Let me tell you, I am more sodium logged than I think I’ve ever been, and I’m so thirsty that I have basically had to live in the bathroom.
And it’s worth it. If you’ve ever experienced charcuterie in all its glory, you understand.
Charcuturie is actually a method of preserving meats in their own fat (plus a whole lot of salt and sometimes spices). A charcuturie board combines an assortment of charcuterie meats, various cheeses and accompanying fruits or fruit spreads. Upon assembling and, eventually, devouring said charcuterie board, I guarantee you’ll feel so damn fancy that you’ll never eat Ritz and spray cheese again.
We served capriccioli, salami, and prosciutto with an aged white cheddar and a slightly creamier, merlot infused goat cheese. Pears, apples, figs and grapes work well with the creamy cheese, and olives and baby pickles are nice with harder, saltier cheeses. Add crackers, a couple $8 bottles of wine, and call it a night.
Also brie, because brie is amazing. One wheel was wrapped in prosciutto and bacon, and the other slathered with fig and blueberry compote. Did I mention that brie is amazing????
So try this. Really. Costco has a surprisingly great selection, and Hy-Vee is pretty close to top notch. Oh, and Aldi has wheels of brie for $2.99 (you’re welcome).
I find New Year’s resolutions completely absurd, and probably always will.
I mean think about it.
The “New year, new me” mentality is not only a ghastly cliche, but also irrelevant, since you’re a “new you” with literally every passing second of every passing day of EVERY YEAR SINCE YOUR EXISTENCE.
2015 is no exception. It is not a magic year, it is not a year of promise, it is just. a. different. number.
On a lighter note, I am a big believer in making positive, day-to-day changes to oneself and ones routine. Yeah, long term goals are important, but they’re so damn easy to put off because they’re often far away from where you are in the moment.
So do something now, today, something short term for the greater good. Something liiiiiiike…
1. Tip Your Barista/Bartender/Waitperson $1 More Than You Usually Do
Those of you who have worked in the food service industry know the horrors that waitstaff, bartenders and baristas face every day at work. I waitressed at a little diner all through high school and still bear the psychological scars years later.
The constant hustle and bustle of needy/noisy/nasty customers is enough to drive anyone out of their freaking minds, and then there’s the matter of the pathetic paychecks. I don’t know if people are jerks or if they just don’t get it, but tips are part of bartenders’/baristas’/waitpersons’ wages.
According the the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average hourly pay for baristas is between $7.50-12.50, and between $7.84-14.83 for waitpersons, which doesn’t sound too bad if you’re at the higher end of the spectrum.
However, speaking as someone who is very familiar with the industry, I can tell you that much of the time your bartender/barista/waitperson doesn’t receive enough in tips to actually break their supposed hourly wages. As a waitress in a rural area, my coworkers and I made a measly $4.95/hour.
These people work very hard and deal with all of us at our worst, when we’re hungry, thirsty and/or tired. The LEAST you can do is send an extra buck their way. A dollar won’t break your bank, and believe me, it means more to that sad empty tip jar than it does to you.
2. Try New Foods
Even if you don’t want to.
Even if you have a “sensitive palate”.
Even if you’re that wacko who eats nothing but McDonald’s chicken nuggs for every meal.
Try. New. Foods.
Because picky eaters are hands down in the list of Top Ten Annoying/Awful Human Beings. I do not care if you don’t like green things, vegetables, or other non-bacon items.
You are a grown ass adult, suck it up and eat the brussel sprout.
Oh, you hated shrimp when you tried it one time in the third grade? So I’m guessing you also still think kissing can get you pregnant and that one week anniversaries are a thing?
What’s that? Can’t eat Thai food because there’s no steak and potatoes? Open wide, uncultured Puritan, here comes the tom yum choo-choo.
Hmm? Not giving tofu a shot because you’re a red-blooded American? Newsflash, dimwit: our blood is blue over 95% of the time, and I’ll spill some of yours if you call vegan dishes fake food one more time.
I’m not saying you have to love everything you try.
In fact, you probably won’t like some things.
But for the love of pizza will you at least TASTE it?! How do you know you’re not missing out on the best thing since Nutella?!
You’ll never know if you don’t dig in.
