Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 74

The weekly roundup of awesome ways to waste your time on the interwebs:

  1. 20 Hilarious Pinterest Fails. Nailed it.
  2. ONE WEEK, people! Arrested Development Season 4 Trailer. Also, make sure to take a deep dive into Vulture’s analysis of the trailer.
  3. We all know show Robb is way better than book Robb, so this is appropriate: Crush of the Week: Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden.
  4. Incredibly detailed and oddly fascinating chart: American English Dialects.
  5. This post is a fascinating read from a man who gave up the internet for a year. I love that it goes someplace completely different than expected, and that it totally avoids the predictable “the internet is ruining us” conclusion. Very thought-provoking.
  6. 43 Things That Will Make You Feel Old. Whoever wrote this was spot-on about #1 – it is very traumatic.
  7. The Office had its ups and downs over the years, but I was still sad to see it end this week. I love this behind the scenes look at the set via Ellie Kemper.
  8. Really interesting: Inequality and New York’s Subway.
  9. I wish I had quit my last job with a resignation cake.
  10. I could not love Jon Hamm any more than I do at this moment: Jon Hamm on Sesame Street.

(Image via Vulture, perfectly summing up the brilliance of this season of Mad Men)

Pinterest Projects: Spinach Feta Quesadillas

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

When I was in college, I never cooked. Like, ever. The extent of my culinary prowess was boiling water for pasta, which I would then top with canned tomato sauce or pesto. My roommate didn’t cook that much either, but she did used to make quesadillas all the time. It was a bit of a running joke: she would make them, and then my other roommate and I would constantly bother her to give us some. Anything for a home cooked meal, you know?

Flash forward to today, a few years later: now I cook for myself all the time, and making quesadillas doesn’t seem quite so impressive. In fact, they’ve become a go-to dish for me, usually when I’m not sure what else to make: all you have to do is throw together whatever vegetables, cheese, and meat you find in your refrigerator.

Of course, sometimes I go with more gourmet, non-improvised versions of quesadillas, like these spinach feta ones. I found the recipe on Pinterest (pin here; original recipe from Closet Cooking) and followed it with just a few small variations – I used a bit less mozzarella cheese (about 3/4 cup) and didn’t add the herbs (because I didn’t have them on hand and was too cheap to buy them). Sometimes I’ll also add a bit of shredded chicken. Whichever variation you choose, you really can’t go wrong with spinach and feta (am I right or am I right?). Here’s my process:

Pretty simple, right? What’s your go-to dish when cooking?

Pinterest Projects: Yarn-Wrapped Vases

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

I moved into a new apartment this summer and promptly got the decorating bug. Sadly, however, living on a graduate student budget does not allow me to buy all the pieces I covet at Pottery Barn and West Elm. As such, I wanted to DIY up a few fun decor pieces on my own.

When I saw these vases (pin here; original idea from Penelope & Pip), I knew I had to try them. As with everything I have ever found on Pinterest, I found constructing these vases harder than it initially appeared. It was tricky to get the yarn to stick, particularly when I first applied a piece. My vases required an insane amount of Mod Podge and a huge dose of patience. But, I’m proud of the result. Here’s how I put these together:

I started by gathering my supplies – Mod Podge, a paintbrush, four colors of yarn, and three “vases.” Two of my vases were reused objects – a wine bottle and a juice bottle. I couldn’t find a third vessel I liked at home, so I ended up buying a super cheap ($5, I think) vase from Michael’s for the third.

I decided to go with a green and blue color palette. This is way too much yarn for three vases, so I now have plenty of leftover yarn. What should I make with it?

The basic idea behind these vases is simple enough: apply mod podge to vase, stick yarn on top of it. My tip: apply your Mod Podge liberally and in very small sections at a time (it dries pretty quickly). And be prepared to get your hands covered in Mod Podge. Embrace it.

Again, though these took a bit longer than expected, I like the finished project a lot. Grad student cheap-but-cool at its finest.

Have you ever been inspired to create anything you found on Pinterest? Did the results turn out as expected?

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 42

The weekly roundup of internet finds:

  1. I know it’s his job and I know plenty of other people do this everyday without recognition, but I must admit that this story about Prince William makes me swoon just a wee bit.
  2. Much like hating Twilight, hating Fifty Shades of Grey just does not get old. This Goodreads review is hilarious. Nailed it.
  3. Puppies struggling to stay awake. Awwww!
  4. This is oddly fascinating: Pinreach, a measure of how influential you are on Pinterest. Where do you score?
  5. This makes me so happy: Julia Child Remixed. Have I mentioned that Julia Child is one of my favorite people?
  6. The Fierce Five appeared on the Colbert Report last week and, as you can imagine, it was fabulous.
  7. My new favorite mashup ever: Aaliyah and Goyte, Are You That Somebody That I Used to Know. Brilliant.
  8. How British is Andy Murray today? Check out the AndyMurrayometer to find out.
  9. This is very true: 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America.
  10. Boys, a parody trailer of Girls. Starring Craig Craig!

Looking for past Awesome List compilations? Head to the Things That Are Awesome archives

(Image via Huffington Post)

Pinterest Projects: Easy Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

On Top Chef, making chicken salad is tantamount to a kiss if death. It’s guaranteed to get you a trademark Tom Colicchio look of incredulity. “You could make anything in the world to showcase your culinary prowess and you chose…chicken salad?!?”

Personally, I think chicken salad gets a bad rap. Okay, it’s not particularly inventive, but when done right, it makes for the perfect lunch or quick dinner. It’s a totally legit comfort food, in my humble opinion.

