Tuesday, April 29, 2008

loving: blue-and-green + more j.crew.

as is to be expected, i think, i’m still untangling a lot of emotional stuff and trying to get my headspace as close to balanced as possible so i can focus on my job and the stuff i was working on before leaving for pennsylvania last week. so i thought today’s blog could be another “loving” post – and these green-and-blue satin shoes (flats for comfort; a heeled version for those who like a little height) are things i am certainly loving.

j.crew has really been on the mark lately. it’s always been a purveyor of preppy-cool clothing, but lately the store seems to have upped its style ante. i’ve been loving the bright, saturated colors and the pretty patterns, and have a secret desire to hit the j.crew store in orlando next time i’m visiting my parents. also, green-and-blue is a color combo i adore for spring – and one that makes these shoes even more perfect. i am determined to use my economic stimulus payment to pay off one of my credit cards, but if i wasn’t going to do that, those flats certainly would be in my closet. love.

Monday, April 28, 2008

short and (bitter)sweet.

i was going to write a full-blown post today but i’m still reeling from the shock that was last week/weekend, and tired from trying to get back into a normal routine at work and not being able to sleep or eat very much over the past few days. so i’m here – but for today, i’m quiet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

blog break + sad news

i’m so deeply sad to say that my grandfather passed away on tuesday, so i’m flying to pennsylvania tomorrow morning to be with my family there. i’ll be back to regular posting on monday. in the meantime, you should read through the blogs on my blogroll (at left) if you’re bored; they’re all fantastic and i think you’ll enjoy them. see you monday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

loving: j.crew's fire-engine red gayle ruffle trench.

why this is wonderful: the cheerful color. the three-quarter-length sleeves that make it a versatile, year-round option. the classic, won't-ever-go-out-of-style shape. the ruffles (i am a sucker for anything with a well-placed ruffle). the fact that it would look perfect over jeans and even more perfect over a little black dress. and the fact that, this afternoon, it gave my eyes a much-needed pop of color.

(sorry for the super-brief post today; i meant to write something longer, but things in general are pretty crazed right now. more tomorrow, though.)

Monday, April 21, 2008

eight days a week.

today’s post was going to be about the explosion of activity in my life as of late. i was going to recap the weekend, talk about what’s on my plate for the week(s) ahead and mention my current need (not want – need, with italics) to get to ikea in orlando, not only to purchase my new bed but to pick up some of their wonderful textiles. but i’m not going to do that – at least not now. i’m just going to leave you with an image.

there are days when i don’t remember how i got to work in the morning – i’ll get in my car and drive the two blocks on complete autopilot. (shameful to drive that short a distance, i know, and i’m going to start walking soon since gas has hit $3.50-plus per gallon here, but i had to do an interview today.) then i’ll get out of my car; walk, half-awake, across the street and into my office building; sit down at my desk; and stare at unread e-mail until i finally am able to get a cup of coffee (with silk french vanilla soy creamer and one splenda, please) in my body and start functioning like a normal person.

but today wasn’t one of those days. today i woke up, drove to work (and remembered doing so), got out of my car, came to the crosswalk and, while waiting for a car to pass, took a deep breath and looked up at the sky. there wasn’t a cloud to be seen – all i saw was a perfect azure expanse. and as the sunlight hit my face, i heard the palm trees rustle and swore i could smell the ocean in the distance.

lovely. april, to butcher t.s. eliot’s famous quote, is sometimes not the cruelest month.

ps: the photo above is of me at the beach this weekend, taken by s. (i wear that shirt a lot.)

pps: tonight i’m making heidi swanson’s egg salad so i can have a sunshine-colored sandwich tomorrow for lunch and whipping up a pot of her split-pea soup for dinner tonight. later this week i’ll be trying out her plump pea dumplings. sigh. i think i have a new cooking-blog addiction.

ppps: notice the new banner? that’s courtesy of the lovely-and-talented mel. she will be receiving a large amount of cupcakes and a huge hug next time i see her. check out her scrapbooking-themed blog, color me crafty, if you get a chance!

