20150130

HAPPY WEEKEND, HOMENUGGETS!


I know what I will not be doing this weekend, and that is watching any more episodes of Homeland. I cannot do it! Season 3 was too sad! 

Other things I did this week that accomplished nothing while also clearing up a half decade of unnecessary confusion: finally Google the meaning of the word "artisanal." You know, I once had a very stimulating debate with Brandon over whether or not people can be considered artisanal, or if it's only things that can be considered artisanal. The debate ended on a pretty grandiose note when Brandon officially declared that from henceforth the word "artisanal" actually meant nothing anymore, it had absolutely no meaning, he had decided it. I think we were looking at organic kombucha at the time all this went down. It made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now, it makes me laugh any time anyone mentions cheese or fermentation.

Okay, and now for a few things I enjoyed this week . . .

This twitter account. I actually snorted. (See also: my long-time twitter crush, Josh Groban.)


Did you know you can stream the entire Criterion Collection for free on Hulu? I spent a few nights this week catching up on some French New Wave. Godard first -- Masculin Féminin and Breathless. There's some pretty decent hair inspiration going on in there.

The Man Repeller emoji roundtable. Taking things overly seriously, yes.

My new favorite watch that I am completely obsessed with.

Juno was a bust, but The Great Blizzard of 1888 wasn't! This podcast has been on my to-listen list since I first found the Bowery Boys blog, after googling to figure out where in the city The Knick was filmed, which is a really great show in case you haven't seen it. (Related--this follow up review of the show in the New Yorker that makes an interesting point about shows that start out bad but then get better.)

I've been looking for a cheek/lip tint that won't dry my lips out, and this one has good reviews. Anyone tried it? Anyone found a winner?

This--thank heavens.

Huck's favorite song these days.


Have a restful weekend and see you in February!

20150129

NAT NESTS | KIMCHI DINNER FOR ONE


We've only eaten out once in the last two weeks, because as it turns out, I am a meal planning superhero!  (I will keep on telling myself this until it's actually true.) But already I've come up against some roadblocks, and I'm currently working out the kinks on a situation I've tenderly started to call "the spaghetti situation,"which goes like this: Brandon loves spaghetti. Spaghetti does not love Brandon back. Brandon's got some fairly epic acid reflux, so a lot of foods don't love Brandon back. Which is too bad because he's so darn lovable! ;) Brandon, of course, continues to request weekly spaghetti (and other foods like spaghetti). It's a total situation. 

Brandon's seen a specialist and he takes medication, which helps. (He finally refilled his rx today after being out of it for almost 2 weeks--dudes are so weird.) I try to give him "the look" whenever he reaches for an orange after 7pm. It's all very matrimonial and old-people of us, it kind of cracks me up. But every now and then, once or twice a week, Brandon will work late and I'll get a night to eat whatever kind of heartburn-y food I want to without feeling any guilt at all! Like kimchiiiiiiiiiii.

Kimchi is really good for you, but it's also super hard on sensitive stomachs. Did you know kimchi is suspected to be the cause behind Korea's crazy high stomach cancer rates? (Only when eaten in, like, mass quantities, but still.) We ate a ton of kimchi when we lived in Seoul (and ramen! which we pronounced "ram-yen" and which was a point of conflict with my cousin Andrew when we came back to the states), and it's still a kind of comfort food for me. It reminds me of my dad, of my kindergarten class at Seoul Foriegn School, and of afternoons in our high rise apartment when it was just me + Amanda listening to the Jackson 5 while our "ajumma" prepared lunch in the kitchen.

My favorite way to eat kimchi is over a heaping bowl of brown rice + topped with a fried egg. Leave those yokes runny. Sooo good. 

Should you be blessed with a house full of strong stomachs, here's how you can make kimchi at home!