3. Go Through Your Stuff
Taking personal inventory of what you own from time to time is so, sooooo helpful in the long run, especially if you’re an avid shopper like myself. It’s scary how easy it is to become a dedicated pack rat, and when you need to find something or move to a new location, having an idea of how much stuff you have (and where it all is stashed) will prove invaluable.
Start with one specific area, like your dresser drawers, supply closet, or kitchen cupboards, and go through absolutely everything. If it hasn’t been touched, worn or moved in over a year, you may want to consider tossing or donating it.
If your tendencies lean more towards hoarder than minimalist, it’s helpful to have a buddy system going. Friends don’t let friends save their tube tops from 1997.
It may be painful at first, particularly if you are super sentimental, but it’s important to know when to let go of the old (an broken, and grody) and make room for the new. You’ll thank yourself later.
So we’re not even a week into 2015, and everyone is working on their New Year’s resolutions.
Meaning the gym is going to be packed for the remaining three weeks of January.
There will be kale shakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Your Facebook feed will be covered with motivational memes of the 60% drippy abs 40% Nike variety.
And while it will be a very, very jolly time watching Netflix on my sofa while all this business goes down, I feel bound to admit that I’ve got a wee case of the New Year’s spirit myself. In the past six days, for instance, I’ve done the following spanky new and oh so exciting things:
1. Learned to Snowshoe
It wasn’t as hard as one would expect, although it’s probably more difficult if you don’t have the promise of coffee afterwards awaiting on the horizon like I did.
2. Made (and ate) Plantain Pancakes
My mother has an autoimmune disease and lot of food sensitivities, so funky, grain-free foods are pretty common in our household. However, I’d never tried plantains before this morning, and they made for surprisingly tasty pancakes.
Just be aware that green plantains are NOT yummy raw, and smell like a cross between an unripe banana and a thousand stalks of celery before they’re cooked. Recipe here.
3. Dyed My Hair ***DISCLAIMER: There are selfies in this post***
Dyed it pink, to be exact. Also sorry for the selfies, but I couldn’t think of another way to get an accurate pic of the color change.
I love it so far, but it’s a bloody mess. I mean literally, it bleeds on everything when it’s wet. My fingernails are permanently fuchsia.
4. Saw “Into the Woods”
Apparently, despite several people’s insistence that they’d informed me, I managed to make it into my seat in the movie theater completely unaware that I was about to watch a musical. Unexpected bonuses are the best bonuses, no?
(Excuse the quality of this, it’s the only video version available on the Internet as of late, and the song is two billion times better if you can see it)
5. Learned How To Arm Knit
Tough initially, but after a couple of tries I picked it up fairly quickly and managed to crank out a couple of scarves in less than an hour. I love knitting, but instant gratification is just so….well, gratifying.
I used a 5.29 oz yarn in the most fantastic bubblegummy pink, but you can obviously do whatever the heck you want with your yarn choice, color and size wise. The tutorial I used is available here.
So the idea I’m repping here is that you don’t need to stress the new year and all those grand personal improvements you’ve resolved to make. Change will happen on its own and you’ll find yourself trying new things before you even realize it, so there’s no reason to stress. Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.
So I was cruelly awakened by my parents at the butt crack of dawn this morning (meaning about 8:30) and drug off on the only kind of acceptable a.m. adventure: a trip to a coffee roasting factory.
As a truly avid coffee lover, I think my awe, gratification and overall bliss is implied.
Suffice it to say that I am too caffeinated to ever sleep again. But seriously, worth it. Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee on a blustery morning, more of which we in the Midwest are bound to endure.
Because winter lasts from December to March here. Welcome to frostbitten hell.
So to keep you EXTRA toasty, do please enjoy the following java+alcohol concoctions sure to make the cold weather deliciously bearable (click the photos for recipes!). Pairs well with snow, but I highly suggest forgoing all activities involving shovels, sleds, or ice skates.
***The Curly Girls must implore you to caffeinate responsibly***
Five days, 4 hours, 26 minutes and 20 seconds until 2015.
Until 2014 and everything it contains goes *poof* and we magically have this urgent desire to spend six hours a day in the gym.
Until Mean Girls replaces The Breakfast Club on Netflix.
