Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Love: Molly Mutt Dog Beds

We just bought Sophie a new dog bed for when she's chillin' in the living room. I, of course, searched high and low for just the right bed for a long time. A friend showed me a clip of this site from a magazine, and I fell in love with the design and the company.

:: Molly Mutt Dog Beds ::

Good things:
  1. Very affordable compared to similarly-sized beds. We ordered the medium ($30) which is more than big enough for our 50 lb. dog.
  2. Made of strong, durable canvas in super-cute prints. I was very impressed with the quality of the sewing and fabric.
  3. It's a duvet cover that you can fill with blankets, t-shirts, pillows, etc. which means you can use things around the house—with your scent on them—to fill the inside. How cool is that?!
  4. I love buying from a small company with a focused passion.

Bad things:
  1. Not a single one. I'm thinking of ordering another one, just because.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love: The moral roots of liberals and conservatives

A year ago if you had told me that I'd be falling in love with a Republican, I'd have punched laughed in your face. I almost didn't go out with him. But, he seemed open-minded and I was willing to take a risk.

I'm glad I did. The past year has been the best of my life.

I'll spare you all of the smooshy details of my relationship, but I do want to tell you how thankful I am that I'm becoming the open-minded person I thought I once was by falling in love with a Republican.

It's hard to hate someone you're in love with. So you have to find a way to understand where he's coming from, even if his opinions occasionally piss you off.

A lot of people think it's novel that I, the liberal Obama-loving girl, am dating the conservative who works in politics. While we do have some core values and beliefs that differ, we actually agree on the social issues that are most important to me.

During one of the early debates that occurred between us, I was worried that my opinion meant little to him because it was largely based on emotional conviction and not necessarily well-articulated facts. He said something to me that put my fears to rest: "Nobody's opinion. Matters more to me. Than yours."

How can you learn to love and accept people you disagree with? Have we lost the ability to do that with our modern-day sensational politics?

Watching this TED.com video helped me make sense of what I was learning in my heart for months: That the cartoon I had painted of conservatives—as unbendingly rigid fuckwits with no moral compass—was unfair and close-minded. To this day I catch myself judging people before I take a breath and put myself in their shoes for a minute. I may not ever agree with their beliefs, but I can't go on thinking they're just plain evil.

Food for thought. Watch this video and let me know what you think in the comments!

Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

Love: Pacing the Panic Room

There are a handful of blogs in my reader that, when a new post shows up, I get all giddy and want to savor the time I have to read it. Pacing the Panic Room is one of those blogs. When I found it a year or so ago, I spent a few evenings reading all of the archives. I couldn't get enough of it.

I'm not a baby-obsessed person. I've never really been drawn to blogs written by males that have lives that are nothing like mine. But there is something about the way Ryan writes about life, about family, and about the inner-workings of his head that just mesmerizes me. I find myself reading a sentence, taking a deep breath, and thinking, "Yeah. That's exactly how it is."

The posts are longer than I normally have patience for. It seems everything about this breaks the mold of what I typically like... but that's what makes it so extraordinary for me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Love: Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Any foodie who watches Food Network will recognize these dutch ovens. (All-Clad pots and pans, KitchenAid mixers, W├╝sthof knives, Le Creuset dutch ovens... these are the things that make a home chef whimper and drool.)

I never thought I'd own one of these, until one day I happened upon one at a flea market. It was old, beaten up, and red (my favorite color). The white enamel had become well-worn and even had a couple spots of cast-iron showing through. After contacting a friend-of-a-friend who is a food scientist to make sure this old pot was too legit to quit, for $30 I took it home and figured I would give it as much love as it obviously once had.

I used that old thing for almost every meal. It became one of the most cherished pieces in my kitchen. There is nothing—and I mean nothing—like drizzling some oil in the Le Creuset and throwing in some onions/garlic/carrots/etc. The sound. The smell. The feel of moving around those ingredients with a simple wooden spatula. The way the food looks against the creamy enamel... It's pure heaven to me. (Right up there with the sound my dog makes when she's crunching her food.)

Sadly, that old dutch oven bit the dust one day when I accidently left it on to heat up without putting any oil in it. There was a horrible burnt smell and the enamel had blackened and starting popping off. I cried. It was as if I had killed something that I loved.

That was almost a year ago, and I didn't think I'd own another one unless I happened upon one at a yard sale or antique store. I wasn't about to pay full price for a new one.

Then, a couple of days ago I had a birthday, and my wonderful boyfriend bought me a big-mamba-jamba dijon Le Creuset dutch oven. Isn't he fantastic? I think he knows that when I am happy in the kitchen, his belly is happy.

Good things:
  1. The heat retention on these things is incredible. It will truly be unlike any other pot in your kitchen. You can cook on a low or medium heat most of the time once it's heated up.
  2. You will feel like Giada, Ina, Tyler, or [insert name of your fave Food Network chef here]. Like me, you may find yourself talking out loud while you're cooking.
  3. It's so pretty that you can leave it on the stove when you're not using it. 
  4. If you're a busy person and don't have time to make a complicated meal every night, there are some amazing dutch oven recipes out there. They require that you layer some ingredients for an entire meal in the pot, throw it in your oven, and wait for the smell to tell you that it's done. I highly recommend this book if you're looking for recipes to try. It's a nice alternative to crockpot cooking.
Bad things:
  1. The price. It's pretty steep for a single tool in your kitchen. But if you can splurge, I don't think you'll regret it.
*image via batmansmells

Love: Dry Shampoo

I had been wanting to try a dry shampoo for a long time. My hair is fine, and I have to wash it everyday so it doesn't look like ass. But I realize that washing it everyday isn't all that healthy.

I waited a long time to actually purchase one. I agonized over which one to try, reading reviews, researching ingredients, etc.

I'm fairly confident this dry shampoo by Sexy Hair Concepts is the best on the market for the price.

Good things:
  1. Spray it on. Wait 2 minutes. Brush it out. Hair is refreshed with tremendous volume, and has a matte texture.
  2. Removes product buildup.
  3. I find my hair is much more styleable and awesome on the days I use this. I've heard that if you curl your hair, it will retain the curl longer using this.
  4. It doesn't leave a powdery residue like some dry shampoos do.
  5. The smell is decent. Kind of cucumber-melony.
  6. Way more affordable than most dry shampoos on the market.
Bad things:
  1. If you get serious bed-head, you may have to rinse and dry your hair before using this. It isn't going to get rid of that crazy look.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rearranging the Blog Furniture

I haven't posted to this blog since February of 2009.

There are two main reasons for this:
  1. I fell in love with a boy.
  2. My obsession with makeup/beauty products has finite levels.
So I'm gonna switch things up around here. There's a new look and feel. And I'm going to be blogging about all things that I love (and hate). Movies. Recipes. Products. Whathaveyou.

Don't expect me to be posting everyday, because I still maintain that I need to feel truly enlivened about something for it to be blog-worthy. But I think you're going to get some more action.

Let's roll.