Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Words from my father.

In Milwaukee over the holiday weekend, I spent some quality time with my amusing New York Italian father. Saturday night, while we watched A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (it is a treasure) (no really and don't judge because I can Talk About Cinema if you want but why would you want to when WAFFLEBOT), he went to the kitchen and came back with two pints of Ben & Jerry's and two spoons. "Here," he said, handing me one of each. "We can pass these back and forth like best Sex and the City girlfriends."

Also, here is the Wafflebot commercial. Because Wafflebot.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How I am getting my jollies this week.

Iced coffee. A few weeks ago, it seemed like every blog in my Reader included a post with a recipe for iced coffee. These were devoted recipes, including many opinions on the merits of cold brewing, double brewing, etc. All well and good, but so many steps! I'm not that patient. So, here is my recipe! Difficulty level: Not difficult.

Brew a pot of coffee. Apply cold, and time. Drink. 

In the mornings, I just pour myself a pint of iced coffee from the pitcher in my fridge and drink it while getting ready for work and things. I don't worry about making it extra strong so it doesn't get watered down when the ice melts, because I don't have ice cube trays (maturity!). Also, if you take so long to drink iced coffee that it's at risk of becoming room temperature, maybe coffee is Not For You. (That's okay! More for me!) Anyway. To summarize: Having cold coffee on demand 1) is convenient and 2) makes me feel like I am my own butler.

I'm not alone in my lack of ice cube trays. A vending machine dispensing warm Diet Coke (IT IS THE WORST OH GOD THE HORROR) at my office prompted a break room discussion with a coworker about how we have ice machines in our office freezer, but never think to use them. He confessed to not really using ice due to his lack of ice cube trays at home. It made me feel much better about life and my level of shit-togetherness in relation to that of my peers to know that he, too, hasn't yet spent the $1 on an ice cube tray. I know I can buy ice cube trays, guys, but I don't really care for ice in my drinks (it clanks against my teeth, of which I am very protective) and it's just more crap I'd have around. Let's just call it one of my last barriers to real adulthood (home ownership, marriage, buying ice cube trays) and move on.

Birchbox. It's a $10/month subscription service that sends you a box full of generous samples of luxury beauty products. They have a version for men, but as far as my world is concerned Birchbox is For Ladies.  I am a girl, and I love cosmetics and things I can slather on myself. My first box came today, and I got some lip/cheek stain, an eyeshadow/eyeliner crayon, some self-tanner towelettes, a TSA-approved cosmetic bag, some moisturizer, and a sample of some man cologne for the Birchbox Man in my life. (Do you want some man cologne, Internet? You can be the Birchbox Man in my life.) It's like getting a care package from mom, if mom went to school at the University of Sephora.

The Fulton Tap Room. The man checking IDs at the door is amiable and grandfatherly, the beer is delicious and cheap, food trucks frequent it, and it's really nice to have another place to sit outside and drink beer. I'm totally charmed by it, although when I was there yesterday it did occur to me that I was sitting on a loading dock, under a freeway, downwind of a storm drain giving off a scent, Dumpster-adjacent, and within view of a trash incinerator plant. And yet! I like it. It's not fancy. You can see Target Field, and so far I have been able to get tacos to go with my beer on most of my visits. Verdict: Yes.

Google Chrome. My 2009-ish MacBook (remember those?) isn't irreparably slow! I just had to ditch Firefox. That last update was super buggy, and when I took to the interwebs my computer turned into a bottleneck. An overheating bottleneck with a really loud fan.

My brother's music. His songs are very good, and you should listen to them. Some sisters will talk up any creative effort by a member of their family. I'm not that kind of sister. Actually, knowing the artist can make me uncomfortable, because singing faces give me the heebie-jeebies and not everyone's music is A Precious Gift. So anyway, I legit like his music. It's folk/Americana/country stuff, and you will like it, Internet.

