Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Wrap-Up (Puns all up in this piece)

On Christmas Eve I went to sleep next to this:

And then I woke up to this!

So, our tree totally died while we were staying with my handicapped brother, but it was joyous nonetheless.  First we opened our presents from Guy.  He got me an edition with both "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There" with the original illustrations by John Tenniel *swoon* as photographed in this post.

He got his dad a bottle opener who bears an uncanny resemblance to said dad:

Then we packed up and headed to my parents' for Christmas breakfast as is tradition:

And I passed out marzipan pigs as is tradition:

And everyone was joyous:

Seriously, can you believe my grandmother is 94?!  She doesn't look a day over 80.  

My dad was all about the Mele Kalikimaka.

Someone was missing from my older brother's family pic:

Christmas Cooper!

Then, exhausted, we returned home to exchange the rest of our gifts.

I gave my husband:

PUSH PINS!!! What man doesn't wait all year for push pins?  Not a one, that's who.  Whatever.  There was a walrus in the set.  It had to be done.  And:

An iPhone cover... I'm sensing a theme.  Then I got down to business (please excuse my blurry photography.  I am quite the shaky one):

In all seriousness this will probably never be used, but who can resist getting their man a flask with a fold out shot glass?  No one, that's who.  Public intoxication just got classy, y'all.

And the grand finale!!!

A three foot tall giraffe bust, of course!  They're his favourite animal and what office is complete without a three foot tall giraffe bust?  Not a one, that's what.

I didn't do too badly myself.  I got some pretty sweet Anthro duds:

And *drum roll*:

Oh hell yes!  I picked the big subway token because during my time at Vassar we actually used those tokens (screw Metro cards, for serious, Matil).  And I had to have the Studebaker key because... "The Muppet Movie".  Get the reference, or get out.  But what was in the third box?

A bat mandible.  Duh.  My husband knows me well enough that he gave me a budget for my Christmas shopping and I was able to get another one of these for my dear friend, SheWalksSoftly.  Just so we can be close to each other's hearts, you know.  I'm sentimental as all get-out... so sue me!

Finally, my handicapped brother got us this (and my husband let me hog it big time):

See ya, Spotify... I am so sick of remixes I could rip out all my hair and light myself on fire.  And then there was peace on earth and goodwill towards men because I now own ALL the Biebs sans remixes... owwwwwww!!!  

I also made a meatloaf, got a terrible cold from which I am still suffering, and worked a buttload.  

Have a Happy New Year, y'all!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Salt Lake's Little Treasures

It's one of those weeks where it feels like the only people who understand me are the dog and the Biebs:

That's the pup holding me around the waist when I looked like this:

I am so damn sick.  And I have spent a LOT of my life worrying as evidenced by the worry lines in my forehead.  All the retinols in the world can't undo that.  Speaking of, I am still totally loving my Dr. Dennis Gross retinols.   

So, I gotta haul ass so I can get ready for work, but I wanted to do a quick Salt Lake spotlight featuring:

This is a great yoga studio on the west side of Trolley Square (across from where Green Street used to be).  I've only taken one class there because I prefer Xtend Barre (I have ZERO patience and CANNOT relax, y'all, and these things makes yoga extremely torturous for me).  Take Jen Hecht's class though.  Seriously.  She switches things up and she is one of the nicest people around.  Most yoga classes I've taken have been like Groundhog Day for me regardless of the studio.  This was different.  This was awesome.

I am not here to talk about yoga, however.  Nor am I here to talk about the awesome little restaurant, Cafe Solstice, that they share space with.  I am here to talk about MASSAGE!  I went in yesterday for an hour massage with a little lymphatic work to try and feel better (I DO feel better).  I'd been once before months ago because they give you a discount on your first spa treatment.  My first masseuse was Andrea.  She was great.  Yesterday I had Courtney.  She was SUPER great.  And they only charge $65 for an hour long massage including a nice sit in the steam shower.  Treat yo-self!  Take in a yoga class and lunch too.  Whatever.  Just do it because you deserve it and it's totally affordable!  Also, they can get you in the day you call in most cases, which is super good for me; when I need a massage, I need it immediately.

