Read These Things

Another installment of seriously good articles! I have to warn you, only read “The Itch” if you’re ok with being forever haunted by the fear of what happens to this lady…I included a gory except from it because you should know what you’re getting into. The “Gentleman’s Guide” is also fairly explicit, which I’m sure is obvious…I mean, that’s why it’s interesting!

Although “One More Time” has a decidedly more tame subject matter than those two, it is crazy interesting!! Make sure to listen to the audio bits. The last piece is just for fun…I definitely spent a fair amount of time poring over the list and deciding who I thought was worth it, and who was overpriced. Ahem…Green Day…

The Itch | The Ultimate

A Gentleman's Guide To Sex In Prison | The Ultimate

One More Time | The Ultimate

Want to Book Your Favorite Band? | The Ultimate

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Delicate Rings on Etsy

Rings on Etsy | The Ultimate

I can’t be bothered with wearing most types of jewelry every day–earrings and necklaces are out, because I’d have to take them off at night which is just crazy talk for someone who struggles to wash her face or do any other nighttime rituals that are much more important than jewelry removal. Bracelets are just damn annoying, and whenever I wear them I compulsively play with them to the annoyance of me and anyone who happens to be watching. Does anyone else do this??

Anyways. So that leaves rings. Rings, rings, oh how I love them. I always have at least 5 on at all times. And–due to the aforementioned laziness–I never take them off for silly things like washing my hands or showering or dousing things with paint stripper or anything. This means that super cheap rings will not do. (As in materials…monetarily speaking, cheap is good :) I used to buy plated brass ones that would be ruined in just a couple days, but no longer!

Here I bring you 9 rings that have been tried and tested by yours truly (or I’ve gotten something else from their shop and so can reasonably vouch for their quality). You can get a lot of them in different finishes, although for the most part I stick with sterling silver because it’s cheap and very sturdy. So while these range in price from $12 (!) to $330 (!!), the expensive end is all solid gold stuff that we need not assume I’ve been able to afford. Sniff.

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Valentine Printable

Love | The Ultimate

WHEEE it’s almost Valentine’s Day/aka almost my birthday/aka almost the best day of the year. I crafted you this magnificently cliché valentine, which I insist you either cherish or print out (here) and give to someone else to cherish. There’s no such thing as too many roses or valentines or mentions of love around Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure that’s a universal sentiment.

PS Roses are from here. Merci, Monsieur Redouté!

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Easy Embroidery

Easy Embroidery | The Ultimate

I have a bad habit of making things and liking them a lot for about 10 seconds, and immediately thereafter deciding that I hate them, forever. Does this happen to anyone else? So I consider it a victory that I have quite a few DIY’ed pieces interspersed in my bedroom’s gallery wall, and I don’t hate any of them! Yayyy. Yet.

My favorite piece is the embroidered X, which is inspired by this amazingness. I was so excited when I saw it, because I had that hexagonal frame for ages and couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Of course, it would’ve been nice to just buy that piece and call it good, but it was a sold out limited edition, and I knew it would be so easy to recreate. Also I wanted a high-contrast situation, so black thread was a must.

Easy Embroidery | The Ultimate

As is usual whenever I attempt this kind of thing, I made a massive initial mistake that involved a lot of work to fix: I tried using metallic black thread. NOT GOOD. It’s much more stiff than normal thread and looked very wonky, so I had to pick out all my stitches. Learn from me.

But from then on, this project was so easy. All I did was: wrap the cardboard insert that came with the frame in some leftover linen, stapling it in place on the back. Cut an X shape out of cardboard and center on the piece of linen. Mark little groups of dots all along the edges of the X, to guide me in my stitches. Stitch one row straight across. Stitch the opposite row, weaving through the first row as you go.

I love how it adds a little texture and dimensionality to the wall!

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In the End

The Beatles | The Ultimate

And here we have a classic song with a reminder that fits quite nicely with the approach of Valentine’s Day. Which btw is my birthday, and I’ve always felt that this gives me a free pass to take it VERY SERIOUSLY–and in years past have blatantly coerced my friends into spending it with me…regardless of any plans they might have had with significant others. (Don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t do that too!)

