Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cooking with Gretchen

I'm moving out of my apartment in just two weeks. I don't want to buy food, so I need to be creative with what I have. I have a goal to use ALL of it.

For today?

How To Cook Lentils Like A Boss

- Glance over some instructions about how to cook grains and beans and lentils and stuff
- Grab a bowl of lentils
- Cover them in water and let them soak over night
- Forget about them till a day later. Dang it.
- Realize you didn't need to soak them at all. Dang it.
- Put them in a pan with however much water you feel like.
- Look for herbs and spices and stuff in your room mates cupboard.
- Decide on parsley and garlic salt. 
- Add copious amounts of both.
- Read that you shouldn't add salt til AFTER the lentils are cooked. Dang it.
- Add some olive oil for good measure.
- Add WAY too much. Dang it.
- Decide to add potatoes to make up for the olive oil. (cooking karma)
- Wash, peel, and cut up two potatoes.
- Add to mix and let sit.
- The lentils are done! yay!
- The potatoes are not done. Dang it.
- Add about a bowl full of water and let it cook some more.
- Sample pieces of potato every five minutes or so to see if they're going to be done soon. They are crunchy and undercooked. Dang it.
- Wait for another half of forever.
- Decide it's done enough.
- Put some in a bowl.
- Taste it.
- Realize that despite your mistakes, you pwnd those lentils.
- Boo-yah

Monday, November 28, 2011

Support your brother, sports brother

We just found a video that my mom Rita, and my brother, Christian did for the Utah Parent Center. The Utah Parent Center provides support for families with children who have special needs. Christian has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. Luckily, he has had the support of his family, teachers, and counselors to help him reach his potential. It can be hard to make transitions, especially for people with autism, so this group provides resources for families.

Check it out.
My mom and brother's part starts around 7:45.

And here's a fun song just for kicks.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Morpin' Time

I've missed you, power rangers. They were a staple in our household since their U.S. inception. Do you remember the PSA's that they would have after the show to keep kids from beating each other up
Confession: I was a little bit in love with the green ranger.
Another confession: Hearing that theme song again ALMOST made me shed a tear.
I wonder if they have it for Rock Band? I guess I'm not alone in this query.

GO GO POWER RANGERS!!!!!!111!!!!1!!!!!11!!!!!!

p.s. hope you had a good thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2011

'appy Sangiving!

Note: The title of this blog post is how you say Happy Thanksgiving!in spanish. I love it. It seems more joyful!

I sometimes think this is my favorite holiday. It's just so simple and lovely. A great meal. And some games. Maybe a movie or two. In our family, we go to a neighborhood devotional in our old chapel up in Federal Heights. The last few years, the International Children's Choir performs. It makes us very nostalgic, since I was in that choir when I was in elementary school.

I hope you are close to some love ones on this day. If not, feel free to come by my house. I mean it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What are you doing this Thanksgiving?

I'm going to be watching a lot of Gossip Girl on Netflix.

"I'm Chuck Bass. And I'm wishing you a scandalous Thanksgiving."
It's a problem.

But I'm also going to do some more worthwhile things.

. Write a paper on Borges
. Read  a few capitulos of Don Quijote
. Start moving out of my apartment
. Try out this Yam Frosting recipe from the Carolina Chocolate Drops
. Eat some food
. Learn how to play "The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire on the piano
. Sync my iPod
. NOT go shopping on Black Friday
. Go on my Avenues run
. Rock and roll all night and party everyday
. Get rid of all my belongings. Seriously. I need to de-clutter bigtime. Virtual garage sale? Maybe.
. Go to a birthday party
. Watch the Jonsi Go Live dvd
. Drink some mate
. Start cutting up old sweatshirts to make a quilt
. Play some kickball
. Put up Christmas decorations
. Visit the Timpanogas temple for the first time
. FINALLY go to the dollar theater to see Planet of the Apes*
. Oh yeah. And see family and eat food and stuff.

Man. I'm going to be busy! Maybe I won't have time for Gossip Girl anyway.

*You probably thought I was going to go see "The Help," didn't you. I do want to see that too. I'll get to it eventually. Do you want to know my opinion about that book? Ironically, there is a character in the story called "Gretchen". She has a short conversation with Skeeter; she has only one page in the whole novel. Anyway, we share the same name, and the same point of view. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dancing About Architecture

They say that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. 
Some things speak for themselves:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Masters Thesis

Soon, I will graduate.
But one day, I will go to grad school.