I promise to wrap up tomorrow even though it's going to be a crazy day as my oldest brother and his family are in town from Arkansas.  

I need a lobotomy.  Happy weekend, y'all!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Because I'm a Traditionalist...

Well, I'm pooped.  And I'm going to stay pooped.  I am working like crazy.

We had a totally Merry Christmas though.   I'll update soon, but I just wanted to sooth your worries:

I wore my Star Wars leggings to show my Christmas spirit and respect the traditions of so many generations past.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday recovery, y'all... to be continued (Christmas edition).


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Awww (coco)NUTS!

So, you may have noted that I'm not posting so much as of late and I missed last week's wrap up entirely:

I still love you, dear reader.  And it's not that I don't want to post, it's just a nasty combo of getting used to my work schedule and my CFS giving me the middle finger all the time.  Be sure to check in though because Mary Ping, the absolute genius behind Slow and Steady Wins the Race, will be doing an interview... if I ever write it... BLERGH!  I promise to be better.  A solemn promise.

Have y'all tried coconut water?  I just grabbed some on a quick grocery store trip and I really hate the taste despite really loving coconut, but I know people totally swear by it.  I'm interested in trying it as a sort of recovery drink for the far too few Xtend Barre classes I've been squeezing into my hectic schedule.  By the way, I just had my 1 year anniversary with Xtend on Wednesday and I'm still over 2 and 1/2 inches smaller in the hips and arse than I was a year ago... owwwww!  So, my question to you is several questions actually:  Do you swear by coconut water? Why or why not?  Are there other flavours?  Is there anywhere to get affordable coconut water?  This stuff is crazy expensive!  

Normally I drink 60 - 120oz of water a day (no exaggeration), but since I've started working at Anthro, I've been remiss both in hydration and blogging.  I understand that I can't walk around on the sales floor with my water bottle when I'm working, but 10 minutes during a 6 hour shift is really not enough time to properly hydrate.  And my skin suffers.  When I make goofy faces in the mirror trying to exaggerate the appearance of wrinkles- which I totally do- you can tell a significant difference if I'm under-hydrated.  I suppose water is my natural filler.  I'm curious to see if I can drink LESS water, but BETTER water on the days that I work.   Is coconut water the answer I'm looking for?  I smell an experiment!  I'm also asking for suggestions...

and now to wrap up: THIS WEEK FOR DINNER:

I'm really enamoured with my fat separator, so I made two roasts in the last two weeks.  The one above was a balsamic roast, which was pretty tasty.  I made that sometime last week.  Then I made another for french dip sandwiches last Sunday... an 8lb roast!  We were staying with my handicapped brother and we had one of my older brothers and his family over for dinner.  It was a huge hit.  Check the recipe out on my Pinterest.  You will thank me.  Then one day this week I threw together some spinach fettuccine with chicken and peas in a pesto sauce.  I am having cooking withdrawals!

There just isn't enough time and I don't have enough energy.  I'm hoping soon to make candied citrus peels from a recipe I pinned that sounds awesomesauce, but we shall see...  

Are you ready for Christmas?  I still need to get marzipan pigs for our families.  Tomorrow is going to be one hell of a day.  Work, last minute marzipan pig shopping, liquor store shopping, and grocery shopping.  Can I get it all done?  I hope so.  

Merry Christmas, y'all!  I'll be sure to photograph our spoils.  


Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Late for a VERY Important Date... with D.S. & Durga!!!

I have been so remiss in updating the blog and for this I totally apologize.  We are staying with my handicapped brother, I have been working like crazy, and my CFS is pretty pissed about both.  I am EXHAUSTED, ya'll:

Yes, that IS my husband reading People Magazine in bed with the pup.

So, you all are like, "Hello, lady?  We totally want to know about D.S. & Durga."


As you should, dear reader.  As you should.