Friday, April 18, 2008


another week has come and gone, and i have to say, i am so happy it’s the weekend. my dear friend s. is coming to visit tomorrow and is planning on staying overnight, which means i need to give my apartment a major clean, but i’m actually kind of looking forward to it. right now there are bulk-bin bags of brown basmati rice, bulgur and walnuts sitting on my counter, dishes piled up in the sink and clothes strewn everywhere – not to mention a hamperful of dirty laundry – so getting all of that stuff in order will lend a more soothing air to my home, i think. i definitely function better when things are in their proper place – it’s just getting them there that’s the challenge, for me.

that being said, i’ve definitely entered a “nesting” phase in my life – thanks in part to all the of the home-themed sites on my blogroll – and i’m in a place where i think i’m going to try to make a concerted effort to really make my apartment a place where i (and others) want to spend time (same with my desk at work, as i mentioned on wednesday). while this is not going to become a strictly design-themed blog (i love fashion, food and rambling about totally random things too much for that), expect a lot more pictures of my apartment and home goods i like to start cropping up. i feel lucky to live in a place that’s full of amazing thrift and consignment stores, and i’m going to start frequenting them much more often.

and speaking of sarasota, a couple of things:

+ inspired by new favorite door sixteen, i added an “i love sarasota…” link list to the column at left. these are just a few of the many places i frequent here in town; expect the list to lengthen and change every so often.

+ i also wrote up a teeny, tiny biography and put a link to it, also at left. it’s nothing you don’t already know if you’ve read any of my posts (or know me personally), but it makes me feel more professional.

+ once again, i’m switching up the way i format our posts here at good ol’ pmitg. i’ve discovered that doing categories and multiple posts, a la design*sponge, is both not me and kind of time-consuming what-with work being so crazy lately, so i’m going to stick to one post a day. i’ll keep “loose” themes – food stuff on monday, for example – but i’m going to be a little more lax and i think that will create more interesting (and more thought-out) content. i hope you agree.

and on that note, see you monday! i’m looking forward to a weekend of april sunshine, fresh croissants and coffee, beach walks and good conversation. i hope you are, too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

seven things.

full disclosure: it has been a busy week – full of looming deadlines for multiple projects. i am so glad tomorrow’s friday – and in lieu of our usual thursday “style file” post (told you, i’m switching things up this week!), i thought i’d do this little pseudo-survey called “seven things.” those of you who know me personally already probably know all of this, but those i thought it might help those of you who don’t get a little more perspective on who i am and why i like – and write about – the things i do.

i almost failed out of college my freshman year. yes, it’s true. i consider myself a pretty driven person now – and i graduated with a 3.8 gpa in my major (english) – but looking back, i probably should have taken at least a semester off before starting school. i also, for some reason, began college with the idea that i was going to be a psychologist (like my father), and realized, after i stopped going to most of my classes, that psychology isn’t the right field for me. so i had a huge change of heart (and a huge shock when i found out my first semester average was a .6), switched to english and was very successful. i stayed an extra semester, got my b.a. and am considering going back to get my m.f.a. sometime in the future. (of course, this is the simplified version, but that’s basically what happened.)

i love my job. how many people can say that – really? i mean, yes, there are days when i feel overwhelmed and underpaid and want to kill one of my coworkers, but as a rule, i truly love what i do and plan on staying in the publishing biz as long as it will have me. have i mentioned that some of the people i work with have been with my company for 20-plus years? that’s a good sign.

my cat is my baby. when i took him in, he was a stray and he’d been scratched by one of my good friends’ cats (an understandable reaction – by the friend’s cat – to having a stranger brought into her house). the cut was so deep it tore some muscle tissue and required two surgeries, and the side effects of those surgeries have not been minor. however, as you can see from the pictures i’ve posted, oscar is fat-ish (10 pounds!), sassy, happy, fluffy and almost 100 percent healthy again. i adore him. he meows at the door when he hears my keys turning in the lock, and he rolls over on his back whenever i bend down to pet him. the only thing that would make my life better is having him and a puppy that he could play with. i don’t think he’d take well to another cat (he’d be jealous), but he likes dogs. i love animals. they really make our lives significantly, tangibly better.

