My hairdresser once told me a story of him watching television on the couch with his boyfriend and he got annoyed when his man stopped flipping through channels at Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club.” He responded with something like, “You wouldn’t let these women into our house if they knocked on our door, so why are you letting these women into our house?” Touché.
It’s been said that what you do in the privacy of your own home—when no one is looking and you cannot be found out—that’s the guts of who you are.
I’ve called watching totally dumb television my guilty pleasure. And I have something to confess: I’ve watched marathons of this substance-less crap. Hours of grown women arguing about $50,000 sets of veneers and calling themselves “classy” to valley-girl sounding stylists acting as if they have the cure for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and talentless hacks profiting from a sham marriage sponsored by Living Social. Bleh.
I’m now comparing this television drivel to fast food. The equivalent notion of being fully aware that you’re eating garbage, yet continuing to gorge, french fry after french fry. No more. I’ve purged my TiVo. I’m not buying into it any more. Not consuming it. I’m not saying it’s going to be replaced with documentaries on bird migration flight patterns on PBS or anything, but I might curl up with a good book (is anyone else STRUGGLING with Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs?), my addictive “The Wire” discs from Netflix and call it a day.
Up next in the proverbial tasteless pop-culture detox? My RSS reader loaded with salacious celebrity gossip, which has become beyond dull and uninspiring. Though, it’ll be tough to part with surisburnbook.tumblr.com.
It’s interesting that once you start the cleaning out process how much of it filters into other areas you might want to give an ol’ scrub to.
Can you believe Thanksgiving is tomorrow? I don’t know about you, but I sort of feel like I could just as easily be back in March at St. Patrick’s Day–this year’s been such a blur, though the vibrant-colored Atlanta trees and stocked shelves of canned pumpkin tell me otherwise.
Which means it’s time for the annual turkey tension playlist and as we near the close of 2011, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, so making the cut is a mix of young and old. #grateful
My mom said: To take the week off and spend time with her while she visited me last week in Atlanta, so I did. I’ll be back next week with new content. Until then, I’m relishing in all the sweet doting and tight hugs from her that will carry me through to December, when I see her next.
Admittedly, math has never been my strong suit and certainly balancing a checkbook falls into the, oh shoot, numbers again category. I have a vague memory (that I’ve really tried to block out) of my older brother and sister-in-law (who, in my opinion, both hold the title of finance whiz) helping me with my bills once in college, and it ended up with me sobbing and my brother having to leave the room to pour himself a stiff drink after declaring something along the lines of “not knowing what to say anymore” about the disaster that was a manila envelope of unopened credit card and utility bills.
A similar discussion went down several years later with my sweet brother-in-law trying to help me suss out a new car to purchase within my budget and ending with him just sort of throwing up his hands, leading us to both decide that maybe I’d better hold off a bit on such a big purchase.
Unfortunately, I’ve never been one of those women who has her eyes on a purchase and waits for it to go on sale. Or one of those women excited to open her 100 deal emails flooding her inbox. Seriously, I adore you Groupon, Scoutmob, DailyCandy Deals, but damn, girl, it’s too much. Way. Too. Much.
Because of my own experiences, I obviously know how stressful budgets are and how important getting one’s financial house in order is. That said, I’m now living the stage of my life that I like to call the thank-gawd-I’m- married-and-my-husband-pays-the-bills-as-long-as-he-never-has-to-use-a-Clorox-toilet-wand. But, I’m trying to stretch out a bit more into the gray area of the money realm and not just pull a disappearing act when my husband asks me what outstanding invoices my business has this month. Huh, what? Oh um, let me quickly go check (tires pealing out of the driveway).
Because of this, I wanted to talk to real women about their real budgets, so I reached out to five of the most fashionable and smart gals I know to find out how their households survive on a budget all while looking like a million bucks.
Fact: fall and soup go together like drag queens and fake eyelashes. Seriously, there’s something about the leaves falling from trees that makes you want to cozy up with a bowl of steamy goodness.
Three soups I’ll be stocking the freezer with this fall come from Art Smith, Sophie Dahl and Jacques Pepin, respectively. The first: Mr. Smith’s chicken noodle from his book Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family. I was recently gifted this at the opening of Smith’s restaurant in Atlanta, Art and Soul (which is fabulous, by the way), in which he signed, “food is love” and I couldn’t agree more. But, pretty sure I’ll be altering his “everything from scratch” version by buying a rotisserie chicken and prepared stock.
I love everything in Dahl’s cookbook, especially her chestnut and mushroom soup. It sums up the November weather in one slurp. I think I made this soup three times in one month last year. The third: Pepin’s recipe for bread and onion soup, featured on NPR’s “Splendid Table.” But, I’ll be experimenting with this one (I know, gasp, how dare I tinker with an expert?) because my husband, while he likes onion, hates soggy bread in soup.
Though, how can I talk soup without mentioning my grandmother? James Beard or not, the best of the bunch (at least in my house) is my grandparents’ recipe for tomato cheese soup. My grandfather made it until he couldn’t, then my grandmother took over stove duties. Here it is.
Templeman’s Tomato Cheese Soup
2-3 stalks of celery
1 carton of chicken broth
8-10 fresh chopped tomatoes (or 2 big cans of chopped tomatoes)
1 can Ro*tel
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T sugar
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
Cook celery and onions until tender, then add one carton of chicken broth over vegetables. Add tomatoes (either canned or fresh). Add Ro*tel and sugar (this is noted in the recipe as an addition from my grandmother, not from my grandfather’s mother). Simmer and add the baking soda, salt and pepper (to taste). Turn off stove and let cool for 10 minutes then add the Velveeta cheese to melt in soup. Enjoy!