Kavi is a recovered goth and an architect whose hair I have eternally envied.  David, her husband, is a musician and an self-taught olfactorist.  He's a natural.  They are both new-ish parents to their son.  D.S. & Durga was spawned from a batch of aftershaves they created as Holiday gifts for friends one year.  (D.S. is David and Durga is his nickname for Kavi)  Kavi and I attended Vassar College together and I'm excited to share with you one of my talented and beautiful friends friends.  

That's us senior year.  Look at that hair!!!  Sorry for the poor image quality.  I took a photo of a photo with my iPhone.  Deal with it..

So, you two met through one of Kavi's old boyfriends and hit it off.  Are you still friends with the guy?
We actually met on avenue B in New York in the summer of 2007. David picked me up! We have been together since the moment we met.  
Not sure how I was so misinformed about their introduction, but the answer is totally romantical.

Here's a snippet from the D.S. & Durga website that expounds on how they got started better than I did:
Together they soon began tincturing flowers, herbs, and spices to make aftershaves for friends. When they realized that none of their friends shaved (this was 2007, mind you), they started blending oils, resins, and plant extracts. The results were small batch perfumes and colognes, and friends loved them. Durga had an idea: she could distill her designs into the architecture of fragrances (and the packages they live in) and D.S. could write songs in scent.

When did you officially decide to start your own business? 
We started making holiday gifts for friends later that year [2007] and decided to go official with it in the spring of 2008.

When did it become a full-time job for each of you?  Did it happen one after the other, or simultaneously?
A year later, spring of 2009. That’s when we had our fateful meeting with Anthropologie and they placed an order that enabled us to leave our jobs and focus on DSD full time. We quit them within a few weeks of each other.

Did you start creating at home, or did you move into your studio space in Brooklyn from the get-go? 
We started mixing at David’s apartment, which wasn’t used as a home much anyway. We lived at my place and used his as a “lab” for a few months til we got our studio.

source: Instagram @dsanddurga

I work closely with my husband when I am editing his work, or other biomedical research papers (he's a biostatistican aka mathemagician).  Our house is two stories and usually I retreat upstairs and communicate via gchat when we are working together.  Do you find it hard working together as husband and wife?  How do you cope with those moments when you just want to tell the other to "SHUT IT!"?
This is an essential part of our work/home harmony. We do not work in the same place! I work from home. I like to be around our son, even though he is in the care of his amazing nanny during the week. I get to steal a hug whenever I like, and that is pretty important to me. I get the best of both worlds. I am a working mother, but I don’t ever feel like I’m missing out on watching our son grow up. My work, which is the design side of the biz, is all computer based anyway. David works in our studio mixing up new recipes and other scent related projects.

So perfectly titled "Small Batch Handmade Olfactory Tonics & Aromatic Preparations"

Kavi, you are in charge of all things design related.  How involved in the process of creating the scents are you and vice versa?
We both work on our stuff alone, then bring it to the other for critique and approval. Generally, if I don’t like something he has made, we won’t use it, and vice versa. Sometimes we each pull out our “expert card” though and say “I’m sorry you don’t like this scent/design, but I feel really strongly about it, so it’s staying.” And we both have to respect that, because he really does know scent more than I do, and I like to think years of being a designer have given me a degree of expertise.

You mentioned that while you were pregnant David created specific fragrances for you.  Was this because there are ingredients in standard fragrances that could potentially be harmful to a baby, or was it because you were sensitive to smells during your pregnancy?
Yes, there are definitely a number of natural ingredients that can be harmful for a fetus.

Being from Utah where reproduction runs rampant, I can't help but see a very real market for pregnancy perfumes.  Is this something you've thought of and/or are interested in pursuing?
We’ve thought about it, but it’s a big statement to say something is safe for a pregnant person. When I am pregnant I avoid wearing perfume altogether!

Has your little guy shown an interest in fragrance?
He has! Whenever David brings what he is working on home for me to try, our son always has to be a part of the process. We hand him the blotter paper and he takes a sniff. It’s pretty adorable.

Anthropology carries three of your scents.  How did your companies become involved with each other?
We are good friends with Hollie, one of the buyers there (in another department) and she told the fragrance buyer about our line. We had a meeting and that was that. We decided, with them, to develop 3 scents exclusive to their store. At this point we have done 7 different scents for them, all limited run. We plan to do one more next year.