Turtle Wax. When I was home in Wisconsin a few weeks ago, my dad helped me wash and wax my car, and touch up some small rust spots, before I left. Embarrassing truth: I thought waxing was just for vanity. But dad was right; water really does bead off a waxed car and wax puts a barrier between the paint and the elements. This isn't groundbreaking, but I have enjoyed observing this beading every time it's rained since. Also now I can tell who waxes their car (me!) and who does not (AHEM, GUY IN MY BUILDING WITH ASSIGNED PARKING SPOT #7).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Three things that will make your life easier, just by keeping them in your wallet.

Because I just feel like sharing the fruits of 27 years of "what if"-ing, I guess.
  1. A few blank checks. Keep them in your billfold. And then when you remember rent is due or you encounter a scout selling their last box of your favorite cookie you can just say, "One moment please...while I totally handle this shit."
  2. Postage stamps. Like blank checks, they fit right in your billfold, so you can send that forgotten rent check as soon as you take an envelope from the office supply room. Bonus: the next time someone asks if you happen to have a stamp, you can be all, "WHY YES I DO." And as you whip that sheet of Forever stamps out of your wallet like some sort of preparedness magician, watch their eyes light up as they think, "Damn! This good Samaritan totally has a handle on shit!"
  3. A spare car key. If you don't have a AAA membership* but you do drive a car, the day will come that you lock your keys in it. And even if you do have a AAA membership, maybe you just don't feel like waiting 45 minutes for someone to come and unlock it in three seconds. So keep a spare car key in one of your credit card slots. And then when your car door slams shut just as you realize your keys are in the cupholder, instead of yelling something unsavory to the other motorists around you, you can be all, "Let me just get my spare key out of my wallet, because I'm clever and keep one there and what? Oh, this? This is just me totally handling this shit."
So, there you have it. Go forth and be prepared.

*Why don't you have a AAA membership? It costs like 1/4 of what a tow costs, and a membership covers four roadside assists per year! So go join online now, okay?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My New Friend, Mamie Taylor

Last night Art and Emily hosted a 'TNG and Scotch' party. It was a way of easing into two things I've never quite cottoned on to: Star Trek: The Next Generation (I'm a TOS/reboot girl all the way) and Scotch. I'd only ever watched a whole TNG episode when it was the only thing on the TV in an emergency room waiting area, or something similar. And Scotch has always tasted like "dirt lit on fire" to me. (I KNOW. YELL AT ME IN THE COMMENTS.) So I came to the party bearing ingredients for the Mamie Taylor, a cocktail recipe I found in this How to Drink Scotch post on the Kitchn.

(image: Nancy Mitchell, The Backyard Bartender)

  • TNG is campy and delightful in a way that is similar to TOS. But I don't see myself changing camps, and I definitely don't see myself being on team Will Wheaton. Sryz, Internet.
  • Mamie Taylor is a gal who really knows how to hang out. There was enough going on with the ginger beer and lime juice that I could taste the Scotch (Old Smuggler–not "Old Snuggler," as I originally read it–because that is how I roll) but still enjoy it. This will be a good summer drink–there's a lot of pontoon drinking potential here. I see myself working my way through this guide until I, too, am a lady who really knows how to hang out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to be a Self-Life Coach, courtesy of my younger brother.

Well, do you? Alright then. You may leave the apartment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Decision 2012

I'm shopping for new glasses, and at Beth's recommendation I had some pairs sent to me from Warby Parker for a home try-on. These are the front runners.

On the left, we have the Fitz in blonde tortoise shell. I like the color and that the frame is a little larger, and structured without being too prominent. It does also come in a whiskey tortoise color.

Or the right is the Zagg in striped chestnut. (Out of maybe 100 choices of frame/color combos, I managed to order the same pair/color Beth has. And sure, we have the same snow boots and happen to also have the same lip color in the same shade. DON'T WORRY WE'RE NOT TWINS.)

Honestly, I like both and may end up ordering whichever pair I don't get in a couple months. I haven't worn glasses during the day in years, but I'd like to give my eyes a break. So a 'glasses wardrobe' could be necessary.

What do you think? I'd love some input because you can only stare at yourself in the mirror for so long and I am very indecisive by nature.