INGREDIENTS /
1 napa cabbage, sliced in half and chopped into large-ish bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup kosher salt
approx 12 cups cold water
1 daikon radish, sliced into matchsticks
4 medium scallions, sliced into 1 inch matchsticks 
1/3 cup gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1/4 cup myeolchijoet (don't let that scare you, you can use any kind of fish sauce, or I've heard you can sub a teaspoon of kelp powder in 1/4 cup water for a vegetarian option)
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
Optional:
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 shredded carrot
1/2 sliced white onion

METHOD / 
1. In a large bowl, combine chopped cabbage and salt. Mix until evenly coated.
2. Add cold water until cabbage mixture is fully submerged. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
3. Drain and rinse cabbage. Set aside.
4. Include all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and mix to combine. (Optional: you're welcome to use a blender or food processor to make this into a rough paste if you want.)
5. Add cabbage to mixture and toss to combine.

You can eat your kimchi immediately, but more traditionally you'll want to pack the kimchi tightly in a jar and leave it to sit in a cool dark place for at least 24 hours and up to five days before eating. The kimchi may bubble or leak as it ferments, so set it on a plate or a tea towel to catch any mess.

Can be kept in the fridge for up to a month. Enjoy!

20150128

A POST ABOUT HOUSE PLANTS


Alarmingly, it's been almost a year, and I still haven't killed off any of my houseplants yet. I suppose this means I have turned over a new leaf?

(No you didn't, you loved that.)

It started last year, after I unceremoniously killed off two Fiddle Leaf Figs in a row, followed by three succulents, in tragically quick succession. Fiddle Leaf Figs are one thing, but tell me, who kills off a succulent? The hell, Natalie. I decided then, officially, right there in my kitchen, that I simply could not live with myself if being myself meant routinely killing off house plants, because that is just not the type of home I run. Or anyway, that is not the type of home I want to run. It's like when you realize you're the type of person who should be composting, only you aren't composting, and so you start composting, thus fulfilling the prophesy? Or like that one time I finally started wearing penny loafers.

Right, so I started taking my houseplants very seriously, is the long story short of it. And it's very quickly become my favorite part of our home, that lo-o-o-o-ng row of houseplants that live along the windowsill in the living room.

(Who am I kidding, I have only one room. THE room. Living in a loft is funny sometimes.)

They are doing fairly well I am pleased to report, and now I will tell you my secret: I set an alarm for once a week. On my phone. To remind me to water my plants. 

Mondays. 

(Tee likes to have his fish bowl cleaned Sundays, because he's religious.)

I know this might sound somewhat pathetic. (I also have an alarm to remind me when it's bedtime, and when it's time to pick my kid up from school.) But there is no shame in my game and I am okay with admitting it: My brain resides fully inside a cracked iPhone. Eleven A.M, and I like to whisper sweet nothings to my green children as I go around splashing them with liquids. 

I still feel a twinge of regret over my poor Fiddle Leaf friends. I just wasn't ready for them. Fiddles are so finicky. They're like the peanut-allergy / gluten-sensitives of the houseplant world, and I was a peanut butter sandwich. It's a level of parenting I'll need to work up to. 

My plant babies are mostly arid types. A few cacti and some succulents, and some other spiny things I don't know much about except that they're pretty. Just a teeny tiny trickle, just once a week. Maybe a quarter cup at most. I'm pretty much rocking it.


But every mother has a favorite, and my favorite is Bob. Bob's a Bird of Paradise. I named him Bob for who knows why, but I really look forward to our weekly chats together. I fill the pitcher in the bathtub and give him a good long soak, all the while giving him compliments, filling him in on the important news of the day, that sort of thing. Bob tends to angle himself toward the sunlight and grow a little lopsidedly. I like to tell him it gives him character, but I usually give him a good twist to the left anyway, you know. He's never given me flowers but I try not to hold it against him.

I first met Bob on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope outside a store called The Bad Wife. The Bad Wife is a really stupid name for a grocery store. I just want that on the record. I went into The Bad Wife for the first time half expecting to find a grocery store dedicated to frozen TV dinners or something, but no, it was just a grocery store, for food. I don't know, it doesn't make any sense. Oddly I still find myself sorting through my feelings on the matter any time I walk past the place. But, Bob. From The Bad Wife. I hired the Bad Wife grocery guy to deliver Bob after his shift was over. Later that evening the guy showed up with Bob at the front door, all bushy and enormous and things (the plant, not the guy), and Brandon looked at me with his eyebrows all funny, because it turns out I forgot to mention that I'd bought it. Oops! Bad wife.

