Monday, April 20, 2015

latest obsessions

Monday, April 20, 2015

Bloodline. Every since the arrival of A almost FOUR years ago, I have struggled when it comes to watching movies.  It takes us no less than three days to watch one movie.  Sitting straight through is almost an impossibility.  Shows, however, have the wonderful joint qualities of brevity and closure-they don't require a big time commitment and are exceptionally entertaining in their own right.  I could go on and on about how impressive television has become-some of the best acting I have ever seen has been on the small screen-but it would be boring and reveal my pop culture nerdiness. Instead, I will tell you to immediately add Bloodline to your Netflix queue.  I was intrigued by the idea of a family drama centered around the unwanted arrival home of the proverbial "black sheep," but it was the presence of Kyle Chandler, of course, that ensured I would be watching.  It's Coach Taylor, y'all!  All FNL references aside, the cast is stellar, the story is twisty, dark and moody, with a Floridian setting that is somehow simultaneously beautiful (it's Islamorada in the Keys, in case you're wondering) and deeply sinister.  Ben Mendelsohn, the Australian actor that plays the damaged, erstwhile brother, puts in a particularly effective performance-half the time you're not sure whether to pity him or be terrified of him.

Four. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I have been sucked back into a teen saga. DON'T JUDGE! I loved reading Divergent, despite a less than satisfying end to the trilogy.  When the first movie came out last year, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.  It's GOOD, well-cast, fast-paced, and a decent representation of the book.  Anyway, when Insurgent came out a few weeks ago I fell right back into the books again, including the short story collection from Four's perspective which I had previously ignored.  So good!  And for me, it was something like the accidental discovery of a whole bar of dark chocolate in the pantry.

Inna Jam's Inna Shrub, Bearss Lime. Shrubs are becoming all the rage in the trendy foodie/bartending world.  A blend of vinegar, sugar, and fruit that has been condensed to a sweet syrup, a shrub can be mixed with sparkling water or alcohol to create refreshing, albeit slightly weird, drinks.  It's a bit of an acquired taste, I think, and I still can't get my SH on board-he cringes when I bring out the bottle.  I'd read about Inna Jam in Whole Grain Mornings (see obsession below) and considering that it's a small, local company I decided to try the shrubs.  Drinking water is not my strong suit-I know I need to, I know it's good for me, but I'm just not a big drinker of anything, really.  I was immediately intrigued by the shrub and thought it might be an inspired choice to brighten up my boring water.  So far, I've tried Royal Blenheim Apricot, Meyer Lemon, and Triple Crown Blackberry-all were good, but nothing as fabulous as Bearrs Lime. Super tart, barely sweet, and delicious! Last season, it was quickly out of stock, being the newest and BEST flavor, so I'm stocking up this time.

Essential oils.  Yes, I'm on the proverbial bandwagon. I can't get enough.  Even my little A kicks his feet out every morning for the "spicy" Thieves oil blend.  I can attest to their effectiveness-we have been exposed to an ungodly amount of bugs this year (including a stomach bug, which is literally my worst nightmare and something that I loathe so much that I even feel like I'm tempting fate by writing about it!!) and have, for the most part, sailed through them.  I am convinced a big part of that is using the oils regularly.  I think the combination of lemon-peppermint-lavender, or "allergy trio", as it's known in the oily world, has been helpful for my SH's crippling allergies.  We went through a period of time a few months ago when naps were getting a bit dicey and a minor application of lavender resulted in the most blissful, peaceful sleep for my little guy at a time when he really needed it.  I've been using homemade all-purpose cleaner, utilizing both oregano and melaleuca (tea tree) oils, and the only cleaner I utilize now that is not chemical-free is dishwasher detergent.  Sadly for me, I got to put the oils to test on not one, but two outbreaks of pesky cold sores, and I am pleased to report that on my last outbreak, the oil I used (YL's Purification blend) stopped my cold sore in its tracks.  Love, love them.  For the most part, I'm using Young Living oils-a cousin I adore is an active distributor-but there are lots of excellent, high-quality oils available.  They are expensive, but ultimately, I think they're going to pay off in the end.

Food 52.  I was introduced to Food 52, a website co-founded by Amanda Hesser and Merril Stubbs, by my favorite Molly Wizenberg when she mentioned writing a column for them.  As I am a seriously nerdy fangirl and would read anything Molly has written, I immediately scoured the website for the column and found myself completely captivated by everything that I found.  It's an excellent, beautifully designed and well-curated site, driven almost exclusively by reader content.  The central idea is one of an online food/cooking community, and it has grown and developed into something really spectacular, abounding with delicious recipes, wonderful ideas, and thoughtful commentary.  There is now an online store, Provisions, which contains so many lovely and unique items that I almost never look through them because I know that I will want to buy all the things.  I signed up for the daily emails, and I never tire of looking at them.  How many things could one say that about? Have you ever heard of a daily email that was actually something to look forward to?  The latest articles to pique my interest include: "4 Messy Kitchen and Home Projects to Embrace This Weekend", ""Too Many Cooks: Who Has Changed the Way You Cook", "6 Things We Learned While Whiskey Testing", and "Joanna Goddard from Cup of Jo's Lunchtime Tricks."  Something for everything!  Check it out-you won't regret it.

Whole Grain Mornings. I've written about Megan Gordon's breakfast cookbook here before, in my rather prideful post about the amazing granola I made.  That post wasn't actually even about Megan's granola, which I have since made many times and adore, but I've basically fallen completely in love with her cookbook, and everything that I've made has been out-of-this-world delicious.  Rather than go into it too much here, I've given myself the lofty goal of writing about one MG recipe a day for the rest of this week.  Gingerbread, pancakes, baked oatmeal-lots to anticipate.  Whether I reach that goal or not, I cannot speak more highly of this book.  Megan's blog, A Sweet Spoonful, is also great.  I plan on making the coconut oatmeal cookies from her latest post this week.

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