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Friday, November 8, 2013

Hollywood in Kodachrome

These are from Vanity Fair's article on the new book Hollywood in Kodachrome which produced these golden nuggets of inspiration.  Here are my faves:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bun, Poots and Me Decorate Smeer's Wedding Cake

My dear Smeer is a married woman! Smeer and Wes have been the Ross and Rachel of our close group of friends, and they finally tied the knot.
They had a joy and love filled wedding and entrusted Poots, Bun and myself to decorate their wedding cake.
Everything we used was edible, from the delicately wrapped pichuberries to the crystallized roses and chocolate silver beads.
Other girlfriend, who we can call Frenchie for now, actually made the cake... A three tier cream-and-berry-filled layered crepe masterpiece!

The process was documented for my blogging pleasure, behold!

Our arsenal of edible delights:


Almost done...

Meanwhile back at the house..... Alisa prepares for a life of marriage.

Little does she know that back at the venue this is happening:


Later that night, they definitely approved:

Ahhhh... I love that story.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Middle Easterny Borscht

As I announced below, here is the golden beet borscht I tried out a couple of days ago.
At first I was like... This is so stereotypical, and will probably result in disaster, but I was dead wrong!


So I boiled the beets / saved their broth

Sautéed fennel, a carrot and onion and boiled with tiny bit more water to make some more broth

Added the shaved + sliced boiled beets (and their broth which I saved)

Added lemon juice, sugar and salt and pepper

Pureed this mixture along with yellow cherry tomatoes

Added dill, green onion and persian cucumber to the pureed mixture

Chilled this and then made the garnish...


Added green onions/chive to 1 part sour cream 2 parts thick yogurt
Added zaatar to this
Carmelized walnuts with cane sugar and melted date into it by throwing in tiny tiny pieces as it hardened
The plan was to add pomegranate seeds, but I forgot to buy a pomegranate at the market!!
Don't forget the pomegranate seeds if you make it! I'm dying to try in my next batch.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vintage Disney

It's a bit passé to be into Disney these days... Long gone is their golden age of somewhat innocent art and animated genius.  This guy over at "Gorilla's Don't Blog" captures the Disneyland of my childhood, er maybe a little earlier, before you had to wait in a 40 minute line for a churro.  I had so much fun sifting through his collection, and perhaps you will too.  I'm especially into the 1962 Tomorrowland and the old posters.  What a precious time capsule of a collection!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Soupin'

I've been gone again... I know, I know.

Adjusting to a new city for a bit was a little tougher than I thought. Good news is I'm back to cooking a lot again, now that I have my own kitchen. I've been making large batches of soups lately which I can dip back into throughout the week for a quick lunch time side.

Here are two recent soups I haven't been able to get enough of.

Chilled borscht

You need:

3-4 large beets
veggie broth or make your own
lemon juice
brown sugar
for garnish:
boiled egg
raw sauerkraut

I boil the beets after cleaning and trimming them, save the water and then shave them into a new broth combo which is made by adding broth to the water from boiling the beets. The secret is to balance the opposites- you add something sour, so you add another equal part of something sweet. The ingredients above are a launchpad to the possibilities of borscht.

You let the broth cool once the beets are boiled. Add your shaved beets, cucumber, radish, dill, etc. after it's cooled a bit so you don't overcook it all. Let it chill and then once you're down add boiled egg, sauerkraut and whatever other cold goodies for garnish!

Very soon I'll be making a Middle Eastern twist on this dish... Stay tuned.

Orange soup

You need:

for garnish:
green onions

This is a random soup that sounds super boring and simple, but I've been eating like crazy.

Boil orange lentils, the mushiest kind, with salt, (1 clove of) garlic, and some ginger slices (not too much because you may wanna add more later). Once they're pretty boiled add more water or whatever stock you wish to use. For about 1.5 cups of lentils I've been using 2-3 carrots and half of a regular piece of ginger. I shave the carrots and ginger into the lentils (so laborious, but worth it), and add some cumin, pepper and sautéed onion and (extra) garlic. I top it off with green onions and other herbs (my favorite being parsley and coriander).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

On the George Zimmerman Trial

Today has me thinking: What keeps me going in a world where the default is suffering?
I came upon this Cornel West quote that pretty much sums up how I feel not just about this case, but about life in general:

"To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word."