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Gallery Wall

Gallery Wall Detail | The Ultimate

I finally finished my gallery wall! Well, finished as in it no longer looks like this:

Gallery Wall Before | The Ultimate

Except now I’ve got this far, I’m thinking it’s kind of a cop out. It should be floor to ceiling, wall to wall, right?? Right. I’m pretty sure I’m going to do that. But it’s at a good stopping point right now, and I really don’t want to buy more pieces to fill it just because they happen to be black + white + gold + silver, or some combination thereof (No seriously, I’ve developed a knee-jerk MUST BUY reaction whenever I see anything in this color scheme. It’s an addiction.)

Gallery Wall | The Ultimate

I used Adobe Illustrator (although Photoshop or any image editing software would work) to experiment with different layouts. It’s really helpful if you’re still in the process of buying pieces! Because unless you’re some kind of art-arranging savant, it’s really hard to know how all the pieces are going to relate to each other if you don’t already have them. I grabbed an image file from each piece that I was thinking about buying, and added it, to assess how it would look with the rest of my pieces. With a quick mockup like this, it becomes really obvious when you need a different color of frame in one area, a photo rather than another illustration, etc. You can see here that I stuck pretty closely to this general layout, although there were some changes made in the end:

Gallery Wall Layout | The Ultimate

Sources!

Gallery Wall | The Ultimate

1. Handmade quote from Lolita
2. Ink Blot Kit
3. Handmade astronaut illustration
4. Calculating a Jump Over the Moon
5. Handmade glitter paper dots over found photograph
6. Handmade embroidery
7. Photo of my sister and me frolicking in Mexico
8. Photo strip (The only one I’ve EVER taken. I know, where was I in the 90’s?)
9. Luminares
10. The World at Night
11. American Ghost Bison
12. Joker from a set of Black Playing Card
13. Handmade quote from Woodcut
17. White Dot
18. Jaime Lidell Gig Poster
19. It’s Written in the Stars Handkerchief
20. Cirque D’Art Lungs
21. Origami Bird Papercut
22. Astrology Wall Calendar

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Christmas Wish List

Christmas List | The Ultimate

I don’t know about you, but I never get any useful gift ideas from all the lovely guides that everyone puts out there for Christmas. I like to give people weird, personal things, stuff that they hopefully wouldn’t think of and certainly wouldn’t be put on any guide. But for ME? I want all that stuff. Allll the artisanal table linens, the monthly perfume subscriptions, the cozy slippers. Basically I’ve spent the last month navigating a minefield of personal consumption, and there have been some casualties. In fact, there have been so many that I hereby refuse to admit exactly how many of these items I now or will soon own, whether from serious hints to interested parties or by more…direct means. You get the picture.

1. Weekender Love that print!
2. Bird’s Feet Useless, pretty, and a little creepy. My favorites.
3. Rock, Paper, Scissors Necklace Monserat de Lucca also has some killer zodiac necklaces…
4. Decanter and Tumblers Cheers!
5. Butter Dish The cutest butter dish.
6. Cashmere Sweater THE SOFTEST SWEATER. Seriously it is so damn cozy. And it’s such a good shape.
7. Marble Handled Cutting Board Very lovely and hefty.
8. Mesh Flats These are so delicate and flattering; perfect fancy flats.
9. Interchangeable Curling Iron Isn’t this the best idea?? Also so beautiful.
10. Earrings Perfect for Valentine’s Day.
11. Cannabis Chocolates Well now they’re legal in Washington, so…
12. Mini Rider Bag The snakeskin and black hardware are on point.

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5 Favorite Dance Music Videos

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Late late last night I decided (as you do) that I needed to watch ALL of my favorite music videos. It took me forever to remember all of them, so I thought I’d round them up into a glorious collection of favorites that I could refer back to in moments like that, when it’s 2am and I MUST watch all the good music videos. Of course there were too many so I picked my top 5, based mostly on how great the dancing is. I excluded (for the most part…as you’ll see) some great videos that I would have otherwise included, like Bad Romance or Chandelier as they’re super popular and everyone’s seen them. These are my quirky ones that I always feel proud introducing to other people, like I’m some kind of YouTube savant who squirrels out the diamonds in the rough (I am not. I don’t know how I found any of these.) Anyway:

Poliça Wandering Star

This is just about the most beautiful music video ever–and whoever got to be the makeup artists must have had the time of their damn lives.

Here We Go Magic How Do I Know

If you want your socks charmed off, this is the video to watch. The girl that plays the dancing robot has the best, most infectious moves–I love her. And the hot quadriplegic wife is so intriguing to me. It’s just a good story!