I expect Bob to keel over dead any minute now, but weirdly, it's one of my snake plants I've had the hardest time keeping healthy. Aren't snake plants supposed to be indestructible? Did I get the runt of the litter? The other two are doing great, but this one . . . I don't know what to do about my snake plant. I just can't figure him out. He's like that teenager slamming the door after stomping down the hallway (I don't have a hallway),"Nobody understands me!" I keep a set of kitchen shears handy so I can trim off the brown, curled dead ends that keep coming back, and I just know this upsets him. Do you think he thinks I'm trying to change him? Do you think he thinks I think he isn't enough on his own? Or maybe he's just acting out for attention? I make it a point to tell him something nice any time I think of it, which isn't that often. Which I suppose is part of the problem. 

Anyway, my friend Emily once wrote a post about her favorite houseplants. You can find it HERE. And I've just realized that I've written about my relationships to shrubbery before, and it's one of my very favorites. You can find that HERE.

The end.

20150127

SNOWED IN!!!!!!!


Weeeeeeeeell, not quite. 

I feel a little bad for rolling my eyes about this silly megasuperblizzardstorm nonsense, because we all just do our best, ya know? Poor Juno, she gave it a good effort. I'll give her an A+ for intent, a C- for execution, and a gold star! For a very entertaining Twitter feed. 

She started off impressive, we all had high hopes. The snow started falling Monday morning in big fat flakes, swirling gently just outside the steamy window of the café where I was writing on Bergen Street, all dense and quiet and soft and muffling. Bless her, it sure was pretty. The schools were closing early, offices seemed to have expunged all their employees by noon, the mayor or whoever had even turned the subways off--I didn't even know that was a thing! First time in history! So I turned to my girlfriend next to me--we meet up a few times a week at cafés all over the place to keep each other keep on task with our various writing projects and/or watch each other's laptops while the other (usually me) uses the restroom (hold me closer, tiny bladder). She's new to New York and crisis-level weather events, and so when I asked her if she was ready for the storm, her eyes got wide as saucers. "Ready how?" "Well, fill your bathtub with water tonight," I told, and then she said, truly terrified, "Why??" I thought about it and then I realized . . . huh, I don't actually know why. Why do we do that? We all have water towers, why would we do that? Isn't this weird? There must have been a reason for this once.

(I've dutifully filled my bathtub with water for two hurricanes so far, and never, not once, has that come in handy. Not once!)

And now we have a snow day. It's not actually a snow day, but everyone's operating on snow-day laws, so here we are, fully committed! Nothing is open! Pass me the socks! We got Brandon in his pajamas, me with no pants on, and then there's Huck, who is inexplicably fully clothed. (I think he may have slept in those jeans--parents of the year!) I'm trying to figure out why my photos always look great in Lightroom and then all weird once I get them on this blog (somebody knows the answer to this--give it up, please!), aaaaaand I'm also watching Homeland. You know. Productive Tuesday.

And now for the fun part! In case you ever wondered what a megasuperblizzardstorm in Brooklyn looks like, here you go. All your wildest fantasies fulfilled. Nothing but the best! 

First we're going to start with: THE F TRAIN.


I was on that train. It was a rather emotionally-charged sardine kind of experience. So squished. Many odors. A few passengers got into a shouting match when one used the F word, and another yelled "there are children present, watch your mouth!" and then another shouted, "YOU watch your mouth!" 

I also overheard this delightful conversation, between a dad and his two kids that (I'm guessing) he'd just picked up from school:

Dad: I'm sorry, but I wasn't about to sit there while they watched a movie about a racing snail, when they hadn't even seen Citizen Kane yet.

Boy: It's called Turbo. 

Dad: Hurbo??

Son: TURBO.

Dad: Well. It's just--I mean, watch The Graduate. Watch Citizen Kane. Casablanca! There are so many--The Godfather for crying out loud--and then we can talk about a racing snail.

Daughter: We saw Into The Woods over Christmas Break.

Dad: I did hear that one was really good.

Kiiiiind of made it worth it.


It is just now occurring to me that this could be the ugliest blizzard post on record.


Close us out with this guy, one of my handsome snow day cohorts . . . 


. . . and this guy, who walked two of the blocks on my way home with me and seemed completely unperturbed by my snow boots.


The end.