In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some (I think well deserved) kudos, plus how to salt your food

This man is salting TOO CLOSE

To salt: Do it from up high. That means grab a pinch of salt (I like coarse sea salt -- its easier to control and adds a nice crunch), hold it a foot above the food (cooked or raw) that you want to salt then sprinkle it, moving your arm back and forth. This almost always prevents over salting (compared to shaking, or holding your hand closer to the food, which limits dispersal) and looks super cheffy. And it works.

Now, Lifers, for the love:

As you know, I'm the new editor of a gorgeous wonderful food magazine that every one of you should be subscribing to, clearly, because look what a very intelligent food blogger said about us:

"I actually ended up feeling better about the world, more hopeful, after reading this magazine."

OK, OK, here's the whole post. (PS I wrote the "captivating" article she references. I had to watch a cow die to do it, too.)

"On the upside, I did find one gem in all the pulp. Based in Sperryville, VA, Flavor magazine covers sustainable food production in the D.C./Virginia area. This publication is good for anyone in the D.C. area interested in gardening, CSAs, or day or weekend food trips to Virginia. Did you know there is a group that will come put a honeybee hive on your roof? Or come help you put a garden in your yard? Or bring you a CSA-style box of meat and eggs and dairy? The March/April issue also looks at things to do, places to eat and sleep in Fredericksburg, VA. I was captivated by an article on the process of executing animals in a humane way on a small farm. There were profiles of chefs working in a sustainable way with local ingredients–Jeff Black of BlackSalt; Ian Boden of Staunton Grocery–that weren’t heavy-handed and smug. I actually ended up feeling better about the world, more hopeful, after reading this magazine. And I’m resolving to go pick some produce this year on a farm in Orange, VA, just an hour south of D.C. I loved the scolding rant from a rancher, who explains in detail just how animals are not like people. Fun facts about cows and chickens galore! Chicks don’t need to eat or drink for their first three days, because they have to wait for all the chicks to hatch. They don’t feel that need until they get their first taste–like flipping a switch. I really wish I could link to this piece, but the website is very limited. You might just have to subscribe. ($24.90 plus shipping for 6 issues)

isn't that nice? go to Emily's site and read. Grrl takes no prisoners when she disjoints the Washington Post food section.

And indeed Flavor's website is very limited, but I have a good friend at Three Spot who is going to help us out.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How To Walk Around In High Heels All Day

This is my worst quality. I am the anti-high heel girl. This is not because I am 5' 10" -- I like being tall and i have been known to totter about on 4 inch heels for short periods -- but because of 9/11. Let me explain.

On the morning of 9/11 I was temporarily waylaid (read: I was in therapy because of a recent break up) on my way to work at the Pentagon. Then, as you have probably heard, terrorists slammed a plane into the building. They had already done so in New York and many innocent people died (as did some very, very bad men). The result: Two wars, more than 5,000 American deaths, tens of thousands of Americans injured and god knows how many tens or hundreds of thousands of non-Americans killed dead.

But this is about my feet.

On that day I was wearing flats actually -- cute navy and white spectator loafers. Nevertheless, by the time I have walked across Northern Virginia to get to the Pentagon -- where I was almost knocked to my knees at my first sight of the pancaked building -- and stood around in the Citgo lot waiting for info, trading the pay phone with other reporters because our cell phones didn't work, then walking all the way around the building (the largest office building in the world) several times trying to get in for the briefing, then all the way through the building to see the damage (what I was allowed to see -- the hallways leading to the impact site were dark, guarded by armed men, and sloshing with water from the newly installed fire sprinklers) walking around again at 11 that night after I was finished filing, trying to find a cab or a metro station that was open, and then riding home on the train and being quite literally the only person in any car, in any station we passed, I had 19 separate blisters (feet sweating and swelling and unswelling and sweating and getting dirty again...) and limped home. I threw out those shoes and thought: Thank Baby jesus I wasn't wearing high heels.

So pretty much I try not to, and if I do, I always try to have a pair of comfortable flats around. You never know when terrorists will blow something up or your car will get a flat tire. Best to be prepared. You should also always have bandaids on you, which I usually don't and always regret.

But this post is about how to walk around in high heels when flats are not an option. While I was hanging around The Source the other day (Wolfgang Puck's DC restaurant) waiting for a photo shoot we were doing for Flavor to wrap up, I asked the gorgeous blonde GM how she managed. Girlfriend was tottering up and down staircases and stands around all the live long day. The secret, she said, is different heel heights. She only wears black shoes and has several pairs of different height heels. When one starts to hurt, she switches, the pressure points change, and no one is the wiser -- but she's always wearing heels.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How To Steal My Heart with Furniture

How brilliant is this? Not mine but I am going to steal this, stat, on the next dresser I find.
The link is here. Check it out -- lots of awesome stuff that is (I hesitate to say because she might take it as an insult) fabulous half-assed crafting (as in: takes not much time and money, looks infinitely better than when it started, and is fun to do.)

I love a bare tree branch motif, and this combines that with the McMakin trick I adore -- painting furniture but leaving some of it unpainted so you can see the wood grain.