I have to admit that a huge pet peeve of mine is when something I love is discontinued.  Chanel's make-up line being the greatest offender to me personally.  However, your company works in small batches whereas Chanel does not.  How often do you discontinue scents and what are the primary reasons for doing so?  
Yes we are guilty of that. For us, it’s just trying to tame the beast. We started with something like 20 scents and it was too much to handle, formula and inventory wise. We get emails daily from disappointed customers who have been searching for their favorite discontinued scent. Sometimes we are able to help them out and find a bottle of it here or there. It’s something we keep in mind, moving forward, and will try not to do much. But it’s always good to refine the line, so you know you are always offering the products you are most proud of.

Getting back to Anthro for a moment, how long do you see this relationship continuing?  I know that your fragrances are very popular in my store specifically and you can be sure I am always making your products known to our shoppers.Thanks Lindsay! I don’t know the answer to this. We love working with Anthro and do have plans for a scent in 2013. Beyond that, I don’t know if there is room for it.

How much pressure is there to create a new "line" or "collection" of fragrances each year?  Is there a standard in the fragrance industry similar to that of the fashion industry?
We don’t know much about the standard, and don’t care. We release things when they are ready and we are ready. We have a new line coming out this spring of 3 fragrances. It is not in the D.S. & Durga line. We call it HYLNDS and more details will be available soon.

Watch for the details, y'all!  I am fortunate to have a tiny bit of inside info and this is exciting and BIG!!!  You know I'll keep you in the loop... because I CARE.

What are both of your favorite scents at the moment, D.S. & Durga or otherwise?  I know Kavi loves the smell of roses and I agree.  Over the last year I have also garnered an obsession with orange blossom.
I love orange blossom. I am a sucker for white flowers. All flowers. We have a tuberose-based scent that we are working on. Not sure when it will be released but it is intoxicating. Reminds me of India, because when I visit my aunt’s house she always has a bouquet of tuberose on my nightstand and I am addicted to that scent!

Does it offend you that I am practically addicted to "Skin Bracer"?  I even forced my husband to buy it so that I didn't look so creepy huffing it in the grocery store.
I had to google that. The color offends me, yes!

Is there anything awesome that I haven't touched upon?  I don't want my reader's to miss out on anything D.S. & Durga.
We are planning on adding a scent to the D.S. & Durga original line next year too! In addition to the 3 HYLNDS scents.

Finally, if you could have anyone endorse your brand, would it be Roger Federer and why?
I would like Roger Federer to endorse our line because he is the epitome of style and grace. And oh so foxy.

Seriously, dear readers, stay tuned for awesome updates on D.S. & Durga as they become available.

Hope you loved this as much as I did.  Get yourself fragranced and fast.  You totally deserve it.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weak Week (how lame is that post title?)

You're totally like, "OMGZ!  What is Guy wearing?!":

And I'm all like, "Good question.  Let me answer that for you."

It all started when we were short one garland of lights for our fluffy lil' nugget of a tree, which was totally upsetting, if not traumatic for Mothra and Godzilla:

On my way home from work last night I made a quick stop at Big Lots to grab one more strand and I saw a bunch of dog sweaters.  I was quite sure that even a large wouldn't fit my sturdy little guy.  I bought one anyway.  What's $8 when you can get a few photos of the dog looking silly?  But it fit and he looked awesome.  And he LOVES it!

Ummm... did I not tell you we are all about the Holidays up in this piece?  How adorable is the snowman?  It's pretty much like I dressed my dog in Justin Bieber circa 2009.  Crazy adorable, y'all.

Christmas just got way more mas... redundancy intended. So, the pup has been donning his stripes for the last two days and prancing around like he knows that he OWNS it.

My weekly wrap-up is totally weak (went there. AGAIN... not terribly ashamed).  I didn't really cook this week because I was struggling to get over a really nasty cold.  Mission accomplished.  Thank God.  And I'm finally getting more hours at work.  Thank God again.  But I am definitely getting some culinary goodness on this week  I even bought a fat separator from Williams-Sonoma:

How have I been totally unaware of this beauty?  My arteries and my crock pot are so totally thanking me right now.  The au jus is on, baby!

