When The Boys Are Away, Drink Some Rose

So I’ve mentioned them before, but if Urban Grape wasn’t already my favorite wine shop (which they are) then now they are my more favoriter wine shop. Most favoritist. Which is impossible because they are already my favorite. Anyone still reading???

In the last week or so, Urban Grape opened its selection of Roses, and Lord help me if I don’t make it over there today. Every time I go into Urban Grape I come out with a bottle of wine that tastes nothing like anything I have tried before (in a good way). T.J. and his staff have compiled such a wonderful and unique compilation of bottles and producers that it seems impossible to go wrong. In fact, I find it hard to believe there is a bad bottle of wine in there…

But lets just say there is, for argument’s sake. (Assuming arguendo as they say in the intellectual world, when trying to, oh I don’t know, say its ok for the federal government to pick your doctor or, sheesh hmmm tell you how to spend all your money…) T.J. won’t let you have it. When you walk through the door, the staff pours you a glass of wine, starts chatting and helps you discover what you like and what you might not like as much. It’s brilliant. Then, by the way they have organized their selection, through weight, rather than by region, you can kind of guess that you like a whole wall full of wines rather than just a bottle. That way, you are free to discover new wines that you can feel more confident you will like, and if you don’t feel confident, you have an expertly trained staff to backstop you. It’s brilliant.

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More to the point, rose. I cannot wait to see what is going on over there and give a few a try. Sunny weather is always my impetus for my first rose, and even though its dreary out, I’ve already had my first bottle, so that statement is irrelevant. I broke the seal as they say in frat houses. 

Which I shouldn’t be saying because the whole point of this post is that the “frat house” of sorts that I associate myself with (if you consider Ivy-league educated, future lawyers “fratty,” which let me tell you, you should) is away on a softball-and-drinking trip which gives me time to finally finish bedazzling, settle the fight with my landlord, and paint my nails with glitter.

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Just a Pinch of Guilt, and a Taste of Silly

So please forgive my general absence this week. Yesterday’s post was me feeling guilty about not writing more, and then I started feeling guilty about only writing about shoes and colorful things, and then more feeling guilty about feeling guilty about things that I love even though they are things because I love them and who can be mad at me for that. Guilty.

 Are you picking up what I’m throwin’ down?

I have generally been in a bit of a sour mood lately, the fact that I was able to pair chambray with floral shorts and sandals for only a brief moment before being shoved back into boots and sweaters doesn’t help. I could go on and on, but it basically boils down to the fact that the world doesn’t get me and that makes me want to wear more eyeliner and get a pocket chain, and cover one eyelinered-eye with my hair, blah blah blah…

Only darkened one eye. Only half-emotional

But then it hit me. The whole reason I began being-a-blogger-and-what-not was to share my love of food and wine and shoes. And the whole reason I started cooking was to have something amazing to do at the end of a day. Sure, my feet are nowhere near my hair or my food, but I am pretty sure this finally counts as going full circle. Like in life.  

So I’m not much one for recipes, I like to kind of make things up as I go. This makes cooking more enjoyable to me because I feel like I am truly creating something. It also makes me a terrible baker and provides a sound reason my biscuits turn out like rocks.

  

To avoid making the same thing over and over, I need a few kitchen-references, which is why I love to watch Iron Chef and read Food & Wine. But despite the fact that I don’t have the Iron Chef resources in my apartment, this little spice and herb book gives me way more freedom to make what I want with what I have and have it turn out somewhat delicious.

By highlighting flavor and spice combinations, it teaches you about flavors on a big scale—what works and what doesn’t. It’s allowed me to build some complexity into my cooking, so that I have moved beyond “spicy” or “sweet.” Also, when I compile-a-pile of unregulated no-recipe spices, I feel more confident in throwing them in the pot, and less reliant on the ol’ fingers-crossed method of cooking without direction.

 

That Je Ne Sais Quoi

I promise more food soon, like tomorrow. Promise…probably.

Fashion can be tricky because it is easy to overthink. I am always reminded of this when I go out in my lace/leather/studs/floral/neon/pastel/hidden wedge combination and run into a friend in a t-shirt and jeans who looks so damn cool.

Simple shirt, simple jacket, simple pants. Super bomb-ass accessories. And boom, you’re Kate Moss. I had plans to actually take pictures of my own jean-and-shirt combos to put up here…you know, break old the ol’ modeling fact again, but then the world froze over again and I stopped wanting to go outside. The lighting inside doesn’t really do wonders for the bags under my eyes, so alas, I present you with three jean-and-t-shirt combos that I don’t own, but wish I did.

Plus, using the internet as my pretend closet allows me to “pad my fashion resume” by allowing me to say “oh yes of course, pair this with this and that with that and poof. Cinderella.” Now if only the legal world took more kindly to resume padding…

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About a Grape

Some grapes get a bad rap. For no good reason. Or because of an Oscar nominated film (now everyone feels self-conscious ordering Merlot).

