Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Funday: The Most Ridiculous Leggings Ever Made

Okay, let's walk through a thought experiment:

Picture the most ridiculous leggings you can possibly imagine.  Now make them a million times more ridiculous.

Got it?  Got that mental picture, friends?

I'm about to blow away your wildest imagination.



Available here (affiliate link).  They were $18 the other week (when I bought them, because I do ridiculous things sometimes and have a huge weakness when it comes to the ugliest items imaginable, see e.g. here), so keep an eye on that price as hopefully they will drop again.  I also found them here for $20 (not an affiliate link).

Let me break this down for you:  There is a bucking unicorn on one side. There is a robot T-rex on the other side, and he is shooting laser beams from his head.  All of this is happening on a backdrop of rainbows and galaxies.

If this is not the height of "IDGAF" then I don't know what is.  I saw some girl wearing these at a dance party the other week and she was crushing the whole scene.

So, I just thought you all needed to know that this exists.

(Out of curiousity, when I asked you to picture the most insane leggings you could imagine, what did you picture?)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Intro to Sous Vide

About a year ago, I saw an article about an interesting Kickstarter project for a sous vide circulator by Sansaire.  At that point, I had never heard of sous vide and it's possible I had not heard of Kickstarter, either.  The only thing I understood is that cooking sous vide would allow me to cook a steak that was perfectly medium rare from end to end.  This was the sales image that made me want to explore sous vide circulators:

So, sure, this isn't exactly a fair comparison, since we can all agree the steak on the right wasn't cooked by a particularly masterful chef, but the point remains that it's hard for me to get a totally even texture and temperature in my steaks.  They're often more well-done on the outside or on the ends.  The more reviews I read about how easy sous vide circulators were to use and how amazing meat tastes when cooked sous vide, the more I wanted to give this thing a shot.

(Plus, if you know me at all by now, you know I'm a sucker for interesting kitchen gadgets.  My pressure cooker is still the MVP of my kitchen, years later.)

The other week, I decided to take the plunge.  I had decided on the Anova sous vide circulator (it seems like the choice is either Anova or Sansaire) and was about to use my points to buy this one, when I did a bit more googling and realized that Anova has a new sous vide circulator model with bluetooth connectivity, and it's about $25 less than Amazon if you purchase directly from Anova's page.  I found a coupon for another $25 off at Anova so that sealed the deal.

(I liked the idea of getting a circulator instead of a fixed sous vide oven, since a circulator allows you to turn any basin into a sous vide oven.  So if you have thirty pounds of beef to cook, stick it in a huge rubbermaid bin, stick the sous vide circulator in there, and you're all set.  When will I ever cook that much beef?  Probably never.  But I COULD.)

My initial experience with the Anova was mixed.  I was excited to try the bluetooth connectivity features, which allow you to control the temperature of the water from your phone, make your circulator follow recipes from Anova's app, and alerts you when the water is ready:

But, what I learned the hard way while trying to cook a corned beef brisket for ten hours:  if you walk away from your Anova such that the bluetooth is disconnected, the device TURNS OFF.  And STOPS COOKING your food.  (As in, you arrive home after being gone five hours only to realize that your corned beef has been NOT cooking for all that time and you're having people over for dinner in two hours.  Luckily, I dumped it in the pressure cooker with some sauteed onions and water for an hour and a half and it came out GREAT.  Best corned beef I've ever had, in fact.  Not sure if the pressure cooker or the sous vide is to thank for that one.)

So, basically, the bluetooth feature is useless as far as I can tell.

(No pictures of the corned beef because it was immediately devoured.)

Last night, I gave the sous vide a try with steak.  I had a big win at work and decided to treat myself to a fancy ribeye (my favorite cut of steak).  I had a community meeting to attend around dinnertime, so I rubbed the steak with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and a little butter. 

 Then I sealed it in a ziploc bag, dropped it in a 130 degree water bath, and went on my way.

It's only supposed to cook for an hour at that temperature, but I didn't get back to my house for almost three hours.  I'd read that keeping a steak in the water bath for longer than an hour wouldn't hurt it, since it would not exceed the 130 degree temperature of the I figured I'd test that feature?

Once I got home, I seared the steak for a few seconds on each side:

And you guys, it came out perfectly:


So, overall, I'm pretty pleased with the sous vide so far.  The bluetooth technology is just for show, but the implement itself seems to do a GREAT job with meat.  I'm going to try fish and eggs in the next week or so...I'll let you know how that goes.

Have any of you tried cooking sous vide before?  What did you think?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Things I Love Buying in Thrift Stores, Part 1

Quirky pins!

Focus on the pin, friends, and pay no attention to the fact that I wore this blazer (sans pin) a few days's toooootally different now...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On Shabbat

Despite the name of this blog, I'm not much of an actual Jewish girl.  I was born Jewish, I had a Bat Mitzvah, and I even had a "confirmation" when I was sixteen.  I taught Sunday school for a couple of years when I was in college --- I was assigned to third grade, because any class above that would have exceeded my knowledge of Hebrew and Judaism.

I'm not sure when I first started feeling uncomfortable in religious settings.  Maybe sometime after college?  Religious services started feeling less meaningful and more cultish.  The chanting, the conviction that improbable-sounding religious stories actually all felt strange.  Add to that the fact that my basic religious knowledge meant I couldn't fully participate in most services, and you've got a recipe for discomfort.

So I dialed back my participation in actual Jewish ritual.  I experienced a brief renewal in my spirituality and feelings towards Judaism after going on Birthright Israel in 2011, but my practices didn't change much.

