29 November 2011

Shufflin'

This is my brain on random/shuffle this Tuesday evening:

Correspondence is important to relationships. This is a note to the world at large as much as it is to myself.

*****

I made Kale Chips yesterday for the first time. They're light with an airy, crispy texture. I like them. I do not like cleaning curly kale though.

*****

The last piece of pumpkin pie is finally gone. And je triste.

*****

Sometimes just going to get coffee, the mere act of walking into my coffee shop and chatting with my baristas, is more satisfying than the actual coffee I walk out with. Not as sad panda as it may sound, although it might be time to change up my game, or find more outlets where there be chatty folks to interact with. Or both.

*****

Are you an Eames fan? I saw Eames: The Architect and the Painter over the weekend. It was pretty cool to see the whole story of the couple and their creativity. I was bummed though, to find out that Charles carried on an affair with another women for a while. I literally thought, "Really, handsome creative guy?! So original in other aspects of your life, but not so much in the cheating on your lady. What gives?!"

*****

Winter weather hasn't officially begun here in Michigan, but it is REALLY cold tonight. I'm straight up wondering how I'll make it through this winter. My entire being and psyche are feeling ill suited for cold weather and snow this time around.

*****

What are your feelings about electric blankets? I had one when I was little. I hear people singing their praises. Not sure I could go there. Although I just shared about my less than enthusiastic attitude about winter and cold, I'm quite content with the comforter/blanket/sheet set up I've got going on in the boudoir. Super cozy and warm.

*****

I am in need of a hair cut. A trim at the very least, but am wanting my longer hair back. Darn hair!''

*****

That's all I've got!






28 November 2011

Vintage Fashion Finds

I blogged over the weekend about my treasure hunting trip to a few of my favorite antique haunts. Since I focused on the fun furniture finds, I'm now sharing the fun fashions I found. 

A fun side note before we begin, this is my 401st blog post!! 

Vintage genuine Pendleton flannel shirt. This was in pristine condition. Great for the hipster dude in your life or if plaid happens to be your favorite color, this could be yours. It was going for just under $35, a pretty good deal considering a similar brand new Pendleton goes for $105.

At East Fulton Arts & Antiques:
This floral patterned shirt dress with belt was darling! The photo is from the camera on my phone so, it's not the best and also clearly you can't see how lovely the full-ish skirt is. I may go back and rescue it, unless you go and scoop it up first. $25.

At Lost and Found:
I snapped this pic for my mom. She was very much a hippie back in the day and she had a jacket very similar to this one. It may have been longer though. I've had a fabulous vintage leather cowboy-ish jacket with fringe in my collection for years, so this one could be yours, pardner! Apologies, I did not document prices of any of the Lost and Found items.

Beautiful vintage cashmere jacket with fur trim. Very good condition. It would likely keep you very warm and you'd look quite stylish at the same time.

Black and white cotton shirt dress. Since I have a yen for anything black and white, I thought this was super cute!  With a belt, a little cardigan and some boots, you've got a timeless ensemble. I'm still thinking about it days later, so you may have to arm wrestle me for this one.

Do you like to incorporate vintage clothing into your personal style? I'd love to hear about some of your favorite finds.

27 November 2011

What's for Dinner.



Huevos Rancheros. Turns out the meal with such a fun name to say is equally fun and easy to make. Are you sick of your Thanksgiving leftovers yet? This might be a great recipe to try! I've had this kicking around in my head for a bit, since the main ingredients are always staples in my kitchen. Tonight was the first time I've actually made it and I must say it was muy bueno!

Here's what I used to pull it together:

1 corn tortilla, warmed 
1 slice soy cheese (smoked provolone flavor)
black beans seasoned to taste with cumin, chili pepper and a splash of salsa
1 fried egg seasoned with salt, pepper and onion flakes
half a roma tomato, diced
salsa
guacamole, which had the other half of the roma tomato

Pile it all together and enjoy! The fun is that you can really play around with the ingredients and add/subtract depending on what you have on hand. This combination above was super tasty and is likely to become a standard quick meal at Casa Starr Fish. 




26 November 2011

Saturday Treasure Hunting

I love searching through antique shops hunting for unexpected treasures. I also love an estate sale for the same reason, you just never know what you're going to find. Something for a great deal, something that reminds you of your childhood or someone you know, it's just fun! I'm drawn to furniture, vintage clothing and dishes. Searching for furniture is mostly just for fun (or to share with you!) these days, since I literally don't have room in the house for new (additional) furniture.

