Spring Fun List!

(via Ash Imagery)

Last year, I got really depressed during the winter months. Thinking about how hot it gets in the summer, I look back and think – how incredibly odd. Winter is when I should be kicking up my heels and feeling grateful I live in a place everyone wants to be in winter.

But I did not feel that way. So I thought that maybe, it was the list of ideas that I didn’t create that made it seem there was no light at the end of the tunnel. So this year, I changed that.

I made a big ol’ list of ideas, adventures, and goals for this season. Preferably no sitting (unless it’s in a photobooth!)

  1. Hiking at least 2 state parks I have not visited before
  2. Make a blanket (maybe a t-shirt one, if I get all ambitious) in time for winter
  3. Monthly camping trips to escape the city
  4. Make lots and lots of popsicles, including some new flavors (avocado! Fruit chunks!)
  5. Draw up a container garden design and get to planting my kitchen garden
  6. Find and paint outdoor chairs in mismatched, bright colors
  7. Outdoor movies in the backyard
  8. Weekly trips on bike to thrift store/record shop/grocery
  9. Racquetball as exercise. My new rental is right down the block from a park with courts open at all hours.
  10. Dinner at a drive-in burger joint (or maybe just slushies)
  11. Bike everywhere that we can
  12. Dinner at the local open air restaurant on the lake
  13. Lots of games of scrabble, slapjack, crazy 8s, apples to apples
  14. Make lots and lots of new spring/summer foods–pizzas/fruits on the grill, kebabs, salads, pies, ribs, creative sandwiches–for hiking picnics and al fresco dining
  15. Catch a cover band (Local Beatles cover band, Apple is one of my faves)
  16. Attend a neighborhood Art Fair (or create a backyard art gallery)
  17. Catch some open air movies in the park
  18. Stone skipping
  19. Map and plan night picnics to watch some astro-happenings.
  20. Put the finishing touches on my letter-writing mini zine and sent to members of Letter Writers Alliance and Order of the Envelope, and work on the summer zine (essay about lightning bugs, classic playlist)
  21. Make a summer mix for my dearest family + friends

Thrift Store Stainless Steel

In my many trips to the thrift store, I didn’t bother with any sort of metal, because I had no idea how to identify what kind (besides the obvious colors), and how to clean it properly.

NO MORE! I can now buy whimsical thrifted metal, thanks to Barkeeper’s Friend!wine holder

Barkeeper’s Friend (the powder) can be used myriad ways, but my favorite is to de-gunk my sink with as little effort as possible. Now that I have this other use under my belt, nothing can stop me from polishing up stainless steel like a pro!

Oscar White

I know it’s so passé to do an Oscar post, but there’s always some people who blow me away with their choices.

Besides Clooney’s hair being gorgeous, and daniel day-lewis’ navy suit being dandy dapper, the ladies’ choice were strikingly obsessed with winter white:

oscar white 1 thru 5 oscar white 5 thru 9

The non-white dress that really floored me, though, was Naomi Watts’.oscar naomiIt seems elegant and understated, and as you look at it more, it hits you how architecturally sexy it is. And the color is perfect. If it was red, or white, or something else, it would have completely taken on a different (less statuesque) tone. She got it so right. Halle Berry and Charlize also did structured tight gowns, too, which I just love. Like they’re all working on their Robot Maria from Metropolis vibe.

All photos via bohemea, except Octavia Spencer’s and the after-party Miley Cyrus

My Home Bar: Hanky Panky

hanky panky text hanky panky1 hanky panky3

“Renew But Conserve.” A great motto for such an interesting spirit.

I first read about Fernet Branca care of Hunter S. Thompson (although I have not tried it to cure hangovers), and was again reminded I needed to try it, via NPR. Since all I have read about it is that it is an extremely acquired taste, I decided to start out small (with the tiny bottle), and mixed into a cocktail (hence the Hanky Panky).

IT. IS. Tasty. But yes, it is also an extremely acquired taste, and you really have to be in the mood for it.

I would say that this is the perfect time of year for Hanky Panky. The drink, of course. Everyone is ready for spring, but winter refused to unwrench its claws from our arms. This drink will definitely make you forget your winter blues, but not in the usual citrus-cocktail way.

Read the history over on The Straight Up.

Common Cold Tips and Prevention

cold remedy

As I sit here, finally over the last dregs of my runny nose, I thought I would share with you some tips for preventing, getting through and getting over colds and the like.

With fever it’s only slightly different, but first off, I’m no doctor, so my “tips” are obviously just things I have picked up along the way of being sick once, each winter, for several weeks, for the entirety of my life.

♠ When you first start to notice the itchy, scratchy, sore just-the-tiniest-bit throat, run to the ocean. If you don’t have an ocean nearby (stupid desert), create some salt water in a glass, and dutifully gargle twice a day. I might have mentioned this before, and I’m reiterating it because it works. There are so many things my mother throws at me that I don’t take to heart, but gargling with salt water (and moisturize your neck) is something that I commend her on for being right.

♠ Humidifier. In the desert, the air is SO DRY. When you’re feeling under the weather, it dries out your throat and causes all kinds of coughing, up-all-night problems. So having a humidifier helps quite a bit.

♠ Zinc. I know zinc tends to fall in the homeopathic category, and it doesn’t help everyone to the same degree, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

♠ Sleep and flat-out rest. So many times when I am home sick, I feel like it’s an extra day off to do laundry, clean the kitchen, etc. But if you call out of work, you should be resting as much as humanly possible. Pile up the blankets on the couch, throw on some X-Files (what doesn’t everyone watch X-Files when they’re sick?), and the only thing you should be working on is drinking as much water as you can.

Additional resources:

Design Sponge must have been reading my mind (or everyone seems to get sick around early February!), because they also had a write-up about cold tips. Some are extremely intriguing, and while I can’t say I’m terribly excited to get sick again, I am thrilled to have a bunch more things to try to combat runny noses and congestion. I bet the 4 drops oil of oregano and a shot of apple cider vinegar tip is a good suggestion as a monthly good health thing, too.

Cold sock tip.

♠ Tips from around the world

♠ A Gala Darling “Magical potion” : Boil water and pour in cup. Squeeze in whole lemon. Grate lots of ginger. Cut 1 clove of garlic into tiny pieces. Add aspirin, a squirt of honey, whiskey and cayenne pepper. Then drink.

(I have tried that magical potion and while it isn’t the tastiest thing in the world (and I put WAY too much pepper in), it does the trick.

Day-After Sweets

via The Daily Frenchie

Feeling a bit…well, Valentine hungover?

 The sweets, the champagne, the decadent meals…it’s a bit much for one day. The good thing about the holiday season is that you can spread it out and be conscious of your indulgences. With one day of decadence, it really hits you the next day. Everything in moderation, my darlings. Last night instead of going out for dinner, The Beau and I made something new for dinner (together), and I whipped up some madeleines for dessert. We topped them with whipped strawberry frosting (from a discounted sugar-free cake), and voila! The lemon of the madeleines gave it a fresh feeling, but they are so light – unlike a chocolate lava cake or something of the like – that we didn’t feel overwhelmed with sweetness.

Anyway, I guess the real summary of this post is: fruit, whipped topping and madeleines are the stuff clouds are made of, and of that I am certain.