Monday, July 8, 2013

Black Hand letters

"Black Hand" extortion letters from 1930, written in Italian. (Here's a partial translation of one: "Dear damn fool and stupid is what you are, if you don’t do what you are supposed to do…we will show death with your own eyes…every day you will have a surprise when you least expect it.")

Various "Black Hand" extortion letters.

From the Eugene Canevari Collection, courtesy RR Auction via Slate

Friday, July 5, 2013

Inspiration: Sophia Loren

Mental note: No more boob shame! Work with whatcha got.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Morning Jo(k)e

The following clip of Russell Brand's comedic coup on Morning Joe really tickled me pink.
I just watched it again because it was just so good.
I like how he starts off polite, and pretty much the only person making sense, or talking about anything remotely interesting or worthwhile.
The Snowden/Manning drop is brilliant, as is his managing to drop in everything that is wrong with news shows in the US as the anchorwoman drinks from her cup like a fourteen year old with the American flag waving behind her.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This Week On Mortality

The death obsessed thing never really worked out for me as a teen. I went the hyper, colorful route instead. Although, one of my best friends had the whole gothic teen thing down to a T.  

Nevertheless, I still had a relatively angsty adolescence (who doesn't?), which exhausted my parents, but fortunately granted them a relatively normal college-era Annabelle.  Then, of course, the tumult resounded shortly after, as these phases go. Well, I've been pretty mellowed out for the last three to four years, so I guess it's time to flip shit upside down and think about death for a while. Upon reading Julian Barnes' Nothing To Be Frightened Of, I was happy to learn that he references some of my favorites from the start... Montaigne, Shostakovitch, Stravinsky... This will be a good ride, I think.

Starting the book in bed last night to Shostakovitch's String Quartet No. 15, with an open window and the supplementary sound of pouring rain, made me forget that I am supposed to be in a terrible mood.  Maybe Barnes is onto something... By thinking about death more often, you not only learn how to live, but you appreciate that you are alive.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This Will Be Manhattan In About 500 Years

I guess they found an underwater city in April, and I didn't know about it!

According to The Telegraph, the legendary city of "Heracleion disappeared beneath the Mediterranean around 1,200 years ago." Helen of Troy and Paris most likely made out here. Some of the most exciting trade the Mediterranean has ever seen probably passed through here. And now this famously extravagant city and all of its treasures and glory now buried under ocean floor sediment.

Monday, June 3, 2013

This Is Happening In Turkey Right Now

Photo cred: Occupy Gezi Facebook page; Reuters

This was directly copied from İnsanlik Hali.

To my friends who live outside of Turkey:

I am writing to let you know what is going on in Istanbul for the last five days. I personally have to write this because most of the media sources are shut down by the government and the word of mouth and the internet are the only ways left for us to explain ourselves and call for help and support.

Four days ago a group of people most of whom did not belong to any specific organization or ideology got together in Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Among them there were many of my friends and students. Their reason was simple: To prevent and protest the upcoming demolishing of the park for the sake of building yet another shopping mall at very center of the city. There are numerous shopping malls in Istanbul, at least one in every neighborhood! The tearing down of the trees was supposed to begin early Thursday morning. People went to the park with their blankets, books and children. They put their tents down and spent the night under the trees. Early in the morning when the bulldozers started to pull the hundred-year-old trees out of the ground, they stood up against them to stop the operation.

They did nothing other than standing in front of the machines.

No newspaper, no television channel was there to report the protest. It was a complete media black out.

But the police arrived with water cannon vehicles and pepper spray. They chased the crowds out of the park.

In the evening the number of protesters multiplied. So did the number of police forces around the park. Meanwhile local government of Istanbul shut down all the ways leading up to Taksim square where the Gezi Park is located. The metro was shut down, ferries were cancelled, roads were blocked.

Yet more and more people made their way up to the center of the city by walking.

They came from all around Istanbul. They came from all different backgrounds, different ideologies, different religions. They all gathered to prevent the demolition of something bigger than the park:

The right to live as honorable citizens of this country.