I went to some of my favorite spots today in Grand Rapids. It was a lovely overcast, yet unseasonably warm November day, so it was perfect for flitting in and out of stores. Here's some of the neato stuff I found today. If you're into it and you're local, go scoop it up!

At Eastown Antiques on Lake Drive:

Two Steelcase office chairs, (you can see a slice of the other one on the left.) going for $198. The fun part for me is that I have six of these at home around my dining room table, which I've had forever. I don't even remember what I paid, but I know it was a DEAL!

Metal drafting desk with drawer, $595. The stool was sold separately and unfortunately I did not get the price.


Lovely 60's era sofa. It is in excellent condition and was really comfortable to sit on. I love the simple lines of it! This was offered at $395.


This flat file looks like it was used as a boat anchor for some time, but I love the weathered look. It would make a great coffee table or you know, a boat anchor for just $350.

If you have a kitchen large enough that doesn't already have an island, this work bench/table would be ideal. Just lay out $400 and it's yours!

 They even had this magazine photo sitting out as inspiration. 

What's not to love about this mini chair? When I was little we had a mini mod rocking chair that we all loved to sit in. This chair was actually sitting on the lower shelf of a workbench type table if that gives you a sense of its size. So cute and in great condition and it's only $82! If you have a mini or two at home, I want you to get it!

25 November 2011

Reverse Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving and one of the things I did was go through my closet. The main goal was to remove any lingering summery clothes and get out a few more sweaters/warmer clothes. I ended up pulling a bag of items together to send to Goodwill. I purposely did not shop today, deciding I did not want to take part in the mass consumption orgy known as Black Friday (not that I don't enjoy shopping, but yikes!) When I was pulling things for Goodwill, I realized I was celebrating Reverse Black Friday. It felt good!

What did you do today? Did you brave the masses for some bargains. Travel? Eat leftovers?

24 November 2011

Thanksgiving=Happy

"Nothing is either good or bad. It's thinking that makes it so."
--William Shakespeare

Most days I choose to have an attitude of gratitude and my days are better for it. Today being Thanksgiving and all, that is especially true. I am truly grateful for all the blessings in my life. 

Because it's Thanksgiving and I've been seeing "Happy Thanksgiving" greetings everywhere, I pondered its meaning. Do we really mean "be happy while you're giving thanks today"? To me, it seems like it should be "Thanksgiving=Happy." I know that when I'm looking for things to be grateful for, even if it's been a particularly crap day and I don't feel like I have anything to be grateful for, when I start making a gratitude list, my attitude improves. If I am giving thanks, for the big things and even the smallest things, overall, I'm a happier person. 

I hope you had a Thanksgiving=Happy day today and carry that over into every one of your days! 

23 November 2011

Ye Olde Pumpkin Pie

Oh, pumpkin pie, I so enjoy your fragrant deliciousness. I haven't had the honor of making the Thanksgiving pumpkin pies in a few years. There was that one year a few back when we had Thanksgiving here and I believe I made the pies. I think that may have even been vegan pumpkin pie that year. This year, I volunteered to bake and thought I'd share the process with you!

Something you should know about me first, I'm a "make the crust from scratch" kinda gal. What can I say, I'm my mother's daughter. She taught me well. 

Pie Crust
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cups vegetable shortening
6-9 Tbsp. VERY cold water (I usually add a couple ice cubes to a bowl of water while I'm cutting the shortening into the dough and then use that.)


Measure your flour, salt and shortening into a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, mix everything together until it is crumbly. It should look like small pebbles, #1 (click the photo to get a closer look). Then add the water, three to four tablespoons at first, then mix. Then add at least two more tablespoons of water and continue to mix. the dough should begin to bind together as you're mixing/stirring. Depending on how well it's coming together (or not) you may or may not need to add the remaining water. Once it starts getting close to a ball of dough, dig right in with clean hands and bring it all together. You should end up with a ball of dough like #2. Cut the ball of dough in half and wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least a half hour. 

When the dough has had enough time to chill in the fridge, put one round of dough on a floured surface and roll it out (#3) until it's just a bit larger than a 9" pie pan. Carefully fold the dough circle in half, (but not pressing it together) then in half again to transfer it to your pie pan. Unfold the dough and form it into the pan. It can be a tricky process, but do like Tim Gunn says and just make it work. The finished shell should look like #4. Repeat with the other lump of dough. Yields two pie shells.

If you're not feeling up to the dough challenge, you can totally cheat and buy ready made pie crust, but then you won't have the satisfaction of making your own. Just try it! 

On to the pie. I used the recipe right of the can of Libby's 100% pumpkin. Apparently that's the one my mom's been using all these years!

