Story #2 DC Speakeasy April 2012

In which I  break all the rules and try to follow in my mother’s footsteps

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Super Fly Slouchy Hat Knitting Pattern

Super Fly Super Slouchy Hat
Super Fly Super Slouchy Hat

 

I don’t really knit. And by that I mean, I don’t have patience for big ole’ projects. When my sisters Susan explained me the pattern for this slouchy hat, however, I was all about it. Susan made this pattern y’all, she’s a genius. All credit goes to her. It doesn’t take very long at all- and it makes a great present.

Jenn wearing the slouchy hatThings you will need:

  • Big ass needles (and by that I mean size 15)
  • Big ass wool (I like to go with the Rowan wool, or chunky)

Things you will do:

  • Cast on 37 stitches (fewer if you want a slightly more fitted hat, should be uneven number though).
  • Do 2 normal 1 backwards if you want a ribbed edge (do like 4 rows of this)
  • Knit 16 rows (including the 4 rows for the ribbed edge)
 This is where it gets a TINY bit complicated (at least for someone as knitting illiterate (knilliterate?) as me- this is basically where you start reducing the size of the circumference so that you don’t knit a chef’s hat
  • Next row 1: with right side facing, *knit 7 knit2together* 4times +1 st at end
  • Knit 1 row regular

Then…

  • Next row 3: *knit 2 knit2together* 8 times +1st (you should now have 25 stitches)
  • knit 1 row regular

Then…

  • Next row 5: *knit 1 knit2together* +1 (17 stitches left)
  • Knit 1 row regular
 Then…
  • next row 7: *knit 2 knit2together* +1 (13 stitches)
  • next row 8: *purl1, purl2together* +1 repeat to end (9 stitches)
 Voila!
You too can look fly in your hat- maybe add a pom pom?
You too can look fly in your hat- maybe add a pom pom?

You are basically done. Break the tail, thread through the 9 stitches, pull tight and and use the tail to sew up the seam (inside out for best look) with a wool needle.

Add a tiny crocheted robot for flair
Add a tiny crocheted robot for flair

I Go Back To Th…

I Go Back To The House For A Book (Billy Collins)

I turn around on the gravel and go back to the house for a book, something to read at the doctor’s office, and while I am inside, running the finger of inquisition along a shelf, another me that did not bother to go back to the house for a book heads out on his own, rolls down the driveway, and swings left toward town, a ghost in his ghost car, another knot in the string of time, a good three minutes ahead of me — a spacing that will now continue for the rest of my life.

Butternut squash Apple Soup

This is my favorite soup. Its healthy. Low in calories. Satisfying. Easy to freeze. And an absolute party pleaser. All that sounds dumb- but really- its good.

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Fall means gourds. OK fall means a lot of other things too but in terms of stuff you can find at the farmer’s market apples and gourds are at the top. My favorite recipe for fall is this easy peasy butternut squash soup:

soup
soup

 

Ingredients:

  • One large, or 2 medium butternut squash
  • 2 medium apples
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 nugget of ginger
  • salt, pepper, to taste

Optional:

  • apple cider
  • 2-3 leeks

The most difficult part of this whole operation is butchering the butternut squash. I made this soup for 20 people at Thanksgiving, and by the end my hands were blistery. If you want to forgo the woes- buy pre-cubed butternut squash. But, there is something quite satisfying of doing it yourself.  Farmer’s Markets don’t sell pre-cubed. Just FYI.

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Steps:

Chop onions and garlic and saute in a GIANT pot coated with olive oil. Make sure everything becomes yummy and caramelized. If you want to add leeks, this is were you do it. Also, give a big nugget of ginger a rough chop and throw it in there.

Imagine this to be a hot tub party in high school. Everyone is sweating together, getting all up in each others business.

When things are translucent, add your rough chopped squash and apples (with skin on). Let them cook a little bit- then add some liquids. Liquids that will do: water (duh), apple cider, chicken stock, veggie stock, or some combination there of. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer.

When everything is nice and mushy (like 30 minutes) get out you immersion blender and go to town.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

As my uncle said “this is restaurant quality!”  Really, though, its super easy.