Until the apocalypse, maybe.
The point here being that we should probably look fabulous, because, well, you never know what’s going to happen during those last crazy hours of 2014. So, in honor of the Curly Girls’ perpetual, college-related poverty and our insatiable enthusiasm for yet another holiday party, we’ve compiled a selection of affordable frocks to help you ring in the New Year. Introducing….
We looked through hundreds of dresses at over twenty different stores for these beauts, so you can rest assured there’s no weak link in the chain.
No runt in the litter.
No fly in the glass of bargain Moscato.
Basically, they all rock.
Also, keep in mind that many of these dresses were on sale for the holidays, so it’d be best to snap at ’em while you can, before they’re sold out or the sales end.
As for shipping and handling, the prices listed do not include it. However, most online clothing stores offer free shipping on purchases of $50 or more, so if you really love the dress you can see what the site has to offer in the way of shoes and accessories. Might as well make an outfit out of it and get free shipping at the same time.
Anyhow, here’s to you, fair readers: may you look smashing in your New Year’s Eve outfits, may your midnight smooch buddy be incredibly hot, and may your drunk dancing skills miraculously emulate Beyoncé.
As far as my itunes library is concerned, this year produced a bountiful harvest in terms of new music. The following is a list chronicling my Columbus esq. “discoveries” of new/lost to me artists from the year, brought to my attention during late night dives to the depths of the inter webs or introduced to me by mutual friends.
JanuarySnowmine- Let Me In
They’ve nailed the “If my life was an indie movie this would play while I’m driving or walking or looking out a window or existing or something” echoey vibe… Ja feel?
FebruaryYears and Years- Real
Let me tell you that this is my absolute favorite band. I’m begging you, please, please, PLEASE go check out their other stuff. I can’t get enough of them, the moment I stumbled upon this video I was instantly entranced and I hope you will be too.
MarchGregory Alan Iskaov- Big Black Car
Finals are fast approaching yet, still so far off and you know you’re not going to swear off Netflix and get your life together. Grab a blanket, find a comfy spot on the futon and let Isakov lull you in to the great beyond… or to sleep.
All the Funk. All the Dance. Tiny Track Suit.
MaySt. Lucia- Wait For Love
Live minstrel procession through down town LA. P-much all I could ask for from a band
Yes, this is entirely in German but bear with me, this guy is a gem and he has a panda mask.
JulyThe Griswolds- Beware The Dog
“Beware the ghost who lives on Salamander Road” I don’t know, I dig it. How can you stop your self from dancing?
This band has been a favorite of mine for several years. Maddy and I were able to see them live and it was a technicolour eruption of electric sweaty bliss.
SeptemberMiniature Tigers- Last Night’s Fake Blood
They came to Iowa City, Alyse and I went to see them, it was really cool and I covet Rick the Keyboardist’s wind breaker. Also their music is hecka rad. They have an album called Cruel Runnings that they wrote in Jamaica. Like I said, hecka rad.
OctoberSam Smith- Leave Your Lover
If you have not released your self in to the somber, soulful tides of the ocean that is Sam Smith’s voice you are doing your self a disservice. Listen to any of his songs off of In the Lonely Hour, I’m begging you.
NovemberWalk the Moon- Shut Up and Dance
DecemberKarina Mia- Christmas Sweaters
Cutest freaking christmas song ever. Why does this only have 150 views on youtube?
Christmas equals the season of endless temptations for me, temptations that I’m pretty shoddy at resisting.
Like I’ve stopped trying at this point.
Every year I tell myself I shouldn’t hand out gifties two weeks before Christmas (but I do), I can’t buy any more presents for the cat (yeeeaaaaah, I do) and I won’t eat a 32nd peppermint truffle Hershey kiss (I totally freaking do).
So, as you can imagine, Christmas goodies are kind of a huge weak spot for me. Needless to say, you’d imagine 100% correctly: this month alone the Curly Girl crew has baked and decorated 200 (at least) cut out sugar cookies, distributing some and devouring most. I have the cavities and the back fat to prove it.
Anyways, in the spirit of the season of overindulgence and gluttony, here are 25 of the most disgustingly adorable Christmas goodies we could find on the internet in the past hour.