Famous Pumpkin Pie
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 can (29 oz.) 100% pure pumpkin
2 cans Evaporated milk
2 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shells (see above)

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour into unbaked pie shells.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350; bake 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. My pies baked for close to an hour so you have to keep an eye on them and let them do their thing. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours, then serve or refrigerate. 

The sugar-spice mixture.

The eggs, sugar-spice mixture and pumpkin prior to mixing. I used my mixer, but you can do the mixing by hand.

Ta-da!! It's pumpkin pie, fresh out of the oven. I cannot wait until tomorrow to eat it up!



22 November 2011

The Revolution is Love



I came across this short video clip yesterday morning as I checked FB. A lovely family friend had posted it to her page. I watched it and was intrigued. Then I watched it again. I watched it a couple more times yesterday and I'll probably keep watching it. Charles Eisenstein is the man featured in the video and he brings up so many amazing points about what's possible in our world. He's an author and a professor.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas, paraphrased as best as I could capture them. Watch the clip and you'll hear it yourself.

"This movement isn't about the 99% defeating or toppling the 1%. You know the next chapter of that story, which is that the 99% create a new 1%. That's not what it's about. What we want to create is the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible. A sacred world. A world that works for everybody. A world that is healing. A world of peace."

"Everybody wants to live a life of meaning. And Today we live in a money economy where we don't really depend on the gifts of anybody. We buy everything. Therefore we don't really need anybody....It's really hard to create community if the underlying knowledge is 'We don't need each another.'... Joint consumption doesn't create intimacy. Only joint creativity and gifts create intimacy and connection."

"Love is the felt experience of connection to another being. The economist says that 'More for you is less for me.' The lover knows that more for you is more for me too."

"Love is the expansion of self to include the 'other'. That's a different kind of revolution. There's no one to fight. There's no evil to fight. There's no 'other' in this revolution..."

More, please. I'm going to dig into what he's written.

21 November 2011

Anthro Revisited

Workin' It


Yeah, I've got another Anthropologie set for you! Are you mad, bro? So maybe I did max out my "wouldn't it be nice?" credit card! Ha! Every time I play around on Polyvore making these outfit sets, I remember how much fun it is to style outfits. I love pulling fun looks together. 

One of my favorite looks is wearing these kind of shift dresses over skinny pants. So I pulled two looks together using a pair of skinny cream cords as the base. You get two really simple, yet pulled together outfits. They would be perfect for an office casual work situation.

I love that you can really mix and match with all these pieces so easily. The jackets would go with either dress and so do the shoes. I'd love to actually try these looks on at the store! Sometimes things layer really well and sometimes they just don't and you end up feeling lumpy. If that ended up being the case you could wear the dresses over leggings for winter or bare legs when the temps warm up a bit. Or skip the dresses and pair a simple t-shirt or turtle neck under either jacket with the cords. 

What do you think? Are you buying either look with your "wouldn't it be nice?" credit card? Or perhaps you have some similarly shaped pieces in your closet already that you could pull together for a similar silohoutte? I'm feeling inspired, we'll see if the inspiration carries over to my outfit tomorrow or later this week. 

20 November 2011

Sunday Dreams

Sunday Dreams



Anthropologie has come to Grand Rapids! It's been open for a few weeks now and I finally took the time to visit. Everything in the store is lovely! I wanted to buy pretty much everything.  Of course, you're saying. That's the general idea. It's probably been  about two years since my last Anthro visit. I was in NYC, and there's one right by my brother's office.  

I enjoyed my visit, but there's definitely a "the 1% are everywhere" vibe in our location. I never got that when checking out the store in New York or Chicago. I heard one mother talking to her tween daughter about just hiring another decorator so their house can be redone by spring. Another set of shoppers - a mother, father and daughter were so well dressed and groomed, they literally looked like they had just done a photo shoot. Lots of brand new high-end vehicles in the parking lot. For us real folks who rarely pay retail, but prefer the kind of quality and interesting design Anthro offers, they do have great sales. So don't be scared to check it out! Scope things out that you love and scoop them up on sale.

Instead of actually maxing out my credit card during today's visit, I did some "wouldn't it be nice?" shopping for the blog. Since it was a lovely day to be curled up enjoying the indoors today, if money were no object, the items above would totally be my jam for doing some weekend chillin'.

Are you a fan of Anthropologie? If you're local, have you been to our new store yet? 

19 November 2011

Everything (Mostly) In Its Place

I don't know what your housekeeping secrets are, but I have heard a lot of people say, "we should have people over more often because the house really gets cleaned top to bottom." You can add my name to that list. While I keep my house pretty clean, when I'm super busy, the regular cleaning gets a bit neglected.

