Friday, September 25, 2009

These are the days

These are the days. These are the days that rattle in my chest against the clanging of my tinny heartbeat. Soft thuds beating mercilessly against the cage of rib bone.

This is when every breath hurts. Every sigh feels full of the dust of broken glass. This is when every moment, every movement, feels false and numb. Dumb and lifeless. I want to run away, busy myself into a frantic tizzy to match the torrents swirling inside, but my body, my legs, my back, are made of hard cement and I can’t seem to go anywhere.

So please, let’s walk and get frozen yogurt. Let’s go to the beach and lay against the silky sand, bodies stretched beneath the fading sun. Let’s curl up on the sofa, you and I, and fall asleep heads and arms and hands tangled and intertwined. Let’s let the love soak in until I’m drunk and it’s dry.

These are the days when I can’t believe that I can’t believe she’s gone. And it’s the moments when I wish I didn’t still miss her, that I miss her most of all.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Don't Know

I don’t care if you have a Ph.D you earned at Yale or in Scotland. Just stand in front of the mirror, all alone, nobody around, shrug, and say “I don’t know…I really don’t know.” You can add, “I can’t tell you why that happened. I don’t know.”

The great news is that God never shrugs. He never says that. With acute perception He says, “I know exactly why this happened. I know the way you take. I know why. I know how long you’ll be there and I know what will be the end result.”

Shrugging and deity are incompatible.

While you’re shrugging in genuine humility, saying “I don’t know,” He’s saying, “Good for you. Rely on me in the mystery. Trust me.” God never promised He would inform us ahead of time all about His plan. He’s just promised He has one. Ultimately, it’s for our good and His glory. He knows- we don’t. That’s why we shrug and admit, “I don’t know."

But I do know this: The death of His Son was not in vain. And I do know this: Christ died for you. And I do know this: If you believe in Him, He will forgive your sins and you will go to live with Him forever. You’ll have heaven and all the blessings of it, I do know that. It’s a tough journey, getting there. Full of a lot of confusion, a lot of struggle, a lot of shrugs followed by a lot of “I don’t knows.” But when the heavens open and we’re there, hey, there will be no more shrugs.

“Now I know.”

-Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance, Charles Swindoll

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Julie and Julia

Are you ready for another big announcement? Because brace yourself-- this one's pretty big.

On Monday (as in two days from now), this here humble little blog will be the featured "Blog of the Day" on the website for the amazing, gorgeous, hilarious movie Julie and Julia.
*cue adolescent girl scream*

You can watch the trailer here:

I have been so excited to see this movie ever since I heard about it coming out, so needless to say I was pretty thrilled when I was contacted to be featured on their website this month!

On Monday if you go to their website, it'll be my name in the cute little box on the bottom right corner where it says "Featured Blog."
*cue adolescent girl scream*

Sorry. I couldn't help myself.

I mean, we all know I love to cook. And I'm already about to pee my pants thinking about Meryl Streep's face being next to my name. (It's a stretch I know, but just work with me here.) It's just so COOL!

Okay that's it. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Princess

The Princess of the Castle / La Princesa del Castillo by Barandalla (via Flickr)

Sometimes I think about princesses. The ones in fairy tales that scores of princes came to prove their valor for. I think about how a princess must have grown up, always knowing that someday this test would be placed before the men of lands near and far because her hand wasn't just any hand-- it was worth fighting for. I think about what it must have felt like to stand at the window and see them all parading up to the castle door, seeing what each one brought, what tools or props were packed to aid in the test before them.

I wonder if the princess ever picked a favorite, ever had one she was really rooting for. I'm sure it must have gotten tiring watching them all come, and how she must have secretly hoped for some of them to fail. But I wonder if any of them ever caught her eye. I wonder if there was ever something about the way one of them looked at her, or the way one bowed before her father, or a certain something in the way another one stood that captured her attention. How her heart may have started to race with the idea, the thought, the hope and the anticipation that finally-- finally!-- this could be the one! This could be the one brave enough and strong enough and smart enough to tear down the castle walls that kept her royal prisoner.

