I'm just a girl, sitting in front of a computer, asking you to read this.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Something Cute

The other night our Italian greyhound, Pupper, and our cat Marshmallow were doing one of their cute routines. Marshmallow loves to clean Pupper's ears for some reason, and cat lady that I am, I decided I should film it one of these days.

I need to stop being lazy and do a proper blog post but I thought I'd just share this for now. Merry Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Raindrops on Roses Really Are One of My Favorite Things

I've just found this picture on my harddrive, and I suddenly want to plant a new rosebush in the garden.

I took this last year, in my apartment at school. My poor roses are dormant now. I think I need to fertilize them and see if they're as hardy as our rosebushes. My green thumb is more brown when it comes to keeping potted plants alive.

Although my herbs are doing pretty well! I may need to put my fresh basil to use and make a pizza sometime next week.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mosaic Monday: More Christmas on Flora Street

One reason I love Christmas is because its an excuse to decorate our house in loads of little sparkly things like ornaments, mercury glass birds, gold wreaths, glitter covered reindeer...etc. I just love sparkly things, especially when a little glitter is involved.

I also love winter bouquets. However, in our house they tend to be a little different this time of year. Here's some of our Christmas greenery from the garden.

I'm so glad I stumbled upon Mosaic Mondays at Little Red House. I love seeing how everyone else has decorated for the holiday season.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Recipe: The Best Cranberry Sauce Ever? Maybe.

I love berries. All of them. If something has berries in it, chances are I'll eat it. One of my favorite things about fall and winter? Cranberry season! Cranberry breads, cranberry sauces...they're all wonderful.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving and Christmas are the cranberries sauces. Yes, plural. We usually have two options at Thanksgiving: a hot, savory sauce and a chilled sauce that is also flavored with orange zest. As much as I love both, I must say the savory one takes the prize in the favorite cranberry concoction category.

So if you're looking for a new recipe to try this holiday season, here's the fantastic savory cranberry sauce recipe. Its great as a topping on turkey or roast chicken!

This recipe was originally printed in December 2003 edition of Everyday Food, but my family has made some alterations to it. So here is our version of the recipe:

What you'll need:
1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 cups cranberries

1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste

salt and pepper for seasoning (optional)

1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until golden (stirring occasionally), about 8 minutes. Add in the sage and thyme, cook for another minute.

2. Add broth, let simmer until its reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. This takes about 10-15 minutes.

3. Add in the cranberries and sugar, bring to a boil so that the cranberries begin to burst. Let it boil until all of the cranberries have burst and the sauce begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper as you see fit, and voila! My very favorite cranberry sauce. It's most delicious when spooned over turkey or chicken.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cats Love Christmas Trees

We already know cats hate reading, but apparently they're crazy about Christmas trees. Our cats are obsessed. They sleep under it, stare up at it in wonder, etc. Would probably write bad poetry about it if they had thumbs.

Unfortunately, only one of them will sit still for photos.

I'd say Marshmallow spends 90% of her day sleeping under the Christmas tree. The other 10% is spent looking for potential lizards that might've snuck in on the tree. Luckily, she hasn't found any yet!

Cat lady thought of the day: This cat was especially designed to appear on winter greeting cards, I swear. Look at that snow bunny. Not that I'm biased or anything. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmastime in Tampa

I've officially been home from school for four days and its finally starting to feel like I'm done with school! All papers are turned in, projects completed, and I've slept off the delirious exhaustion that accompanies finals.

Yesterday was a perfect winter day in Florida: 75 degrees, a little breezy, and sunny! After having lunch at one of my favorite Tampa spots, Wright's Deli, we took a trip out to Hyde Park and just walked around enjoying the weather (...and Anthropologie).  Everything was decorated and looking suitably festive.

This sweet dog was getting his photo taken with Santa's sleigh. Its always nice to see something reaffirming the fact that other people are just as obsessive over their dogs as I am. Totally tempted to bring our dogs out here now.