A couple weeks ago, I did a major clean at Casa Starr Fish and vowed to keep things from getting overly neglected by using a couple rules:

Everything has a place. Everything in its place. In other words, if use something, I put it back where it goes. If I'm making food in the kitchen, the kitchen starts clean and ends clean. No dishes left in the sink. Counters clear. Getting ready in the morning, all my "products", hair dryer, etc. go back where they belong.

Clean Sweep before bed. For anything that managed to not be put back in it's place, I do a sweep around the house and put those items away. The paper (I know, I still get the paper delivered. I'm a writer, I feel an allegiance to the printed word.) goes in its recycle spot. The mail gets sorted/recycled. I empty the dish strainer of the dinner dishes.

These two rules have kept the house fairly clutter free for more than two weeks. I obviously need to "clean" clean - kitchen and bathroom surfaces, floors, etc. on the regular. But keeping on top of the clutter  makes doing the real cleaning less daunting.

What are your clean house secrets?

18 November 2011

One with Nature


Taking the time to capture this image while raking leaves made raking the leaves less horrible. 

17 November 2011

Dig and Ditch

Dig it: The new show this season called Revenge. I'm watching it on hulu.com right now (multitasking all the time, yo!) and one part made me gasp out loud! Good stuff!

Dig it: Chocolate pudding from Marie Catrib's.

Ditch it: Cars that idle outside my house. First of all, who are you? It's unnerving and it's bad for the environment. Get in your car, start it and go. Or stop the car, turn it off and get out. It's not that difficult. In/out. Done. Quiet.

Ditch it: The neighbor dogs that bark incessantly when outside and they want back in. The neighbors get a ditch for letting them each stay out and bark. For the record it's two separate neighbors and dogs. Ugh!

Dig it: OccupyWallStreet. Today was the two month anniversary of the start of this movement. There was a groundswell of people in New York today marching about all day. I was checking out the ustream livefeed and it's so amazing, almost like you're there. History is being made.

Dig it: Soda water with ice and the juice of one lime.  Fizzy and delicious.

Ditch it:  Bad fluorescent lighting. Whenever I see it blaring out of someone's house, I shield my eyes and wonder how anyone can live with that light. It's so harsh and terrible.

Ditch it: Focusing on the negative or that which we wish were different. There are some many more productive ways to channel our energy. I realize that and I know the "ditch it" items on this list could be considered as me complaining.  Those thoughts have been floating around in my head for a week or so and I needed to get them out and set them free so I can focus on the good things around me. So there, I'm hopefully done with them.

Dig it: People who have a genuinely positive outlook about life. That kind of energy is captivating!

Since we're focused on the positive now, tell me what you're digging on these days!










16 November 2011

What the Skull?

A relic from the Halloween party I went to.

15 November 2011

This. That. And the Other.

It's been a while since I've done a "my brain on random post." So in no particular order, this is some of the stuff that's been shuffling around in my head for the last few days.

  • I really need to start running again. It's been four weeks since the marathon. I was sick for about two weeks. Coldish. And now I'm just really enjoying my free time. I keep saying "maybe tomorrow..." One of these days, that will come true because I really WANT to run, not because I feel like I HAVE to.
  • I lost my road map along the way for when you have a crush on someone and you have no idea how they see you, if at all. I'm like my 14-15 year old self, crushing on boys all over the place. Playin' it cool, but feeling like, where my skillz at, yo?
  • I finally raked some leaves tonight after work. I kept thinking the whole time, "I so need to pay someone to do this." There's a ton left to do and very little daylight to work to light my way on the job after work. Bah!
  • I'm slow to adapt to change that others foist upon me. I have yet to try the new Blogger interface. Anyone else try it? It took me forever to move to the new Twitter. Now Gmail has a new look. For crying out loud.
  • Currently smelling like a combination of pine needles, mint and medicine-y goodness thanks to a massage tonight. It probably sounds terrible, but I'm digging on it.
And I will leave you with this: one of Mike Doughty's songs (Lorna Zauberberg) that I cannot stop listening to since seeing him on Saturday. This video is from this tour's stop at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, so its all current!

14 November 2011

A Mike Doughty PS

I saved the best Mike Doughty bits for last!

During the show, Mike let us all know that a "high-fi recording" was being made of the show. At some point soon it will magically appear online and I will download it and relive the show whenever I desire. Yay!

Mike was super fabulous and chatty during the show, which I loved. And then...then he said he'd be around after the show to say hello, sign autographs and what not! Did we hustle around after the show to make sure we got to meet him? Yes, we did! We had to wait in a bit of a line, in front of this annoyingly drunk girl who claimed to have had more fun at the show than anyone else there. N put it like this: she was drunk, but there was something else off about her. I tried my best to behave and not turn around and punch her out so we wouldn't have to endure her nonsense.

