Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Catastrophic floods.
Rash tweets and nuclear tests.
But I still choose hope.

This is an interesting moment to be alive; there is a lot of uncertainly and unrest. I prefer to talk about politics, religion, and current events in person, because I don't find it particularly useful to yell into the social media echo chamber. But I'll talk about hope anywhere. One of the books, "No Mud, No Lotus" by Thich Nhat Hanh is a book that I read years ago, and the reason why lotus flowers keep popping up in my apartment. I find the perspective that only when we have gone through bad can we truly appreciate good immensely comforting. (Probably not unusual for someone who had a near-death experience.)

The other, "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by Anne Lamott, is one that I'm reading right now. It was written during the George W. Bush years. If you're familiar with Anne Lamott, you probably know that she wasn't a fan of that administration. I have found a lot of things from that era to be very timely. Those where years when I personally was much better about living sustainably and consciously, and reflecting back on that time reminds me to "be the change" and keep hope alive.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pumpkin spice latte:
Fall has not even begun,
but I can taste it.

Today was the day that people seem to care about either a lot or not at all: the official release day of the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. I love them because they're delicious and because the evoke all the coziness of the autumn season that I enjoy. It's liquid hygge! Drinking my first PSL of the season was a great way to start the second week of school. (And, according to Facebook, I also had my inaugural cup on this date last year.) It's perched upon a pile of grading that I need to do... because the arrival of the PSL is also the arrival of months of endless grading.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Such a fun surprise
to see my fav-o-rite things
shared in Bella Grace.

Kind of a funny story... I was flipping through the pages on the Fall issue of Bella Grace, and I felt inspired to write haiku about simple, everyday things and pair them with simple, everyday snapshots. Small poems about small things. After cranking a few out, I went back and started actually reading the magazine, and I was delighted to see that some simple pleasures that I had shared via Facebook had actually made it into the magazine. What a serendipitous way to start this project!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm in various stages of completion with a number of projects, and I've vowed to knit through my stash before I buy anything new... but, in the meantime, a girl can dream, right? These are the projects I'm dreaming about starting in what shouldn't be a terribly distant future. I don't have that big of a stash, and summer vacation isn't too far away!

The first two would be good summer-into-fall transitional pieces:

Image via Ravelry
I love the cables tucked into pockets on Classic Elite's Christie cardigan.

Image via Ravelry
Another Classic Elite pattern, this vest/shawl hybrid gives you that cozy fall feeling without any worry of overheating.

Image via Ravelry
Simple, strategically-placed cables, unusual construction, and a pocket--this pattern has some elements that are perennial winners for me. This cardigan would be a great jacket substitute as the weather starts to turn cooler in October or November.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

One of the easiest ways to use up leftover veggies is incorporate them into a stir fry. The possible combinations are limitless, and the end result is delicious! The recipe template that follows is, as is always the case with recipes I share, approximated. If you haven't cooked with fish sauce before, a little goes a long way. Similarly, even reduced-sodium soy sauce is pretty salty, so start small and add more if needed to suit your own tastes.

In this version: mushrooms, carrots, walnuts, and green onions

  • 1 cup rice
  • For the super-fancy: a splash of mirin
  • 2 tablespoons(ish) sesame oil
  • 2 cups assorted veggies*
  • 1 teaspoon(ish) fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon(ish) reduced-sodium soy sauce


  1. Get the rice going in a rice cooker or on the stove. If you have mirin, add a splash or two to the water.
  2. Warm the sesame oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Chop any veggies that need chopping.
  4. Saute veggies until they start to soften.
  5. Add fish sauce and soy sauce, and continue cooking for 5 or so minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Cover, turn off the heat, and let the veggies hang out until the rice is done.

*When you're making your veggie selection, you can really just use whatever you've got on hand, but I would recommend choosing something aromatic (i.e., garlic, onion), something with protein (i.e., edamame, nuts), and whatever else you want to round out your 2 cups.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Needled and Hooked: Episode 1

Today I had the idea to start a video podcast about/of knitting. A video of someone knitting might seem kind of silly... but people watch videos of other people playing video games, so why not? Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

For Wool Wednesday I've got a few recently-finished objects to share. 

#1: For a friend's baby shower, I made the Puddle Jumping Cardigan Mini from Amy Herzog's You Can Knit That. I opted not to do stripes, because I needed to knit it as quickly as possible, and I only had one color of yarn on hand. The pictures are not very true to color. While blue is probably an unusual choice for a little girl, it's more of a purple-y periwinkle kind of blue than what might be considered a traditionally "masculine" blue. It's hard to tell, but I chose a set of buttons on which two feature a flower and two feature an apatosaurus. For more details, you can check out Ravelry.

#2: When I bought the dinosaur/flower buttons, I also picked up a set of three tiny elephant buttons on a whim, and enough time elapsed between the baby shower and the birth that I just had to knit something else. Serendipitously, I was close enough to done with a sweater in the same color, and I knew I was going to have at least one skein leftover. These buttons were just too cute to resist, so I whipped up a little hat to showcase them. Find the details on Ravelry.

