Friday, June 27, 2008

Gardening: Maybe I Don't Suck

It's been two weeks since I replanted the garden and it's actually looking quite fantastic! These photos were taken last week and it's already gotten prettier looking. Well, some plants are prettier, some are more dead looking. But none are all the way dead, so this is a HUGE success for me and my brown thumbs.

I went to Lowe's and asked for plants that could withstand intense heat and an absent waterer. He recommended the potato plant. Unfortunately for me, it doesn't actually grown potatoes. But it does have sweet little purple flowers. There's also some lilac and a fern (that's old... I'm not sure where it came from.)

I have no clue what this is. But it's cute and pink and bushy-esque.

I've had this one for a while. Don't know what it is. But it got real dead for a while. Now it's coming back! It even has little green sprouts! WOOOO.

The basil doesn't look so hot in the afternoon. I think the sun is too much. But in the evening/morning it perks right up and looks fantastic. And this was a week ago. It's much fuller now. I think of pizza when I smell it.

The chocolate mint. It's not doing so hot. Some of it is dead... some of it is still alive. It smells AWESOME! And how adorable is the little metal sign that says "mint"?! Fantastic.

I.Love.This. It's beach grass and it looks so summery and fun.

My little garden :-) I have a bet going with my Sister-in-Law that the garden will still be alive when she goes home (she's here for the summer). I can't lose... too stubborn. Plus, a dollar is a lot of money these days.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gardening: I Suck

Gardening was not originally part of the Jordana Project. Mostly because I REALLY suck at it, and it's going to take a LOOOONG time to get good at it. And I don't really care too much. Now, I would love to have a nice lush "garden" on the balcony. But I'm not sure it's in the cards for us.

(A) the space is small
(B) it gets DIRECT afternoon sun. So hot that the candle wax melts, the plants die and it is totally and completely disgusting between 3 and 8 pm.
(C) I have a habit of forgetting to feed things that can't yell at me to be fed.

It's looking so incredibly sad out there, I decided to rip it all out and replant. It was necessary. For the third time this year.

These are the "before" shots. Later, there will be "after" shots. The "after" is much greener. And less sad.

Gardening gets added to the project. I'm hoping to grow fewer dead things :-)

Baking: Bowl Style

I've been baking on the run recently. Quick, fast & easy is good. But it also has to be fantastic! Like, "I've-Never-Seen-These" fantastic. Smitten Kitchen NEVER dissapoints. I wanted cookies, because they travel well and the website has a search function. Voila! Margarita Cookies.

Holy crap how have I never seen, heard, eaten, fallen in love with, these cookies yet!? They are fantastically delicious and I adore them to pieces and will make them all the time. They're sweet. But salty. FULL of flavor. And delicious.

Go. Make them. Soon!

Cooking: Bowl Style

There's this place in my hometown that makes the most amazing chicken salad that there ever was on the entire planet. Lots of mayo, moist chicken and dill. I think that's it. You get it on a bagel with melted provolone and it's to.die.for.

Chris makes a yummytastic chicken salad, but I wanted him to try this one. And he did. And it was fabulous.

He also added cucumber, because we were out of celery. And it was awesome because I hate celery. But it added a nice crunchy, but not overpowering flavor. So super summery.

I would add a recipe here, but Chris doesn't do recipe. From what I can gather, it looked like boil chicken. Chill. Add mayo, cucumber, dill. Mix. Chill. Serve.

But then again, it's all just in his head.

Anne's Birthday Extravaganza: Hollywood Bowl Version

Anne couldn't just have one birthday party! Night two of extravaganza continued at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday night with some groups that I'd never heard of and Thivery Corporation, who I'd barely ever heard of .

Chris and I accidently arrived super super early. Which ended up working to our advantage. We were able to park at the very front of the stack, just off Highland! We took a walk to Starbucks, hung out a bit and had a mini photo shoot.

I saw these shoes mid-photo shoot and had a love/hate relationship with them. So I snapped a photo to remember our little mini-affair.

Then it was go time! We hiked up the hill with our cooler and Annes' bar-in-a-cooler.

Natalie was not so much a fan of the jello shots.

But Chris enjoyed!

It was an excellent evening with some excellent music!