...And how it must have felt to see them fail. To see them drop in the middle of a race or tap out in the middle of a fight. The grief and shame they felt were probably no match for the flood of lonely disappointment that must have filled the chambers of her heart.

Oh the pain. To know one's worth and know no one worthy enough to own it. Is there anything more wounding to the heart?

Monday, June 22, 2009


So I just got back from my first spin class.  I've been trying to be more physically active lately (blah de blah... white noise... aren't we all...?), and when I heard about a free spin class being given by a friend of mine who's a personal trainer, I decided to gather my nonexistent cajones and give it a shot.  I had only ever heard painful, torturous things about spin class, but looking for a new way to boost my booty, I figured 45 minutes sweating my brains out in a dark room for free would at least be educational.  

Here are my thoughts.

1. I didn’t know it was possible for a human to sweat out their body weight in 45 minutes. Much less did I think it was possible for ME to sweat out my body weight in 45 minutes. But it is. Apparently. (I mean, my WRISTS were sweaty… What?!)

2. There was a point about 2/3 of the way through the class when the searing pain was not in my thighs, calves, arms, or abs… But a VERY centralized location where I didn’t realize numbness could be so scandalously painful. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

3. I was, by far, the youngest person in the room. And I was also, by far, the slowest.

4. If we are, on any level, friends, I’m really glad you weren’t there. I hit a point, trudging up that imaginary hill listening to Freddie Mercury sing about my "bottom", that brought out some very animalistic qualities… Let’s just say there was some grunting and snarling.

5. I stink. I mean, I really stink. But I guess that’s a repeat of #1.

Currently I’m curled up trying to move as little as possible. My body feels like an abused refugee. I could hardly walk out to the car, let alone climb the steps to my apartment. But if it doesn’t kill me, I’ll be back on Friday. Let's do this.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The incredibly talented Tracy at shutterbean posted this lovely little q&a yesterday and I was so inspired by her answers I had to respond to her open invitation to fill it out for myself.  Let's go!

what is your current obsession?
-Mediterranean food and pictures from the graduation fiesta I went to on Saturday night. Ole!

what is your weirdest obsession?
- Cereal

what are you wearing today?
-Black yoga pants, gray deep-v, and my yellow wrap/ hoodie/ sweater

what’s for dinner?
-Trader Joe's pizza, split with Zo.  Extra Tapatio please.

what would you eat for your last meal?
-Chocolate cake.  Extra frosting.

what’s the last thing you bought?
-A slip.  Yep, like the ones your grandma wears.

what are you listening to right now?
-The new Hillsong CD.  And the fan softly whirring above my head.

what’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
-Brown Butter Brickle from Scoops in Los Feliz.  You have no idea...

if you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- A big, beautiful, sweeping plantation-style house Savannah, Georgia with a wrap-around porch and a hammock and a big beautiful kitchen with lots of windows.  Or just a fatty mansion on Lake Como, right next to George's house.

if you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour where would you go?
-The beach on the north shore of Kauai, belly full of fish tacos I just ate with my dad.

what language do you want to learn?
- Love and grace.

What’s your favorite fruit?
-Apples.  Chilled please.

what is one of your favorite daily/weekly rituals?
- Making breakfast.

if you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

-New sneakers.  Embarrassing.

Do you admire anyone’s style?

-Whenever I'm stuck trying to decide whether or not to buy something, if I'm really honest I always think, "Would Marilyn Monroe wear this?"  If she wouldn't, I don't.

Describe your personal style?
-Relaxed, easy glamour.  I never want to look like I'm trying too hard, or like there's been too much effort put into what I'm wearing--not too "done"-- but I like looking put-together and a little romantic.  Feminine.  Relaxed.  Glamorous.  An outfit has to have that magic.  I want you to think *I'm* beautiful, not what I'm wearing.

What are your fave films?
-Gladiator and Pride and Prejudice are tied for first.  But more recently, I just watched Tootsie and it rocked my world.