They gathered and marched. Police chased them with pepper spray and tear gas and drove their tanks over people who offered the police food in return. Two young people were run over by the panzers and were killed. Another young woman, a friend of mine, was hit in the head by one of the incoming tear gas canisters. The police were shooting them straight into the crowd. After a three hour operation she is still in Intensive Care Unit and in very critical condition. As I write this we don’t know if she is going to make it. This blog is dedicated to her.

These people are my friends. They are my students, my relatives. They have no «hidden agenda» as the state likes to say. Their agenda is out there. It is very clear. The whole country is being sold to corporations by the government, for the construction of malls, luxury condominiums, freeways, dams and nuclear plants. The government is looking for (and creating when necessary) any excuse to attack Syria against its people’s will.

On top of all that, the government control over its people’s personal lives has become unbearable as of late. The state, under its conservative agenda passed many laws and regulations concerning abortion, cesarean birth, sale and use of alcohol and even the color of lipstick worn by the airline stewardesses.

People who are marching to the center of Istanbul are demanding their right to live freely and receive justice, protection and respect from the State. They demand to be involved in the decision-making processes about the city they live in.

What they have received instead is excessive force and enormous amounts of tear gas shot straight into their faces. Three people lost their eyes...

Please read the rest at

For futher info and things you can do for help please see Amnesty International’s Call for Urgent Help

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Running vs. Fosse

My fondness for running is better than ever with this Runkeeper app...
However, there's a new workout taking over...

Learning the Rich Man's Frug!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Les Demoiselles...

Pablo Picasso 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' 1907

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Emo Morning Over Coffee, Or On Childhood Friends

Isn't it a funny thing: being with someone from your childhood, and it not being at all strange to be with them after years and years and years?

Why is that?

I think it has something to do with their presence tapping into a 'safe' place from which all you went on to do was psychologically built upon. A foundation! And a time when there was still such a thing as home, and death was something at the end of 100 years, give or take 20.

If your existence is building upon on memories and applying memories of those memories to life as its shaping in front of you now, then those people and the experiences you shared with them, even if the person becomes unrelatable to you over time, which is likeliest to happen, are one of the driving forces behind everything you do without you knowing it.

So when you are with them, you feel they've lived your life with you, or helped you live your life, even if they were never there.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Summer Lovers

There's an mysterious and special place in my heart for ridiculous 80's films. I've been taunted by friends for liking widely regarded bad music in a serious way (i.e. cheesy 80's songs and "bad" pop songs), and I guess for the first time in my life I understand what they are talking about because I just watched what I acknowledge as a kinda bad movie (which I ended up still loving) with what I believe to be an amazing soundtrack, and thought- well, if the movie was recognized as ridiculous, is this music- so inextricably interwoven with this entire bad 80's world- also bad, and if yea, is that what people are talking about when they're puzzled by how I can like something so terrible? I mean, of course I don't logically think this soundtrack is contingent on the film's quality- they have their own life and contexts, and have nothing to do with each other, but regardless the general question was posed. To me, Randal Kleiser's Summer Lovers, the film that triggered this inner monologue, is so bad that it's absolutely brilliant. The sum of its parts somehow transcends the sexism, the bad acting, the fact that Peter Gallagher looks at the camera at least three times, the non sequitur dialogue, the almost nonexistent character development, and offensive use of exoticism into this strange pleasure that because it's this sort of audiovisual time capsule, I'm almost excused to love it from a distance. I did, however, love the theme of challenging your comfort zone, but that feeling sort of expired when there was no complete three-way romance and it was just the two girls sharing the dude for his kicks.

Some precious gems, if I may...

Thank you, Bun and Poots, for sending me this treasure of a DVD.
I can't fully explain why, but I will watch it whenever I need to remember who I am. And I don't mean that as a joke either!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Barry Lyndoning

My favorite...

“It was in the reign of George II. that the above-named personages lived and quarrelled ; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now”
- William Makepeace Thackeray

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Experimenting with Lentils

I made this lentil patty out of orange lentils, which are naturally mushy, shallot and garlic.
I fried it lightly, and to my surprise it sort of kept together.
I didn't want to add anything else really to make it stay cohesive.
I... I... I....

So then, I put baked this catfish that was at the market today and put it on top of the kale and the lentils, and poured this sauce I made with loads of coriander, Geeta's tamarind chutney, and a tiny bit of plain yogurt and then almond milk to dilute it.

It was yamiii!!

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About Me

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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