Best rom-coms for extremely particular situations

 hey girl

 

When you you can’t decide between watching a Wes Anderson movie OR sobbing your eyes out: Love Story.

When you’re in love with your best friend and you want someone to give you false hope, those someones are Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan! When Harry Met Sally.

When you have improved your mind through extensive reading and what you read was most definitely not Nicholas Sparks, but you also, maybe, are casually interested in laying your eyes on a pair of bulging breeches: Pride & Prejudice.

When you are really a glutton for punishment (but Alan Rickman! Be still my heart!) watch this version. And when you want your P&P with more fun and flair than Austen ever imagined: Bride & Prejudice. Austen would have torn it up at an Indian wedding, tho. So.

When you miss Sandra Bullock’s good old days and you also want to see eyebrows get top billing: While You Were Sleeping.

When you want to pretend that your current boyfriend isn’t an asshole per se, but rather, just a sassy Brit-sort of man who will eventually come ’round and be worthy of people: About a Boy.

When you know you are smarter than anyone and can toss Occam’s Razor and Schrodinger’s Cat around like nobody’s biz, and also, you think that guy who carries lumber across the quad is real cute, reconcile yourself: IQ. It’s the most adorable.

Happy Galentine’s Day!

amy and tina

My college years were some of the girliest of my life. I lived in a sorority house with 60 women, went to class for my journalism major surrounded by women, took modern dance and yoga classes with a ton of women. My life was an estrogen-fest for several years…and I loved it! I’ve never found another environment that was more supportive and kind than my college years.

I know many women have a different experience with all-girl groups (and especially sororities) but I’m happy to say that wasn’t my experience. I love those gals with all my heart, and that’s one of the reasons I love Valentine’s Day so much. It’s a day to celebrate love in all its forms, and the love between friends is no less powerful than Notebook-level, making out in the rain, showing up with a boom box in the rain, getting caught in the rain. True love is so rainy, but hey. Whatever it takes.

rain

And I do feel very “whatever it takes” about my friends. I draw the line at Notebookin’ it, however. Human sacrifice is creepy.

At the KD house, our little Galentine’s tradition was a watertight, no fail, love and cry, guaranteed good time every year: we caravanned over to that classiest of eating establishments, Sonic, and placed a mass order of Sonic Sweetheart Blasts. Once back at the house, we piled into the sunken living room in our comfies and proceeded to cry into our ice-cream while watching rom-coms and going to that screechy wailing place that only girls know. Boys, as far as I know, never screechy wail. They probably just ugly cry into their TMNT sheets, like this:

 

rachel

For Galentine’s Day this year, we have something very similar on the menu: Sweetheart shakes,   loads of rom-coms, and hopefully, will keep the screechy wails to a minimum.

Whatever it takes.

What are you doing for Galentine’s Day?

Scotch Cocktails

sour

 

{The Selkirk Sparkler}

Some say that a Scotsman is only a good as his whiskey. Being a Scottish lady, there are some things I still can’t get behind, and drinking Scotch neat is one of them. It must be the intermingled Irish, but I’d rather a glass of champagne or a Guinness any day!

As part of our Burns Night celebration, we wanted to appeal to all tastebuds. Ergo, two cocktails in celebration of all things Scotchy.

The Bobby Burns is a strong, medicinal drink. As the boys said, it’s a drink to put hair on your chest. For those who’d rather a fizz in the mouth than hair on the chests (like we lassies), the Selkirk Sparkler proved to be the perfect party drink. My goal was to take a classic whiskey sour and liven it up a little bit, and boy did we! Though for a lively night of any variety, either of these drinks will do just dandily.

The Bobby Burns

2 ounces Scotch

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 dash Angostura bitters

2 dashes Benedictine or brandy

 

The Selkirk Sparkler

2 ounces whiskey

3 ounces sour mix

Ice

Champagne

 

 

Burns Night 2015

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I’m about to out myself as big nerd. Which is probably too not much of a secret anyway, but I think publicizing your themed dinner party in honor of a long-dead Scottish poet is right up there with wearing a Boy Scout uniform as an adult (DAD!) or admitting that you still read Anne of Green Gables every now and again. Ahem. But we’re fine with that. And we’re fine with it – nay, we celebrate this weirdness! – because people all over the world celebrate Burns Night every year. And this year, we did, too.

For the uninitiated, Burns Night is a big ol’ Scottish dinner party celebrated on or ’round about every January 25th in honor of Robert Burns’s birthday. Burns was a poet, scholar, soldier, true Scotsman and all around good guy – except when he was being lascivious and womanizing. But let’s leave that part out for now.

A true Burns Night must consist of just a very few things, namely, haggis, whiskey and readings by the Scotch Bard himself. However, when you read about what Haggis entails, you are far, FAR less likely to want to eat or cook it. Enter, the vegetarian version, which is basically a tasty stuffing that is reminiscent of Thanksgiving. We also added some kale. We need greens, people!

