30 September 2011

vintage vendredi: more record covers

The last time I posted about vintage album art, I focused on bold text and minimalist graphics. This time? Bring on the Sixties frills.

My favorite is the Billy Preston one. I love him!

Annnnd I just had to throw in this one. I have mad respect for those chevrons and that hair.


27 September 2011

sleep for foodies

by annebeestje

The last few weeks have been a haze of sleeplessness for me. Although I'm running all over the city most days and working evenings, I nonetheless stay up late every night messing around, even when each passing minute is agony. Although sleep is the most delicious thing I can imagine at any given moment, I can never force myself to adhere to an early bed time, even when I must wake in just a few short hours.

I could blame this pattern on the stress of moving, on adjusting to an evening work schedule, on the deflated air mattress upon which I currently snooze. But the fact is, I've been this way for years. My night-owl-ness used to be remedied by Saturday sleep-ins (even as a little kid I was known to sleep till noon!), but in recent years I've become so panicked about fitting as much life as I can into one day that I've been making myself rise early on weekends, too.

I do tell myself that if I were well-rested, my body would feel so good that "living life" would be ten times better. But the majority of my brain roars "I'll sleep when I'm dead!"

This attitude towards sleep was recently shaken, however, when I picked up Counting Sheep: The Science and Pleasures of Sleep and Dreams by Paul Martin. I checked it out thanks to my long-time fascination with the psychology and biology of dreams, and although the book sadly didn't delve into much new dream research, there was one early passage that caught my eye:

In some respects, sleep has acquired the dismal status that eating had in post-war Britain, where austerity and a cultural blind spot reduced the culinary arts to a joyless act of refuelling. Bland, fatty food was daily shovelled in to keep the boilers stoked, with scant attention paid to its preparation or enjoyment. Fortunately....recent decades have witnessed cooking and eating emerge as pleasurable activities in their own right. For some people in wealthy nations, cooking and eating have become more a form of entertainment than a biological function.
Meanwhile, sleep is mired in the cultural equivalent of a 1950s British canteen meal: an inadequate and faintly unhealthy affair, indifferently concocted and consumed with more haste than enjoyment. Too many people regard sleep as the brain's equivalent of fast food or overboiled cabbage. If gastronomy is "the reasoned comprehension of everything connected with the nourishment of man," as it was originally defined, then should we not start thinking about sleep in the same way? I hope that by the end of this book you will be pondering the gourmet delights of sleeping, napping and dreaming, and starting to savour more of their lost pleasures for yourself (pp. 15-16).

This intrigues me to no end. Will culture someday decree the sensual pleasure of sleeping as something worth cultivating? We already purchase comfy beds, paint our bedrooms with soothing colors, and splurge on other little luxuries to make sleeping more indulgent. Yet the overwhelming cultural consensus seems to lean in the direction of endless caffeine and energy drinks, bright lights and early mornings and "hobbies" to take up our time post-work.

Sleeping, and the opportunity to sleep comfortably at that, is a luxury, one we shouldn't take for granted. So ideally, I would like to keep these sentiments in mind and come to see sleep as something precious and pleasurable, rather than a chore that detracts from my busy-bee life. I know I have yet to learn the balance between work and play, and I definitely need to take care of myself better. But it's hard to make changes like these overnight. (Ha.)

What do you think of Martin's comparing of sleep to the foodie movement?

by froschkind

26 September 2011

lofty ideas

I've been infatuated with the idea of lofted bedrooms for a long time.... probably ever since we kids crammed into a shared mountain cabin loft one summer, up so high even Mom was afraid to climb up after us.

Sadly I must admit that the last time I stayed in a cabin loft (this summer), it took me ten minutes just to gather the courage to turn around and start going down the ladder. Embarrassing. Maybe my loft days are already over.

Images found via Pinterest and linked to their sources.

24 September 2011

cream of zucchini soup


To continue my celebration of fall's arrival, I bring you a soup recipe!

Last winter, I may have become infatuated with soup. Cream of mushroom, carrot and ginger, white bean kielbasa, I devoured them all. I think I get stuck on certain foods sometimes. (Ahem, my cinnamon roll phase.)

"Well guess what, now this is happening." A soup phase, that is. Oh yeah.

First up is an amazingly creamy, green, good-for-you(ish) soup. To use up the last of your summer squash, perhaps?

Cream of Zucchini, Squash, and Spinach Soup

(Serves 4 to 5.)

For the soup  (recipe adapted from here):
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 medium zucchini, diced
2 medium yellow squash, diced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried basil
tiny pinch of oregano
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream (optional, or replaceable with plain yogurt, milk, etc.)

Sautee onion in butter until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add zucchini and squash; sautee until soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook a bit until fragrant. Add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to taste. Add spinach and cook for one minute until wilted.

Stir in flour until vegetables are coated. Pour in stock; stir frequently until simmering. Remove from heat and let entire mixture cool slightly.

Puree soup in blender or food processor. (Best to fill only about halfway at a time, and leave room for steam to escape.) Return to pot and stir in heavy cream. Heat with care, making sure soup doesn't come to boil. Serve immediately!