Department Of Eagles No One Does It Like You

This video is weirdly low quality, but in a way I feel like that contributes to its appeal? Or I’m just used to it. I’ve shown it to some people and they’ve been totally creeped out, but I find it strangely, horrifically adorable.

Duke Dumont Need U

Another great story. The lead actor has the perfect reactions to everyone, and there are so many funny little details; the walkman, the sand in his stoic face, the resentful man pushing over the IV. Love it!

Daft Punk Around the World

Ok so clearly this one is too popular to qualify, but I had to include it because it’s old and maybe people have forgotten about it, and it’s SO GOOD. One of my life’s dreams is to have a massive party with this video as the theme–everyone would dress in the character of their choice, then we’d all learn the dance. Yeah, I’m calling that as the theme for my 30th birthday. It’s got to happen.

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Cauliflowerish Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sausage, Sage, and Red Onions | The Ultimate

Isn’t this pizza pretty?? (Translation; can’t you extrapolate that it was pretty IRL even if it’s not particularly so in my blurry iPhone pic??) More importantly, it’s delicious. It tastes like fall and coziness…or really, it tastes like sausage, butter, and cheese. And not like squishy cauliflower! Which, let’s be real, is what most cauliflower crust kind of tastes like. The key is to add a couple tablespoons of flour–just that little bit makes the crust so much tastier and crispier. It reheats much better as well (which is an issue for freaks such as myself that don’t like cold pizza. If you’re like me, maybe you don’t know that the best way to reheat pizza is to put it in a skillet? Pro tip. No seriously, I think I read it in Bon Appetit or something.)

I have only the vaguest idea of the fat content and whatnot of this dish, but if you use low-fat mozzarella and butter substitute like I did, then I’m pretty sure that while this will taste really decadent, it’s not that bad for you at all. An excellent preparation for all the holiday meals ahead which will indeed be absolutely horrible for you.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sausage, Sage, and Red Onions | The Ultimate

Cauliflower Crust Pizza With Sausage, Sage, and Red Onions

Crust

1 small head of cauliflower
1/3 cup of low-fat shredded mozzarella
2 tbs shredded parmesan
1/2 tsp of dried basil
1/2 tsp of dried sage
Salt to taste
1 egg
3 tbs flour
Oil spray (olive or nonstick)

Toppings

1 tbs butter or butter substitute
1 tbs pumpkin (optional)
More shredded mozzarella
1-2 links spicy italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 a red onion, sliced
a few sprigs’ worth of sage leaves
Red pepper flakes

Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven, and preheat to 450ºF. Cut the florets off your head of cauliflower and pulse them in a food processor until it’s the consistency of couscous. Measure out 3 cups, and put in a microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave for 4 minutes, then turn out on a tea towel and let cool.

While the cauliflower is cooking, bring a skillet to medium heat and add the sausage, breaking it up into small chunks. Cook until browned, then let drain on a couple pieces of paper towel. Add the red onions to the skillet, cover, and let them cook in the sausage fat until tender, about 15 minutes.

When the cauliflower is cool, wring it in the tea towel until there’s very little water left. At this point there will be terrifyingly little cauliflower. Don’t worry! Add this to a bowl along with the cheeses, herbs, salt, and egg. Sprinkle the flour over and mix with a fork.

On a cutting board, spray a piece of parchment paper with a LOT of olive oil. Turn the dough onto this and spread it gently outward to make your crust shape. Slide the parchment paper off of the cutting board and onto the pizza stone. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

While it’s baking melt a tbs of butter (I used Brummel and Brown butter substitute), and using a pastry brush, brush a bit of it very lightly onto your sage leaves. Then add a tbs of pumpkin puree (only if you have some lying around, really…I don’t condone breaking into a can of pumpkin just for this!) to the butter and mix.

When the crust is browned, lift it from the wax paper. Brush the top of the crust with the pumpkin-butter mix, then add a layer of cheese, onions, sausage, and lastly the sage leaves. Return to the oven for about 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sage is crispy. Remove and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serves two.

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Be Bold

Be Bold | The Ultimate

A little typographic humor for your Tuesday night! I found this quote on Pinterest and wanted to give it my own spin. My own black white marble and sexy serif spin, that is…some things never get old :)

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