1. These Gorgeous, Tiffany’s Approved Sugar Cookies
2. These Over-The-Top Christmas Bell Cookies
3. These Floral-looking Mint Meringue Cookies
4. These Penguin Macarons That Are Cuter Than a Kitten in Mittens
5. These Cookies That Tell Frosty’s Story
6. Noshable Ugly Christmas Sweater Cookies
7. Or Ugly Hanukkah Sweater Cookies!
9. Cookies That Are Cute As A….You Can Guess
10. Sleepy Santa/Gnome/Hobo Cookies
11. Cookies For The Canine Fanatic
12. Disney’s Over-the-top Gingerbread House That I Want To Live In
13. Cookies Worth Melting For
14. These Crunchy Chocolate Pinecone Cookies
15. Mouse Christmas Cookies That Look Like Cat Toys
16. Christmas Tree Brownies, Because Variety/Spice/Yadayada
17. Reindeer Cookies Involving Neither Pretzels Nor Oreos
18. Cookies To Pair With Hot Cocoa
19. These Lovely Stained Glass Christmas Cookies
20. Or These Ones…
21. Or These
22. The Pizzelle, Aka A Snowflake You Can Bite
23. Mistletoe Cookies (Kisses Included)
24. Harry Potter Christmas Cookies (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!)
25. Killer “Joel The Lump Of Coal” Cookies, A Curly Girl Original!
So that’s it folks, enough cutesy goodies to rot your gums and give you a raging case of type two diabetes. We wish you all a Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter Solstice etc. etc. etc. Have a very merry politically correct holiday season!
For those of you who have borne witness to The Killers’ glorious new Christmas song, Joel the Lump of Coal, you’re neato, totally rad, super cool, a real pal. Pat yourself on the back.
As for the rest of you…
Prepare for enlightenment. Every year since 2006, The Killers have written and produced an entirely original Christmas song, the proceeds from which they donate to a charity called RED, which supports those with and the fight against AIDS (you can buy the song and support RED here).
Aaaaaanyways, traditionally there is some sort of collab effort going on, and this year The Killers co-wrote their song with Jimmy Kimmel.
So, naturally, the song is ridiculous.
You loved it right? Right.
Because how can you not?!?!?! Squadpod (a formal name referring to the household of all three Curly Girls) has had it playing on repeat since it came out. Also may have called each other a “stupid lump” and/or a “poopy prize” about a bazillion times.
So, digressing yet agaaaaaain, cookies.
Joel the Lump of Coal cookies.
They were Michaela’s idea, and they turned out cuter than anticipated. Take a looksie!
Yeah, super cute. The recipe was adapted from this one for plain coal cookies, and we just coated them with black sugar/sprinkles and added candy eyeballs. The cut-out sugar cookie recipe is here, and the royal icing recipe is here. They’re pretty amazeballs, as amazeballs as sugar cookies can possibly be that is.
We ate ’em all either way.
Also, you do not need to buy a diamond shaped cookie cutter, just cutting the shapes out yourself with a decently not-dull-or-rusty kitchen knife is perfectly fine. So get baking comrades, and may you ALL be naughty enough to get a diamond in your stocking!
Goodbyes are tough, but hellos are just as hard, in our humble opinion. After all, first impressions can determine whether or not someone will become your new best pal or, as is more likely in our case, think we’re total loonies and run screaming in the opposite direction. Plus there is just so much to say, and there’s no bloody way we could possibly narrow it down to the 2-3 brief paragraphs you’ve got time to read! So instead of trying to come up with some sort of clever introductory post, we thought we’d give you guys a peek at what our apartment looked like for our first annual Halloween party (just now decided to make it a tradition, fyi). That way, if you run off screaming we can console ourselves with the fact that this was a Halloween post, and therefore ought to insight some form of terror in the heart of its beholder.
Most of the decorations are DIY and all of the treats are homemade, because well, Pinterest. Needless to say, it was pretty awesome for something thrown by a trio of perpetually underfunded college students, and we’re happy with how it turned out. How did you all celebrate Halloween? Give us all the scary, sordid details!
*Photo Cred goes to Kristin Garcia, dear friend and total babe.