Saturday, February 26, 2011

I love my Carlin Coat!

This was starting out to be a pretty regular posting experience, cutting and pasting pictures here and there, uploading this and that....well at one point i set the laptop down on a slope of pillows on the couch and got up to do something.  As i looked back, I watched in horror as my laptop slid off, making contact with the floor on its head and doing a tumble, closing itself in the process.  Shudder.

I will now gingerly type my rave about the J Crew Double Cloth Carlin coat.  This was a fall-winter 2009 creation but I am still in love with it today! I have it in the wild blackberry color which is hard to capture on film.  It is essentially a dark bluey purple, but it looks blue, navy, purple depending on the lighting. It's ok because I know in my head what color it is. The coat's tailoring details are awesomely subtly chic.  The shape of the coat from the front view is just right: slimming and crisp, not underdone or overdone.  Then on the back, a surprise: a POOF! just perfect.  And the big googly buttons add a charming detail.

Behold, the coat from all views.  Note the poof in the back.

All in all a coat that I fell in love with immediately when I tried it on at the neighborhood J Crew store.  I languished over the price tag, wishing it wasn't $295 or whatever it was originally.  I even had a few stints buying other purple coats but ended up returning them.  There is no substituting a first love. I was very adamant about the purple color, but this coat came in various other lovely colors, such as PINK.

Lastly, I want to reveal something private: the inside of the coat. The inside of garments is the wearer's secret delight.  These are the details that make women grow irrationally attached to inanimate objects and care for them tenderly.

1) cashmere sweater from Mom, H&M skinny jeans, shoes from Vietnam, Jcrew belt
2) Scarf from F21, ?School of Women jeans, Nine West boots
3) scarf from Mom, unknown jeans and boots
4) a furry vest (BB Dakota), Paris Blues skinny jeans, gap mittens on strings! shoes from Vietnam

I did not get the coat with Thinsulate because that was an extra $20 or so.  Though now that I think about it, that doesn't seem to be such a big deal if it would help add extra warmth.  For example, that thought crossed my mind during this episode:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Norwegian Wood

I just read an amazing book called Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.  I devoured it last night (this morning) while on-call during a rare 3-hour hiatus from the incessant pages between 4am and 7am.

The characters were so real and the story was touching and sad.  Anyway. highly recommended, especially now that it is a movie directed by a French Vietnamese director! 

Honestly, I don't even want to say anymore about it because it wouldn't do his writing any justice.  Maybe I got on the Murakami boat late, but I am excited to read his other books soon! Luckily I have a supplier for my Murakami addiction for now :)
Aah, it's the kind of rich story-telling that inspires you to travel and draw pictures and write poetry and recount certain poignancies of the relationships you've ever built with other people. What an on-call treat! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Carnation carnival

I've got wedding on the brain. Ever since I booked the venue last week, the Bridezilla Quyen has reemerged.  I've decided to make all of the bouquets, boutonierres, and centerpieces.  Naysayers can take the one-way bus to Boring Town, I'm going to do whatever I want and today I'm having a Carnation Carnival! Carnations are poofy and budget-friendly, what more can I ask for?

image credit:

This is what my bridesmaids and I plan to look like:

you probably think it was hard to find a picture of us out there on the
internet just like that.  Well, it wasn't.
We are going to stomp on you with our stillettos.
Note: wedding colors are lilac and burgundy

So the job is to use red flowers everywhere!! Including the centerpieces.  And I am really weird but I have a no green rule. Maybe the yellow-green of young stems will be ok but dark greenery and thick shrubbery = scream.
Anyway, with the help of bulk flowers from costco and some experimentation, I think this will work out and it will be fun!  I was so excited at the prospect that I showered for under ten minutes this morning and went off to buy flowers and vases for a test run.

I came home with 5 red carnations, 2 pink carnations,
6 red roses, and 1 pink rose.
The reason why I didn't get all red flowers was because
while I was deliberating what to get, this lady went and
took half the bucket of red carnations! What in the carnation!

Then I made a French spiral bouquet and tied it up with a red ribbon.
After this I proceeded to take a million pictures of me with the bouquet.