(Also, let me just sing the praises of Warby Parker. Complete pairs of glasses for $95? Amazing. And you can try on five pairs at a time, and do as many home try-ons as you'd like. I hate trying on glasses in sad mall stores. If you also find Vision World to be a little bleak, problem solved!)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Emailing with Beth and Morgan

Today I sent this video to my friends Morgan and Beth:

Werner Herzog on Chickens from Tom Streithorst on Vimeo.

Morgan is a little/very obsessed with Werner Herzog, and feels strongly that a penguin wandering to "his certain doom" in one of Herzog's films is his "spirit penguin." Also, he is a vet, and in his professional opinion the views expressed in this clip are entirely accurate.

Monday, January 9, 2012

B, you know me.

My friend Beth is pretty great. She knows how much I love a good birthday fortnight, and so extended it to a birthday fiscal quarter. She treated me to a belated Jucy Lucy–from Matt's Bar, of course. I'm not an animal–on Sunday, but that was not all.

She gave me a kitchen scale (I love free kitchen equipment!) and also this mug:

Awesome New Mug (center), pictured with
my Kitchen Dinosaurs (remember them?) and elephant teapot

I love it, of course, and told her I'd been eyeing it but didn't think I could justify yet another coffee mug (seriously, I have so many, and love them all equally), especially as I had bought myself and several friends and family either this monogrammed lady mug or this monogrammed gentleman's mug for Christmas last year. And also because I have a souvenir mug from the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas that says "Stephanie" in hieroglyphics (the monogramming of the ancients!) (thanks, mom!). I figure there's a limit to how many identifying mugs a person can reasonably buy herself, but if you are gifted them, well, there is always room in the cabinet.

Beth said, "I saw this and thought, 'I bet Stephanie has been eyeing this but didn't think she could justify buying it for herself.'"

BRAIN TWIN. (For real, my vast Baby-sitters Club-and-grammar knowledge base is matched only by hers, plus we have the same lip balm in our purses.)

I require more successful sandwich containers.

Well, I love Rye. I'm just a deli kind of girl, and this restaurant makes me supremely happy. So far all of the food I've ordered has been appropriately savory–except for the cheesecake, which is different in that it's actually cakey (and a little lemony) with a really pleasing top layer and crust. Perfect with an after-dinner cup of decaf (it settles the stomach and makes room for cheesecake faster).

Emily and I had dinner there last Friday with our friend Steph, and what with the pre-Reuben kreplach and the Reuben-adjacent mashed potatoes, I knew I would need to save some food for later if I was going to enjoy that cheesecake. I asked our server for a box so as not to waste any of the precious deli goodness, and here is what they gave me:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I would buy this magazine.

I was reading some of Joanna's archived posts recently, and I came across this image of the May 12, 1956 issue of The Saturday Evening Post:

First of all, look at those headlines. I want to buy this magazine right now just to read those features. I say they're still timely.

Second, look at that cover comic. I love that it takes you through the dad's day/week, and I also love the positions of all the figures. It's really easy (at least for me) to look at old photos or drawings and not be able to imagine those people moving and acting like regular people. Nevermind that my dad was 7 when this magazine came out; there is no way he moved and acted like a normal kid! So I love how in #2 you can see the kids being totally rowdy at the table, and in #6 how the dad is slumped against the wall a bit, actually relaxed even though he just went grocery shopping in a hat.

Third, this reminded me that once in middle school while canvassing my block to get orders for my school's fundraiser (it was the worst, always, and I'd imagine for the people on the other side of the door, too) I walked by a pile of old furniture and things that a neighbor had placed at the curb for pickup and found an old issue of the Post with JFK on the cover. I kept that thing for years. I thought it was so cool and that it would be worth something one day even though the edges of the cover were kind of crumbly. I have no idea what happened to it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

First of many...

The first of many similar countertop arrangements.

Everyone on my Christmas list this year is getting homemade candy and cookies (and wine with which to wash it all down). The sugar cookies will be dipped in chocolate, and that's tray #1 of toffee with dark chocolate and almonds (THAT'S RIGHT I MADE TOFFEE WHICH IS A REAL CANDY NOT SOME EASY PEPPERMINT BARK (except I am making peppermint bark, too, and other things that I am excited about)).