Garnish with homemade croutons, shredded Gruyere cheese, and / or fresh grated Parmesan. Serve with cheesy garlic bread and salad made with your remaining spinach, diced apples, and champagne vinaigrette. Spread out a floor picnic, snuggle up and watch Game of Thrones while dessert bakes in the oven. The end.


23 September 2011

mix no. 7


I think I collect covers the way other people collect... things? Pokemon cards? In any case I have many, and love discovering new ones.

Here are some of my very favorite musical covers. A few of them are silly pop songs, but many are quite special to me. I particularly like when guys' songs are performed by girls, or vice versa, or rock numbers are sung stripped down. There's something strangely intriguing about a tune so beloved, so familiar, becoming somehow new.

Listen here!


01.  Lovefool (Cardigans Cover) - The Morning Benders
02.  Say My Name (Destiny's Child Cover) - Superchunk
03.  Where Is My Mind? (Pixies Cover) - Emmy the Great
04.  There is a Light that Never Goes Out (The Smiths Cover) - The Lucksmiths
05. For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti (Sufjan Stevens Cover) - The Good Natured
06.  Bleeding Love (Leona Lewis Cover) - Mystery Jets
07.  Take On Me (a-Ha Cover) - Anni B Sweet
08.  Pursuit of Happiness (Kid Cudi Cover) - Lissie
09.  All of the Lights (Kanye West Cover) - Cris Cab
10.  Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper Cover) - Eva Cassidy
11.  Your Love (The Outfield Cover) - Bon Iver
12.  Everybody's Changing (Keane Cover) - Lily Allen
13.  All That She Wants (Ace of Base Cover) - The Kooks
14.  Higher Love (Steve Winwood Cover) - James Vincent McMorrow
15.  I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You (Black Kids Cover) - Kate Nash
16.  Jimmy (M.I.A. Cover) - of Montreal
17.  Whatever You Like (T.I. Cover) - Anya Marina
18.  You're The One That I Want (Grease Cover) - Angus & Julia Stone
19.  Reptilia (Strokes Cover) - Howie Beck
20.  Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (The Shirelles Cover) - Lykke Li
21.  Hotel California (The Eagles Cover) - Cat Empire
22.  Funeral (Band of Horses Cover) - Serena Ryder and The Beauties


22 September 2011

love letter to autumn


I knew that when autumn rolled around, I'd start missing my home states the most. (I know, I know, I've only been up north for two months....shhh).  But it's just a fact that fall in the Southeast is gorgeous. Each flaming leaf seems to light a corresponding spark within my soul; I never feel so alive as when I'm beneath those crisp clear skies.

I'm sure I'll adore autumn in New York. (Who wouldn't savor this blessed break between blistering summer and blustery winter?)  But until it hits its stride, here's a tribute to fall back home, both with pictures and words.

Fall in Virginia

1. Apple picking, a necessity whether you're a preschooler or a nostalgic college grad. You pluck (and sample) bright fruit from the trees on the hill, overlooking richly carpeted mountains that sweep to the valley floor. Nothing tastes quite like that earthy first bite. Or that tongue-burning hot cider for sale in the creaky barn. I never forget to buy some deliciously greasy apple cider donuts on our way home.

2. Driving down from northern Virginia on Route 20, the most beautiful trip I've ever taken. Colorful leaves flare around winding gravel driveways; white split-rail fences galloping over green hills, which roll right up to the mountains you nearly strain your neck to see the tops of. At one point, two parachuters landed in the field right beside our car, spiraling suddenly out of a cerulean sky.

3. Vineyard visiting, sipping savory wines while overlooking the prettiest countryside this side of the Mason-Dixon line. Nibbling oyster crackers. Laughing with older folks, playing at adulthood. Romping with friendly dogs.

4. Going to the pumpkin patch, that same family-owned farm that gives us strawberries in the spring and peaches in the summer (and homemade frozen yogurt all year long).

5. Driving up into the national mountain parks. Camping in a cabin, hiking to a jutting rock, coveting polished stones and fuzzy flocked deer. Parking at an overlook, eating fried chicken while wrapped in a blanket, looking over the wide blue world.

Fall in North Carolina

1. Getting lost in towering corn mazes while golden sun filters tauntingly around us.

2. Music festivals in tiny rivermill towns. Motoring aimlessly (blissfully) through the countryside (but not at night, that's creepy). Munching on hot kettle corn. Pulled pork barbeque sandwiches.

3. Coffee and crepes outside on hay bales, listening to bluegrass with the family. Our last chance to dine al fresca, to pack picnics for the park. Wandering afternoons through the Botanic Gardens, where flowers surprisingly still bloom, bursting with amber radiance.

4. An experience unlike any other: the North Carolina State Fair. Rides, livestock, crafts, quilts, and sideshows I didn't know still existed. Deep-fried everything:  Twinkies, Snickers, Oreos, pie, macaroni and cheese, Coke. Chocolate-covered bacon. Boiled peanuts, funnel cakes, and Krispy Kreme hamburgers.

6. Concerts in Asheville. Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine. An old double-decker bus converted into a cafe; warming ourselves with tea and noodles. Twinkling lanterns. The way western North Carolina almost takes Virginia's cake, with its switchback mountain ways and roadside stands full of jammy goodness and delicious fruit nectars.

7. A town that takes Halloween more seriously than any other. Thousands of people cramming together, full of giddiness, curiosity, lust, and joy.