i desperately want to live in new york city one day (or, at least, close enough that i can get to the city very, very easily). enough said. and one day i will.

i don’t like to leave the house without makeup. first of all, i really just like it – i have a large collection of lip glosses and balms and i love browsing through trays of colors at makeup counters (benefit is my favorite; their packing is fabulous) – but second of all, i am not one of those people who looks naturally cute when i roll out of bed in the morning (and believe me, i roll out of bed as late as i possibly can). i need a little something to help me out. mineral makeup is my current favorite stuff.

the semicolon is my favorite punctuation mark. i just love the virginia woolf-ness of it; can you tell?

i will always need to live within easy driving distance of the ocean. i hate being landlocked. when i flew to colorado for a friend’s wedding a while back, this sudden, strange feeling of claustrophobia came over me and i knew i could never live in a state that isn’t bordered by water on at least one side. growing up in florida has definitely spoiled me (and moving to sarasota has done so even more – my apartment is literally within 10 minutes of the ocean), but if i move to another state it’s probably going to be new york or somewhere in the pacific northwest: san francisco, portland or seattle.

i don’t want to “tag” anyone to complete this, but if you feel so inclined, fill it out – and let me know. see you tomorrow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

kitchens + cookbooks – and a recipe.

i’m an avid reader, but i don’t think i’ve ever sat down and read a cookbook from cover to cover – that is, until heidi swanson’s wonderful super natural cooking arrived at my house last week. not only is the book beautifully written and a gorgeous compilation of colorful photographs, it’s also incredibly informative and it’s slowly changing the way i think about food – in spite of trying to eat as “clean” as possible, i still ingest an awful lot of processed junk (hello, 10 p.m. reese’s peanut butter cup) and refined white stuff. while i know i’m never going to be able to completely change that, i am now on a mission to make a concerted effort to try a little harder. i’m sure i’ll be referencing heidi’s book often; as my passion for cooking grows, so does my desire to try new recipes and, i kid you not, every single recipe in super natural cooking looks fantastic.


in addition to super natural cooking, i was also excited to score some new kitchen utensils via a press package my coworker received last week. nothing exciting, just a pretty white slotted spoon and pasta server with an aqua-colored handle and an aqua silicone whisk, as well as some cheerful, colorful measuring spoons. the stuff i had before was ugly and black, so this is a nice change – and it looks perfect in my egg-shaped ikea asker container. i also recently bought two nice wood cutting boards with rubber grippers on the bottom – one big, one small – and i am loving actually being able to chop like a normal person again. (full disclosure: after throwing out an old cutting board, i was cutting things on paper towels for awhile. …i know. feel free to make fun of me.)

anyway, since today is monday and my favorite day of the week to think about food and recipes, here’s a great one from whole foods that i think is especially appropriate on this chilly april day: spiced hot chocolate with orange. it’s supposed to be in the low 50s tonight, which is cold for southwest florida, and i would love to curl up on my couch a cup of this, my current book (the secret lives of people in love, simon van booy’s collection of short stories) and oscar. (photo via wholefoods.com; i am loving those mugs.)

and one last note: this post’s opening photo is what i wish my own kitchen looked like – maybe it will some day! it’s the kitchen of drew barrymore’s offices, which were featured in the april issue of domino magazine. beautiful.

le weekend.

what a random weekend it was. after work on friday, i came home, made dinner, curled up on the couch and launched into a series of phone conversations with some of my favorite people, only to discover, about halfway through the night, that oscar had started limping pretty badly -- to the point where he would walk a couple of steps and have to stop. he didn't seem to be in a whole lot of pain, and he was still eating and drinking like a fiend, so i didn't freak out as much as i might have otherwise, but it was still kinda of scary. poor thing.

luckily, i woke up on saturday to find that his limp was much less severe, and as the day progressed it got better still. in fact, i went out for a bit that night with some of my girlfriends and when i came home, he was racing around the apartment like a madman. and sunday he was even better; i think he must have jumped off my bed or the sofa or something and landed wrong. poor thing.

