Why didn’t anyone tell me about… salted caramel

Why didn't anyone tell me about

This is a semi-regular series where we discuss things that I was “late to the party on” but now I have firmly cemented myself in the bandwagon of these cultural landmarks. 

Why didn’t anyone tell me about salted caramel?

You guys.

it’s salty.

it’s sweet.

it’s perfect.

Why didn’t you tell me?

Do you love salted caramel?

Wedding Gifts we still use and like: a knife block

wedding gifts
During wedding season, I thought I’d share with you the wedding gifts we still use and love, in case you need some inspiration for what to bring to those upcoming nuptials.

A wedding gift we still use and like? Our knife block!

Let’s face it, unless the bride or groom is a chef, they probably just want a decent set of knives and something to store them in, but would really rather not buy it themselves. It’s one of those annoyingly pricey but super useful purchases. If it’s out of your price range, but you’d like to get it for them, consider going in on a purchase with someone else, purchasing just the knife set or just the block, or stalking the web for a great deal.

Just for fun, here are some knife blocks (and variations on the knife block) that caught my eye:

I love the classic dark wood of the Chicago Cutlery Belmont 16 piece knife set or you could go with the fancier and more modern steel set with more knives, an in-block sharpener (WHAT?!?!)  and a lighter wood. Both sets have kitchen shears, which are an essential item in my kitchen!

Not a knife set, but a cool block that holds 11 knives, a sharpener, a set of shears, and also swivels and has a ledge for your tablet or cookbook on the back side.

For the super, modern (and also super clean) couple a clear magnetic stand and knife set.

If you happen to know they plan to use bright colors in their kitchen, this Rachael Ray set with orange handles is pretty cute!

A classic (but lower-priced) 14-knife set option from Ginsu. Bonus, this one looks like it takes up a lot less space on the kitchen counter. Great for small space dwellers!

Friday Finds (07/18/2014)

All of Ron Swanson’s emotions. Surprisingly, there are a lot.

I could have told you this.

Ms. Williams Brown (from Adulting) has been writing more lately. These 2 posts (here and here) had me nodding along, saying “oh yes, this is true!” Which doesn’t always happen on the internet.

These fallen-themed photos are hilarous!

I don’t always do this chef’s trick, but when I do I’m super productive.

It always feels good to have checked off the majority of a “best of” travel list. This one lists the best places to visit in the US for 2014.

This photo is everything I love about the internet. Everything. Plus it has inbread dogs. That’s not a typo (and I can’t take credit for that joke, which is my biggest regret).

Have you “found” something?

I’m working with a small group to start a new arts organization here in my city. I keep referring to myself as a “founder” or “founding member,” and it’s gotten me thinking about that word, “founder.”

Isn’t it interesting? Companies, countries, organizations, initiatives. They all have founders.

Something has to be found. The ideas, concepts, values… they already exist! You just have to discover it, uncover it. You just have to find it!

There’s a lot of pressure as a creative person to do all the creating, and that’s important.

But sometimes you just find it instead. Sure, you might polish it up, assemble it, rearrange it, optimize it.

But the wheel’s always existed. No one made it. They just found it.

What have you found (or founded) lately?

36 Hours in San Antonio

If I was super awesome I would turn this into a guide for you to also spend 36 hours in San Antonio. But I am only awesome, so here are some photos of our 4th of July weekend. We mostly ate, walked, took photos, and stayed at our first Airbnb lodging (highly recommend). 


Things to do: The Alamo (duh), the Riverwalk (duh squared), walk down King William and see all the very expensive very old houses (it was like House Hunters, which is great since we don’t have cable), go to the Charthouse at the top of the Tower of Americas for happy hour, walk through the Mexican Market.

Things to eat/drink: margaritas (anywhere), elote from the Tex Mex truck at the Alamo Street Eat Bar (a food truck park), a Red Widow at the Charthouse (jalapeno! Sparkling wine!), and huevos New Braunfels at the Liberty Bar at the Convent (you read that right).

Things I noticed: San Antonio is hot. San Antonio is pink. Yes. Pink, like Fiesta Pink. Pink cars, cocktails, cheese (spicy, crunchy, pink cheese on my elote), and lots of pink buildings and flowers.

Have you been to San Antonio? What’s on your not-to-be-missed list?

When your friend discovers this awesome piece of pop culture and you get unnecessarily excited about it

Leslie Knope EW article
Photo of a portion of an article by Karen Valby in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly

Recently a friend, well, a college acquaintance, of mine posted on Facebook that she had just watched the first episode of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix and now that she knows the ENTIRE SERIES is available she doesn’t plan to leave the house or shower until she finishes it.

You guys, she was about to experience the WONDER that is James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson (and, in later years Busy Phillips) in the greatest roles of their lives. She didn’t even know! I was inexplicably and indescribably excited for her. I couldn’t stop thinking about how lucky she was to experience all the plot twists, and teacher student affairs, and wait, is Jack gay???? for the first time.

AND THEN! this same acquaintance posted a photo of a Harry Potter book on Instagram and mentioned that she would be starting that for the first time this year as a part of her bucket list. Again, I was crying over the joy that she was about to experience.

Perhaps if my husband reads this he’ll understand the happiness that he’s keeping from me by not reading Harry Potter or the Divergent or Hunger Games trilogy or OMG Fault in Our Stars AT LEAST (because that’s only ONE book, just commit to ONE book, babe! Not asking for Twilight here).

