Friday, September 30, 2011

fivelives presents: an autumn lookbook

I present to you a fivelives autumn lookbook. A little bit preppy-- with a literary bent, a little bit romantic and a little bit raw to offset the sweetness. And a good dose of wearability. This is what I am daydreaming about wearing, if I were given half a chance, as the season changes from summer to fall. 


dress, cardigan, shirt, boots, bag, earrings

All hair accessories by fivelives, found here, or at the side bar.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

earworm: Lykke Li

She's pronounced "Lee-ki Lee." Kind of like "lickey lee," but that's a bit of a crass English translation. I looked her up on youtube for interviews to double check how you say it. She's a Swedish pop star who's not unknown, so this isn't about new, fresh music. She's got plays on radio stations.

What this is about: the sinuous, liquid, swishing-in-my-head "I Follow Rivers" that will have you singing the chorus on the first listen. And a girl crush. A soft, sweet voice, lovely cool music, and a banging top bun that I wished I had worn more when my hair was long enough to do so. Yeah, I'm crushing. (Don't worry, James thinks she's cool, too.)

Saturday, September 17, 2011


These are the crepes that James makes. These are the crepes that James makes from an Alton Brown recipe. These are the crepes that James makes that I put an orange rum sauce over.

The orange rum sauce was a dud. But the crepes are, as always, delicious. Best with Nutella, those crepes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

chicken chili.

There was no transition to fall for me. I got on a plane in 100 degree heat, and I got off to highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s. Where did summer go? That left me craving warm, hearty food, food that sticks to my ribs, comfort food.

I'm not just craving comfort food because of the weather. Moving was and is still stressful. We're living with little furniture and a skimpy pantry because we're not settled enough to have found places to fill our apartment and our larder. That means lots of beans in our food and making big batches of things we can eat for a couple of days and freeze the rest. Even though it's a super duper cheap meal, it's delicious and filling.

Chicken Chili

chicken (1/2 of a roast chicken)
2 c. dried pinto beans, or 4 cans
1 jalapeño, minced with seeds
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1 ear roasted corn, kernels sliced off
1 can tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. paprika
pinch cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
enough water to cover

Cook dry beans as usual. (Pick through the beans for any bad beans or rocks. Rinse the beans, then soak overnight in 3-4 cups of water per cup of beans. Rinse the beans again and cook them at a rolling boil for 1 hour on the stove.)

In a crock pot, combine the drained beans, chicken (I had roasted a whole chicken and used about half of the meat from it. You can definitely get away with less chicken.), vegetables, liquids, and spices. Add enough water to top the mixture. Cook on high for at least 4 hours, if not longer, until the beans are tender and the chili is a good consistency.* Adjust the seasonings as needed. (You will probably need to add more chili powder and salt. The cayenne may need to be decreased or increased according to your taste.)

Serve with your choice of cheddar, sour cream, toasted tortillas, corn chips or tortillas chips, etc.

*I'm still new to cooking with dry beans, so the times given may be a little off. Use your own good cooking judgement.

Note: As with all cooking, you should make changes to suit your tastes. Upon making this at a later date, I found we had run out of brown sugar. Two Tbsp. molasses and a large pinch of white sugar added such depth of flavor. At that time, I was also wanting a sharp tang in my chili, so a few dashes of Tobasco and a nice drop of balsamic vinegar gave me the tang and kick I wanted. This chili, in my experience, can withstand an individual's tasteful experimenting.


I must confess to dissembling. There was one collection I deliberately did not share, because I wanted to save it for now. Another of my collections are vintage etiquette books. I've found one at an antiques shop in Ruston, (the top book covered in roses, from the 1920s) and three of them at the Centenary Book Bazaar for less than it would take to do a load of laundry at a laundromat (A 1941 edition of Emily Post's Etiquette, a 1959 Amy Vanderbilt Complete Guide to Etiquette, and a '60s book of hosting from Esquire).

They are old-fashioned, but genteel, and while it would be folly to directly apply their precepts to learning your manners today, they do still make their point about what etiquette truly is-- behaving (and dressing) appropriately for every time and place.

Monday, September 12, 2011

earworm: "Within Our Darkest Night"

James and I have been attending Church of the Apostles since we've move to Seattle, and the Eucharist service last night followed the traditions of Taizé. We came home revived. The music and service was a balm to our souls and to our ragged emotions that have been all over the place since moving and settling in and trying to make our way in a city we're falling in love with but that we're not sure loves us back. (Unlike New Orleans, which seems to have unseasonably beautiful weather every single time we visit.)

The song that has stuck with me through last night and this grey morning is "Within Our Darkest Night." The lyrics are simple, repetitive, and sink into you. "Within our darkest night, you kindle a fire that never dies away, never dies away." It reminded me of my God, who, even in the darkest night of the soul, is still with me. I need that right now, so I put this song on repeat. It is my prayer.

Friday, September 2, 2011


This is what my life looks like right now, and has been for the past three or so weeks. We had a crazy moving schedule that included uHaul trucks, shipping containers, spending two weeks out of carry-on bags, couch surfing at friends' and families' houses, and finally flying 2,600 miles away from our last home. Add a wedding in there somewhere, too.

We said our good-byes.... to our first home, to my sprouted window box and plants, to our lovely neighbors, to our friends. Now we're saying hello to Seattle. (Gosh, my legs are tired from walking this city... and it's hills!) I'm in the midst of learning how to grocery shop with a higher standard of living and learning how to find some furniture for our new apartment that isn't IKEA, Target, Big Box Store of Your Choice, etc., etc.

p.s. I will admit something embarrassing to you: my Southern accent comes out real bad when I say "hill." Even if I'm trying really hard, it sometimes comes out "heel." Facepalm, indeed.

p.p.s. Posting may be sporadic... I have no camera right now... well, I have a cell phone camera. We'll see.