 

Because There Is Always More: Favorite Songs of 2012

I know, I know, I already did a Best Albums of 2012 top ten, but I realized that there are a lot of songs out there that I listened to on repeat- orphan songs that didn’t belong to any albums (or albums I didn’t like, or albums I didn’t know). But they too deserve a spot. Its actually pretty hard to find my favorite songs that aren’t already on my album top 10 list– so I give you 8. If you feel like I missed one, please air your grievances in the comment section.

8- Skrillex- Bangarang

Ah, Skrillex. You and your asymmetrical hairdo. I remember early this year thinking: I wonder what Skrillex sounds like (besides wub wub) and I got hooked on this song. I suppose Bangarang (the EP) was technically released late 2011, but whose really checking. Bangarang is an awesome word, which I have tried to bring into common vocabulary for months. It comes, not as you might believe from the movie Hook with his little hottie Roofio screaming it across Neverland, but instead, from the Jamaican word meaning hubub, which is just as well. Drum and bass at its finest, with a crazy little video. Ahh. its so good.

7- Gotye ft. Kimbra- Somebody That I Used To Know

The second I heard this song for the first time, blasting through someone’s car window on my street, it was everywhere: commercials, every TV shows, every pop-culture reference, the radio, memes, life. It’s pop perfection.

So I asked myself, why is this a song we can all agree on loving? What is it about this song that makes it universally loveable? Maybe its the dramatic breakdowns, with Kimbra’s voice really grabbing a hold of the listener’s emotions. Maybe its the fact that the whole song sounds like Sting- but I know that isn’t what makes it universally appealing.

Perhaps its the theme, breakups. Everyone knows what that is like. I know what you will say: that can’t be it, my scientific research shows approximately 50% of songs are about breakups. So why is this song so special?

Somebody That I Used To Know  is sad enough to let you wallow in self pity,  but cheerful enough to let you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Its that song you listen to a few months PB (post breakup) that tells you both “I am going to stay in bed for 3 days eating nothing but Chunky Monkey ice cream while watching Downton Abbey” and “Get your tush out that door, and into that dance club, you’ve got some flirting to do.” This song is so perfect, because believe it or not, its complicated enough to encompass a range of emotions. Plus its groovy. And that is what I have to say about that.

6- Japandroids- The House That Heaven Built

I would play this song if I had a big race to run. Or a boxing match. Or before I would kick my nemesis’  ass. Or tell an evil boss to go shove it. Or tell the guy I have a crush on that I want to have his babies. Its like a pep-talk, in a song. Somebody described this as Rocky Balboa with a little bit of punk rock. I can’t disagree. The Canadian band Japandroids is just making appearance on my musical horizon, I imagine there will be more to come.

5- First Aid Kit- Emmylou

Duh. I don’t actually know why I didn’t put the whole album in my top ten. The Lion’s Roar was actually quite spectacular. I think maybe what I felt was that it starts out strong- from the title track to the 4th or 5th song- then I start losing interest. Emmylou is a sweet love song with an interesting melody, sung by Swedish sister’s who consider the Fleet Foxes and Joanna Newsom (WHAT?!) as their influences (who can say no to that). Drunken Trees, and the Big Black and the Blue, their previous albums, are also really lovely. Nothing like a good old fashioned love song to lift your spirits, especially one that evokes great rock ‘n roll couples of times long gone.

4- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis-  Can’t Hold Us

I first heard about this guy when his video for Same Love went viral. A hip-hop song supporting gay marriage? Can’t go wrong with that. Then, when his NPR Tiny Desk Concert came out, everything blew up. Macklemore-mania. While I like most of the songs on his debut album, The Heist, the collection as a whole is a  little bit too unrefined for me. Its not that I don’t understand that many songs these days revolve around money and “ladies,” but it is his slightly joking tone that gets me. He doesn’t seem to take too much seriously.