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In addition to haggis, there are a few other must-haves for any good Burns Night:

Bangers – sweet Scottish sausages

Clapshot – mixture of mashed potatoes and turnips

Cranachan – a raspberry, cream and granola parfait

Millionaire’s Shortbread – caramel, chocolate, shortbread goodness!

We asked our guests to wear their traditional family tartans, if they were able. The Davis Clan tartan is a gorgeous red plaid shot through with gold, while Nathan’s family is French-Canadian, so he decided his clan tartan would be from the noble house of J. Crew. My sweet friend of Chinese descent didn’t have a clan tartan either, so she wore her best Burberry plaid! From bow ties to scarves, it was hilarious to see what everyone deemed worthy of a clan tartan.

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After a first round of whiskey cocktails, the running order begins!

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First, you must process in the haggis. Yes, you read that correctly – process. As in, parade it around the house.  We did it to the tunes of the Red Hot Chili Pipers ( and yes, you also read that correctly…) Then, someone is supposed to slash it open with a saber. Since we, uh, didn’t have any spare sabers lying around, we settled on a nice big kitchen knife.

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While the slashing happens, someone must address the haggis with the classic reading called, rather uncreatively, the “Address to a Haggis.” My gorgeous friend Joya performed admirably, even reading it in Scotch Gaelic!

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After the address and the chairwoman’s welcome, the night descends into readings of Burns’ poetry, prayers and songs. We also played cards (spoons!), drank whiskey cocktails and sang Auld Lang Syne to cap off the night. It was a strange, historical and hilarious night for everyone whether we are Scottish or not.

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Three cheers for Robert Burns!

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Have you ever celebrated Burns Night? Would you be into it? Tell me, tell me!

Will you accept this rosé?

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Friends! Countrywomen! Put-upon spouses and partners who have had their TVs hijacked every Monday for many weeks! That time is upon us – Bachelorette Finale night. Or “finally” night*, for those of you who are sick of Bachelorette-related crap important news and happenings infiltrating your homes for more hours in a week than you’d care to say. We had to delay our viewing party by a day and the suspense almost killed me. Apparently the rest of the world got the memo that it was going to be Josh a loooong time ago, but some of us are just not that on top of reality news…ahem…

I would LOVE to pretend that I am above The Bachelor franchise. That I don’t care about it, that I don’t watch it, that I feel dumber by participating. But only one of those is true – that I feel a little dumber every time I turn it on. And then Andi puts on another scarf and tells somebody to staaaaaaappppp it and I settle in, uncaring that there are important! world! facts! about Syria or Russia or Prince George or the conflict in Gaza that are being pushed aside in my brain to make room for the Josh v. Nick debate. It’s getting very Flowers for Algernon** up in here.

The only thing I love more than Bach drama is having people over, and when the two collide. WELL. You’d better hope you’re here for the right reasons, is all I’m saying. Or the wrong reasons. I don’t really care. GET IN MAH HOUSE. Because that’s where the party at, yo. Yes, my dear friend Eliza and I threw a Bachelorette-themed evening, much to the confusion and mockery of Le Fiance. Deets are below!

The Mood:

Small bouquets of roses were placed around the house, along with many a flickering candle. Flickering candles are the essence of ro-mahance, don’t you know.

The Food:

Appetizers: The Suspense is Kale-ing Me! (kale chips) + (Will you accept this) rosé

Main: Tuscan Stuffed Chicken (though legs, thighs or butts would also do) served on a bed of brown rice

Dessert: Baked Bourbon Vanilla Peaches over Ice-Cream, as a nod to the Andi’s Atlanta roots

 

Did you watch? Did you have a viewing party? Are you over The Bachelor/ette or still totally into it?

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*The first of a few bad puns. I make no apologies.

**Who is Algernon and what do the Algerians have to do with The Bachelorette, you ask? Don’t ask me. I’m already too much dumber to answer (see above).

 

The Bachelorette Finale!

Andi

GUYS! The night has arrived! Bachelorette Finale night! Who is she going to pick? For the first time ever, I think it’s going to be a surprise, which makes it way more fun to watch.

I’m Team Nick all the way. Not because I like him though – I just think that’s who she’s going to pick, however ill-advised it may be. Josh is a derp and Nick’s an even derper derp and it’s probably best if we all just move our attentions forward and start promoting #MarquelforBachelor and Chris for handsome neighbor/farmer eye candy next door. Window shopping is totally allowed when the goods on display have a megawatt smile and understand about threshing wheat from chaff and working the land and oh my Lord the Steinbeck fantasies are just too much to handle.

Josh or Nick – who do you think?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, wherein we shall have all the deets about our themed viewing party here in SF. Rosé puns need not apply because I used ’em all up already.

How to Miss A Foreign City

Sometimes, when it’s cold and rainy outside and I’ve been reading too much Hemingway (or reading too much about his wife numéro un) I start to think about – and really miss – Paris. What’s the weather like there right now? What are they up to? Is it rainy? Are the men strolling around with their chins out, cigarettes in hand, gesturing wildly? Or perhaps it’s market time, which means women are bumping their rolling carts down the cobblestones, looking impossibly chic while they can do it. Only a French woman can pull a grocery cart full of bread, fish, champagne and flowers and not look like a granny. Or a hobo.