I believe we all had contact highs as that seems to be the cool kid thing to do at the Bowl and all of our neighbors were cool kids. Funny story - I crashed when we got home. And then I overslept this morning. Like, woke up 2 minutes before I was supposed to be out the door. So got ready in record time, but had to forgo the shower. As I was in the car, I realized that I might smell like pot! (I asked around at the office... I didn't!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baking: Vanilla Cake & Anne's Birthday

I am so amazingly lucky to be surrounded by this group of smart, funny, attractive, ridiculous and fabulous women. To tell the truth, I'm not really a girl's girl. I don't make friends with women that often. And when I do, I'm not crazy close to them. It's an independence thing I guess.

Regardless, this group of women is so amazingly awesome and I am so proud to be able to call myself a part of this circle. I so look forward to our monthly gatherings that I'm thinking they should DEFINITELY be more than monthly. Hell, I'd be thrilled to catch up weekly!

Tonight was a special gathering... it's Anne's birthday! We headed to Camilo's restaurant in Eagle Rock and then to a wine bar next door. The food was excellent, the wine spectacular and the company superb.

How lucky am I?!

Anne is, by far, the nicest person I've ever met on the entire face of the planet. She will go out of her way to help you, just because she knows it will take a load off of your shoulders. She is talented beyond belief. I am super envious of her design skills. Her husband is to die for. She's just all around fantastic and I am thrilled to have her in my life.


I wanted to bake for her. We bought her some sort of paper cutter machine (one part because she really wanted it and another part because we knew she'd make fabulous things for us!). But EVERYONE needs a homemade fantastic cake on the birthday!

So I ran home from work and whipped up Martha's Yellow Cake. Yeah, I should have reached for the backup box I have in the pantry because I was SOOOOO far behind schedule, but you can't box it for a birthday! Only from scratch for my besties. Then the Vanilla Bake Shop Buttercream Frosting. YUUUUMMY!

Here came the issue. I was out of time. I iced them before they were cooled. BAAD choice when you've got 4 (count 'em. FOUR) sticks of butter and some sugar that you need to stay in place. I decided to chance it. There was some sliding. Opps. Into the car. MORE sliding. By the time I arrived at the restaurant, there was icing everywhere except where it need to be.... on the cake! The Maitre'D was awesome and said they'd fix it. Apparently, by "fix it" he actually meant that they would put some raspberries on top and call it a day. (at least they matched my cake plate... I appreciate that!)

Whateves. When you've got the most supportive ladies behind you, a hot mess of a cake is more hilarious than disastrous. And it's still delicious!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


My Knottie/Bloggie Buddy Lizy tagged me! Does it make me a complete and total dork that I loved to be tagged!? It's awesome and I love it. I would probably also love all those facebook crap/application things that I get all the time... if I understood them! (For my friends that do that, I don't understand what it is and what I have to do. So I delete out of fear, not hate for you. I love you.)

So, the rules of my most recent tag!

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 songs you are embarrassed to admit to others you like and tell why.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

In my last tag on quirkiness, I mentioned my all out love for ridiculously old music. Can't help it... love it. This comes at an awesome time because I just burned a CD with 7 songs on it that I love and put on repeat that I don't so much want to admit that I absolutely love.

1. Forever Young, Alphaville - Napoleon Dynamite to the max. (and I love it)

2. Why, Annie Lennox - There was SYTYCD performance to this last year that I ADORED. I rewound and watched it over and over again. I can still see it in my head. It was that good.

3. 4 minutes, Justin & Madonna - Heard it at a bar recently and really enjoy it. Think I should add it to my gym playlist.

4. Friday I'm In Love, The Cure - Wendy introduced me to The Cure, this song was on their wedding website and I, for serious, would keep the website on in the background of my computer and just listen to the song.

5. Make Love in The Club, Usher - There's something about this song that I love.

6. Lonely Night in Georgia, Marc Broussard - I don't know who this person is. Just found in my iTunes library when I was burning the CD. I really like him and am not embarassed for this particular song.

7. I'm Shipping Up to Boston, Dropkick Murphys - Sometimes Chris and I put this song on and pretend we know how to Irish dance all Micheal Flatley style. Well, it only happened once. But it was awesome and I think we should do it again. Soon.

I'm too tired to tag people. But if you are embarassed for your choices, please blog about it. I wanna read it :-)

Monday, June 16, 2008


I met this horse in a field this weekend. Well, I was in a field... he was behind a fence. I got one shot. The closing shutter and the click scared her.

I think I should ride again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Body: Slow & Steady

Date: Friday June 13
Weight: 124
Progress: 4 pounds to go

I've been good and bad. I've been getting to the gym 3 times a week. Which is good. But I've been eating lots of snickity snacks. Brownies and Cookies and Cake. Oh My. But it is delicious and I love it. The key really is just the balancing act. For every brownie that goes in, there must be some gym time exerted.