My Mike Doughty autographed ticket, along with Golden Delicious, which just happens to feature his handwriting!

Thankfully, the line moved quickly and we were soon standing in front of Mike Doughty saying hello. I told him that I've been a fan since the Soul Coughing days (TRUE!), but in light of how that ended, I probably shouldn't even mention that. He agreed, and kindly thanked me. He then signed my ticket! Unfortunately, due to the number of people, they weren't allowing photos. I may not have a proper photo, but the moment is there in my mind's eye.

13 November 2011

Mike Doughty at House of Blues

As mentioned in the previous House of Blues post, I was in Chicago over the weekend to see Mike Doughty play his lyrically delicious musical program at the House of Blues. It's a great venue to see an artist like Mike Doughty. First of all, it's beautiful. I found out the music hall itself was modeled after the Estavovski (Stavovske divadlo) Opera House in Prague. So there's that. Then, it's fairly small. If I had to guess capacity, I'd say no more than 1,500. And since google exists, I can now tell you that capacity is 1,300.

Looking up at the box seats.

The opening act was a three piece called Moon Hooch. Two saxophones and a drummer, making some interesting and pretty cool music. They said Mike found them playing in the subway in New York and asked them if they wanted to go on a national tour. Yes and Also Yes had to be their answer, as they're currently touring with Mike. My favorite number was a dub step reminiscent song with contra bass.

Moon Hooch

Next up, of course, was the main event. The reason for a three hour each way drive from Grand Rapids, none other than Mike Doughty. He played with His Band Fantastic Band. They played a lengthy set with many of Doughty's more known songs including the current Na Na Nothing, 27 Jennifers, Looking at the World From the Bottom of a Well, I Hear the Bells (contains one of my very favorite lines, "You snooze, you lose. Well I have snost and lost.") and Bustin' Up a Starbucks.

Mike Doughty

Mike Doughty and His Band Fantastic

On the drive into Chicago as I got more and more psyched to see him play, I wondered aloud if he'd be chatty with the audience. He was. Early on in the show he asked people what songs they wanted to hear. Many called out current material and others hopefully called out Soul Coughing songs. Seeing that the band broke up in the midst of tensions about the deal they'd made to equally share the rights to songs Doughty wrote, it's no surprise that he was quick to quash any hopes of hearing Soul Coughing material. He also spoke often about how his current music is available for purchase, but that it could also be ripped off online, which he actually encouraged.

Andrew "Scrap" Livingston on bass (r) and Mike Doughty.

It was such a fun show! I first heard Soul Coughing the summer of 1997 and have been a fan of Mike Doughty's voice and lyrical stylings ever since. So happy that he played Chicago and that I was able to go check him out.

House of Blues Chicago

I had no idea how cool the House of Blues, Chicago is you guys! Someone should have told me sooner! Of course, I knew it existed as a concert venue, but that's about it. I went to see Mike Doughty play there last night and was amazed at the entire experience. LOVED it! First of all, I love me some folk art and this place is jammed with it. Of course it makes sense and all, blues culture and the folk art asthetic go together, duh! My friend N and I had dinner downstairs before the show and I couldn't get enough of the art and decor in general. I think I even said, "I want to live here. I love it!"

So I did some searching and the HoB is, of course a chain. There are 13 locations throughout the country. Chicago opened in 1996. The first location opened in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1992. It's no longer open, but there is a Boston location. Obviously Chicago isn't the one and only, although this location felt authentic, not chain-y, which I appreciated greatly.

A tiny taste of the art/decor. This is from the "front porch" before you walk into the restaurant area on the first floor.

Yours truly, at dinner. This pic was originally super dark, but after tweaking with the levels, the overall vibe fits.

Crossroads at House of Blues Cornbread appetizer. Love the mini skillet and it was delicious!

Crossroads at House of Blues side of cole slaw. Red cabbage, carrots, cilantro and a light dressing.

Crossroads at House of Blues Trio of Cheese Rigatoni. I don't remember all three cheeses, but there was a hidden blanket of melty cheese in the middle of that mess of noodles. The sauce had a nice kick to it.

11 November 2011

Clink clink clink

What my left wrist looks like lately. The stack of metal bangles combined with my trusty and non-traditional-looking Swatch. Until finding this combination, I've never really been a fan of wearing a mess of bracelets at once, but I love the tiny musical clink, clink, clink notes that emanate from my wrist now.