Let me explain: One entire song is dedicated to his Nike Airs (“I touched the net, Momma I touched the net, this is the best day of my life/ Air Max’s was next”- Wing$) and a whole other one dedicated to Thrift Shopping (“hey be like, “Oh, that/ Gucci – that’s hella tight.”/ I’m like, “Yo – that’s fifty dollars for a T-shirt.”/ Limited edition, let’s do some simple addition/ Fifty dollars for a T-shirt – that’s just some ignorant bitch (shit)”) which is all very cute and catchy, but I just don’t get it. Not completely at least.

Perhaps it his attempt to analyze consumerism among urban youth, and take down the whole capitalist cobweb we are all entangled in, but perhaps not. It just seems that these topics are more serious than Mr. Macklemore gives them credit for.

But I digress. Maybe simple is good. Like in Make the Money, where he says: “Make the money, don’t let the money make you/ Change the game, don’t let the game change you.” Also this song, Can’t Hold Us  is absolutely one of my favorites this year. The beat is uplifting, with LOVELY vocals accompanying the rhyme. I put this song on and my walk turns into a strut. No joke.

3- Kanye West- Mercy

What can I say. I ❤ this. You got 2 Chainz (which I can take or leave), Pusha T, Big Sean. and Ye.

I don’t know why the Huffington Post even commented on this song, but they did. And this is what they said: “”lyrically, ‘Mercy’ doesn’t have much to it, but it’s a competent piece of braggadocio.” I have to disagree. The ass metaphors (ass-quake, ass-state, ass-tray) is pure poetic genius. No joke.

All the  leather and keffiyehs in the video remind me a bit of a S&M al-Qaeda party. But who am I to judge.

2- Diplo- Express Yourself (NSFW)

Maybe my favorite 2012 discovery is Diplo, a Philadelphia music producer and songwriter. You might know his dance hall-y stuff under the name Major Lazer. Besides being oh-so-cute, he also makes amazing music. He also took his name from the dinosaur Diplodocus, which is both nerdy and hot. The video is amazing (though def not suitable for work) and body positive (me thinks?)

This song, part daggering, part Louisiana booty bounce, part dub- is pretty much perfect.

1- Rudimental- Feel the Love

First of all, urban cowboys. That is really all I should be saying about this song/video. But I must indulge. This song was HUGE in England this year but somehow missed the mark in the US- I am not sure why. This group hails from Hackney, and the gritty electro beats are definitely witness to that. I like the dubsteppy, funky, jazzy vibe, and the soulful lyrics. Did I mention I love urban cowboys?? I listen to this song all the time. No joke. Turn that ish up.

DIY Organic Solid Body Bars

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Solid Body Bar

I love solid body bars. But, if you’re familiar with the concept they don’t come cheap. I love my friends. But, if you’re familiar with the concept, they don’t come cheap either during the holiday season! What to do? I’ve been wanting to do a DIY project for some time now, and after browsing Pinterest, I stumbled on a really easy recipe to make everyone happy.

Grocery List:

  • Cocoa butter (raw)
  • Coconut oil
  • Beeswax
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Solid Body Bar
  • Essential oils (I got a mix with a “sensual” theme)
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Solid Body Bar
  • Silicone molds
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Solid Body Bar

I purchased all of these things on amazon.com for a fairly good price.  It doesn’t matter how much you buy, as long as they are all the same because you use equal parts.

Steps:

Cut up equal parts of the coconut oil, cocoa butter, and beeswax (you can weigh it, or eyeball it) and put them in a metal or glass bowl in a double boiler. Side note: I learned that a double boiler in Spanish is a bano de Maria (Mary’s bath) which makes me giggle. AND moving on.

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Solid Body Bar

2) Once everything is nice and melty, add your essential oils. You can do lavender for relaxation, or citrus for energy. I wanted to be creepy and give my friends something sensual smelling. It’s made up of ylang-ylang, pachouli, jasmine,  and sandalwood. I found that I needed quite a bit of essential oil to combat the intense cocoa butter smell. If you have any essential oils left you can put a few drops on your radiators- it makes the whole house smell delicious.

3) Once everything is mixed up and melted, pour it into the silicone molds.

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Solid Body Bar

Wait for them to cool and, voila! Your very own body bar.

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Solid Body Bar

Since I was giving these as gifts for the holidays I also got little cellophane bags. Make it look nice, put a bow on it.

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Solid Body Bar