Monday, July 23, 2012

Crafty Summer

There is nothing quite so soothing and inspiring as the piny, pungent smell of a Home Depot. It thrusts me back in time to other trips, buying basement doors and bathroom fixtures with my parents as a kid, while riding on the flatbed cart under the disapproving eagle eyes of orange clad employees. Every waft of lumbar soaked air makes me feel like I could build a house singlehandly, with my bare hands

Last weekend in a fit of crafty zeal, I decided to make a mason jar vase wall hanging. I'm usually one to buck trends, not succumb to them, but this vase idea was just too darling to pass up! 

I checked some tutorials, made a list, and headed off to HD, feelin' good. Despite not having been there in quite some time, I imagined myself to be of hardy, Home Depot stock. Someone who could stroll through the automatic doors and know exactly where I was  going. Hose clamp? check. Mending plates, screws, scrap wood? check checkity check. I got this, friendly Home Depot employee with the orange apron and back brace. Don't even worry about it.  

Except, I didn’t actually know what a mending plate was used for (still don't, unless you count mason jar crafts!), so all the well labeled aisles in the world couldn't have helped me with that one. And a hose clamp. . .?  

Blessedly, every employee in that place is dying to help you, so after some wandering around trying to look confident and collected, I gave up and let them do just that.

This might have been one of the easiest projects I've ever taken on. Literally, the most challenging part was picking out the color of the paint for the wood mount. And painting it took the longest too!

Here are a few pictures of the process, and the finished project! I have some excess wood lying around waiting to be crafted into something else fun. Perhaps another trip to The Depot is in store? Hooray!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Ummm, remember how I wrote that post {yesterday} about how my laptop charger had failed completely after a tragic fall and I was computerless until such time as I got it fixed?

Funny story.

Apparently, when you plug things into a surge protector and then accidentally turn said surge protector off while vacuuming the day before, the things plugged into it stop working.

So. False Alarm. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

that one particular time

You  know how sometimes you drop your phone/laptop/kindle/any electronic ever and you have a major freak out and are practically scared to pick it up and see the damage? Then, you do pick it up, and it's fine; nary a scratch.

But then sometimes, you drop your laptop and you're not really panicked because it fell only a foot to the carpeted ground and you've done it a million times before and freaked out but then it was fine. You pick it up calmly only to realize you've shattered the port that connects your computer to your charger which is imperative to its operation because your stupid Dell lost most of its battery function within about 6 months of you owning it.


Well, that's what happened to me last week. My computer flew off the couch of it's own accord (Ok, I might have perched is precariously on the edge and then kicked it off by accident. . .). I didn't panic, because I'm always performing acrobatic stunts with my laptop and it survives. Not this time.

I taped the port back together and it was sort of functional for running the computer, if not charging it. This morning, however, my tired computer was done with that trash and just as I realized I was in dire straights, BAM, it shut down.

"You're done, Katydid, but thanks for trying."

Five years ago this would have been more than just a hiccup, it would have been a major catastrophe because I would have been without internet completely (God forbid) and, basically, living like a cavewoman*.  (Luckily (or not so luckily), we now live in the age of smartphones and really have to try if we want to be sans internet access)

So, what I'm really trying to say is, this post was supposed to be about some fun, crafty housewares I created this weekend, but instead you get to read about the demise of my computer cord. Hopefully, a replacement will arrive soon and the crafting posts will be back in action. I know you're itching for the day!

*post script: I use the word 'cavewoman' (which, actually, is probably supposed to be 2 words) in this post loosely. I'm pretty sure cave people lived without a few other ammenities, as well. Like showers. . .and chocolate.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vineyard Eats

 Upon arriving at the island, I wasn't really expecting anything to crazy when it came to my culinary experience. I basically expected to eat a bunch of chewy fried seafood and call it a wash. 

 On my first night, E and I headed over to Sharky's Cantina for some nachos and cocktails. We are what you might call Nacho Enthusiasts. And while we have the lockdown on the best of Boston, we wanted to see how MV compared. Umm, total win for the island folks. Best nachos of my life. Boston can't compare and I'll be dreaming about those crispy chips for a long time to come. 

Those nachos were followed up by Eileen Blake's Pies, a little island secret. Eileen's gone now but her family continues the tradition of selling her amazing pies in a hut in the middle of nowhere on MV.  E and I settled on a peach raspberry pie and made sure to grab some vanilla ice cream to go with it. Nothing says summer like sitting on the porch of a beach house idulging in some still warm from the oven pie and ice cream. 

Friday evening, we made our way to Lambert's Cove Inn the oldest inn on the island for some fine dining thanks to a gift certificate passed onto us. We both indulged in the restaurants version of kobe beef. Beer feed, classical music listening, spa attending steak. It was like melt in your mouth butter, perfectly cooked and served with truffle potato croquettes and grilled asparagus. I know you're already drooling and waiting for a picture. Unfortunately, this was not the kind of establishment where one whips out ones camera or smartphone for a photo. Far be it from me to be that person. Instead, you can enjoy this cheesy photo of me creeping by the Inn's sign. Almost as good, right (I mean, I listen to classical music sometimes and drink beer sometimes, too!)? 

There were delightful sandwiches and bananachocolatechipwalnut pancakes from the famous Black Dog Tavern. and for our final evening: Local lobster and scallops! I'm not a huge lobstar fan, but man those scallops were buttery soft in a pool of butter and cream sauce.

