Friday, July 16, 2010

summer cheer


Summer is killing me, guys. Working sporadically as a tutor means a lot of trekking back and forth through sweaty subway stations during the hottest hours of the day, spending most of my small income on sunscreen, showering every four hours, and not having the energy to do much of anything. Including seeing any of my friends. Oh, and drinking iced coffee to kill my appetite because every time I eat something I feel ill. Really healthy, I know. This is not my season. All I want to do is sit in front of the fan and read books that take place in very cold regions, like deep space and St. Petersburg.

But most people love summer, right? So please, you summer-lovers, tell me some good things about summer, or send me fun things to read or play with on the internet while I stew in my apartment. Just don't tell me "no school" is a good thing, because you hopefully know me better than that by now.

The most cheerful thing I've found today is this beautifully-designed quiz that tells you what font best represents your personality. Like the lovely Sarah Von, on whose blog I found this delight, my result was Archer Hairline.

Quinoa and Edamame Summer Salad

First recipe in ages! This salad, along with a (shamefully box-made) angel food cake were my contributions to a Fourth of July picnic, where we cursed the heatwave and oohed and aaahhed at the lovely fire boats (and later, stuffed with quinoa, the fireworks) on the Hudson. Besides being ridiculously healthy, this salad is perfect for a heatwave because it requires minimal cooking and tastes excellent cold. After staring into my pantry and freezer for a bit on July 3rd, I googled "quinoa and edamame" and found this recipe, which I modified just a bit to make my salad.

Quinoa and Edamame Salad

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa (rinse it well!)
3 cups water

1 lb (one large bag) thawed, shelled edamame
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 c. chives, finely chopped

1/4 cup sesame oil*
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp sesame seeds (toasted, if you want)

*I used a combination of spicy sesame oil, peanut oil, and canola oil, because I was running out of everything that day. I definitely recommend some sort of spicy element.

Cook the quinoa in a rice cooker (best for hot days) or according to the directions on the box. Let it cool for ten or twenty minutes, then mix in the vegetables.

Whisk together the oil, rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and ginger to make the dressing. Drizzle onto the salad and mix through well. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour to let the dressing soak in.

Obviously this is one of those recipes to which you can add virtually whatever strikes your fancy/is in your fridge. The original poster used cherries in hers, but I'm not a huge fan so I left them out. It might be good with some red apple slices, though.

This might be my new favorite picnic food, because I'm addicted to edamame and it's much cheaper to make than the feta-and-pine-nut-filled cous cous salad I usually do for picnics. I might not use black sesame seeds next time, though, because at one point I thought ants had gotten into it! Do ants even live in New York? I don't think I've seen one the whole time I've been here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paris Couture Autumn/Winter 2010-11

Sometimes it's not a bad thing to spend some time just looking at pictures of pretty clothes. Here are some of my favorites from the Paris Couture Week that just passed. Photos borrowed from Fashion Gone Rogue.

I didn't love the Chanel collection, which was weirdly proportioned and a bit too full of scattered laces and embroideries and other embellishments even for me (which takes quite a bit of scattering), but I did really like this wine color that popped up several times, and the coat is beautiful. I like the hoof-tipped boots, which remind me of these. I'm also thinking this lion-head dress is one of the best uses of sparkles on clothing I've ever seen. [more]

I cannot stop looking at this Dior collection. I don't think anybody can, actually. The models are literally walking flowers. There are some amazing, fairy tale-worthy ballgowns, but my favorites are these slightly less dramatic dresses with amazing and petal-like construction and beautiful colors emerging from the black body. [more]

Probably the most wearable of all these clothes, the Armani Privé collection makes me want to go live in Italy in the winter. And only wear neutral colors, and possibly become a blonde. I often forget how much I like Armani (because I see too much Armani Exchange stuff), but then they do a collection like this and the perfect structured-unstructured lines make me want to run away into the world Armani ladies live in. [more]

Along with my favorite long sleeves-and-short skirt look, this Valentino collection has some proportions that are even stranger than the Chanel ones, but here they look playful and interesting instead of awkward. A very quiet, classic palette and really touchable fabrics make me want all these things. [more]

I just read an excellent book called The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer. Jean Paul Gaultier's latest collection could be costumes for the film of that book. Particularly if the film were otherwise made by everyone who worked on Blade Runner, because I'm sure you can see how well that aesthetic works with JPG's outfits. I love the wing-like shoulders (very angellic) and am strangely drawn to the mesh dress with fishnets. [more]

This Elie Saab collection might have taken 'draping' to a new level. It also has an interesting palette (lots of super-neutrals plus intense reds and minty green) and my favorite bride of the season.  She is obviously a fairy princess. [more]

Givenchy's models look like biker chicks running away from their wedding nights, or fourteen-year-old girls who haven't decided between Debbie Harry and Ophelia. I don't love the collection overall, but I like a lot of the things that went into it. Except for the lace  bellbottoms. Those I do not like. [more]

There were more shows, but I can't find borrow-able photos of them and I have to return this laptop to the library in a few minutes. Stephane Rolland also did beautiful things with draping and petals. Worth made costumes for really scary Elizabethan ballerinas. Maison Martin Margiela made whole outfits out of cowboy boots. Couture seasons are nice because there aren't thousands and thousands of photos to sift through. Before you go, here are some more mind-blowing flower dresses for you to look at:

 The blue and pink one reminds me of a giant display I saw at the Cleveland Flower Show when I was five. Amazing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

inspiration for my walls

The hyper-patterned quilts sort of dominate this image from Antropologie's July catalogue, but the thing that really caught my eye was the chalked-on picture frames on the wall. I am going to do this in my next apartment, which I will hopefully be staying in long enough to warrant painting the walls. I might choose a different shade of chalkboard paint, though. Even when I was seventeen I didn't really want black bedroom walls (I chose cerise pink instead). Martha Stewart explains how to make your own in any color. I will also one day own an awesomely frail-looking canopy bed.