Dec 092014
 
Reading list October, 2014

Reading list October, 2014

I have to admit that since I have stopped buying books from Goodwill, the quality of what I am reading has drastically increased. I like to have a good selection to choose from, so there are still plenty remaining that are probably not what I would pick out if my options had not been limited, so excuse those peppered within each month for the next few months.

October Books:

1. Righteous Porkchop by Nicolette Han Niman. I need to start off with this book, as I have been talking about it non stop for almost 3 months now. I should begin by stating that it didn't register when I picked this book up (I must not have read the back) at Barnes & Noble that it was authored by the wife of Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch. It made the book that much more wonderful though, as I lived and ran restaurants in the Hudson Valley of NY for a few years and was very familiar with the high quality of both their meat and philosophy.  If you have an interest in food quality and eating well, this book is extremely educational on the subject of industrial farming and food production in the US. I know farmers and have spoken to them at length about the battle in this country to make a living at farming while maintaining humane conditions for their animals. This book gets into it. It also brought light to the reality of chickens eating chickens and what that means to the humans who consume them. I loved this book.

2. Families and other nonreturnable gifts by Claire LaZebnik. Admittedly, I could't remember much of this one. I have read at least two of her other books though and although none of them really stand out in my memory, they're good reads. I think I wanted something lighter after reading accounts of animal slaughter. It was perfect for that.

3. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. I have read a few of Trigianis books and they all have taken place in past decades. She does well with it, and what stands out the most to me are how she describes how the women look at that time. This book is set in the seventies, although the story could be told presently with updated icons and details. Reading this was like watching a movie, I could see it all as it happened. A bit fluffy, but not too bad.

4. Nantucket Nights by Elin Hilderbrand. Left over from the goodwill selection. Would never have picked this one up otherwise. A bit too soap opera ish...lots of drama that was a bit ridiculous. Maybe a good beach read.

Reading list November, 2014

Reading list November, 2014

November Books:

1. Man made by Joel Stein. Hilarious. Metrosexual guy has a son and feels unqualified to teach him to be a man, so he attempts to learn what it means to be one. I laughed the entire time. Its the perfect social commentary on how many men gen x and younger feel. Did I mention it was funny?

2. All The Flowers in Shanghai by Duncan Jepson. About a the life of a Chinese woman in old Shanghi. Beautifully written and engaging. An excellent historic story. Poetry in book form, which I normally do not go for but loved it in this instance.

3. The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski. I have read many books written about the Holocaust, but somehow never had read this one. I'm glad I did as it is from a perspective I had not read before. The afterward of what happened post publication was almost as incredible as the book itself. If you have not had a chance, I highly recommend you read this one.

4. The Playdate by Louise Miller. Fluffy with twists and turns, you end it with a big WTF happened at the end. By no means ChickLit but still light enough for a plane or beach. Good book to curl up on the couch with a blanket and cocoa on a wintery day. It was an excellent decision after the least book to lighten the mood.

5. Good Grief by Lolly Winston. I was feeling it for the woman in this book, a young widow who tries to rebuild her life. Not a good one to read in public if you're empathetic to main characters as you may cry a lot, but really touching.

Sooooo, what have YOU been reading? Would love to know!

 

Dec 032014
 
Our program from dinner at Barley Swine.

Our program from dinner at Barley Swine.

The minute I created a blog just for Manic Trout, I knew I would end up neglecting this space too often. So even though it's the holiday madness, I wanted to share a few things that have made me smile this week...because, well, when you are in the midst of chaos, it really is the little things.

1. Adam is home for the week before he heads off to Chicago and then Las Vegas for work, we've been cramming in as many things as possible as we see other once a month right now. This basically means that we have been eating all of his favorite foods both at home and out and about. Its been a very yummy week.

2. One of the culinary highlights was completely unplanned but due to holiday parties taking over restaurants on a night when our plans were cancelled last minute. We we able to snag a table at Barley Swine, and made the happy discovery that they have switched over to a prix fixe tasting menu (I'm really into tasting menus right now). It was amazing and I highly recommend it! They provide you with a program of your dinner, and that's what you see above...yummmmm!

3. After a wonderfully awesome Cyber Monday, Adam agreed to let me go to Big Top (I say let me as my candy addiction got out of control again this fall and I need someone to be the voice of reason). I have sacks of candy now to fuel me through the next 3 weeks. The highlights were of course gummies: army men, mustaches and spicy chilli peppers!

4. When visiting with our niece and nephew the other day, 4 year old Olivia was telling me about her recent meeting of Elsa at parade. She told me that when Elsa went by, she yelled "Hey Elsa!!!! I'm you're 4th biggest fan!!!!".  As you can imagine, the cuteness of this caught Elsas attention and Olivia received both a hug and a peck on the cheek, which pretty much made her whole year. Her telling me this story made mine ;)

5. I have finally figured out the winter weather here in Austin and have been shopping a lot to make my winter wardrobe both less NY and less "summer with a sweater". Somehow this created a weird, dancer ensemble going one evening with tights, leg warmers, hot pants and a black sweater...I don't how that happened but I liked it, ha!

