2015 Holiday Gift Guide (i.e. Some Fun Stuff To Buy This Year)


Illustration: Tram Nguyen


Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year when you’re supposed to buy people gifts for vaguely religious reasons! I have mixed feelings about Christmas and the present-mania that surrounds it (I can’t comment on any other religious holiday traditions during this season, given my lack of experience with them), but my love for expensive, more or less unnecessary things is pure and unadulterated. Here I present to you a somewhat random list of items that would make good presents for a person who likes to eat, bake, cook, or decorate his or her house with the trappings of a person who likes those things.

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Tiny Bowl Taco Party


Illustration: Tram Nguyen


The other day I decided to throw a Friday night dinner party, because very little in life is better than a dinner party on a Friday night in August. The breeze feels extra breezy. The cocktails are especially strong. City life has slowed to the pace of molasses. Why go out? Nothing’s happening! Stay in and drink rosé with your friends! Read more


Charlotte’s Famous Baltimore Crab Dip


Illustration: Tram Nguyen


Hello friends, I have a new hobby. Well, two new hobbies. One is watching The Bachelorette with obsessive interest. Does that count as a hobby? Who here wants to talk with me in the comments about Kaitlyn’s amazing casual-wear wardrobe, and the cryptic definition of “off-camera time,” and, like, how much Ireland must be paying ABC to set half the season there? Anyone? (Tram refuses to watch this show and for that and I will never forgive her.)  Read more


Summer Reading and a Snack


Hiiiiii, I am back from my honeymoon and pale as ever. How is that possible when I spent 14 days basking in the Italian sun, you ask? Well first of all sunblock, because I have an Irish complexion and one must protect that shit or else, and second of all, I spent most of my honeymoon in the ideal state, which is to say curled up with a book, a glass of wine in hand, safe from the sun. I mean sure, occasionally I took my book to a lawn chair in front of some rolling Tuscan hills, but even in those circumstances I managed to fashion a hat for myself out of a sweater, or find an umbrella under which to hide. It was great. I ate so much pasta. I drank a million glasses of wine. I discovered my favorite new snack (more on that below). And finally, after two weeks of intensive research—by which I mean partaking in the above activities—I came up with a very official and super scientific list of fun books to read this summer. Do you need a great summer read or two? Do you consider “summer reads” to be books that are funny and entertaining but also sometimes depressing and possibly super upsetting? What about books about alcoholism? Good, these picks are for you! Read them while you eat some dip—inspired by a really great riff on papa al pomodoro I ate while on vacation—and drink Tram’s excellent summer cocktail. Do you have additional summer book recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments!  Read more


Holiday Cheer


I‘m not one for romantic Valentine’s Day celebrations. The first time I had a boyfriend on this holiday, in high school, I skipped the first half of the school day so I wouldn’t have to face some embarrassing display of V Day-related affection. When I finally did show up at school, an hour before it was over, the boy cornered me in the parking lot and gave me a love poem he had hand-written on a pink and red construction paper heart. I’m not proud to admit I broke up with him the next week.

I found my perfect Valentine’s Day boyfriend in Rob, who has never given me a gift or in any other way acted foolish on this sentimental, made-up holiday. Often he’s working and I watch figure skating in bed with my cat, eating both a donut and pancakes, because why not? This year, however, Rob has been bullied into buying me flowers by the people who are doing our wedding decorations (how do you tactfully say “no thanks,” when your wedding florist tells you to buy your girlfriend flowers?), so I figure I will do my part, too. By that I mean I plan to make myself a devil’s food cake from the Tartine cookbook, and when he arrives home from work late at night I will have saved him a slice. Was I going to make this cake anyway, for non-Valentine’s Day related purposes? Yes. Does he know that? Well, maybe he does now, I can never really tell how frequently he reads this blog. But whatever. As long as he doesn’t write me any love poems, and as long as he treats me like a divine goddess every day for eternity, I’ll be happy.