explosions in the sky

explosions in the sky
Embarrassed to come back here and realize that I’ve neglected this poor space for nearly three months. I intend to fix that in the coming weeks because my big trip is just around the corner and I want to document/memorialize that here. Promise. Pinky swear. (Says the girl who made a similar claim three months ago after her last big trip.)

The above picture was a photo I took at the AMAZING jellies exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium last weekend. Still can’t believe these things are real. Nature is pretty crazy.

après-ski

mountains!
partners in crime
now that is one helluva breakfast
there can only be one
This poor space has been so neglected. Forgive me. I’ve been working. And traveling. And eating. A lot. And probably not sleeping enough. 2012, while not without its moments, has been thankfully, mercifully kind to me. (Although truth be told, almost anything could beat 2011 <—hell year that it was.)

Last weekend, I was in Salt Lake City, Utah to visit dear, old friends, to eat fabulously, extremely over the top meals (one of the perks of visiting a food writer friend), and to get away from the dreadfully flat landscapes of the Midwest.  I may be the only person who goes all the way out to Utah only to spend none of that time skiing, but you know when it comes to travel, food is always first for me.

Here’s how I spent 72 hours in SLC (and how I think you should spend it too, should you ever be out that way):

And I think I just gained 5 pounds reviewing this list.  So far 2012 is shaping up to be a fabulous year for food and travel.  Last month it was in NYC and this month SLC.  In June I’ll be headed to Philly for a wedding, but the best part of all?  In May, I’ll be GOING TO ICELAND.  <—That’s right!  ICELAND!  Booked it last week and finalizing all the little details this week.  Even though it’s three months away, I could NOT be more excited!!!  This has been on my list of places to go for at least five years now and it feels like a dream come true that I’ll finally be able to make it happen this year.  EEEP!!!

O * O * O

mmm...
you know how i feel about doughnuts
Doughnuts are the new cupcakes and you might say that I’ve been bitten by the bug rather badly. Ever since the Doughnut Vault opened its doors here back in September, I’ve not only consumed more doughnuts than are good for me, but I’ve also gotten very interested in making some of my own. When I was in NYC a few weeks ago, I, of course, visited the Doughnut Plant to try some of their legendary doughnuts (I got a peanut butter and jelly, a tres leches, and a carrot cake, all delicious!) and to see how it compared to Chicago’s doughnut scene. (All in the name of research!) After I got back, I bought a doughnut pan (this one, in case you’re curious) and have been testing out recipes. The pictured doughnut above was Shutterbean’s banana doughnuts with peanut butter frosting. More banana bread than doughnut but still pretty tasty. This weekend, I tried out King Arthur’s baked doughnut with Alton Brown’s chocolate glaze. A good looking doughnut but still not quite what I’d hoped for. (Not as tender as I’d like and the glaze was a bit thicker/harder to work with than I would’ve liked.) Back to the drawing board to experiment some more I guess.

Completely unrelated….
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to use this space going forward. My current schedule doesn’t really allow for much blogging and I don’t see that changing much any time soon. I like the idea of having a written record of my various adventures and interests. I’m just feeling a bit of social media fatigue at the moment. (I should probably scale back on Twitter and Facebook too.) Think think think….

drink milk

milk!
Oh dear. I keep neglecting this space so much. Does anyone even check in here anymore? Apparently not me. :) Anyway, things here have been quite hectic, as usual. The holidays, a trip back to Seattle, a flurry of work, and just this past weekend, a whirlwind trip to NYC to catch up with new and old friends. I had such a good time and hope to tell you about all the lovely food and drink that was consumed but for now I can tell you that I did manage to stop by a place I’ve been meaning to check out for a while now–Momofuku Milk Bar. If you have a sweet tooth like I do, I’d say you should definitely check it out.

and that’s a wrap

and that's a wrap
across the back
super warm this way
Happy New Year friends! I suppose I could tell you how rotten 2011 was to me or how little of my crafting (and other) goals went unaccomplished. But I’m all about turning over a new leaf and trying (at least for these initial weeks) to try to stay positive, so how about we kick off 2012 with a newly finished object? This is the Lace Panel Wrap which is the cover project on the latest issue of Knit Simple. This is also another super fun pattern by my talented friend Angela. I test knit this for her and the project was as simple and straightforward as could be. For me it was the perfect comfort knitting for my long commutes or when I was too tired or stressed out to work on some of my complicated projects. I think this would be a great project for a person who wanted to try knitting lace for the first time. I splurged on a nice cashmere blend yarn for this beauty and I’m glad I did. Not only is it super nice and soft, it also blocked beautifully. It will be a welcome addition to my winter wear arsenal.

Normally I don’t love garter stitch but it somehow works here. A close up of the lace pattern repeat:
close up
More details on the project at Ravelry. Here’s to many more finished objects in 2012!

be well

ahhh nuts
Just wanted to pop in here briefly to say hello and to wish y’all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2011 has been pretty damn crummy so I’m ready to close the books on it. I’m capping off the year out in the Pacific Northwest with family and friends. Hope you are spending the holidays with the ones you love.

1) gratitude

look up look up
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau

I spent the weekend relaxing. I ate well. I did all my favorite things. I slept. I cooked. Most importantly, I surrounded myself with very good people. That seems to have done the trick. I’m doing better, feeling better. I’m trying to be more grateful. I want to be more grateful and I’m going to try to share more of that here.

Today I’m grateful for weekends. So grateful.