I am wearing: Charlotte Russe T shirt, J Crew bi-stretch wool minnie pants in green (or 'parsley')

  After I was satisfied, I dismantled the bouquet and made some table arrangements.  While I was doing this, a few of the carnation heads fell off where the hinge on the stem was.  Bleh.  No matter, I was going to try out some "floating flowers" set up anyhow!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I love my Pixie Pants!

J crew has had at least 3 iterations of these pants.  I think the first generation pixie pants had the equestrian seams on the inner knee and the material was a bit shiny.  I first saw them on one of my classmates in spring 2010; she literally wore them every day or every other day. I could not stop staring at her butt because of that crazy zipper.

They are $88 and sometimes they go on sale for $69 or something.  I've stalked them for months since buying them because they seem to be so popular on the website but I never see anyone else wearing them but me (and the classmate who introduced them to me).  I bought mine in early fall 2010 during a 30% off sale with a few other items thrown in for free shipping!  But the black ones are versatile and awesome.  I think they are much more than just glorified leggings.  I actually wear them to work and think that they go with everything.  Since I wear a lab coat, no one realizes that i have a back zipper at which to stare. But if I may say so myself, they make my bum look good.

 The dry clean only tag did not deter me--i've been machine washing them cold and hang drying them without any consequence at all.  Now J crew is making them in all sorts of lengths and sizes, it makes my head spin.  I read from other blogs that they run small, and when I got them the 0 fit me well.  I wonder if the current 00 would be equivalent to the old 0 now?

1. with Gap blouse, Target cardi, shoes from Vietnam
2. old navy shirt, J Crew cardi, urban outfitters scarf, boots from Macy (they are Paris Hilton brand! didn't know she made boots..)
3. (obligatory back view!) sweater from unknown store, UO shoes (you can't see them)
4. shirt from Vietnam, thrifted fish scarf, Steve Madden wedges

Matzo ball soup

I am in matzo ball (knaidlach!) heaven right now.

In House of God the Fat Man refers to matzo balls made by his grandmother which are so light that they float to the ceiling and you have to eat them while standing on ladders.  I am not a particularly avid cook by any means! My matzo balls came from the mix and the whole thing would not have been possible without Mr. Crock Pot:
Mr. Crock Pot was on sale at Target.  We actually had a smaller Crock Pot, Jr. which was gifted to us by Mike's Mom so that we could test drive the Crock Pot Phenomenon.  Realizing that it was the answer to our starvation, we went and bought the full sized Mr. Crock Pot. Mike is much more enthusiastic than I am about slow cooking and he wanted to invest in an even bigger Granddaddy Crock Pot with automated settings and whatnot, but I vetoed the idea.  I would only have room for one Crock Pot in my heart, and he helped me enter matzo ball soup heaven today.

What you will need:
-3 chicken pieces (I used thighs, took the skin off and trimmed the fat)
-vegetables (I used 4 carrots and 4 celery stalks, 2 whole onions)
-Other suggested vegetables: parsnips, potatoes (don't overdo potatoes in the crock pot, they put out a lot of water)
-chopped up parsley
-chicken stock (this container was 4 cups, i ended up adding about 5 additional cups of water to the pot to fill it. I don't think it's necessary to use chicken stock because the time that you cook the soup, all the flavor comes from the veggies and the chicken anyway)
-pinches of salt, pepper, and curry powder 
-bottle of wine used to hold up the cook book. 

I tossed everything into the pot.  Prep time: 20 minutes.
Turned it on high, then I went off somewhere and came back 3 hours later and fussed with it a little like skimming off scum and fat.
Then I continued cooking it for a while longer on low until the chicken seemed cooked.  
I actually took the chicken out, removed the bones and cut it into pieces and put it back, this is one of those extra steps that Mike would never tolerate but make SUCH A HUGE DIFFERENCE in eating experience! 

Then I made the matzo balls from the mix, per directions (add 2 tbsp oil, 2 eggs, put in fridge and wait for 15 min)
As a visual treat, I added some parsley to them.  I can't taste the difference.
Then I boiled some water and tossed them in.
When serving, add the soup to the knaidlach.  You want to keep them separate from the soup in order to retain the clarity of the soup.   

Looks just like the photo in the cook book! 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Introductory post

Happy Valentine's Day 
This is my valentine (Mike) from 2 years ago
moments before he spilled blueberry stuff on that tie.