Chardonnay is one of those grapes…sometimes. Ordering it sends a variety of messages. One can be “I usually drink Box wine and this is what it says on the outside of the ‘white’ one.” Or it can say, “I wanted to order white zinfandel but people are watching, so this is the next thing on my list.”

On the other hand, it can mean “I love delicious wine, and so I ordered some of that.

Ok, so this is clearly not a picture of Chardonnay, but this is my best friend and the girl with whom I’ve drinken/dranken/drunk more wine than anyone, so contextually, its appropriate.

Chardonnay originated in France, and is now most commonly found in blends from Chablis and Burgundy. The old world version of this grape is buttery, rich and smooth. In California, there is often more emphasis on aging the wine in oak barrels, or even adding oak chips to the barrels. This creates a very different flavor than what you might find in the French blends.

Both are very good, sometimes you want a little wood flavor in your glass. Seriously. In fact, that reminds me–Homework.

Buy a Burgundy (remember, Bourgogne) Chardonnay, and then a California Chardonnay. Try them. Taste them. Report back on the differences. If you are really feeling crazy (maybe its Wednesday) try a third from Chablis (a “subregion” of Burgundy), or even a champagne, which is often made with Chardonnay grapes.

Ok I’m teasing, you don’t have to do all three at once. But I’m also not the boss of you, so feel free to do as you please.

Put a Sock In It

When a person who is always impeccably styled gives you advice…you listen. That is why I know you all my mom is wearing floral jeans, wedge sneakers, and carrying bags made of carpet. She knows.

Anyway, I have a friend who never looks bad. Ever. It makes me so jealous. I see her, and I think to myself “Man, I hope she looks like a mess today.” But she doesn’t. And just kidding, I never think that. She told me about the wonders of the sock bun via this video of a young girl giving away her beauty secrets. And, not that I am surprised, it’s pretty much the best thing I have ever learned.

I tried to explain it to my boyfriend, who is never speechless, who then became speechless. Then, he giggled, said “What were you doing before I picked you up, getting tangled up in the laundry? You actually put a sock in your hair?!?” (Not sure what it says about me that he thought the latter was the less viable of the two options). There were a lot of really loud “HA!s” and then more giggling.

He hasn’t quite jumped on the bandwagon, that feet should be invited to dinner and also maybe to hairstyling…beauty events…. This doesn’t make sense, I was trying to go full circle, but you know what I am saying. Feet are people too.

I am pretty much inept when it comes to doing hair, and this has basically made me look like I can afford a stylist. You can see what any amount of humidity does to my hair, no sock can contain it fully, but it sure beats Aquanet and 20,000 bobby pins.

When you go to the ballet, it makes it easy to appear as though you are, in fact, a ballerina. Also, once you wear one, you can’t unwear one. Put a sock in it…

Weekday Wardrobe (W)Happenings

I woke up this morning so stressed about my week and all of the various meetings, and to-dos that have piled up. Then, I thought, “Oh I need to make time to write my blog-post about all my fun eating and clothing adventures this week.” Then I realized, maybe I am not so busy after all. But, I am. It’s a law student’s job to constantly feel like the busiest person on the planet.

In discussions for my next project (big.huge.staytuned.) I talked with a dear friend about how hard it is to put yourself out there (i.e. take pictures of yourself) on a blog that your friends and moms are going to see. It’s terrifying. On the other hand, people are my mom is always telling me, “Laura you are so fashionable. And everything you do is delicious.” (Just kidding, she would never say that.) So who am I to be selfish and keep all my good ideas to myself?

So Tuesday. Silent Auction to benefit public interest law, followed by a self-interested dinner and drinks at Parish Cafe (On the patio might I add…in Boston…in March) and then a stroll down Newbury with the man-friend. For those of you who do not know Parish Cafe, it has a selection of sandwiches created by some of the best chefs in all of Boston. Additionally, some of the proceeds are donated to the church next door. It’s wonderful.

T-Shirt, Adam by Adam Lippes. Skirt, Rag & Bone. Jacket, Armani Exchange. Necklace, Cara Couture. Bag, Yumi Kim.

I’m going to warn you now, I have plans to repeat this picture, so stay tuned and ignore the graininess.

Then there was Wednesday. Girls night dinner to Sorrellina in the Back Bay. To me, modern Italian cuisine obviously means leather and denim. I chose to wear it upside down though, with brown leather shorts and a denim jacket.

Shorts, Calypso St. Barth. Bag, Hayden Harnett. Shoes, BCBG Max Azria. Mullet Shirt, Cheap Monday.

Yes, it was laundry day in the picture above. Sue me. But don’t because I’m a know-it-all law student who will win.

Sorrellina’s was wonderful. We went for restaurant week and ordered an exorbitant three courses. In the first two, Burrata with proscuitto and rhubarb chutney, and a rib-eye with gorgonzola butter and a cheesy baked potato, my only complaint was the overdone-ness of the potato. But let me say, Holy Butterscotch Pudding. Seriously. Holy moly, amazing.