When I miss a place, it’s typically a three step process to get out of the funk:

1. Locate some eye candy. Thank you very much, Pinterest.

2. Whisk myself away via a beautiful book or movie.

3. Ingest locationally-appropriate chocolate. In the case of Paris, it simply must be macarons!

For the record, the weather in Paris today is a balmy 75 and I plan to spend the rest of the day mentally strolling down the Seine. In reality, I will spend the day writing, watching Chocolat, and devouring a dark chocolate and marzipan Ritter Sport. Dreamy.

Heureux Jeudi, mes chéris!

More Paris porn here, and of course, even more posts about Paris. As always, inspiration and image-sourcing from Pinterest.

Easter Traditions

When you move away from home, it’s hard to realize that you won’t be home for every holiday, every birthday party, every family dinner. As I approached my first Easter away from home – and away from cheesy vegetables, sugar cookies, the traditional glazed ham and church with my family – I realized that many of my transplanted friends were in the same boat, so we began to create a few traditions of our own.

Easter with my friend family now entails a few critical ingredients: Cadbury mini eggs, an egg dyeing party, watching Easter Parade, and the baking of this delicious pastry for Easter morning.

What are your Easter traditions? Do you celebrate holidays with your friends?

Chicken Paprikash + Contagion

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So, my boyfriend and I thought it would be really fun to do a theme date night. Like, we would go see Scorched at A.C.T. and go out for Middle Eastern food, or we could make some curry and watch Slumdog Millionaire, for example. Something like that.

But instead of either of those ideas, which are excellent, we thought it would be a great idea – nay, a hilarious idea! – to watch Contagion, and make chicken. Yes, chicken. Ye old salmonella carrying, easily disase transmitting, bacteria-ridden, chicken.

These descriptions are so fabulous – it’s like I should write a cooking blog or something.

In retrospect, not a great idea. Especially since I boarded a plane the next day and proceeded to wash my hands 47 times and look extremely askance at strangers. But, the upside of scaring ourselves silly and being ridiculous, is that we discovered an amazing recipe I’m so excited to share: chicken paprikash. It’s warm, spicy, but not in a tongue burning Mexican food way, and almost bricky. Which seems like an odd thing to say. “Hey ya’ll, you’ll love this dinner, it takes like the side of a house! You’ll love it!” But really, it has a delicious dry heat, almost like tandoori, and you can taste old world spice, dry clay, and home. Delicious.

Now, if only we could stop our Purell addiction.

CHICKEN PAPRIKASH

Ingredients:

. 4 chicken leg quarters, cut in half at the joint (about 3 pounds total)

. Coarse salt and ground pepper

. 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

. 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

. 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

. 2 tablespoons sweet paprika

. 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

. 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

. 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes

. 1/2 pound wide egg noodles

. 1/2 cup sour cream or thick plain yogurt

Instructions:

1. Season the chicken with a heavy dose of salt and pepper. Then, in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil on high. Cook your chicken, skin side down, until golden and crisp, for about six minutes. Flip chicken and cook until browned, six more minutes, and transfer to a plate.

2. Discard all but one tablespoon fat from pot and reduce heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until beginning to soften, about two minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for three minutes. Add paprika and flour, season with salt and pepper, and stir constantly until paprika is fragrant and mixture begins to stick, for one minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil over high. Return the chicken to the pot in a single layer, skin side up, and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, for about 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and divide among four bowls. Top with chicken. Stir yogurt into the sauce, then ladle the whole mess over the chicken and noodles.

Fabulously French Friday

Last weekend, my sweet girlfriends came over for a Fabulously French Friday. Film, art and current affairs were debated, gossip and news were exchanged, the corks were popped and the joie de vivre was fizzing around the room.

Sometimes I look around and I bemoan our lack of grace. Americans run around in gym clothes with wet hair, in sweatshirts and sneakers, talking loudly and listening never. We talk with our mouths full, eat while we run, text while we wait, and are generally a bit impatient and more concerned with instant gratification than anything else. I’m as guilty as the next girl of so many of these, so French Friday was our little way of making space in our week to savor. To sip. To have conversation, good food, put down the iPhones and indulge in a little la vie en rose.

To throw your own French Friday, you’ll need:

1. Good quality chocolate, like Dagoba Organic.

2. Soft cheese, like brie or triple cream goat cheese.

3. A French film of your choice. Midnight in Paris, Amelie, Chocolat or Gigi, anyone?

4. A great champagne. Veuve du Vernay brut rose is my go-to.

5. Something that makes you feel comfortable and sexy at the same time. I’d live in black Lanvin flats, a swipe of red lipstick and a J. Crew stripey long-sleeved tee if I could. And, you know, some pants. Maybe.

Viva la France!