Pink ombre nails! Sort of!

I loooooove the look of ombre nails. And ombre hair – as soon as mine is grown out, I’m going ombre! I haven’t decided what color, though. Maybe pink to match my current nails!

I got the inspiration from Happy Endings (I looked for a picture, but couldn’t find one – Jane wears blue ombre nails like this in the episode where she helps Penny buy a car), but, still being in a Valentine’s Day mood, I decided to go with pink to red. In the picture, the reds on my ring finger and pinky finger do look different, but in real life, they don’t look as different as I’d hoped – I should have used my Cinnasnap which totally would have done the trick. Also, the more I look at them, I like them, but they’re not quite all in the same family – I’ll have to pick my colors more carefully next time!

From pinky to thumb, I used Blood from Urban Outfitters, Sally Hansen’s Diamond Strength in Honeymoon Red, and Techno Girl, Seeing Pink Elephants, and Let’s Plie by OPI.

You know what more desserts need?

If you answered “goat cheese,” this post is for you! Goat Cheese Brownies!

There’s goat cheese in the brownies (in a sort of cheesecake layer marbled throughout) and in the frosting (though not in mine – I only had enough goat cheese for either in the cheesecake layer or in the frosting, but not both, so I substituted cream cheese for the goat cheese in the frosting and it seemed to work just fine). It’s very nice and sort of cuts through the sweetness of the brownie. I think next time I make these, I’ll leave off the honey-goat cheese (cream cheese) frosting because it sort of overwhelmed the flavor of the brownie – you could hardly taste the chocolate at all! Still, they were a success, I think – everyone I shared them with seemed to enjoy them!

The Italian enchilada!

I made a Veggie Cheese Stromboli the other night for dinner which is basically a pizza if you rolled it all up, hence the Italian enchilada! This particular recipe is nice because it has a sort of a tapenade as the sauce and the tart, saltiness of the kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes is balanced out by the rest of the flavors (in my case, provolone, spinach, and mushrooms because I don’t like roasted red peppers). I couldn’t get a very pretty picture of it – my kitchen is just so green (which usually I enjoy but it does make taking pictures of food in there kind of tricky), so you’ll just have to trust me that it tasted good.

Woo hoo, hearts!

I was never that into Valentine’s Day before, but suddenly I saw this post on Buzzfeed and now I’m like “Valentine’s Day, here I come!” I’m hoping to have some other crafty posts coming up soon(ish), but for now I have some nails to show off.

I followed the instructions here and it wasn’t too hard – the stickers didn’t want to stick to my nails very well, but once I got the hang of it, the painting went pretty smoothly. The part where I ran into problems was with the drying – I’m so impatient! I was doing well until I put on my gloves to go get pedicures with Rachel and things got a little mushed. I’m looking forward to trying it again with other colors, though!

It’s chili time!

It’s super cold out and I just feel like hibernating, that means…it’s chili time! Spicy Two-Bean Chili, to be specific, with my go-to favorite cornbread.

We got a lot more than 6 servings out of this recipe (Drew has given up on it) and around the weekend I got a craving for something I’ve never had, a chili dog! So I headed over to the co-op and got myself some veggie dogs. I really like most veggie substitutes, but they have yet to perfect the veggie hot dog – what is it about the flavor combination of donkey lips and pig tails and cow ears that is so hard to replicate?! But it’s still pretty good – I mean, it’s chili and cheese on bread with some extra protein thrown in there. I’m determined to get to the bottom of the chili leftovers!

What a lucky bitch!*

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl

When I started this book, I kept thinking “Ugh, I’m gonna hate this lucky bitch” – I mean, she gets to eat at the most fabulous restaurants in New York City (in the 90s) on the New York Times payroll – jealous, much? But I didn’t hate her – she’s still a lucky bitch, but I definitely didn’t hate her.

She came across in her writing as funny and thoughtful and honest and, holy hell, does she know how to talk about food! It must be one of the hardest things to write about, right up there with music – how do you describe something in words that can be experienced with every sense except…well, reading isn’t a sense, but you know what I mean. But she definitely manages it – I could picture, smell, and almost taste every dish she wrote about, even the bad ones!

Part of the fun of the book is also the disguises she comes up with, completely disappearing into other personas in an attempt to dine anonymously – some bring out the best in her (Brenda) while others are the worst (Emily). I found her less pleasant identities a little awkward to read about as she really did go all out and very nearly become the characters she created, even the pretentious, rude ones and it wasn’t fun to read about her being horrid to waiters and every once in a while, her fellow diners. At her worst, Emily, it is Marion Cunningham of all people (not Ritchie’s mother, but the cookbook author instead) who brings her around and leads to one of my favorite moments in the book. I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s worth the slog through Emily’s night out to get to the end of the story.

But mostly it’s a love letter to the food scene in New York City – and not because all of the restaurants are fabulous, they’re not and she includes those reviews along with the positive ones (I think there’s only one restaurant that receives a 4-star review included in the book, I don’t know how many she [or, for that matter, other reviewers] handed down over the years she spent reviewing for the Times). It’s a love letter to the vibrancy of the variety and options available in New York – she goes to super fancy restaurants like The Rainbow Room, Le Cirque, and the Box Tree but she also goes to noodle joints (though it sounds like those aren’t cheap either) and a friend of hers takes her on a food tour of New York towards the end of the book that sounds like heaven.

I wish I had the financial resources – or the job at the Times – to gain her level of knowledge about food and wines because it sounds like it brings the experience to a whole other level.

My rating: B+ (I would have given her an A, but I’m a petty, petty blogger who can’t bring myself to give such a lucky bitch an A even though she probably deserves it)

*[Yes, I know she’s not just lucky, she’s talented and worked hard to get where she is, but I’m going to comfort myself with the lucky bitch thing.]