What has the highlight of your week been?

Nov 062014
 

Whale

I'm having a decor dilemma at the moment and I need input. For about 14 months I have been lusting after this large whale for the stone wall in the living room. I have't pulled the trigger yet because I can't decide on what color to order. There are 28 possible options, all slightly distressed on wood, and I have it down to 4. Well, 3 really, I don't think I like the grey. I posted the straight on shot on IG, but then made another mock up for a second round with my mom and sisters and confused myself all over again.  The whale is 48" long by 14" tall so it will have quite the impact.

Whale2

The room is the main room in the house, so I'll see this thing constantly. I love the black but worry it will draw attention to the only other black in the room, the tv. Most of the small accents in the room are ivory and gold (there is another table behind the couch that is not seen in the photos and is white with ivory and gold lamps and things on it), so I thought gold might be a good way to go without drawing all the attention in the room to it. However, if I want to draw attention...and keep it "real", then I think navy is the way to go. Navy also goes well with the paintings in the dining room which is technically in the same huge open space.

House

What are your thoughts? Keep in mind that the colors are all mocked up in photoshop, except the black, so I'm sure they will look better in person.

Oct 282014
 

LARK-VS-OWL-3

I love being in the studio late into the night. Its quiet, there are no emails, texts or phone calls coming in after about 11pm and as its dark out there's a cozy feeling in the room. I have been a night owl since before I can remember. I have never wanted to go to bed. Not because I think I'll miss out on anything, simply because my brain works better late at night. I'm at my sharpest, work comes easier and I can focus the best from about 9pm until about 2am. When I do finally force myself go to bed, I still can't go to sleep but read for an hour or two. Only when I have been working really, really hard, such as working on a huge deadline for orders do I fall asleep quickly. As you would assume, I don't think I have ever woken up and jumped out of bed all excited to go. I drag myself out of bed. After I read emails and check in with social media for a while. Which is after I have hit snooze 10 times...and then just shut off the alarm clock and gone back to sleep.

When I first met Adam, we were both under the impression that he too was a night owl. Then we got engaged and moved in together and we saw how different our natural rhythms were, we realized that was false. The biggest difference is that at 1am, I want to talk about all of the big things. Plans, money, worries...you name it, my mind is ready to discuss, solve and make some lists. Adam not so much. He gets really stressed out when I do this. On the other hand, 8am rolls around and Adam jumps out of bed if he has not done so already at 7am and wants to talk about all of the things, he feels that the time to start the day is NOW and runs out the door to tackle his to do list. I am still sleeping with a pillow over my head until he shuts up and leaves already. When I do finally force myself to get up, it is to get a cup of coffee and read blogs until my brain can process that it needs to function.

There have been some struggles with these difference as we like to go to bed at the same time, but we have some pretty good compromises going:

1. I promise to not talk about big issues after midnight and Adam is not allowed to whistle from midnight to noon.

2. I leave the studio at midnight to have an hour of wind down time in the living room before bed, which we try to go to by 1am, 2am at the latest.

3. Adam is a watch tv in bed while he falls asleep type and I am a read in bed in complete silence in order to be able to sleep type so he watches tv on his phone in bed with headphones while I read.

4. I am trying to get up by 10 every day, and on the mornings he's still home when I wake up, Adam is trying to not come into the bedroom and ask me when I am getting up every ten minutes.

Do you share a bed with the opposite of you? How do you deal it?

Oct 272014
 

candy

My candy addiction* has gotten out of control again. Funny that I am reaching the peak of hating myself for my sugar addiction the week of halloween...well or not really funny at all. It all started up again so innocently with the monthly biz ladies meet up at my house. In March our meet up was right before my birthday and we had candy kabobs to celebrate. This became a monthly thing and the left overs were in the house, so I ate them. And the next thing I know I was buying candy in large quantities again. As I tend to stress eat candy, the whole (very expensive) consultant adventure I have embarked on, the emotional year with Adams dad and our super hectic work schedule this year had me back on the excessive candy consumption wagon rapidly and its killing me. My blood sugar is all messed up and I'm back to getting the shakes every day again. All the hard work I have done to change my diet with paleo is negated by the stupid candy. So I am publicly declaring a cease and desist. Hopefully it holds me somewhat accountable. Wish me luck, I'll need it.

 

*please note: In having dealt with very intense substance abuse problems with multiple loved ones over the years, including loosing some to the battle, I am sensitive to the issue of addiction and want to be clear that I am by no means making light of addiction with these thoughts.

Oct 172014
 
Fall food

My cooking moves towards comfort food and is filled with root veggies as soon as the leaves start to change.

Even though the temps are still reaching the mid 90's during the day here in Austin, it still feels delightfully like fall. I have some friends here who could care less what the weather is and go full boots/tights/scarves as soon as October arrives. I don't go to that extreme, but am already wearing my favorite slippers around the house in the mornings and nights. I also have found my cooking getting more seasonally appropriate already, just because I can. It got me thinking about my fall favorites...no matter where I have lived...

1. The foliage. Oh how I miss the Hudson Valley at this time of year!! There are a few dry leaves in my yard. I enjoy crunching them, but the trees are still green so its not really the same thing.

