In an attempt to spread more joy this holiday season, here is a post entirely made up of pictures I took of cats (mostly my cats, Carol Kaye and her sister, Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad) over the last 12 months. Chessie never met a box or box-shaped object she didn't love, and all my relatives only have black cats, because we are witches. Cats are the best. Happy Kittymas and Hanukkat to all!Read More
As a follow-up to my 2016 #top, part 1 post, I made a playlist of my favorite new songs of 2016 to share with you all. I have been a big fan of making playlists since the mixtape days of my youth, but I feel like I’ve gotten a little out of the habit in its purest form now that everything is digital and therefore of pretty much unlimited length. Most of the “playlists” I currently have on my Spotify are more rambling, stream-of-consciousness mood soundtracks rather than carefully curated sonnets on particular subjects. But I tried to actually limit this one: It’s just 20 songs, and I even spent some time arranging the songs and thinking about the musical flow. It contains only songs from 2016 releases, and only my true favorites. There’s at least one track from each of my favorite 2016 albums, as listed in my previous post, with the obvious exception of Beyoncé, since Lemonade is famously not on Spotify. I think listening to this will give you a pretty good idea of the types of genres, sounds, and voices that make me happy.Read More
As I wrote last year, despite popular opinion, I am actually a big fan of end-of-the-year lists, roundups, and rankings. I like to hear people talk about things they love, I like getting recommendations from smart people, and I like forcing things I enjoy onto the people around me, so this is basically my favorite time of year.
Here's the first half of my Best of 2016 compilation, specifically focused on all forms of media.Read More
* This post does not necessarily constitute a recommendation of this travel strategy
It's coming up on the end of the year, so obviously I'm going to write some year-in-review posts about the hot flaming garbage fire that was 2016. Before I get to those, though, I want to make an overdue post about the one big trip I took this year, and some advice/recommendations from it that might actually be helpful to other people. SO! This past October, I traveled to London, England and Paris, France with my mom and my cousin. We spent approximately 48 hours in each place, which was, I can say in retrospect, a ridiculous planning choice. I was the primary planner for the trip, and if I had a chance to do it all again, I know I would do some things differently. It's too late for that, though, so at the very least I hope you all can learn from my mistakes (and from my excellent choices, of course).
Our basic schedule for the trip was to fly out of Boston on a Sunday night, arrive in London on a Monday morning, spend Monday in London, then take the train to France on Tuesday and spend Tuesday and Wednesday in Paris. On Wednesday afternoon we took the train back to England, and Thursday was spent in London. We flew back to Boston on Friday morning. It was definitely an action-packed week.Read More
This seems like the week to revive this feature, even if "Happy" might be an overstatement. Here are some things that have made me feel even a tiny bit better about the world this week.Read More
I didn't manage to do much writing on this blog over the summer (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), but I did read quite a lot, so now I'm going to write about that! Here is a recap of some of the books I tackled this summer, with recommendations for ALL types of readers (well all types who like either really good books or really engaging borderline-trashy psychothrillers...). This is going to be a bit long, since I've saved up a baker's dozen books to talk about all at once. In the future, I'll try to do more regular book reports when something is worth talking about.Read More
I've been wanting to do this kind of post for quite a while, but I never seemed to get around to it. I've seen other bloggers use this sort of trope and of course it's a central section every week on my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. It just seems like a nice way to talk about some things that have been making my life better lately and that you might be able to enjoy, too.Read More
It's the most wonderful time of the year: Spring farmers market season! Don't get me wrong, I love my Winter markets, but now we're coming right up on the time when everything is growing and in bloom and it's just a magical thing. I try to visit at least two markets a week, if not more. My favorite market in the world is the one in Burlington, Vermont. It's huge and it's in the most beautiful state and if you need more reasons to go, it also have more free booze than I've seen at any other market, ever. Pretty much perfect.Read More
I am always seeking out new music, especially when the season are changing. Different times of year definitely call for different types of music. Lately, my standards for new go-to songs have been pretty high, but here's a playlist with a few that I've been enjoying. They are all over the place, but I make no apologies. Not even for the weird, haunting modern choir arrangement of the Depeche Mode classic, or for the one song that was inspired by my recent and very much ongoing rewatch of Grey's Anatomy.... Just give it a try. This isn't exactly what spring sounds like, but the weather has been weird in New England over the last month or two, so the vibe is a little weird, too. What songs are spring to you, this year or every year? What have you been listening to lately? I'm definitely still looking for new tunes.Read More
One of the recipes I mentioned as my favorite of 2015 was the Pear-Walnut Upside-Down Cake from the Cook's Illustrated January/February 2016 issue (job perk: I got to try it several times during development and had access to the recipe way before it was on the newsstand). I love pears and the caramelized upside-down element of this particular cake is really gorgeous. Recently, I saw a recipe up on the superstylish lifestyle blog A Cup of Jo for a Pear and Nutella tart that sounded amazing but I'm not a huge fan of puff pastry, so I thought I'd take some of the flavor inspiration from that tart and use them to make a new variation on the upside-down cake recipe. Instead of using walnuts in the cake, I used toasted hazelnuts, and I added dark chocolate to the upside-down topping and a swirl of chocolate-hazelnut spread ("Nutella," although what I had on hand was Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and as neither of those #brands sponsors this blog, I make no definitive recommendation). The result was a really lovely cake. It's texturally interesting because of the chopped hazelnuts and caramel layer, and it's also extremely flavorful, between the nutty cake, bittersweet chocolate, and syrupy pears. There's also a dark, cozy quality to the overall confection that makes it a good choice for a cold, wintery weekend. Enjoy!Read More