anyway, in non-cat-related news, other than going out on saturday night, it was a fairly quiet weekend. unfortunately, i woke up with a sinus headache on saturday and sunday (i blame it on the florida weather, which was 80-plus degrees all last week but which is supposed to go down into the 60s this coming one), so i felt kind of yucky, but i still managed to make it to the "in conversation with..." film festival event at the historic asolo theater on sunday. as i mentioned, charlize theron was there (looking stunning in black skinny jeans, black flats, a black tank top and a white jacket [chanel, maybe?] with a black collar), as was her actor-director boyfriend, stuart townsend, and michelle rodriguez (lost) and martin henderson (smokin' aces). they were there to discuss townsend's new movie, battle in seattle, and while the conversation veered mostly toward what it's like to work with a director who is also an actor (as opposed to a director who isn't an actor), it was really interesting to listen to them talk and see, like, famous people sitting five feet in front of me. (fyi, the film, whose name kind of makes it sound like a comedy, is actually about the world trade organization meetings that were held in seattle in 1999 and the riots that swept through the streets as a result. very interesting.)

oh, and i also spent hours lazing and round and reading old entries on some of my favorite blogs -- door sixteen is my newest favorite; it really makes me happy. and i had a yummy dinner with my friend k. -- the perfect ending to a lazy sunday.

so that was the weekend, and now we're back to monday again. i have another great recipe to post in a few, as well as a picture of some new kitchen stuff that i acquired last week, so stay tuned. [photo above: that's my oscar! doesn't he kind of look like the cloud hurricanes on the weather channel?]

Friday, April 11, 2008

weekly recap + summer travel!

i’m so excited about this summer for so many reasons – but the main one is my annual trip to pennsylvania to see bethany, bff and one-half of the genius team that is roniroli. every year since we were sophomores in college, we've met up and taken a road trip to go see a john mayer concert – last year’s was in hershey, pa., and this year’s is in camden, new jersey, which happens to be about 10 minutes away from philadelphia. john’s tour seems to be a bit random this year; he’s staying away from the south (probably rightly so, since it’s boiling hot here in july, but i was kind of hoping for a charleston or savannah stop) and not doing a whole lot of dates. that’s ok, though – i’m beyond excited to take advantage of the philadelphia design guide from design*sponge and look through joy’s “philly + local finds” archives, and i’m hoping that bethany and i can find a room at a cute little hotel in the city.

my family – both sides – is from scranton, pennyslvania (yes, home of the office!), so i’m fairly familiar with eastern pa., but the last time i was in philadelphia, i was either at the airport or about eight years old (my aunt and uncle had a beautiful loft right in the city). still, i remember thoroughly enjoying doing all the historic stuff, and i’m looking forward to spending time going to museums, browsing the shops and enjoying the food with one of my very favorite people in the whole wide world.

for those of you who are familiar with the city, what are your must-sees? any insider tips? please share! i’ll be posting much, much more on this topic as the date approaches and of course will take zillions of pictures when i’m actually there. here’s to looking forward to summer!

and here’s to looking back on this week:

that's it for this week; see you on monday for some yummy food-related posts. happy weekend! xo.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

loving: anthropologie “pygmalion” wedges.

today’s “obsession” item falls somewhere in between our $1,000-plus prada bag and our $15 target shoe: anthropologie’s pygmalion wedges. at $168, they’re (sort of) in my price range, and i love the something extra that the sprinkling of sequins gives the canvas, as well as the pretty purple interior. kind of perfect for our movie-themed, glitterati-filled week, no? (fyi, anthropologie has a fantastic selection of pretty, summery wedges right now.) see you tomorrow for our weekly recap post!