We are hoping to add traditions to our lives and our little family.  What are your favourite Holiday traditions?  We have some pretty standard stuff... sending out family Christmas cards, picking out a tree as a family, I make sea salted caramels, I do fresh orange/honey/ginger beets for my husband's family, listening to my old record of John Denver and the Muppets' Christmas.  Then we have my Godzilla decorating and the boar.  We need more Holiday spirit... more than just an awesome dog sweater, so lay it on me!

Sweet dreams!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

DIY Christmas Tree Skirt

Guy has been practising yoga in bed lately:

So, we decided it was finally time to get him his own personal yogi:

I kid... that's my brother-in-law.  So, we are getting our Christmas on, y'all:

King Henry is totally feeling the Christmas spirit.  I don't think he wanted to be outdone by the tree:

And while this fluffy, lil' butterball of a tree is quite magnificent...

Not outdone.  "Why would you get such a fluffy, love nugget of a tree and forget to trim it?!", I hear you asking in your heads.  Fear not, dear reader, the trimming is about to commence.  Tomorrow.  I had to get the skirt made first.  We have a little tradition in this house:

GODZILLA CHRISTMAS!!! I have a SLIGHT Godzilla obsession.  My husband has learned to live with it. This year I wanted a more refined look, so I decided to make a Godzilla Christmas tree skirt.

I started by making my own stencil with a piece of stencil plastic (8 1/2" x 11") and an exacto knife.  I swept up a buttload of canvas at the fabric store because it was on super sale and... why have I never gotten my canvas for painting at the fabric store?!  It was so cheap even if it hadn't been on sale, which it was. 

So, here's what you do for a DIY Christmas tree skirt:

1.  Buy supplies.  I chose to make my own stencil as I said.  I decided to go with canvas because I knew it would take the paint well.  I also got pink sparkly trim to sew around the edges.

2.  Find someone who has an available pingpong table if possible.  I'm serious.  Spread out your canvas, or other fabric.

3) Get string, a pencil, and an assistant/thumbtack.  Tie the string around the pencil and thumbtack your desired radius, or, preferably, have someone hold the string down.  Now pull the string taught and draw around the center to make an even circle.

4) Repeat step 3 around the center point to cut out a hole for the tree trunk.  You are basically making a doughnut.

5) Cut out both circles carefully.  Then choose a point and cut a straight line from the edge to the hole in the center.

6) Fold the edges of the slit under and sew down.  This step can be repeated around the entire circumference of the circles.  I chose to leave my edges raw and finish with Scotchgard at the very end.  You can also discourage fraying with clear nail polish or liquid bandage.

7) Sew the trim on all edges.  I chose to do this by hand because of the texture of my trim.  You can do it with a machine if you prefer.

8) Test your stencil on a piece of leftover canvas:

I used a sponge "brush" and it worked perfectly.

9) Spread pieces of paper around your skirt until evenly space as a template for the stencil positioning:

10) Now you are ready to tackle your first, or only, edge.  I used two colours of green for variation:

Make sure to rinse off your stencil in between EVERY application.  This way you will get clean lines every time.  I did all my dark greens first and followed up with the light greens.  Lucky I had my paper laid out!

11) Rinse and repeat:

I also turned the stencil the other direction for variation... and then I kept going:

Currently this is drying out completely on my parents' pingpong table.  Tomorrow I am going to Scotchgard the living daylights out of it on both sides to protect it from the inevitable dirt and fraying.  I HAD to be impractical and get white canvas.  The heart wants what it wants... and that usually has something to do with Godzilla.

How cute would this be with Pac-Man and the ghosts?  I have a billion ideas.  Maybe next year I'll have an etsy shop.  

At any rate, this looks so much better in person and I can't wait to bring it home tomorrow and get our tree all trimmed!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours... or Happy Holidays... or whatever!  Just be joyous and crafty, y'all!