Since I never procrastinate, and I know that I will eventually have to write a masters thesis, I've decided to start looking for topics now. Found it: 

Don't let the stoner quality of this footage deceive you; I'm confident that it's actually subtle, psychological commentary on America's financial woes and their impact on society. The coins serve as an analogy for the capitalist building blocks of our society. We treat other cultures and commodities (the foreign coins) as naught, considering them as trinkets in comparison to our great construction. As viewers, we wait with both dread and anticipation; hoping to see the tower collapse in on itself. These freudian desires are a result of our upbringings as commodified,  semi-democratic agents. 
Am I right? 
There's my thesis!
Man, I got this academia thing down. 

Good thing I switched out of anthropology. It would have turned me into a monster.
A very successful, wealthy monster.

Friday, November 18, 2011

November Mix: "If somebody's got soul..."

If this mix were a painting, it would probably look something like this:

Check out more stuff like this here.

Here are some songs, just in time for your road-trip home for Thanksgiving! Cause who really goes to those couple of classes at the beginning of the week anyway? Oh yeah. I do. 20 credit hour fail.
This mix is careful, crafty, and cosy. I hope you like it.

1. Solitude - Ella Fitzgerald
2. Comme Si L'amour - Shine
3. That Moon Song - Gregory Alan Isakov
4. It's Around You - ANR
5. All Your Light (Times Like These) - Portugal. The Man
6. What Would You Do? (City High Cover)  - BASTILLE
7. Prisencolinensinainciusol - Adriano Celentano
8. Mouthful Of Diamonds - Phantogram
9. Master of Art - Laura Stevenson & the Cans
10. Collect Call - Metric
11. Knees  - Peter and Kerry
12. Act on Impulse  - We Were Promised Jetpacks
13. Wood - ROSTAM
14. Thanksgiving Moon - DM Stith

1. Trying to teach myself this one on the piano. *note to self* new apartment must have access to a piano.
2. This is not Coeur de Pirate or MC Solaar or Edith Piaf. My knowledge of french music is slowly growing.
3. Thanks to Ann for introducing me to this artist.
6. Yes. It is THAT song. Hello junior high.
10. This song has been my motto for the month. I've tried to take it to heart, but it is really scary.
11. Another scary song. Vulnerability like this is terrifying. "... I mean you had me on my knees," sounds like it's from a real internal monologue. I like that he sings it in a sort of emotionless way because otherwise it would seem overwrought.
13. yaythatguyfromvampireweekendyay
14. Just... wow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

News News News

I just wanted to tell you...

Problem solved!

I have my whole life figured out (at least the next year of it).
I'm going to be volunteering with AmeriCorps and United Way in their Volunteer Empowerment program! It sounds really great. I feel like I will be doing good. AND I will get to use Spanish. 
Perfect, right?
Well. It was kind of a hard decision, actually.
You see, this means I will be living in Provo for another year.

I know, I know.
I had the same reaction.

I actually almost didn't accept the position. Provo has been bearable as a BYU undergrad, but I never entertained the idea of sticking around post-graduation. I didn't think I could handle it. I didn't WANT to handle it. At every turning point, I've always chosen to LEAVE. But at the beginning of this school year, I had an inkling that the next chapter in my life would have me "staying". 

Staying makes me nervous, but I think I will be ok.

Also. Have you heard about this?
Fourteen-year-old me is seriously freaking out right now.

We have to take a trip to New York this spring. Savvy?

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Age of Inauthenticity

I've been struggling with a love/hate relationship that has been exacerbated by my return to BYU after the summer.
I hope I don't sound to whiny about it. I love "vintage" horn-rimmed glasses from American Apparel as much as the next girl. I swoon over sheets from Anthropologie. I like those huge faux leather bags they have at Urban Outfitters. But I'm getting annoyed at how easily I'm being manipulated by their marketing. I feel the image that we are being sold is a relatively intelligent and tasteful one.

Cool girls dress like this:

They do tweed rides:

They are well-read:

They take photographs with "vintage" lenses from their iPhone:

And it's great, lovely fun. But I'm kind of getting tired of it. What is our generation going to be remembered for? Being nostalgic for something we never had. Innovation presses forward, but our lifestyles are looking back. Why?

