Satpura Sweater Coat

Hi! I will probably not be posting on Thanksgiving, because it is going to be a busy day. However, I do plan on posting some pictures to Instagram. I hope everybody who celebrates has a wonderful Thanksgiving! And for those who do not, I hope you have a beautiful Thursday! : )

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The one item that I had been most looking forward to wearing once California finally received some cool weather was my Anthroplogie Satpura Sweater Coat from last winter (this is sold out and I could not find a similar enough coat to link to, but I have seen it on eBay. I previously wore it here).

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I am generally not a fan of bejeweled items. In fact, this is probably the only item in my entire closet with sparkles. I like things more simple. Bling is not my thing.

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But for this coat, I will make an exception. The pattern is just too pretty to resist. My gnome thinks so, too.

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Once again I purchased an item without having a clue about what the word describing the item meant. Do you know what Satpura is? It turns out it is a hill range in India. It is actually gorgeous. The images I googled of the area are very pretty.

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I tried to save a bee I found on the ground, but he was not savable. It broke my heart a bit. I hate seeing a hurt or perished bee.

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Underneath the coat, I paired my Anthropologie Top that I got on a popback for $8 over the summer. I wear this top all of the time. It is a great layering piece as you will see in an upcoming outfit post.

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My least favorite colors are burgundy and purple. And yet, I do not mind them here.

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I do, however, feel a little bit like a walking condiment clash.

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Mustard, ketchup and grape jelly. What kind of nightmare meal would that create?

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In the picture above, I just noticed some young boys exploring a nearby gutter with mining flashlights on their heads. It made me both worried and wistful.

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Thank goodness for this little guy. He assured me everything would be all right.

And I surprisingly believed him.

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Once the cool weather hit where you are, what was the first item you grabbed from your closet? What is your favorite winter outfit? Are you loving the ability to layer? This is my favorite time of year.

Date Night: Def Leopard

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I am younger than my husband by four and a half years. Those four and a half years are not much except you need to add in the sequestered life I led on an isolated bee farm to understand that essentially my husband and I did not grow up in the same decade. I grew up listening to “The Oldies” on my mother’s radio. My dad had the television at night and so I never saw a single episode of “Beverly Hills 90210″ or “Melrose Place.” I would nod my head when other kids my age would talk about “New Kids On The Block,” but the only time I ever heard their songs were at school dances. My sister and I would rewatch “Anne of Green Gables” during the day and read books at night.

When I heard that Def Leopard would be performing near us, I knew my husband would want to go see them. And honestly, it seemed like a good time.

So I purchased the tickets, made reservations at our favorite restaurant in town, and waited for the concert with nervous excitement.

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The day arrived and you will not believe this, but I did not get an outfit picture. We were rushing because my husband got home from work and we immediately had to leave for our dinner reservations. But I did get a picture of my shoes. They are the coolest pink. When I went to Anthropologie and did some reviews, I walked into the sale room and a woman was holding a pair of these shoes in her hand. “What size are those?” I breathlessly asked. Well, they were two sizes too small for both myself and her, and the only ones in the store. I tracked them down during an extra percentage off sale and scooped them up. I love a happy shoe story ending, don’t you?

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Okay. So, I said I really went to the concert for my husband. And that is true, but it is also true that I went for the food. The food. I adore the steakhouse on the premise of where Def Leopard performed. And the only time we splurge and eat there is when we go to a performance (such as when we saw Cyndi Lauper last year). It did not disappoint. I have eaten steak at some of those restaurants that are known for steak in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas. I have never had steak as good as this steak anywhere else. The chef gives you a complimentary amuse-bouche when you are seated. He also sends out his handmade truffles and candy gummies with the bill. It is expensive but worth it.

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We finished our meal and headed to the venue. There was a man sitting next to me on my left that had been going to see Def Leopard every year, by himself, since 1987. Oddly enough he left right before the concert was over. He sang every song. I knew one of them. One. Yep. “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” My husband knew them all. And he recalled listening to them perform when he was in fifth grade on a fence in his backyard as the sound carried from the concert to his house. I loved that he finally got to see them live in concert on this evening.

There was a woman in her early fifties sitting by herself on our right. She confessed that she had been to their concert the night before in a different city. So, of course I said to her, “Wow. You must really like the band.”

She shook her head, “no.” She admitted that she had never listened to Def Leopard before until the day before. Someone had bought her the tickets to the two venues as a gift. I thought that was an interesting gift.

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I am a sitter.

Period.

So, I was stressed that the people in front of me would stand up, and gasp!, dance during the concert. This would give me the task of standing up myself. Well, the people who purchased the seats in front of us never showed up. So, I could have sat but we actually stood and swayed (I would surely hesitate to call clapping your hands to music as dancing) to the music.

But the only thing that kept running through my head during the show was, “I should have studied these songs before the concert.”

Yes, what I was thinking during a rock concert is that I really should have studied.

Poser.

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It ended up being a fun night. I will look back upon it and smile. Have you been to any concerts this year? Do you like the dinner or the event itself better? I think that is why I am so fond of dinner theater. You get the best of both worlds… And you don’t need to stand… Or study.

Ikat In The Best Of Times

After my husband took pictures of this outfit, he dropped me off at a local Mexican restaurant where I was meeting some girlfriends for Booze Book Club.

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I got there a bit early and so I decided to sit in the bar, by myself, and have a drink.

I told the waiter I was waiting for some girls for book club. He looked at me with obvious surprise. “What club?” He asked astonished.

Book Club.” Emphasis on the “k.”