I found this recipe on Real Mom Kitchen and it has become my go-to. It’s super easy to make and I happen to think it’s delicious. So, take that Top Chef.*

* Just kidding, Top Chef. You know I love you.

Things That Are Awesome, Vol. 23

(The Dowager does the Jolie! Image via here)

The weekly roundup of awesome stuff I found while wasting time online:

  1. File this under “things that are funny because they’re so true”: Something Wicked This Way Pins. I adore Pinterest and won’t be quitting it anytime soon, but it’s completely true that everything I’ve ever made from Pinterest has come out looking semi-janky.
  2. A gourmet waffle restaurant is opening in Ann Arbor. My life will soon be complete.
  3. We should all be as exuberant as this guy. This makes me want to watch Bring It On.
  4. The photographs from this year’s National Geographic contest are absolutely stunning. Note to self: learn how to actually use the settings on your camera.
  5. Pairing Florence + the Machine with the new Game of Thrones trailer? Sheer brilliance.
  6. Amber Tamblyn pranks Tyrese. This is amazing. I suppose I should expect nothing less from the woman engaged to Tobias Funke.
  7. A music video from Josh Ritter, created with over 12,000 pieces of construction paper. The brilliance and creativity of people astounds me sometimes.
  8. Law enforcement drawings of famous literary characters. Really cool, but kind of creepy.
  9. Ron Swanson cookies. Oh. My. God. Too much amazing-ness to handle.
  10. I’m in full-on Downton Abbey withdrawal mode. To pass the time, I’ve been browsing through this tumblr and this one too. Season 3, wherefore art thou??

And in case you missed ‘em before: The Awesome Archives

Pinterest Projects: Chevron Nail Art

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

I saw these chevron nails on Pinterest (the original blog post is here) and thought they looked like fun. The key phrase there is “looked like fun,” because you can file this project under “things that appear simple but will frustrate you to no end.”

Seriously, I like the finished product but this was not easy and it was quite time-consuming. To be fair, though, I’m a bad nail-polisher to begin with, so I’m sure that didn’t help the situation.

I thought I gave myself ample time between coats (I even painted the base coat and then let it dry overnight!), but I still had difficulty with the tape taking off polish, which made it necessary to do lots of re-touching. The instructions call for scotch tape, but I just grabbed the roll of tape I had on hand and started using it (in retrospect, I don’t think it was scotch)…I’m wondering if I had some sort of super-sticky tape that made this impossible? Anyway, it was kind of a nightmare.

By the end of the project, I had kind of gotten the hang of it and things were going smoother – so I think I might try it again someday with my new chevron-painting expertise. We’ll see.

Here’s a closer look at the process. But, don’t look too closely – seriously, I have atrocious nail-painting skills.

The colors I used for this project were: Angora Cardi, Over the Edge, and Steel-ing the Scene (all from Essie).

Pinterest Projects: Romwe Scarf

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

Okay, so this isn’t a project, per se. It involved no more effort than me typing in my credit card information, if you wanna get technical about it. But, this purchase was prompted solely by Pinterest (see the pin here), so I’m counting it toward my goal of completing 10 Pinterest-inspired projects this year. It’s my blog, and that’s just how I roll.

This year, one thing that has been a bit of an adjustment for me (to say the least) has been going from having a well-paying, full-time job to being a graduate student. That is, from having a steady income to having no income at all. Cruelly, my obsession with Pinterest began to grow last spring, which is also right about when I quit my aforementioned job. So though I find no shortage of clothing I want to buy on Pinterest and though I pin dress after dress and shoe after shoe, I rarely ever buy anything. Enter: this scarf, which was cheap enough for me to justify impulse buying.

The scarf is from Romwe (though it appears to have now sold out), and I am pretty much obsessed with it. I’m generally a fan of bold, bright colors (which my best friend always mocks me for), so most of my scarves are a mixture of crazy hues – I have an old Gap one, which I adore, that is literally rainbow-colored. This scarf is different, though – it’s neutral, and a little less attention-grabbing. And I kinda like that for a change. It’s also super long, which is optimal for wrapping it around yourself many times in a (futile) effort to ward off the cold.

One day (hopefully) I’ll have a great job again, but for now, in my poverty-ridden grad student days (okay, I’m being melodramatic. It’s really not that bad), I’ll content myself with hunting for little accessories like this. Happy pinning!

Pinterest Projects: Brie + Apple Tarts

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

I think this recipe officially takes the crown of “best thing I’ve found on Pinterest thus far.” Seriously. So delicious. So, so, so delicious. Yes, the repetition is warranted.

Here’s the pin (and the original recipe, courtesy of BlogHungry, is here). These were simple and fun to make. They smelled amazing once they came out of the oven, and they tasted amazing too. These would make a great snack or even dessert.

The only thing I’d change next time around is to add a bit more brie – as the original blog post mentions, be generous with the amount of brie you put on. I didn’t really take that to heart, and the bites with brie in it were so good that I wanted more of them.

Here’s a peek at my process:

My mom enjoying the delicious aroma. This photo is not staged. Not at all…

Voila! The finished project. Golden brown + super yummy:

Pinterest Projects: Grilled Cheese with Avocado and Pepperoni

Pinterest Projects is an ongoing series wherein I attempt to justify hours wasted spent on Pinterest by making projects from some of the inspiration I find there.

Basically, the story goes like this: I saw this pin on Pinterest and thought it looked mouth-watering good (original recipe here). I mean, cheese + avocado + pepperoni? I can’t argue with that. And so, I made it.

I did think it turned out pretty tasty, though my version did not look nearly as beautiful as the original one (and so it always goes). This is perfect for a quick lunch, though – and I just may make myself one again tomorrow.