One Great–But Very Bad–Drink Suggestion, and One Legitimately Great Drink Suggestion

I love that The Pool recommends a French 75 as a brunch drink. Personally, I love a French 75–but drinking one always makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the face. So good luck to you, lady, if you dare try this.

I’m wildly late making a holiday drink suggestion, but I fucking love this Smoky Sage Punch from Serious Eats. I might possibly know from experience that you can consume several of these before you start to feel a little punched, as it were.

‘Tis the Season for Recipes

Here are two things I’d like to try making:

  1. Mushroom Toad in the Hole with Onion Gravy;
  2. This simple-but-divine lasagna (actually I want the whole cookbook, even though I think cookbooks are sort of over).

Here are two recipes I’ve made before, and can vouch for:

  1. These Chantilly Potatoes with Parmesan Crust are just fucking bonkers good. Mashed potatoes turned up to 11. Zero regrets; planning to make these again this year.
  2. My sister-in-law E and I made these Eggnog Cups last year. The end results delicious, and it’s a great recipe to work on as a duo.


Let’s Move Into These Two Houses

Run-down properties in strange corners of BC are my jam.

My latest love is this twofer deal in Powell River.

There are two houses on the property: the main house is 3 beds and 1 bath, and the other one is a little 1 bed.

The kitchen in the main house is a little vintage dream. Obviously that eye-searing yellow tile would have to go, but I’d bet all those cabinets just need a fresh coat of paint…! I’d also look into getting an under-counter refrigerator, which would create a little more counter space near the stove (there would be space for a second refrigerator in the unfinished basement if additional food storage were required; but really single people don’t need big fridges!). And I’ve recently discovered that tiny dishwashers are a thing, so I’m sure it would be possible to retrofit something.

I’d also want to create a proper dining room, to eliminate the need for seating in the kitchen itself. If you knocked down the wall between the living room and the front bedroom, you could have a nice spacious grand room in the front of the house, with the kitchen right behind. You could even open up the stove/fridge wall, and create something really open concept, with a little bit of bar seating on the other side.

The kitchen space in the second house is a mess… Obviously someone got half-way through their reno, and then either ran out of money or energy or both.

So, the perfect plan for this place would be: move into the main house, and finish the work on the small house. Nothing fancy: just make it comfortable and livable, with the aim of eventually renting it out (or running an artist residency…?). Then, once the small house is ready, move in there for a few weeks while getting work done on the main house. Then, move back into your nicely renoed main house, and pay it all off by renting out the little house!

There’s also this sweet little garage–maybe someday to be an art studio…?

I’m in love. Fuck knows what I’d do for a living in Powell River, but this is a dream property as far as I’m concerned!

Finished Object: French Cancan

Here’s a pro tip for you: just, you know, finish the damn thing.


According to Ravelry, I cast on a French Cancan in March of 2015. And, as I remember, it was a pleasant and quick knitting experience. The Madelinetosh Pashmina yarn was a soft, bouncy, butter dream to work with. I got all the way to the end of the shawl: all I had left to do was weave in the ends and block it. But instead of wrapping up these inconsequential tasks, I shoved the shawl into a bag, which eventually got shoved into a closet, where it languished for more than a year.

Plenty of points to pin.

This shawl floated through my mind the other morning, emerging as a perfect thing to wear right now (matches the jacket I wear often; would be cozy for the chilly weather without being too bulky). So I spent five minutes weaving in the four (four!) dangling yarn ends, gave it a quick bath in the kitchen sink, and then spent about half an hour pinning out the 140ish points in the edging.

Honestly, the most difficult thing about the whole process was avoiding tripping over the shawl while it was drying on the living room floor.

I feel like such a dummy for not finishing this ages ago. It is the perfect amount of shawl–my version is really more scarf-sized, I suppose–for the chilly-ish weather Vancouver has been getting lately.

So, note to self for future projects: just finish the damn thing.

I wonder what other almost-done items are lurking in that closet…?

Holiday Nails

Last week I saw the Essie 2016 Winter Collection in this gift guide and was instantly OMG GIMME GIMME GIMME. I had to go to two different Shopperses (Kingsgate Mall: no; Main Street @ 17th: yes) but it was worth the extra few blocks’ walk.

They’re all great shades, but for the sake of my poor wallet and over-flowing bin of nail products, I limited myself to “Oh Behave.” In the bottle it looks like a cool-toned dusty Grandma pink shot through with a little bit of gold shimmer, but on my nails it looks much more orange and warm.

So while I do wish it were a bit more pink and a bit cooler, I’m nevertheless loving it. It’s very divorcee-on-a-tropical-island to me, and not at all Christmassy–so perfect nails for celebrating a very merry Atheistspinstermas! I’m going to keep this shade on for the next couple weeks.

Book Recommendation: Laurie Colwin Really is So Good

I was stuck on ferries and buses and the SkyTrain today, coming back from a few days with my parents, and decided on a whim to re-read Laurie Colwin’s Happy All The Time (apparently The Crying of Lot 49 and To A Mountain in Tibet–the books I’d meant to read–were not quite doing it for me). I have a crush on someone, and my current emotional state is “it probably won’t work out, but at least I’ve discovered I’m not actually dead inside,” and Happy All the Time suits that perfectly.

I first read this a few months ago, and it totally holds up on a second go-around. It’s a wonderful romantic satire; it really is just so much fun to watch two men face their confusion and helplessness when confronted by two women who are truly individuals, and not merely “women.” Colwin’s wit is so sharp, and yet so warm. There is a great heart, and a great optimism, to this book that is totally at odds with the current socio-political mood, and yet it remains utterly beguiling.

Also, Happy All the Time is one of the few e-books I own (I really do prefer paper, but the iPad comes in handy now and again), and at the end, it has a fun little biographical section with photographs.

How perfect is this sullen teenager look that Miss Colwin is rocking? Of course you’d be utterly scornful of your mom seeing you off on your tour to Europe while your dad snaps photos like a freakin’ dork.

Home Cooking is marvellous, too, and now I need to read everything Laurie Colwin has ever written.

Link 51: Applicable Advice, Whether You’re American or Not

Lindy West in the Guardian, being the brilliant powerhouse that she is.

I don’t usually cry over things, but her closing line made me nod my head and think “That’s a sentiment worth getting teary-eyed over.”