And that amazing burger up on the right? That would be grilled in the backyard to sweet perfection by E and I on Saturday night. It was the crowning achievement of all my grilling adventures. Well played, Martha's Vineyard, well played.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vineyard Vines

Orange freckles of light pooled over the Atlantic Ocean, the sun a fiery ball peeking under blue and pink clouds as my ferry chugged it's way into Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. I was joined on deck by dozens of other breathless spectators as we hesitated to head downstairs to wait to disembark as directed. The scene outside was far more enticing.

As I stepped off the ferry Thursday night, I immediately spotted my friend Elissa waiting for me excitedly at the bottom of the dock. She had been on the Vineyard all week and I was joining her for my first official Vineyard weekend!  

Our days were filled with delightful adventures including a 12 mile bike ride (during which I realized the old adage "it's just like riding a bike" is total crap. I haven't ridden one in forever and I was quite a spectacle, I assure you. . .thankfully, no one was killed.), beach trips, amazing food and the satiating goodness of just being by the ocean (we could see it from the house).

My favorite part of the trips might have been the last day. We decide to drive across to the west end of the island, and I was shocked at the difference. Gone were the touristy shops, restaurants and inns. Instead as we wound around one of the few island roads we were surrounded by stunning farmlands, brush fields, and tree hung paths. At each turn the ocean sparkled in the distance; tiny boats bobbed in the sun. I felt like I was back in France, winding along the Mediterranean. Moments like these are when I know why the word "breathtaking" was invented. We saw the Aquinnah cliffs, a true marvel, and finished the night watching the sunset over the ocean at Menemshah. As I write this, I'm longing to be back there. In the wild, overgrown thick of that side of the island. I still can't believe it existed.

As always some scenes from our trip, and tomorrow, I'll be blogging about all our gastronomic delights , of which there were many!


Monday, July 9, 2012


As the Fourth of July approached this year,  I started to feel cramped by city living and my "garden level apartment (read: basement)" with no porch. A wave of nostalgic longing for a giant grill to BBQ things on overtook me. And lets not forget a yard in which to play summery games and drink cool drinks and have lots of lovely friends and family around. Capped off with some fireworks, that sounds like the perfect Independence Day celebration to me.

Blessedly, some college pals felt the same so we cooked up (get it, heh) a last minute BBQ for a few old and new friends. Nothing too fancy but just what I needed to feel appropriately patriotic (my red and blue attire wasn't enough). Post cook out, some of us headed into the city to join the masses at Boston's 4th of July spectacular, which really is, if you ever wondered.

We have connections with a guy who gets to the esplanade along the Charles River at about 4:30 AM to save the best seats in the house, so it was there that we gathered to wait. . .and wait. . .and wait

A few pals and I sticking out the heat for the fireworks!
Finally after several hours and shortly before the show was to begin, we were informed the patriotic display was postponed from 10:35 to 11 PM because of a lightening storm across the river. Undeterred, my group and I decided potentially getting struck by lightening was a small price to pay for front row seats and stuck it out.

Our perseverance was rewarded when they started the show almost on time, after all! 

As we gazed up in wonder at the fireworks bursting in air, a few drops of rain began to fall, turning into a steady, pelting rain. For a moment, people looked around concerned and then  it seemed like we all made the collective decision that this was just something to make Fourth of July 2012 more memorable.  

It was one of those amazing moments where I felt so close to all the strangers around me as we laughed and squealed as the rain soaked our clothes and belongings, loathe to take our eyes off the sky to hide phones and cameras. The showers only last 1o minutes, or so, and then left us to watch the finale in peace-cooled from the humid heat of the early evening, and oohing and aahing over the magic above. 

It was perfect. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

KatyInTheKitchen: 4th of July!

Turning on the oven is just about the last thing I wanted to do this week. Boston's been having some hot weather and our little apartment doesn't exactly enjoy nice air flow. Nonetheless, I wanted to make a special sweet treat for a cook out yesterday. Immediately, upon offering to bring dessert, I knew I was going to reprise the strawberry cake recipe I'd made this spring for a friends birthday.  And what better excuse for some delicious baked goods than a Fourth of July cook out?!

This recipe uses freshly pureed strawberries and lemon zest for a sweet and tangy zing. Add cream cheese frosting and blueberry garnish and you have a red, white, and blue treat perfect for a patriotic affair!

If you'd like the recipe, check it out here. I changed things ups a bit, using more lemon zest, no food coloring and tweaking the cream cheese frosting to my own tastes. It's definitely summer-y, delicious, and worth a bake!

Monday, July 2, 2012

I'm the New Sinatra

Bryant Park at dusk, New York, NY

A weekend or two ago, some friends and I headed out to NYC for the weekend for a little summer fun. Though I was excited to be with my friends and have a nice trip, I can't say I was overwhelmed with the idea of visiting the city.

I've been to New York many times over the years, as I grew up in CT not so far away, and I always seem to do the same trite tourist activities. I underestimated my travel companions though and their laid back and much less traditional approach to travel. We enjoyed some amazing Brazilian food, had a little tattoo parlor fun, and wandered the streets of the East Village, among other fun activities I don't usually get to do.

A highlight of the trip was heading to the Bronx to visit the Botanical Gardens where a recreation of Monet's garden at Giverny was on display. I love that man-I grew up obsessed with this book and one of my biggest regrets after a trip to France I took many years ago is that I wasn't able to go to Giverny!

A few of my favorite scenes from our weekend:

1) Jenna in her first NY taxi! 2 &3) Hannah holding this enormous tropical lily for all the overzealous photographers

Everything about this  cracks me up. This is Jenna "posing" with her first NYC taxi after riding in it. Except it started to drive away and everything got out of hand!