Monday, April 7, 2008

loving: pottery barn + saturated color.

i need to go to catalogchoice.org and have my name removed from the multiple catalogue mailing lists i'm on -- thanks to my aforementioned anthropologie habit, i now get everything from boden to j.crew to crate & barrel to companies i've never heard of. however, while sorting mail the other day i was struck by pottery barn's most recent catologue; it was full of beautiful, bright colors and interesting patterns. this dining room, in particular, stood out to me. i'm loving the green-striped chairs, curtains and valances against the dark wood and the beautiful blue wall, and i think the white accents are fresh and clean. (of course, my favorite part of all of it is really the stacks of books in the right corner.) maybe i'll be lucky enough to have a dining room like this some day; until then, i'll look at this picture and dream about that prospect. [photo courtesy pottery barn. coming up: this week's recipe!]


what a wonderful, relaxing weekend it was. it began on friday with my mom's arrival and lunch at yoder's, a mennonite restaurant (note: if you go there, don't leave without a slice of butterscotch cream pie), and continued with an interview with a soon-to-be-famous actress in a suite overlooking the ocean on the eighth floor of the longboat key club, dinner (with my brother and his friends) at mattison's in downtown sarasota, trips to the farmer's market, sarasota news & books, the newly expanded sarasota olive oil company and casa italia (where we picked up packages of pasta and bottles of olive oil), a movie at burns court (miss pettigrew lives for a day, with amy adams and frances mcdormand, which was excellent), dinner at canvas cafe, breakfast at the serving spoon and a stroll through morton's market. then, after my mom left this afternoon, my lovely friend t. and i went to a screening of audrey tatou's new movie, priceless, which was terrific. (audrey played the main character in amelie, one of my favorite films ever, so i jump at any chance i get to see her movies.)

so that was the weekend, and now i'm looking forward to the week ahead. coming up today, we'll have our usual weekly recipe as well as one other small post, and i'm still working on this week's "theme." i'm thinking, since the sarasota film festival is going on right now, hollywood/the movies might be a good one. so stay tuned.

[photo above: "koi in a fountain" dessert plate from anthropologie.]

Friday, April 4, 2008

weekly recap + the weekend

i’m only going to do one post today, guys, because my mom and little brother are in town (separately, interestingly enough) and i may have to go to a sarasota film festival event tonight (will keep you posted on any star sightings – charlize theron and stanley tucci, among others, are expected to be here this week). it should be an excellent weekend: my mom and i have plans to take full advantage of sarasota in the spring, which means eating at outdoor restaurants, going to the beach, shopping – all sorts of fun stuff. and then my friend t. and i have tickets to a film festival movie on sunday, which should be wonderful. oh, spring things…

anyway, this week was a great one for the blog, i think, and i hope you agree. here’s a look back at what happened:

[see you next week – i hope you have a wonderful, wonderful spring weekend! xo.]

Thursday, April 3, 2008

my house is my home.

i know i’ve promised to be a better shopper, but during a trip to target last week to buy a bath towel (yes, just one – last time i was visiting my parents, i left a third of my laundry, including every towel i own, at their house), i came across dwellstudio ’s gorgeous designs for the mega-brand (they always have the best guest designers, yes?). i know this line has already made the blog rounds, but i couldn’t resist sharing with you guys – check out the pictures above and below (i’ve already snapped up the tea towels.) you can find more at target or on dwell ’s web site. and ps: if you're wondering how today's home-themed posts relate to our week that's dedicated health and well-being, i ask you this: how does your home not relate to your personal health and well-being? i know that after i come home from a hard day at work or an especially grueling workout, or if i'm not feeling well, i immediately relax and feel better as soon as i step through my apartment door. and pretty things for our homes accentuate those feelings, i think. enjoy! [photo via target.com.]

[that's it for today; stay tuned for tomorrow's weekly recap.]

house tour.

i came across these photos of this gorgeous cottage-style home in sarasota today and am in love with the way the owners (well, former owners -- it's for sale!) have decorated it. it's just so warm and cozy, from the white-and-black (with pops of color) foyer to the calm blue master bedroom to the cheerful green-accented kitchen, their style suits my aesthetic almost perfectly, and i wanted to share (if only i had $229,000...!). i hope you enjoy. [photos via sarasotamagazine.com]

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

guest blog: shun!