Denim jackets are always intimidating to bring back out of the closet. This one is Abercrombie & Fitch (seriously) and a remnant of my high school days. I’m hoping that now that I am old it has become ironically vintage. Then again, I think that is the whole marketing scheme of A&F so it might be too ironic to be ironic. Shoot.

Oh, and then this happened. Not as dramatic as the $1,000 ones with the pump-up-tongue, but really quite fantastic. Plus, they have inspired me to play some pick-up bball games and get a flat-top hair cut.

Shoes, Nine West Lana Sneakers.

What I Am Drinking On Wednesday Night

Well that detox lasted squarely through lunch…

So its March Madness, the best time of year for basketball fans. Really, if you can’t get into the Cinderella stories of this month each year, I would question whether you are a human. It’s so good.

Being that this time of year involves a lot of pizza and cheese dip, beer often feels more appropriate than wine. And even though the games take a hiatus on Wednesday, that is no excuse to get out of the holiday spirit. It’s hard to really get into the sports-fan mode without a beverage you feel comfortable drinking out of a plastic cup. I myself know very little about beer, but with the help of a few friends, I am undertaking to learn more. I am usually happy with a Sierra Nevada or a Blue Moon, but apparently limiting myself edges up against sacrilege within the beer-drinking community.

So I give you, something I can take no credit for, Idle Hands Triplication. Idle Hands is a local brewery, based out of Everett, Massachusetts. Triplication is a special release, said to be good for sipping during cold weather. I’m not about to let a little, ol’ 72 degree weather get in the way of my drinking though.

On St. Patrick’s Day, I tried a “Usual Suspect” from the same brewery called Pandora. It was sweet, with a little bit of caramel flavor. It was bright, citrusy and spicy but not heavy like I expect a lot of these “craft brews” to be. Missing all of that metal-can, and food coloring taste of most St. Patty’s day brews. Win some you lose some.

For those of you outside the Bay State, ask around for local breweries and try something new. I know there are plenty to be found in Colorado and New York at the very least. Let me know if you discover any winners.

So drink some beer. Dress up like your favorite team (dressing up as a Buffalo is hard, but I found this hat lying around and thought I would make something out of it). Cheer, celebrate and “sip” some beer. Tis the season after all.

Doing the Opposite of Drinking Wine

I’m talking juicing.

I suppose the actual opposite of drinking wine is throwing up…whatever the opposite of wine is–Mountain Dew? Well, I just mean drinking juice.

As of late, I have been trying to repair my weekend body to fun-weekday Laura by bringing juice to work for lunch. My combination has included kale, spinach, apple, mango, strawberries, beets, ginger, mint, orange, tangerine, whey protein, celery and cucumber. Usually not all at once, but I don’t really have a set recipe either. I just throw a bunch of things in and see what comes out.

No crazy detox, just an overload of fruit and veggies and antioxidants.

My jeans fit a little better, my skin feels a little more moist, and honestly I am sleeping better. And it seems to be going over well with the general public.

How you doin.

On Being 25

When I was 16, I frequently day dreamed about being 25. I thought I would have my dream job, my dream house, a gorgeous mister-fix-it-mister, two kids who were always quiet and never sticky, a dog who liked to sleep in late, a manicured lawn, an A.M. daily-yoga commitment and a penchant for baking pies that cooled in windowsills. To be fair, I also imagined that I would have a giant Clydesdale named Steve who would come to the window to eat apples and then fall asleep standing up. Lest you think I was too idealistic.

Instead of all that, I spend my single(ish–for census purposes only) non-mom-time getting dressed up for prom on non-prom days and pretending to be an ice dancer.

A Hungry Ice Dancer? Nope, that’s my I’m excited about prom face. I used to model.

So daydream-25-year-old-Laura never came to fruition. At all, really. I can’t imagine a place in my life where I don’t want the sleepy dog and the sleepy horse. I mean all those things are wonderful, but now that I am actually 25, I feel younger than I did at 16. I’m not sure I can handle the pressure of a grown-up life.

But its still a conflict in my head and in my closet and in my glass.  I like to say things like, “This dish needs something bright” or “I wish I hadn’t opened this bottle of Sancerre yesterday, its dull and flat” while I wear mismatched sweats and can’t get my hair out of the knot that its been in for four days. I like to wear miniskirts and high heels to a James Beard nominee’s restaurant. I like to sometimes miss class on account of too many PBR’s the night before, and then sleep in until 11:30.

I whip my hair back and forth. I make outdated hip-hop references.

The moral of the “story” is that I think 25 is actually fun, even though I hate it half the time. There is no right or wrong. Babies or no babies, husbands or hair flipping (or both), we pretty much have free rein (reign? rain?) this time in life.

The other moral is that I felt bad for my faux pas in yesterday’s post and thought I could make it up by putting up embarrassing pictures. Did it work? The last moral is that a blog about shoes and alcohol probably doesn’t need to be driven by moral reasoning, and I will take that into consideration in future posts. And the very last moral is that law school has made me obnoxiously reason-y.