I'm feeling svelte which is awesome. There's a huge possibility that they replaced the mirrors at my gym with skinny mirrors. You know, the mirrors that make you look awesome. Subtle fun house mirrors.

It's nice to just have this open goal. Before the wedding there was a timeline. A definite finish line for the hot body race. Now, it's just open... I can be fast or slow and enjoy the cookies/cake/ice cream/etc. and it's awesome.

My friend Jen posted something super interested that she read in Self Magazine. All about a "reasonable" weight. I'm going to have to agree with Jen on most of what she says. Go read it, quite interesting stuff!

Cooking: Cedar Plank Salmon

Getting food inspiration delivered directly to my inbox has been the most awesome thing ever! My last venture came courtesy of I Shot The Chef. I love her. A lot. Her food is delish and her photos are amazing. Her husband is a professional photographer, so she's super lucky!

This was a big venture in that I'd never used a grill before. Or Cedar planks. Or giant chunks of fish. But I wanted to learn! And the prospect of smoky cedary salmon was so intriguing.

I let the plank soak for an hour. So it doesn't catch on fire.

I'm guessing that I bought waaaaaaay too much. The lady suggest a 1 1/2 pound chunk. But it was a little more around 1.8 pounds. Heavy.

So, Chris came home when it was time for the grill portion of the evening. Which was good, because I couldn't light the damn thing.

It was also good because he wears the grill light. I'm not dorky enough for it. It also has a night vision setting. He feels really super cool when he wears it.

All was going really well. It was smoking (which it is supposed to do.) And it smelled AWESOME! Then I glanced over, and it was on FIRE!

It ended up good, a bit charred on one end. But delicious!

There was some asparagus as well. I just wrapped it in tin foil, squeeze of a lemon and a few shakes of kosher salt. It was a tad limp, but excellent nonetheless.

I Shot the Chef told me I could reuse my plank, but she was a total liar. It is super blackened and super ick.


Rob Holley, my wedding photographer, called yesterday.

Elegant Bride called him.

They're interesting in publishing our wedding!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It Feels Like Summer!

So, on Friday, I headed out to capture it!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cooking: Potato Pizza

The Smitten Kitchen strikes again. This woman really knocks my socks off and I adore every recipe that I steal from her.

Friday night was Jim Lahey's Potato Pizza. I don't know who this Jim Lahey guy is (and by the way she writes about him, I probably should), but his pizza is fabulous! Well, it's more bread and topping than pizza as we all know and love it. Fantastic bread and topping.

I got to use my dough hook for the first time! Didn't think it would be able to do much. But it worked amazingly well.

Made the dough on Thursday because there is much rising involved. Note to self: don't forget to put it away. It sat out all night. And all day. Got slightly crusty and super difficult to work with. A splash of water took care of it. And we didn't all die from food poisoning... so that rocks.

The mandolin made a second appearance and I must say that I.Love.It. How did I slice before her?!

The perfection of each slice kills me.

It was absolutely fantastic. Made two little pizzas and that was more than enough for 3 of us. Tastylicious!

Jim Lahey's Potato Pizza
via Smitten Kitchen

Makes two 8-inch pizzas or one 14-inch pizza

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cold water
Olive oil, for bowl and pans
1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
2 potatoes, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) [I used Yukon Golds, and I believe this is what Lahey uses as well]
1/2 onion, diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh rosemary (optional)

1. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer, and slowly add 1 cup cold water. Mix on low speed until ingredients begin to combine. Switch to a dough hook and continue to mix for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and cleanly pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.

2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and allow to rest for 2 to 4 hours until it has doubled in size. Split the dough into halves, and form each into a log. Place each log on a generously floured surface, and allow it to rest until the formed dough doubles in size again, at least 1 hour.

3. While the dough rises for the second time, repare the potato topping. Slice potatoes very thin using a knife or a mandoline. Then soak them in several changes of ice water to remove excess starch and prevent discoloration. Drain slices in a colander, toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain any accumulated water. In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, onions, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 440 degrees. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets with vegetable oil. Divide dough in half. Place each piece on its own baking sheet. Using the palms of your hands, flatten dough out to the edges of the pan. Evenly spread potatoes over the surface of the dough up to the very edge, or about 1 inch from the edge if you desire a crust on your pizza. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Sprinkle with rosemary if using.

5. Bake potato pizza until it has shrunk away from the edges of a pan and the bottom is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly; slice into pieces, and serve. Potato pizza is also delicious served at room temperature.