So now you know what I have been, and will be, up to this week.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Look who guest-posted about automotive maintenance

You should head over to the Adulting blog* today and check out the guest post I wrote on super basic automotive maintenance. Learning about cars is a bit of a hobby of mine, and since my feeling whenever someone doesn't know how to check their oil is "OH MY GOD WHY DON'T YOU KNOW THIS YOU ARE A GROWN-UP, SERIOUSLY GUYS," this seemed like a good place to start, internet-advising-wise.

As I am maybe only 64% adult at this point, this does not mean that "according to the internet," I think I have my act together. But I would say it makes me a source of automotive advice in the same way that Us Weekly likes to say "according to our source" or "the insider says"–so, loosely.

*You're going to want to immediately Google Reader this blog, which provides methods by which to "become a grown-up in 387 easy(ish) steps." Kelly points out some easy-to-address ways by which we can all be a little more with it (like opening a bottle of champagne with minimal drama or being cool when your friends have babies). And when you recognize some of your own adult behaviors in her posts you'll feel really proud of yourself. Thanks for having me, Kelly!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ladycamping II: The Schnappsenning

Fact: Camping is my favorite. It's so much my favorite, in fact, that I was sad to have only gone camping six times this summer. One of these trips was a hike-in ladycamping venture with Emily and our friend Julie.

Additional fact: Winter is another one of my favorites. It's beautiful, cozy, quiet, crunchy--just a great season. But it also means an end to camping.

Except! There are these magical buildings within select Minnesota State Parks called "Camper Cabins." They are snug and built of wood and double-paned windows. And the winter-friendly ones have electricity and heat!

This weekend Emily and I went to Jay Cooke State Park with Julie and our friend Beth to stay in a camper cabin. Beth and I went last year with her husband and our friend Morgan the weekend before Christmas, and it was so charming and wintry it shouldn't even be allowed. Snowshoeing! Cooking on a fire in the middle of winter! (We called it our "Last Christmas" weekend, after Wham! As one does. I mean, who wouldn't like to vacation within that video? So many sweaters, plus alps and feathered hair.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011


My 27th birthday was Friday, and as I looked back on the year last week I told a friend that I think this has been the best year yet. In a nutshell:
  • Went as Marty McFly for Halloween (living the dream!)

Monday, September 12, 2011

So, Stephanie, where were you last week?


Flew to New Hampshire, and then drove to...

...to camp at Acadia National Park for four nights.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My future husband is located somewhere within this grocery store.

Somewhere in the Cub Foods in Edina is my soulmate:

I must find him.

(Also, for the best explanation of the less/fewer rule, see this 2009 post, featuring dinosaurs!)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First ride on my new bike

On Tuesday I picked up my modified road bike (I really do prefer "Frankenbike") and last night I finally took it for a ride. This was the final result:

(See a before photo here)

For some backstory, I haven't used a bike as a mode of transportation since middle school. I always walked or took the bus in college, and frankly biking in a city rather than my small suburb from way back when kind of terrified me. In that "seems like a death wish" way. Plus, you know, I own a car. But then I was given this bike right about when my frustration with gas prices and my general level of consumption was rising and I started to rethink my position.

Last night I did a test ride over to Emily's cohabitat to return her keys after checking on Bernard and Triskit over the long weekend. It's about 5.2 miles round trip by bike (longer by car, because of Lake Harriet) and was a good learning experience distance.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The suspense is killing me!

My stepmom passed her old road bike on to me a while back, and I've been struggling figuring out how to ride it. I don't do races and don't plan to in the near future, but this is a great bike that still has a lot of value at 20 years old and I'm determined to put it to use.

I thought about selling it to buy a bike that was exactly what I wanted, but yesterday the cycle shop near me recommended we lower the seat and replace the current stem and handlebars with an adjustable stem and flat bar. So basically, turning my riding position into one similar to what I'd have with a hybrid bike (instead of putting my butt higher than my shoulders).

I should get it back this weekend--I'll post pictures when my Frankenbike is complete.