What inspires you?
-Romance.  Seeing people's hearts peek out in unexpected ways.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cobbled Together

This was a hard week.  A really hard week.  Things were said, things were not said...  And I wasn't prepared for any of it.

But then all of a sudden something broke.  Or rather, something broken was suddenly reset and stitched together again.  And then everything felt (mostly) all right.

My friends Sean and Melissa (yep, the same ones) are leaving for several months.  After spending a large portion of this painful week at their house, I am even more sad to see them go.  Tonight some of us are getting together for games, togetherness, and a whole lot of laughter, and I've made this Strawberry Graham Cobbler to add a little sugar to the festivities.

It's warm and oozing with sugary strawberry goop, and topped with a brown sugar and graham cracker crumb topping that's really more of a streusel than anything else.  I hope it adds some sweetness to our time together tonight.

Strawberry Graham Crumble

32 ounces frozen strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon flour

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine filling ingredients in baking dish, stirring until the strawberries are fully coated with the sugar/ flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the topping.  Then add the cubes of chilled butter and integrate into dry ingredients using a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingertips, until the butter is thoroughly mixed throughout and feels like damp sand.  There should still be small clumps of butter, about the size of a pea.

Spoon the topping onto the strawberries and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the strawberries are bubbling and the top is golden brown.  Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Learning to Stand

Photo via Mario Mitsis
They were kissing. Put like that, and you could be forgiven for presuming that this was a normal kiss, all lips and skin and possibly even a little tongue. You’d miss how he smiled, how his eyes glowed. And then, after the kiss was done, how he stood, like a man who had just discovered the art of standing and had figured out how to do it better than anyone else who would ever come along. Neil Gaiman
This is so beautiful... I can't stop re-reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Come Fly With Me

We went flying...

(For the full experience, go here first.)

We started here.  (No, not the RV...  Thankfully.)

I feel like something out of Casablanca.  Jarrett feels like something out of Borat. ("Verrry niiice!")

Amping up.

Here we go.

"Does it always make that sound?"

Griffith Observatory.

You've never seen LA like this.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vampire Baker

"You are a vampire baker.  You come out at night." -Andrea

When I heard my friend Sean's birthday was coming up, I knew no ordinary cake would do.  He and his wife Melissa are some of the new friends I've made at church, and while Sean may not be the first guy you notice when you walk in a room, his wisdom and kindness are coupled with a wicked sense of humor and killer skills on the dance floor.  (No joke.  Here's a video of the HILARIOUS first dance at their wedding.)

I've loved getting to know him and his wife because it's been like finding a $20 bill in your jacket pocket-- an unexpected treat. So when I was talking to Melissa and asking about his favorite dessert and she mentioned his penchant for pizookies-- those giant warm, oozing cookies baked a pizza pan and covered in melting ice cream-- I  knew I had found my inspiration.

Instead of making a giant cookie and topping it with ice cream, I decided to make five giant cookies and pile each high with whipped cream cheese frosting.  The components are simple-- chocolate chip cookies and cream cheese frosting lightened with a bit of whipped cream-- but add them together, turn up the volume a bit, and you've got one show-stopping celebratory confection.  

It just seemed like the right thing to do.

The night before the party I flicked on the kitchen lights around 9 and set to work creaming the butter and sugar, shaping the dough into five 9" discs (a process made infinitely easier by using a the ring of a springform pan as a mold, natch), whipping the cream... And by about 2am I had finally assembled it all into one colossal tower of simple nostalgia.  It's like your favorite after-school snack stacked into the perfect birthday treat.

Happy birthday, Sean. 

Like a giant cookie cutter.

Homemade whipped cream, step 1.

Cool Whip? What's that?

Assembly station.

Layer 1.

Looking good.

And then there were two!

It's like magic.

Oh momma.

Now we're getting somewhere.

Vampire baker.

We've arrived.

Do yourself a favor: make this cake as soon as possible.