2. The cooler temps to wear layers, but not cold enough for jacket weather...well we haven't gotten there yet, but at night I can now wear a light sweater!

3. Tea. When its not so cold out that I want it to warm up, but cool enough at night that I don't have to crank up the AC to drink it.

4. Getting dark earlier. I may be in the minority on this one, but it makes the evenings feel cozier and its not dark so early yet that its annoying.

5. Pumpkin flavored everything, halloween candy, pies and root vegetables. All so very tasty.

What are your favorites of the season?

Oct 152014
 

Faye and I have been easing into fall, and although with the season change our shoots may have become less frequent, what they lack for in quantity, they make up for in quality. We're still working on her actually enjoying the process but as you'll see in the most recent (the last photo) shoot, Faye has reached pro status. If you are new to this series, you you quickly catch up and view 1-8.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 09

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: ready for anything (and wondering why on earth we are just standing at the front door instead of going for a walk!) in the Camp Orange Necklace.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 09

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: Looking lovely in the Sunday Morning Necklace as she enjoys a leisurely afternoon of tree climbing.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 11

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: a little table dancing diva in the Otha Fish Necklace.

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today 12

How Faye is wearing Manic Trout today: looking smashing while getting into the fall spirit on the Deep Sea Diver Necklace.

p.s. #dogsinjewelry needs more photos on instagram!

Oct 132014
 

Books_septemeber2014

Last month was another great month for books, I loved every book that I read. Looking for something great to read, any of these will do the trick.

1. The House Girl by Tara Conklin. A book written by a former litigator about a litigator who is asked to trace the life of a slave and find living relatives for a case. But the book isn't about that as much as it about two women. One a slave and one in this age. Well written and captivating.

2. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive by Steve Earl. How many books have I read about functional junkies in the 50's and 60's? If you count my phase of reading everything written by the beats, too many to count. This one can be added to the list. As these stories always are, totally depressing, but in a historical, so far removed from my life that its just entertaining way.

3. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides. I was nervous to read this book. Not as nervous as when I read Middlesex and hoped it lived up to Virgin Suicides, as Eugenides has proved he is not a one hit wonder. The issue was that he proved it so very, very well that I thought he can't possibly do this again. And although he didn't hand us over another story of perversities and awe, it was still a wonderful book.

4. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. The first part of this one made me think so much of a Judea version of Clan of The Cave Bear and I was obsessed. The last 3 parts were not as epic as the first, but it was still a tantalizing tale. The perfect fall book to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket with.

Have you read anything good lately? I'd love to hear, please share below!

Oct 102014
 
Manic Trout Bling Rings

Pile o' bling rings in the Manic Trout studio...because, its the season of the bling

It been a short week, thanks to the flu. I realized today that this past weekend kicked off the busy season. In week #1 of the busy season, I was the guest designer at a couple of events and ended up sick. Not a good start. Hopefully the next three months will continue on a bit smoother and involve less germs. Fingers crossed. Anyway, even with the first half of the week being offline, I still managed to find a few things that tickled my fancy. What was your favorite thing you read/heard/saw this week?

1. At this point, only the camera is holding me back from jumping the iphone ship and running with open arms back to blackberry. Apparently I'm not alone as the preorders for the new passport were sold out in 2 days. Read more here.

2. I give to you a life changing indoor plant tip.

3. Having a Halloween party? You need a candy bar. Here's how to do it.

4. Hoorah, hoorah...La Barbecue is opening a brick and mortar restaurant on SoCo!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Oct 092014
 
That look on my face (I'm the sullen one in the group of my happy cousins)...that's how I feel about the flu.

That look on my face (I'm the sullen one in the group of my happy cousins)...that's how I feel about the flu.

1. Having the flu in October while living in an place with no fall foliage and 90 degree temps is very depressing.

2. The one positive aspect of having the flu is that it knocks you out, so you have no choice but to rest up.

3. The one negative is that it knocks you out, so you have no choice but to rest up.

4. When someone who is always hot gets the flu, massive amounts of sweating occurs. Have back up jammies ready.

5. If you have the standard flu (aches, fever, chills, sweats, sore throat) you'll need to eat. The good news is that you don't care at all what you eat as you don't have an appetite. This is helpful if you find your self unable to move and miss shopping day. Just keep eating random handfuls of things from the pantry when you make your endless cups of tea.

6. You'll be making endless cups of tea.

7. The two or three days you are bed ridden with the flu will be some of the very few days of your life where you care about nothing going on around you.

8. Being alone while sick is both a blessing and a curse. Its a blessing as it's quiet and you get the tv all to yourself. The curse is that no one will make you tea, bring you food or listen to you whine.

9. Did I mention the sweating?

10. The flu is kind of like depression in that it sucks all of your energy out of you and leaves you unable to get excited about anything and maybe a bit weepy. Thankfully it only comes around every 3 or 4 years.

Please excuse my absence for the past week, I was at an event at the end of last week and over the weekend and Sunday was struck down with the nasty flu. I hope anyone who is also suffering though it, is doing so quickly!