After moving to Baltimore, I have found myself inching into the Jewish scene here.  Seemingly every week, a different Jewish group hosts a young adults/professionals Shabbat that are either inexpensive, free, or potlucks.  I've gone to a bunch of these dinners, mainly because they are something to do and a good way to meet people.  I've met a handful of cool people through these Jewish events and I certainly can never have too many friends.

Plus, I think on some level I enjoy reconnecting a bit with my religion, even if I'm totally awkward at these events.  A couple of weeks ago, I tried to strike up a conversation around the table about recreational activities during a period during the ritual when (unbeknownst to me) we were all supposed to remain quiet.

Anyway, I was inspired to write this post after my experience with last night's Shabbat.  I have had an extremely stressful day at work, even though we only had a three-day week.  There are a ton of exciting things going on and I've had a few huge professional successes in the last month, but the next few weeks are going to make me want to pull my hair out.  As the workday wound to a close I started feeling that familiar tension in my chest --- that feeling of having too much to do and too many balls in the air.

Then an unfamiliar feeling came over me --- one of impending relaxation and calm.  I think it came from the knowledge that I was taking a purposeful pause from work and life to go through the Shabbat ritual and have some kind of meal with other people.  For one of the first times in my life, I found myself looking forward to Shabbat.

I'd imagine I'd get the same kind of benefit from setting a fixed time to meditate and disconnect, but it was nice to feel it come from part of my religious heritage, even if I still struggle with the ritual and the theology.

I'm curious to hear about other weekly rituals that provide that sense of calm and focus.  What do you guys do for yourselves?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This is absolutely everything.


First, that picture says everything.

Second, these quotes are more than everything:

"We fucking hate glitter. People call it the herpes of the craft world."
"Glitter as a Service: want to piss off someone you dislike for only $9.99? Let us send them some stupid fucking glitter that is guaranteed to go everywhere."
"You'll then be taken off this shitty website for payment processing via PayPal. Yes, we know PayPal is a shitty company, hell why not send those dicks some glitter?"

The internet can go home; we've hit the apex.  I think we're done here.

Who wants to help me open the American distribution center?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Two corners

I haven't been keeping up with any Anthro or clothing blogs lately.  Since I took my new job and my shopping budget all but vanished, I've sort of steered clear of most of the blogs I used to love simply to avoid the temptation of seeing my stylish e-friends wear beautiful new clothes that I could not afford.  If I don't look, I don't crave!  (But I miss you, fellow blogger friends!)

Lately, the money I do have left in my shopping budget has been going towards items for my home.  I made two relatively big improvements to the house (replaced a roof, walled in the master bedroom), but the rest of my budget has been going towards small changes to make the house feel more like home.

Here are two corners of the house I particularly like!

1.  In the family/TV room:

99% of the time that I use my laptop, I use it downstairs on my comfy sofa in front of the TV.  I'd been leaving the laptop on the sofa, plugged into the outlet near the sofa, and it was ugly.

I found this ^ cute firewood/magazine holder at a vintage shop near DC called Peg Leg Vintage (a little overpriced, but TONS of cute stuff), and it works perfectly for my laptop!

I ran the cord behind my TV stand (which is to the left of this photo), so the piece doubles as a laptop charger!

2.  Dining Room Booze Area

All I wanted was just to store my wine glasses somewhere.  Is that too much to ask?  I wouldn't think so.  But I didn't have enough cabinet space to store my wine glasses, and there wasn't a convenient spot anywhere for a wall-mounted or under-cabinet mounted rack.  WHAT WAS I TO DO??


It's a LAMP, but the lampshade is made up of wineglasses!!!

How cool is that??  I found it on Amazon.  (Affiliate link.)  Plus, it comes with a cool vintage bulb that looks really beautiful when lit.  Here's a bad photo of the lamp on:

Pretty, right?  The only problem is that if you have dirty glasses, you will DEFINITELY notice once the light is on.

Question:  Do you guys think I should get rid of the lampshades on the dry bar next to the wine glass lamp?  Now that I'm looking at the photo, those hanging lights seem like maybe too much light in one corner?  (Note that the hanging lights on the bar don't work.  Also one is missing; I need to reattach it.)

Happy Sunday!  I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Two Irresistable Things

1.  Enormous glasses.  Gigantic, Carl-from-Pixar's-"Up" spectacles.  I lose all self control.
  That's why I love those Asian glasses websites, which allow me to buy 5+ pairs a year for less than $100.  The glasses below are from Warby Parker, though, and boy how I love them, too:

I'm wearing these, purchased almost a year ago.  They are extremely well-made!

My inspiration, of course:

2.  Jumpsuits.  Creators/Highlighters of the FUPA.  Why do I love thee so, when you are arguably one of the worst inventions in clothing history?  Perhaps it's because you allow me to get away with putting on only one piece of clothing in the winter, when otherwise I would be forced to wear (shudder) TIGHTS.  Tights are always my last resort!  (I have hated since since I was a wee babe!  One of my earliest memories is my mom struggling to put me in a pair of white tights for temple.)

Sorry about the messy room.  I'm wearing this jumpsuit -- my first Anthro purchase in months!
* (affiliate links)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Here's a cool thing for your kitchen:

Check it!
I found this thing on Amazon the other week, and it's so handy!  It fits a ton of dishes...
...looks nice...
...and rolls up small when you are ready to put it away. 
I love that I don't have to find storage for a clunky traditional metal drying rack!  It's here on Amazon (affiliate link).
How was everyone's New Year's holidays?  Any significant resolutions?  I didn't resolve anything this year, although it is my goal to start getting a bit healthier this year.  I have fallen out of the habit of exercising, and I definitely want to get back into that!
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