Giant Cookie Cake 
(Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart)

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Put butter and brown and granulated sugars into mixer bowl; mix on medium until pale and fluffy. Mix in vanilla, eggs, and yolks. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the cream. Stir in chocolate chips.

For each of the 5 layers, drop 1 level cup batter onto center of a greased baking sheet. Using the ring of a 9" springform pan, press dough down into an even disc.  Remove springform ring and bake until edges are pale golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. powdered sugar

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form.  Set aside.  Beat cream cheese and butter together, then slowly add vanilla and powdered sugar.  Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture in 3 parts until fully incorporated.

When cookies are fully cooled, spread a small amount of frosting in the middle of a cake plate.  Place a cookie on top and spread with about 1 cup of frosting.  Use a long spatula to create an even layer of frosting before topping with another cookie.  Repeat for the next three layers, and then top with the final cookie. 

Cover and chill until ready to serve.  Can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

(Note: I refrigerated mine overnight before serving to allow the frosting to soften the cookies a little bit so they were easier to slice.  I recommend you do the same.)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Currently loving:
  • Soft and stolen v-neck tees.
  • "Strawberry Swing" by Coldplay.
  • Carrots and hummus for dinner. (Followed by cookies and milk. Obviously.)
  • Smooth and silky summer legs.
  • My new snakeskin sandals.
  • How shiny and whole and wonderful the world looks after I talk to my best friend.
[This new smile.]

Never stood a chance:
  • Stirring the oil into the peanut butter.
  • How long my hair is getting. ("WHAT is touching my NECK?!")
  • The Check Engine light in my car.
  • Standing in the middle of Trader Joe's and having no idea what I want to eat for the rest of the week but Caramel Nut Brownie LUNA bars and Ranchero Egg White Salad.
  • Being out of flour and sugar. Sad story.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Honey, I'm Home!

ne·glect (nĭ-glěkt')
1. to pay no attention or too little attention to; disregard or slight
2. to be remiss in the care or treatment of
3. to omit, through indifference or carelessness
4. to fail to carry out or perform (orders, duties, etc.)
5. to fail to take or use

So, um, yeah.  Sorry about that.

Things have been a little crazy around here lately.  Crazy wonderful and just crazy crazy...  Sweet new friends who make life a whole lot sweeter, late night dinner dates, long afternoon hikes, banana pancakes, car mechanic wrangling, ruthless job searching...  There's been a lot going on.

You may have noticed that the "Latest Celebrity Sighting" feature on the right side toolbar has been replaced with a slideshow/ link to my Tumblr profile.  I've been giving that little extra attention-- it's where I'll upload a picture I think is pretty, or jot out a thought or quote that's been circulating in my head all day.  Much more spontaneous and rapid-fire than this here blog which actually requires coherent thought...  Check it out every once in a while for a little tidbit of what's going on in my brain that day.

But now that we've got that covered, let's get down to business.  I baked you cupcakes.  What can I say?  I'm sorry it's been so long.  And I'm here to woo you back with frilly, festive, frothy cupcakes.  Pink and blue, purple and yellow...  Sprinkles and swirls of homemade buttercream sit atop moist vanilla cake.  

I'm glad you're here.  I'm sorry I was gone so long.  Please stay.

Perfect Spring Cupcakes

The best cupcakes I've ever had or made.  A tight, moist crumb with just the right amount of sweetness, topped with a creamy twist on traditional buttercream.  This is a recipe I go back to time and again, and am never, ever disappointed.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.

In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, making sure they become fully incorporated.  Then add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.

Fill muffin cups 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.

1 1/2 sticks (12 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 box (16 oz.) powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
liquid or gel food coloring (optional)

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until combined.  Slowly add the powdered sugar until fully absorbed, then add vanilla.

Frost cupcakes when fully cooled and decorate with the cutest sprinkles you can find.

** For colored frosting: separate frosting into small bowls and stir in a few drops of the food coloring of your choice.  Have fun and go slowly-- you can always add more.  But don't be afraid of color either!

Friday, April 10, 2009