why this is not a fashion blog

A good while ago (in fact, long enough ago that she’s issued a new challenge) I was thinking about participating in RA’s 31 for 31 challenge, in which you take 31 items of clothing and wear only those during 31 days, until I realized that I don’t have enough clothes to make that worthwhile.

And then I recently read another blogger’s closet inventory list (who I am not linking to because her blog is perfectly lovely and I’m not critiquing her), and she had ten pairs of jeans. I was kind of shocked, seeing as I never have more than two pairs at the same time (and I only own three pairs of pants, anyway: two pairs of jeans and a pair of dress pants). But that was nothing compared to the 120 tops she listed. On a good day, including all my sweaters, cardigans, camisoles, tank tops, t-shirts and the like, I come to maybe forty. (And yes, this is partly because everything I own here had to fit in two suitcases, but believe me, if I add in my clothes back home I’m still no where near 120.) I mean, I knew I wasn’t really into clothes, but it was a bit of a revelation to see how much exactly I’m not. (120 books, on the other hand, isn’t a problem.)

Conclusion? This made packing for Utah so much easier, even if it does make me an unlikely candidate for a fashion blog, and, let’s face it, probably a boring dresser. But whatever, the lack of choices make it easier to leave the house in the morning. And when it comes to that, I need all the help I can get.


Pinterest Challenge

Janssen, Merrick and Landen do something they call “Sisters Share it All” every other week, in which they all post about the same subject. This time, they’re doing a Pinterest challenge and inviting us to participate. So here it is: six things I want to accomplish in six weeks.

I tried really hard not to make it all about food (let’s face it: I use Pinterest to collect recipes I want to try, ogle at weddings I’d never want to host but that are pretty anyway, and geek out about my favorite shows).


1. Peanut butter nutella thumbprint cookies. I love cookies like these but haven’t made them in so long I’d quite forgotten I liked them.

2. Pea and Goat Cheese Tart. My mom makes a lot of quiches and tarts, but I seldom do. This seems like a good start.

3. Thai Turkey Meatballs. Thai food and meatballs? What’s not to like?

4. Some kind of five-year journal. I journal when the spirit strikes me, but jot notes to myself on my day all the time. I look forward to collecting them in one place.

5. Barre workouts make me feel graceful and strong at the same time (and unlike dance workouts, you don’t need a sense of rhythm). Ideally, I’d do this one at least once a week for six weeks, but we’ll see what happens.

6. How to fold a fitted sheet. I am neurotic and chaotic at the same time–not always a good combination. Learning how to properly fold fitted sheets can be a first step in my quest for an organized life. (Perhaps the only step, but whatever.)


pinterest challenge button

what I ate in January

My favorites from this month:

Dijon-braised brussels sprouts from Smitten Kitchen: These were so good. If you like brussels sprouts at all, please go try them! The sauce is really easy to make (and I bet would be good on a lot of other things). I tend to eat a lot of brussels sprouts when they’re in season, as they go on sale for anything from 50 to 90 cents for a bag, so this is a recipe I plan to use a lot.

Baked Ziti from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe: I had pinned this recipe a long time ago but hadn’t gotten around to making it yet. I used a lot less parmesan cheese, heavy cream, and cottage cheese as I find that Americans like their dishes to be much creamier than I do.

Dal nirvana from Budget Bytes: I made a big pot of this and ate it for days. One day, I paired it with Indian-style creamed spinach and rice and ate it as the ultimate comfort food. Only naan could have made it better but I was too lazy to make that that day.

Spicy Southwest Slaw from A Hint of Honey: I ate this with oven-roasted pulled pork sandwiches, and though I can’t recommend the sandwiches, I can definitely recommend the slaw.

American Girl(s)

I was browsing Slate the other day when I found this: photographer Illona Szwarc, taking a fascinating look at American girls and their American Girl dolls. (Go look at the girls on horseback–I found that picture especially striking.) But I have to disagree with her analysis, or at least parts of it:

 “I’ve noticed that girls do not really care as much about the books and stories that come with the dolls,” wrote Szwarc. “They are much more interested in clothes and accessories, so the educational message functions as a marketing tool for parents rather than as an inspiration for girls to learn.”

I’m guessing this is because she chose to interview and photograph girls owning the contemporary dolls. My parents went the alternative route: I had Molly, growing up, and my sisters had Samantha and Kirstin, respectively.


at the American Girl Place (Chicago) in 2008, with Molly.

Much of what I know of Edwardian times comes from reading the books that came with Samantha over and over again, and I can’t think of Victory gardens without thinking of my own Molly. Kirstin gets the credit for St Lucia and the life of Swedish immigrants. We read the Abby books, and the Felicia ones, and any others we could get. I don’t know about my sisters, but I read them cover to cover, including the chapter at the end that dealt specifically with the historical context of the stories and the dolls.

In fact, the only accessories I was really excited about were those that had to do with school–I remember seating Molly at her school desk, her miniature books in her book bag (that book bag!) and her glasses firmly on her nose. Of course, all that proves is that I was a nerd, even back then. (That shouldn’t surprise anyone reading this.)

gingerbread cookies

A couple months ago, E. and I were at the Dille & Kamille in Leiden and saw these:


So of course we bought them as an early Christmas present. On Christmas morning, we unwrapped them and exclaimed over how awesome they were, and a couple days later, this happened:


We used the gingerbread cookie recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery (recipe found here), and although we’d add a little more spice to the mix, personally, it’s a sound recipe. Add some green food coloring and you get some pretty awesome cookies, which may also masquerade as friends for Dino (at least until eaten).

I'm sad to say that happened quickly enough.

DSCN3575I’m sad to say that happened quickly enough.

book of lists

Some lovely bloggers I read (like Kerri, over at Your Wishcake) are participating in a ‘Book of Lists’ project. Basically, what they do is

Every month there will be a topic for a list, and the object is to craft it on a blank page, take a photo of your list, then blog it. You can get elaborate scrapbook-style, or even jot it down with your favorite pen. If you want, you don’t even have to make a book and you can just blog about the list topic (even though then it’s not really a book of lists, but that’s cool). My style is somewhere in the middle.

Sounds both fun and simple, right? I thought I’d see what I could come up with. Because I like words more than I like crafts, my lists will find their way into my regular journal, pretty much unadorned (at least for now.)

I have a thing for composition notebooks.

I have a thing for composition notebooks. I bought this one at the BYU bookstore last summer.

This month’s topic was wishlist, and there’s what I came up with on Monday. It’s a mixture of long-time goals and things I’d like right now, and some things I might not ever get. (I’m looking at you, extrovertedness! Luckily I got new socks last night, so I’m covered on that front.)

1. a house big enough to hold all my books
2. new chairs for at the kitchen table
3. a new laptop
4. a leather satchel
5. extrovertedness on demand
6. a new church home
7. my own little family
8. brightly colored socks
9. an espresso machine
10. the ability to write poetry


(If I ever find out a way to photograph things well in my dark apartment, I’ll show you the page itself. Until then, I’m just blogging the list.)

You can see what other people are doing over here, at the original post. What’s on your list?

train love

From 22 Words:

Photographer Jeff Friesen captured awesome images of Canada as he took pictures of his 2-inch-tall replica 1955 Streamliner seeming to traverse the country. The model train is a miniature version of “The Canadian” which used to run between Montreal and Vancouver. In this series, “The Canadian” relives the glory, just on a smaller scale…

These pictures are gorgeous.