#3: When the guy I'm dating jokingly (kinda) expressed envy of the infant recipient of the above knitting endeavors, I knew I wanted to surprise him with something handmade, too. The idea for this hat popped into my head, and I ran out to get the yarn. I wanted black with purple stripes, and I wanted a yarn that would look and feel nice without any "fussy" care instructions. Turn a Square from Jared Flood is my go-to pattern for man-hats. If you want to make one of your own, you can head over to Ravelry for the full scoop.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

This dish started with a recipe for chicken tortilla soup and ended up as a soup lacking both chicken and tortillas. I always seem to put my own spin on things...

No-Chicken No-Tortilla Soup


  • 2 cans of beans
    • I used what I had on hand: 1 can of black-eyed peas and 1 can of kidney beans. Black beans or chili beans would also be great choices.
  • 1 can of Mexicorn
  • Half of an onion, diced
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne powder
  • About half a cup or so of chicken broth
  • Cilantro, finely chopped
  • Avocado, chopped and drenched in lime juice to prevent browning
  • Limes, cut into wedges


  1. Drain the beans and Mexicorn.
  2. Dump the beans, Mexicorn, and diced onion into your slow cooker.
  3. Generously sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin.
  4. Add however much cayenne you can handle!
  5. Stir.
  6. Add vegetable broth to your desired level of "soup-iness." I'm more of a chowder/chili person, so I tend to go lighter on the liquids.
  7. Stir again.
  8. Cover, and let the slow cooker do its thing for 8-9 hours on low.
  9. Before serving, top with cilantro, avocado chunks, and a lime wedge or two.

Friday, February 24, 2017

As we head into the weekend, I've got a few discoveries/inspirations/perennial favorites to share:

Image via Vivino

Wine pairings add another layer to the fun of Girl Scout cookie season. I was thinking about baking a cake this weekend, but maybe I just need to pick up some Tagalongs and a bottle of sparkling rose instead? Get more details about the suggested varietals from Vivino.

Speaking of seasonal treats, the unofficial cancellation of winter this year means that I'm already starting to hear one of my favorite sounds: the evening calls of spring peepers. If you didn't know that the source of this nighttime noise is tiny and adorable, consider yourself educated.
Image via Amazon

And while we're on the subject of spring, I'm thinking that some new sandals might be in order. I love a good footbed sandal. I think of them as "Whole Foods chic," which is kind of what I go for. I've got my eye on these printed Muk Luks from Amazon. Even the footbed has a floral print! They would stand out from all the brown Birks in the bulk foods section of my local co-op.

The DMV is in for some rain this weekend, so I took advantage of the unseasonably-warm weather to head out to Leesylvania State Park for a bit after work. It is one of my favorite places, but I don't think I'd been in over a year! I hope to have a state-park-filled 2017.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This particular Wednesday might be better described as "Wine and Wool Wednesday."

My plan for Wool Wednesdays is to share whatever I'm currently knitting or crocheting. One of the things I'm working on right now is the Woman's Cabled Vest from Plymouth Yarn Company. I saw a sample hanging up in my local yarn store, and I thought, "I have to make that." I'm a sucker for a big, drapey collar and some lofty texture. I'm using the Encore Worsted in Dark Wedgewood (0598). It's the yarn featured in the pattern, and, at $6 a (generous) skein, the price is right.

Don't you just love yarn store kismet?

It turns out that, while I love the look of the cabled ribs, I don't particularly enjoy working them. I decided to discontinue the cable pattern after binding off the button bands and switch to plain stockinette. I think it's going to go much faster and put a little less stress on my hands. I also decided to do just a single buttonhole at the top of the button band to better emphasize a single fancy button. It's working up quickly enough that I wouldn't be shocked if the finished product is next week's Wool Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

I'm trying something new to get back into the swing of blogging. I've giving myself an alliterative prompt for Tuesdays through Fridays: Tasty Tuesday, Wool Wednesday, etc. As the name implies, on Tasty Tuesdays I plan to share recipes that I've (modified and) made. Today I've got a vegan-ified enchilada pasta. It's really quick and easy to make, and very delicious and filling!

While your pasta cooks: books and a beer.
This dish was inspired by a recipe from No. 2 Pencil that I found on Pinterest. I love pasta and Mexican flavors, and lately I've been really drawn to recipes involving olives. I've also been learning more about what goes on behind the scenes with commercial meat, poultry, and dairy production. For about a year, my rule has been that anything I cook is vegetarian, but I can order whatever I want when I go out to eat. As I've learned more about the dairy and egg industries specifically, I've been slowing moving from being a vegetarian home cook to a vegan home cook.

Not going to win a beauty contest, but it's Grade A comfort food.
I probably modify carnivore recipes as much as I select vegetarian ones. One of my favorite tricks is to use lentils in place of ground meat. I like to buy dry lentils and cook them in a slow-cooker. For a quarter pound of lentils, I use 1.5 cups of water and let them cook for about 6 hours. If you like your lentils a little more "al dente" and/or you're pressed for time, you could probably do just 5 hours. To modify this recipe, I used my lentils, added a bunch of spices (oregano, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, salt, black pepper), and left out the cheese. I also used vegetable broth. If you don't count all the time the lentils spent in the slow-cooker, it may have been faster to whip up my vegan version than the original recipe. With generous seasoning, I didn't miss the animal products at all!