does them some good.

So if you like puffy cookies, go for it! And I have to say that I'm loving how the walnuts were prepped and the use of browned butter . Totally using those techniques for the next time I make cookies. I'll report back on the next dozen and see if some rest does them good.

Anyone out there have the perfect recipe for chewy chocolate chip cookies?

Perfectly matched

Every now and then, publishers perfectly match the reader with the book and make a really complementary duo for a book on tape. Alan Cumming is likely the most perfect reader for Roald Dahl's michievious and funny poems in Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts. It made me giggle a good bit. I give it a 6.
(The other best matched reader with a book for me is Jeremy Irons reading Brideshead Revisited. Any other good matches you've found?)

Family dynamics

In America is exactly what you need to watch to make you feel seriously good. It's all about a family of illegal Irish emigrants trying to make a go of it in New York. The little girls are so wonderful and the family just feels very real and right. I can't believe it too me so long to finally watch this one. I give it a 9.

Wine woes

I am far and away a drinker of red wine, but every now and then white is called for with a certain dish. I was so pleasantly surprised recently with a delicious bottle of Francis Ford Coppola Pinot Grigio. So citrus-y and good! Highly recommended!

It made me brave enough to grab another bottle of pinot grigio the other day. I waked into the shop thinking, "I just need a good pinot grigio." and this was the first thing I saw:

Unfortunately this was some false advertising. Not good at all. Bleh. So I finally decided that my fancy phone needed a fancy wine app to help me remember the good and the bad wines. Today I downloaded Drync which seems pretty useful. We'll see if it holds up. And yes, I've already logged these two into the app.

Feb 27, 2010

Make it work

I picked up Tim Gunn's book Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style because I adore him on Project Runway and thought it would be an enjoyable little fluff of a read. It wasn't bad but it wasn't as witty as I expected. And while he did give me some good posture tips (dn't push shoulds back just away from your ears), I can only give this one a 4. Sorry Tim!

Feb 26, 2010

Feb 25, 2010

"It'll be difficult-difficult-lemon-difficult."

In the Loop is a satire on England and the U.S. and the lead into war. It's zany, funny, and chock full of fun acting. My favorite? James Gandolfini as the general who wants to keep the peace. Everything happens quick and the dialogue is screamingly funny. I give it a 7.

Feb 24, 2010


Isn't this stunning?


If you live pretty much anywhere in the U.S, chances are you have been hit with far too much snow over the last month. Unless of course, you are one of my smugly snowless in laws in southern Arizona. At my house, the snow got to ridiculous levels.

How do I cope with the Janu-Febs? Lots of wine and books about places that are warm and full of gardens. From the Ground Up is about a California garden - the author's first garden actually. It's nicely told - not too smug and not trying too hard to be clever. Just an easy read that helped to remind me that February cannot last forever. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Also, I love a good gardening memoir. Any suggestions for future reads?

Feb 23, 2010


I love this necklace made from a gold-lined quail's egg.

Pretty art

A Book of Sleep is probably a good bedtime story for a kid, but (even better) it's full of sweet and interesting artwork. The page with the sleeping giraffes made me smile hard. 7 of 10.

New toy

Sooooooo I finally gave in and got a dvr. So far I've fed it:

American Pickers
Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations
Pawn Stars
PBS Masterpiece Theatre series
Project Runway
Frontline documentaries
Barefoot Contessa
What Not to Wear
and many many TCM movies.

What else should I be giving it to chew on?

Feb 22, 2010


This is lovely.

Radiators and drains

Past Imperfect is a story about society. It tells of a man asked by his oldest enemy to revisit their pasts and solve the mystery of a supposed illegitimate child he wants found so he can leave his millions to them.
Through the novel, the narrator tells of life in England during the last of the debutante days and the effects of time on all their old friends. I listened to this one on audio tape and it was really really wonderful. The author is clever with both characters and the turn of a phrase. At one point, a character refers to everyone they know as "either a radiator or a drain" which struck my fancy.
I very much enjoyed how this tale unfolded. I give it an 8.5 out of 10.
(Ack! I just just discovered that this really wonderful book's author also played Kilwillie on Monarch of the Glen - a show and character I adored! Kismet! And he wrote Gosford Park. I'm getting that been-living-under-a-rock feeling. But still!)

Feb 21, 2010

Alien playground

I spotted this worn out little church playground while visiting the in-laws in Arizona City. Simply had to stop and document it.

Other much more normal Arizona shots on my flickr.

Feb 20, 2010

Why yes

I do like this ring.

Everyone needs them

I have no holders for long taper candles for perfectly lit evenings. These are rather darling.

Feb 19, 2010

Plaid and ruffly

This skirt is adorable and unusual.

Feb 18, 2010


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay was so good and unexpectedly sweet - particularly for a novel that is about two cousins who write comic books. The story is set before and during WWII and while it will break your heart a little, it will also give you such a warm fuzzy feeling for so many of the characters involved. I listened to it on tape and it was excellent. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Feb 17, 2010


I can't come up with any reason why I don't need these pots.

Feb 16, 2010


I as sad to hear of Lucille Clifton's death. She wrote some fine poems.

"My Mama Moved Among the Days"

My Mama moved among the days
like a dreamwalker in a field;
seemed like what she touched was here
seemed like what touched her couldn't hold,
she got us almost through the high grass
then seemed like she turned around and ran
right back in
right back on in

I do believe

that such a satchel would improve my life...or at least my accessorizing.

Feb 10, 2010


The Hurt Locker is a really good film. It takes such a real-feeling look at Iraq and what's happening over there by following the soldiers in charge of disarming bombs. Really well filmed and fantastically acted. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Feb 8, 2010

Dear boy

This would not make a bad V-day gift at all.

My personal heroine

I simply adore Julia Child. She was a marvelous lady. And if you haven't read My Life in France yet, I implore you to. I was curious enough to watch Julie & Julia even though I hated the book. Just as I expected, I still hated the Julie parts about the New Yorker cooking her way through Julia Child's cookbook, but I adored Meryl Streep as Julia. She was so good!
I heard an interview on NPR where Julia Child was described as, ""a Christmas tree – she was huge and twinkled. She looked nothing like anyone."
The Julia parts were good enough to warrant a 6 outta 10 stars in my book, but don't feel bad if you decide to fast forward through the Julie Powell bits.

Feb 7, 2010


I kind of adore this.

Oooh Italy

I love reading dreamy travel books. Especially about Italy. Bella Tuscany was good - not as good as Under the Tuscan Sun (too much delving into the way back histories of little towns), but good. It's further tales of the author's time spent in Tuscany - full of travels and gardening and home remodeling. While reading this I realized that I love memoirs that involve home remodeling. They prod me to think of stuff to do to my own little house. Anyone have any good books that will inspire me to finally get the floors redone or the new back fence built?
This one gets a 5 out of 10.