It's good to be home!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday! - Books to Give as Gifts

My friend Julie posted her Top Ten Tuesday today, and it was the top ten books she'd give as gifts, inspired by The Broke and the Bookish. I love the idea behind Top Ten Tuesday, and so I thought I'd make my own list! So in honor of the holiday season, here are the Top Ten Books I'd Give as Gifts

1. Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski 
Now THAT is a mouthful. However, Soccernomics is one of the best non-fiction books I've read in the past year. Its a definite must read for anyone who is interested in soccer/football or the historical/socio-economic factors that go hand in hand with a country's success in sports. Although some of the statistical information is a little dense, the writing is clean, easy to understand, and even humorous at times! It'll spoil her Christmas if she reads this blog entry, but I think I'm going to get this for my friend C, who recently developed an interest in ~the beautiful game.

2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
One of my all time favorite books. Gaskell's writing is reminiscent of Austen, albiet darker and with more robust language. Definitely more romantic than any of Austen's novels. The story revolves around a family that moves from the countryside in the south of England to--surprise!--a factory town in the north. It deals mostly with how the family's young daughter deals with the culture shock. And yes, there's a male protagonist to rival the brooding Mr. Darcy. It's definitely not as miserable, heavy, etc as some Victorian novels. Gaskell's writing style also comes across as more modern than some of her contemporaries'.  Perfect gift for anyone who's a sucker for Victorian romance novels. There's also a mini-series starring Richard Armitage that's pretty fantastic.

3. The Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
Written in 1930, the Savoy Cocktail Book is great for anyone who is a) a huge history nerd and b) loves fancy drinks. It's got tons of vintage cocktail recipes, all of which have pretty fantastic names. The most ridiculous of the names just might be the Satans Whiskers, an orange flavored cocktail. A perfect gift for anyone is a penchant for amateur bar tending! I think I may get this for my friend K this Christmas!

4. Then Again by Diane Keaton
I've actually got this one on my Christmas list. My mother has already asked for it for Christmas. Diane Keaton is pretty awesome, so I have a feeling I may be borrowing this from her.

5. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Another must have for football fans. Or at least supporters of Arsenal or the EPL. Definitely getting this for my friend C, who is studying abroad in London and has fallen under the spell of Arsenal. Hornby's writing is light, humorous, and at times poignant. A perfect read for anyone who has understood the sweet, sweet misery of loving a sports team.

6. Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers by Sean Hepburn Ferrer
My friend Sarah and I share a mutual love of all things Audrey Hepburn. This is a wonderful book that includes many personal stories and insights into Audrey's life. Sarah would love it. One of the best parts of the book, however, is the inclusion of a recipe for Audrey Hepburn's version of Spaghetti al Pomodoro (which is fantastic by the way). 

7. Bossypants by Tina Fey
Okay...this is a bit of a cheat. This is actually a book I would love to get for Christmas! Somehow I still haven't read it yet and I'm a little ashamed of myself. I need to buy this book very soon! Better yet, maybe Santa will bring it to me. 

8. My Dearest Friend: The Letters of Abigail and John Adams
Okay, bear with me. It sounds dense and a little boring but IT SO ISN'T. I haven't finished reading it yet but I already love it. Some of the letters are hilarious, others downright tragic. However, there's always an underlying sense of pure love and friendship within the letters sent between America's first power couple (sorry George and Martha, but its true). The letters span over 49 years, from the beginning of Abigail and John Adams' courtship to about 1801, I believe. Its a fantastic gift for history nerds and hopeless romantics alike. 

9. Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne
An antiques dealer is offered a job appraising family heirlooms at a castle in Scotland. The family, once rich, is struggling to keep up the inherited castle, and cannot afford to keep it running unless they find some expensive family furniture to sell off. I love Scotland and I love antiques, so of course I enjoyed this book. There's also a romance subplot (of course), but Hester Browne's writing is lighthearted and its an easy read with an enjoyable heroine. A good fluff book for the beach or an airplane trip!

10. Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope
I absolutely, positively love Parks and Recreation. Best show on television, Leslie Knope is my queen, etc. A couple of my friends are also pretty obsessed with it, and I can think of at least three people who could be getting this book for Christmas. I've seen a few excerpts of it on Tumblr and it looks pretty marvelous. Hell, add this to the list of books I want for Christmas as well!

So that's that! Undoubtedly one of the longest blog posts I've ever written. However, I love lists and I love books, so I couldn't resist the Top Ten Tuesdays challenge! What are some books you'd like to receive as gifts?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I really should be writing a paper on directors who've helped shaped modern European opera...but instead I'm playing on Polyvore creating outfits that will never fall into my price range.

Polyvore is such a time suck. I've wasted hours on there sifting through their database of shoes, dresses, skirts, and accessories galore. It's like virtual dress up, except it usually ends with me realizing I'll never be able to afford 80% of the clothing on that website...and I have no natural flair for accessorizing.

However, in an ideal world, I'd waltz into the library in this frumpy-chic outfit and crank out a 16 page paper in under five hours. Instead, I'm sitting in my room eating rosquillas and planning an imaginary study outfit instead of actually getting work done.


The sweater is from Chinti and Parker and costs... $545 (I weep.)

The only thing out of this outfit I could afford are the darling bird socks from Topshop ($6). However, if there's anything in this outfit I absolutely love, its the Betsey Johnson cat earrings. I've got a black cat (appropriately named Boo! -- exclamation point included), and those earrings are just calling to me. I need them and they need me. 

And that is the most cat-ladyish thing I've written in quite a while. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A New Blog

Well, I've decided to start a new blog. I was using Wordpress (http://lechatdoux.wordpress.com/) , and although great at first, I just felt like I needed a change for now. So here's to new beginnings at Blogspot!

I guess I could've waited for the new year to start a new blog, but I plan on taking lots of photos over the holiday break and I don't want to wait to post them!

Speaking of which, the one thing that a new blog means is leaving behind my old one, which makes me a little sad. I was on Wordpress for over a year, and though I had a few blips where I disappeared for a month or so, I kept up with my blog fairly regularly.

So for my first post, I thought I'd do a little farewell to my old blog by posting my 10 favorite photos from the past year. Be forewarned, its mostly pictures of food. As with my every day life, my blog posts tend to revolve around food.

And now, in no particular order, ten of my favorite photos of 2011 (warning: some may also be from 2010).

A raspberry and cheese rose from my favorite bakery, Uppercrust. After my last final I'm totally going there to buy all the desserts. 

Adorable cookies from Hellas Greek bakery in Tarpon Springs, FL.

Real talk: heirloom tomatoes are the best tomatoes.

A 4th of July feast! The best turkey burger I've ever had and sweet potato fries. 

Oh look, a picture without any food in it! A sweet tea cup from Anthropologie. aka Windowshopping Headquarters. Rarely can I afford anything in there without a good sale, but its one of my favorite places to go when I'm home.

Well this photo is most definitely not from 2011. It was taken in the Coker Arboretum at UNC. I transferred from there in 2010, but I love this photo. Chapel Hill in the fall is a wonderful place to be. Until winter arrives, and then my Florida body will be miserable for at least three months.

You know what's great about local fall festivals? OLD FASHIONED SNOW CONE MACHINE. It looked like some kind of Willy Wonka dream machine and I love it.

There is little else I enjoy more than a bowl of raspberries.

Renaissance Festival! Of course there were rainbow medallions.

It is a truth universally acknowledge that chocolate bread is the best bread of all. Also from Uppercrust bakery. Do you see why I love this place?

And now I'll attempt to stop procrastinating and write this paper on modern European opera.

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