February 29, 2012

Making Time

Random question: How much non-work stuff do you guys get done at home at night? My commute sucks, yes, but I just have a hard time doing anything beyond eating and watching tv most nights. Every once in a while I get inspired and get shit done, but I just hate that about myself? Any tips?

When a friend sent me this email recently, her plight felt all too familiar. Between the bookends of work and sleep, it seems there are only two sweet hours of freedom (on a good day!) each night. We eat, we watch a tv show and then poof: they’re gone. So what of bigger projects like writing, painting, filing insurance claims? When are we supposed to get to that? I knew that it was the perfect question to bring here. Because I know what my friend feels frustrated by is not at all a unique problem.

I have long been obsessed with the quotidian details of people’s days. And I love when people lay out on their blogs what a day in their lives looks like, not only because it usually shatters any oh-I-bet-all-she-does-is-drink-lattes-and-feel-inspired jealousy with its authenticity, but because there’s likely a lesson in there for all of us: There is a lot of email. We are taking care of business, and taking care of business takes time.

So in a way, this question is in two parts: How do you take care of the business in your life? When do you tidy up, schedule doctor’s appointments, go to kickboxing? And the second part is about what makes you feel inspired and alive:  When do you make time for your creative work? What do your evenings end up looking like?

Continue reading “Making Time” »

February 22, 2012

Hervé This’ Chocolate Mousse

The trouble with having a real-life blog as opposed to a slick, editorial calendar, planning-ahead blog, is that here it is on February 22nd, and I’d like to tell you about a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. What can I say? I made this last Tuesday to follow Manhattans and steak au poivre. The cocktail assisted in my success where women before me have tried and failed: I got my husband to watch The Notebook. We drank red wine and spooned this dark chocolate mousse out of ramekins topped with whisper-sweet whipped cream, and of course, I sobbed. Ali and Noah do that to me.

And while the eating of this chocolate mousse is pretty great, I might argue that the making of it is the real fun part. It’s like playing magician. This recipe has been going round and round the blogosphere charming and delighting all with its dubious simplicity: Melt chocolate in water. Pour melted chocolate and water into a bowl submerged in an ice water bath. Whisk and whisk and whisk and then, when you’re starting to think, this totally isn’t going to work, this recipe is bunk, the mixture starts to thicken. If you’ve ever made mayonnaise, the process will feel familiar. In essence, this chocolate mousse is an emulsification of chocolate. I mean, whoa. I used a 72% bittersweet chocolate, but next time, I think I’ll use something a little sweeter. (Can you imagine with Lindt’s Touch of Sea Salt?)

Too late for Valentine’s Day, yes, but not too late for your next romancing dinner at home or get-your-cry-on viewing of The Notebook.

Continue reading “Hervé This’ Chocolate Mousse” »

February 17, 2012

POP Profile: Sarah of Yes and Yes

Tell us about your blog, Yes and Yes.

I started writing my blog after reading blogs for years and years. There was a pretty specific type of blog that I was always looking for – something funny and smart with really varied content. Sort of like a magazine curated by a super cool friend. I couldn’t find anything like that, so I just decided to make it myself. Of course, I don’t always succeed at being funny and smart, but I continue to try really hard on a pretty regular basis.

I didn’t have many expectations when I started my blog––I just saw it as a place to start writing again and a place to write about things that I, as a reader, wished I could find on the internet. The biggest surprises? The totally incredible, completely insane doors it has opened. It blows my mind almost every day. I spent the first year of self-employment waiting for the other shoe to drop. Who am I to be so happy? Who am I to have everything I want?

Who and/or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by just about anyone who makes an active choice about what they want from life and goes after it. Sometimes that life is working your ass off to get the corner office. Or dropping out of grad school because you realize it’s not right for you. Or marrying someone you know is meant for you, even if your friends don’t see it. At the risk of waxing cliche, anybody who lives a conscious, considered life inspires me.

Continue reading “POP Profile: Sarah of Yes and Yes” »

February 14, 2012

On Style and Systems

I used to read (and never comment) on a blog by a woman in Boston who took a picture of her outfit everyday in her full-length mirror. I felt creepy about my silent spying, but I couldn’t stop. Her systems fascinated me. She always turned out one leg at the same 45-degree angle. She wore her pants in a flowy, work-trouser way with conservative twin sets. She knew a bunch of ways to tie a scarf. It was like In Style come to life. I didn’t really care for the way she dressed, but I admired her tirelessly methodical approach. Her goal was to create a capsule wardrobe of perfect basics, modeled on our ideal of what the so-chic French do. (She also shared what she ate everyday which also aimed to follow a French model: cream sauces, good pastries, strong coffee, small portions, no snacks. The occasional bag of Doritos worked there way in because, well, shit gets real.)

I am obsessed with systems in an almost I long to be a left-brained person way. Linear, pragmatic, solution-based, I’ve convinced myself that systems can be created to crack the code on looking chic everyday, cooking dinner, staying fit, saving money, and producing good creative work. According to this as yet untested theory of mine, the only difficult part should be finding your system.

I’m about halfway through creating my Style Statement. I am loving this book with its pages upon pages of questions for self-reflection: What’s your definition of sexy? Who embodies a sense of style that speaks to you? Where do you feel your best? The end goal of this book is to come up with a two word catch-all, not only for your wardrobe, but as guiding principles for all that you do in life. Your style statement should represent you at your most you.

Continue reading “On Style and Systems” »