[i'm so excited about today's guest blog because it was written by one of my closest friends. shun is an instructor at a community college, a recent master's degree recipient and one of the smartest people i know. he writes beautiful poetry and, as you'll see in this post, his nonfiction is just as lovely. like the other two guest bloggers before him, i'm hoping he'll become a regular contributor to this little project of mine. the post below, which he titled "identity crisis," is especially fitting for this week's well-being theme, i think. a little introspection is always a good thing.]

I was shocked when Sajida Khan wrote about China on her exit essay final, a hurdle for most developmental writing students, who, despite their will and whining, are not yet writing at the college level. I kneeled down beside her, one hand on her exam booklet. She looked at me, startled and slightly annoyed. I asked her why she was writing about China, a country that she knew almost nothing about. She said, almost whispering, “I wanted to write about Islamabad, my hometown, but I am afraid the graders won’t like the subject matter.” I took her booklet away, gave her a new one, and demanded that she wrote about her childhood memories in Islamabad.

At 3 p.m., I collected my students’ exit essays and drove to Daytona, where all the English faculty met to grade these in-class essays, roughly 200 of them. On my way there I got to thinking about identity. Why did Sajida feel the need to write about China instead of Pakistan? Why did she care about whether her graders like her personally or not? Why did I care? What was I so adamant about forcing her to write about her past? I didn’t have the answers to all that. My mind was like a balloon that hits the ceiling—I have to be careful with my thinking. So instead I sped up in, passing cars and semitrucks on I-4. I got quiet. I guess it was easier that way.

I guess I am like Sajida in a way. When I first came to America, about 10 years ago, I, too, felt compelled to please people. I thought to myself, much like a child: “I am a stranger to them. I have to make them love me so that they would play with me.” Nicole was the first American I knew. She and I were in the same algebra class. She said I was smart because I aced all the tests, and I was so happy that I bought her lunch and thanked her profusely every time I saw her thereafter.

Looking back, the whole episode seems weird and pathetic. But 10 years ago it felt very natural for me to thank anyone who paid attention to what I did. I continued to think that way for a long while, and I approached everything gingerly, including love. When my first lover told me to go elsewhere, to find another person with whom to build a great life, I broke down in front of him, sobbing and refusing to leave the house. It was an awful time, and I went through a period when I would throw myself to anyone who paid attention to me, even when I knew that they were only interested in my body. In a na├»ve way, I thought, however briefly, that if I could please someone, then I could be certain of my existence—my identity—in America.

What doesn’t kill one makes one stronger. I learned from mistakes committed in the past, and I am pleased to know that there are a group of friends who, for better and for worst, take me as who I am, and that they’ll shut me up every time I am fishing for compliments. Sajida does not have me as her instructor this semester; I don’t know in what direction her future leads. If it was up to me, I would make sure that her future heads toward Islamabad, towards the sweet spices that rouse childhood memories. I would tell her that her identity springs from the past, and never from self-denial. —Shun

[thanks again to shun for this wonderful, moving guest blog.]

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

sparkle and shine.

have you all seen the cover of the new anthropologie catalogue? it's a gorgeous compilation of light and color. just thought i'd share one last pretty image on this april fool's day. xo.

going green: plover organic

ok, i’ll admit it: i totally ganked this week’s “going green” product from one of grace’s posts today. but in my defense, i’ve had bedding on the brain lately. i’m gearing up to purchase a new bed (specifically, this one from ikea), and i’ll definitely need bedding for it, because i currently sleep on a twin. (…i know.) so even though i probably can’t afford this gorgeous bedding from plover organic, i thought i’d post it for those of you who can – and who, like me, like pretty things.

why it’s green: plover uses 100 percent organic cotton, which means no sketchy harvesting practices. we love that.

the pictures of the products on the web site look so deliciously comfortable that i now want to go crawl into my (freshly laundered) bed. hope you enjoyed this “going green” column – stay tuned for next week’s, about some people that i’m really excited to introduce.

[photos via plover organic and design*sponge.]