And my joy doesn’t stop at friends, my husband, or acquaintances. I also delight in the idea that a COMPLETE STRANGER might enjoy something that I truly love for the first time. That picture at the top of the page is an excerpt from an Entertainment Weekly article where Karen Valby writes about escaping all the pop culture tweets and commentary by ignoring what is hot right now (at the time, Scandal tweeting, HIMYM finale bashing, and OMG how could you The Good Wife??) by immersing yourself completely in something that you know is awesome but that you’ve never consumed. Her suggestions include the entire series (so far) of Parks and Recreation (co-sign), Friday Night Lights, and The West Wing.

But I really posted the photo because of the last paragraph, rewritten here in case you’re having a hard time reading it in the photo:

“The other day my 5-year-old daughter asked me the most wonderful question: “Mom, have you ever heard of a boy named Harry Potter?” I had indeed, I told her. I’ve never read the JK Rowling series, but when I became a mother I bought the entire collection in hardcover. This summer, I’ll read Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone to her each night before she falls asleep. I hear we’re in for a treat.”

You guys. Karen Valby and her daughter are reading this book right now! I have no idea who they are, but I AM SO EXCITED FOR THEM. Oh, the magical, wonderful journey they are about to embark on! A few months ago when I first read the article, I literally (yes, I’m using the word literally correctly, and not ironically when I should be using figuratively… LITERALLY) cried tears of joy. And I think that in that moment I might have wanted to have a child just so I could also have this magical experience again. (and that is the last we’ll speak of that. no I am not pregnant).

Side Note: I realize I’m basically relaying a scene from The Vow. But I don’t care. Also, if you haven’t seen The Vow, good for you. There are so many better representations of Mr. Tatum’s and Ms. McAdams’ work.

So please friends. When you watch a new show or  read a new book that you know is going to be utterly amazing, please share it with me so that I can cry tears of joy and feel that amazing happiness of high of “YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW GOOD YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO GET!”

Do you get this way when people discover something you think is awesome?

Advice for Brides: Simple, Classic, Elegant

advice for brides
With wedding season upon us I thought I’d give some advice for brides and future wives periodically here on the blog.

While you are wedding and marriage planning (yes, you should be planning for your marriage as well) there will be lots of decisions you have to make. And some, are less important, but you still have to make them.

What types of plates are you putting on your registry?

Which wedding dress will you buy?

What are your wedding colors?

What colors should your towels be?

How will you decorate for the ceremony or the reception.

The more important questions are things like where will you live? How much money are you going to spend on your wedding, your honeymoon? How and who will deal with your finances as a couple? How will you handle time with family and vacations? How much time do you expect to spend with your spouse on a daily basis?

But somehow, sometimes we seem to get caught up on those lesser questions and they end up eclipsing the more important issues.

So here’s my advice to you. When you have a question of style, instead of obsessing over all your options for registry items and wedding décor, decide that these three aspects will guide your choice: simple. classic. elegant.

You will make the simple choice. It will be classic. And go for elegance.

Sticking to simple, classic, elegant will keep you from hating your dinner plates in a year, avoiding looking at your dated wedding photos in 5 years, and also help you obsess less and spend more time on the things that really matter.

What parts of your wedding were simple, classic, and elegant. What parts were not so much? I’m so glad I went with plain and simple white dinner plates but I wish my parents and I had spent less time worrying about the guest list, which was truly complicated. It ended up being great, and no matter what it would have been fine!

Friday Finds 4th of July Edition (07/04/14)

Facts about the 50 states we’re celebrating today!

Happy 4th of July to my US friends! Here are some links to help you celebrate!

For some reason, I find Independence Day to be the most Martha Stewart of holidays, if I’m allowed to use Martha as an adjective (and I am, my blog, my rules). If you agree, here are all of her 4th of July ideas!

On a similar note… here are July 4th party ideas from Real Simple, which I love, but never find to be, ahem, real simple…

I’m loving Six Word Memoirs! Here’s a (super basic) one that’s July 4th themed.

At a loss for what to bring to the barbecue tonight? Lots of choices here! 

The only blog I read that has regular DIY and craft posts did a round up of red, white and blue themed projects. And um, sriracha popsicles????

What a gorgeous, vintage-themed 4th party!

Learn how to keep your dog calm in spite of the many high volume celebrations that will be happening tonight.

And speaking of dogs, a ridiculous Uncle Sam accessory for your best friend. Oh, and here’s one for cat lovers for their furry master.

Have a great holiday weekend!

What would you tell someone else?

free advice
by ohad*, cc

Recently I had a very frustrating experience. I was really annoyed with someone and it honestly wasn’t their fault. It was a me issue, and it was based in a lot of insecurities that I have that have nothing to do with them or anything they did that was “wrong.” And the worst part was that I let it ruin my day, and I knew that I was being unreasonable. And so there was this very horrible cycle where I got annoyed, and then I got annoyed that I was annoyed. And it never stops.

Luckily, I have some friends that know a little bit about my issues and talked me out of the cycle. Of course, they couldn’t get me completely out, because I’m difficult. But they did a good job.

And this made me think of (and practice) and emotional hack.

Pretend this is someone else’s problem.

This is similar to my post about editing your own work as if it’s made by someone else.

If someone else, a friend, came to you and said all of this, what would you tell them? What advice would you give?

I would tell them that they’re wasting energy. I would tell them that they’re awesome and stop hating on yourself for having an emotion. I would tell them that anytime they found themselves thinking about this thing that they should actively think about something else that makes them happy, or repeat a scripture, or pray.

It didn’t fix it. But it helped.

What would you tell someone else?