I finally read this article from the New York Times a few weeks ago.
Here are some selected highlights:

“People are looking for things that are authentic,” he said. “I think it started happening after 2001: first there was 9/11, followed by recession. There was a certain exhaustion with the shiny and perfect. People didn’t relate to it anymore.” But the vintage and artisanal, he said, “will resonate with people as long as we live in these times.” Maybe not with everyone, though. As Dmitri Siegel put it: “When you pile Etsy on top of Etsy, it gets really cacophonous: ‘Everything in here is totally unique!’ It starts canceling itself out.”
"Reality Based" from Brooklyn writes in the comments section:
Last evening whilst walking on my urban Brooklyn block I was bemoaning the apogee of faux or "vintage" life-styling seeing another group of suspender and tweed clad hipsters pretend to be a jug band. They were performing a horrendously unmusical, "rootsy" version of the spiritual "When I Die" inside a new bar built to mimic some half baked idea of "vintage authenticity". This impulse to deny the truth of the cultural and political moment and instead seek refuge in an imagined virtualized "cozy" past seems to me the apogee of indulgent sentimentalist decadence.
And then there is this article from DoubleX.

That quirky, vintage, cuteness... it's all being relentlessly marketed to us. They make a profit off of our desire to be authentic, creative and smart.  I am getting tired of it. Just new ways to market uniqueness and nostalgia.

I find my self craving minimalism. Maybe do something like this? I have a strong desire to throw away all the clothes I have. I would find a simple dress. I would wear it everyday. I would let my actions and words define who I am. Oh, you know. Something along these lines: (though that yellow bag would have to go. I wouldn't want any semblance of personality)

And then I will take everything off my walls. I will rip off the sheets from by bed. Take all the knick-knacky things off the shelves. Turn my space into a space like this. 

Yes, that's about right. 
Spartan. Clean. A blank slate.
I would need to get rid of that gaudy pillow though.

I guess this isn't really any more authentic than the fake authenticity being sold to us.
But I like a simple life.
Have any of you guys felt that way before?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Got vibes and charisma"

I just go through a horrid 2 weeks of back-to-back tests and essays. In fact, just this morning I turned in a 8-page essay that I researched and wrote in 6 1/2 hours. New Record! I'm still really busy, and I have a lot of work to do before the semester is done... but that's only 1 month away. A mere 17 school days. I AM ALMOST FINISHED WITH MY UNDERGRADUATE CAREER.

This calls for a celebration.

I scoured hype machine for the perfect tune.

And I found it.

Do I dare say it? This is love.

I want to listen to this everyday.
It will be part of my morning routine.
Let's ring in the new year, 2012, to the beat of this song.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I have a problem.

I've been especially perfume obsessed lately.
I want them. I want them now.
I think it is because in winter, we are robbed of many sensual delights. As in things that ignite our olfactory senses.

Ok, maybe that's not completely true.

We have the fall leaf smell (though it was quickly stolen from us by the early snows).
We have the cosy pumpkin/vanilla/cinnamon smells that are oh so lovely (but the incarnation of them in candle/home spray form makes me feel nauseous).
There are winter smells that I love, I guess.

Real pine with Real lemon:
Fake pine with Fake citrus in this candle from Nordstrom:
"Annick Goutal's Noël candle, scented with
enchanting bitter orange, mandarin and
Siberian pine, with an unforgettable scent of resin,"
Doesn't that sound perfect?
Pomander Balls

It seems like most people hate the smell of paperwhites.
I LOVE it.
But in reality. Most of the "winter smells" are non existant. They are months with an absence of smell. Just cold, cold, cold. When spring and summer come, we remember what smells were. We have our windows open to smell flowers, trees, grass. The rain smell. The sun-warmed smell. I don't feel the need to wear perfume as much
Winter calls for it though. It makes you feel cosy. It brightens the dreariness.

I've been trying to plan out my budget for such an extravagance, but I think I will have to wait till Christmas.

Chanel Cristalle, Eau Verte:
"This concentrated Eau de Toilette reveals a sheer and spirited heart. Magnolia notes are rendered transparent with fresh citrus and Neroli accents, for a new expression of a timeless floral bouquet."

This is one of the first perfumes I sniffed when I got home from my mission. We were in San Diego with my mom's friend from college. My mom loved it. It reminds me of her. And also of my childhood perfume, Celeste. 

Chloé Eau de Parfum, IntenseThe garden of Chloé fragrances,the rose reveals itself 
in different variations, in full bouquets and under unexplored facets, 
more modern than ever. New Chloé Eau de Parfum Intense is the enchanting and
sensual rose of the original eau de parfum. It embellishes the Chloé woman with 

a refined, feminine fragrance and intriguing allure. Notes: pink peony, rose, lychée, 
lily of the valley, magnolia, velvet rose, cedar wood. amber, honey.
Another one of those rose-y, old-lady smells that I like. I don't know what it is about them. Kind of powdery. People meet me and probably wonder why I smell like their grandmother. Whatever.

Juicy Couture: Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there were two nice girls named Pam and Gela who discovered the Juicy Couture world of fashion and fun, fun, fun. They took a deep breath and realized this is how The Juicy Girls smell the world!
Pam and Gela wanted every girl to have her own Juicy Couture, so they made a fabulous line of fragrance essentials adorned as only Juicy Couture can - some with charms and trinkets, and all in the most beautiful bottles and jars you've ever seen! Notes of: 
mandarin, hyacinth, marigold, apple, passionfruit, watermelon, lily, rose, tuberose, patchouli, woods, vanilla, crème brulée.

You may notice that the perfume bottle in the advertisement is ginormous. I chose it on purpose; I need that bottle of perfume to be that big. Isn't the story of Pam and Gela ridiculous? Just so you know, this perfume is not in anyway "juicy". It doesn't smell overly fruity or bubble-gummy or cotton-candy-y as you would expect, though other testers say it does. They are nothing like the velour track suits that say "Juicy" on the bum bum. One me, this actually smells like... you guessed it, an old lady perfume. Love it.

Burberry Body: Wrapped around a woman, the iconic Burberry trench coat evokes sensuality, femininity, and luxury. In this fragrance, an eclectic composition of fruity-chypre notes envelopes the body, creating a suggestion of effortless seduction. The fragrance opens with a fresh, green touch of absinthe and bright hints of peach and freesia. Elegance emerges in the heart, where cool notes of natural rose absolute and iris are set against the subtlety and warmth of sandalwood. In the base, woody cashmeran and creamy vanilla join the sensuality of amber and musk.
Notes: Freesia, Green Absinthe, Peach, Rose, Iris, Sandalwood, Cashmeran, Musk, Amber, Vanilla. 

One of the newer ones from Burberry. I tried it on Saturday, and I think it's great. I like most of Burberry's perfume line. And I like the color palette of their makeup line. And I like the styling in their adverts. Especially Emma Watson 'cause I want to BE her. I want to bring Burberry back.

So there you have it. What I've been dreaming of.... aaaahhhh. OK. If I get a set job lined up for after I graduate, then I can buy myself a bottle as a treat. Right? That's reasonable. Sure. Very responsible of me actually.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Our Neighbors, Ourselves

Hi guys.

I've been listening to this cd in the car as I drive about.

Another D.I. find. Which is great, because apparently, they don't make this cd anymore.
It has stories by some of my favorites (Sarah Vowel!), with a good mix of funny and serious. First though, I have to say. I love Ira Glass; he's great. But when he narrates his own pieces? ...not my cup of tea. Just saying. I prefer him as in interviewer/moderator/host.

Than I came to this story.

You see, Scott is from Salt Lake City.
Here is a picture of him:

He just released a new book a couple months ago. I'm adding it to my Christmas wish list.

You can find out more about the book here.

Scott and I are similar. 

We are both Avenues dwellers.
We make sudden decisions in regards to our living space.
We are interested in interviewing people.
     Me as a former anthropology student / census enumerator / spanish speaker.
     Him as an anthropology documentar / government interviewer / radio personality.

In this story, he interviews Medicaid recipients with schizophrenia. 
It just about broke my heart. 

These are our people, you see.
They are our friends, family, neighbors.
They are our brothers; we are their keepers.

Some of these things these people shared, I have heard my brother Christian say.
Christian has autism and obsessive compulsive disorder. He recognizes that he is different. He's created his own world for himself. I watch as he tries to draw us into his world and interests, while at the same time, struggles to understand the boundaries and expectations of the "real" world. 

Christian is also dependent on Medicaid.

Luckily for Christian, he also has a family that will always be there to support him. 
So many others do not have that luxury. 

You can see why this story broke my heart a little bit.

I listened to this story in the car. I got home, but stayed sitting, in the cold, to hear the end. Oh yeah, and as Ira often says "This story mentions sex. Not in any graphic way, but it's existence. So if there are kids in the room, you might want to know that."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Name that tune

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head for years? You may not know who it's by, or where it's from, but certain phrases just repeat repeat and repeat?
I had one of those for years. Like, for maybe a decade.
Specifically this phrase:
But I'm warning you, don't ever dothose crazy, messed up things that you do...
Cant you tell what it's from? That musical cadence? It reminds me of this song from seconds 20-40. Funny, because both songs touch on the same themes of trust. One at the beginning of a relationship, the other in the aftermath of a relationship.

Anyway, I just figured out what that song is.

It's this:

I'm a bit horrified with myself. I've always disdained Barenaked Ladies, and now I've found that one of their songs has become an integral part of my psyche.
This song is kind of great. I kind of love it. I kind of want to be one of those girls who videotapes herself singing other people's songs and posting it on youtube.
Kind of.