“Ohhhhhhh. I thought you said something else.” I giggled, because I thought I knew what he had thought I had said. That would probably make for a more interesting club, but alas, Book Club it is.

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I think deep down I am a loner, because some of my favorite moments are spent in solitude.

I loved sitting there gulping daintily-sipping enjoying my margarita while I watched the people coming and going around me.

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The book choice last month was “You Before Me,” by Jojo Moyes. I was very hesitant to read it that month because I had read reviews stating it was gloomy and I did not want the book to send me into a spiral of sadness.

But my friend read it first and assured me that whilst it was a very sad book, it was not overly depressing.

I read it and found this to be true.

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What I am saying is: the book is good.

Having a margarita by yourself is better.

Having a margarita with friends is the best.

I know because I chose to have a margarita by myself and one with the girls. And four margaritas on a table are better than one.

That’s just basic math that they don’t teach in school.

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Did you sense me stalling here?

Avoiding the issue at hand?

I think it is obvious by now that I have been trying to distract you with books and margaritas to keep your eyes averted from my imperfections.

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Aw, well, just have a margarita and we will all feel better.

It is nice to see my favorite winter staple making an appearance again. Last year I purchased the Ruffled Sweater Vest from Anthropologie in two colors and I wear them all of the time. They have a new version this year with a cool ombre effect. The Anthropologie Ikat top was a popback that I got for 80% off (sorry, sold out). I love it and it is one of my absolute best deals. The Paige Cords were a find at Nordstrom Rack last year (and now I desperately want to find them if they ever go on sale in forest green). The thighs were happily earned from pints of Baskin Robbins Ice Cream.

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Do you ever go places by yourself? One of my very favorite things to do is go to the movies alone.

One bucket of popcorn + one girl = Happiness.

I really think I missed my calling as a math teacher hermit.

Jamie Oliver’s Milk Chicken

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I realize it is odd to write about roasting a chicken when everyone is talking about roasting turkeys. Well, I will not be doing a turkey post, because Ina Garten has the best roasted turkey recipe. I have used it every single year, varying the ingredients slightly or not at all, and it is always excellent. I do take additional herbed butter and massage it under the skin. Anyway, that is what I recommend, maybe I will do a post about it one day, probably around The Fourth of July, because that is how organized I am. But let’s talk about chickens for today…

Pinterest is killing me.

I want to make all of the goodies. I want my house magically cleaned. Organized. And I want to do it all whilst wearing a caftan and simultaneously beading an area rug. Has anyone ever beaded a rug? Could you walk on it? Would it roll? Is it slippery? These are all the questions that Pinterest brings to mind. What does this have to do with chicken? Nothing. Except, I found Jamie Oliver’s Milk Chicken Recipe on Pinterest and I was intrigued.

I did not do Pinterest proud here.

My pictures are bad.
This made my heart sad.
I am not a type A.
Is there a type Z?
It’s a good thing…
I am not Martha Stewart.
Amen.

I have made roasted chickens before, but I don’t like having to deal with the roasting pan. It cannot be put in the dishwasher. Everything I use must be able to be put in the dishwasher. I wanted something easy. Something perfect for my lazy heart.

This chicken is it.

I do need to say that this chicken is cooked in milk. The milk becomes curd in the pan. This does not bother me. It does bother some people. Some people being my husband. My husband hates cottage cheese. So looking into the pan and seeing that I pretty much made my own cottage cheese chicken for dinner was basically his worst nightmare. And my perfect tear-laughing moment. But he did like the chicken. He agreed it had great flavor. He just would not touch the marvelous sauce the chicken cooked in because of this.

His loss.

This recipe is relatively inexpensive, especially since I made enough to have leftovers. There are not a lot of leftovers. However I can stretch them enough for one more dish the next night. I turned the leftovers into chicken noodle soup, chicken spaghetti and even just throwing it into a store-bought curry sauce. You can usually find a whole chicken on sale for around $1 a pound. This recipe called for a three pound bird. Dude. If I am going to be roasting a whole chicken and using up ingredients, I am going to make a bigger bird than that. I have used anywhere from a 4 pound bird to a 6 pound bird. I increased the cooking time around ten minutes per additional pound for the recipe (a la Julia Child but factoring in a lower cooking temperature than she uses). When I made the four pound bird, I just followed Jamie Oliver’s cooking time exactly.

Because this is not my recipe, I usually would not the write ingredients and directions, but according to the comments on The Kitchn (where I also learned to cover the chicken resulting in a more braising than roasting technique), Jamie Oliver made this chicken differently on his show. I tried to piece together the best way people said to make this and combined the advice here:

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (4-6 pounds)
2 lemons
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 1/3 cup whole milk
7-10 cloves of unpeeled garlic (the recipe calls for ten. I am cheap. I am not spending fifty cents for an additional head of garlic, so cut out as many cloves as you can from one head and use it. A great tutorial for removing the garlic cloves can be viewed here)
A handful of fresh sage
1 tsp salt + some sprinkled on chicken
1/4 tsp. ground pepper + some sprinkled on chicken
1/2 stick salted butter
3 Tbsp. Clarified butter (I buy mine in a jar at Trader Joe’s. Or you can use half butter and half olive oil)

Directions:

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

You can, if you are of the mind to, truss your chicken if you would like. I do not. Type Z, and all of that. But you can if you choose. Type Z doesn’t judge.

In a large pot (one that comes with a lid), heat clarified butter (or 1 1/2 Tbsp. Butter and 1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive oil) on medium high heat.

Remove giblets from the cavity of the chicken with tongs. Throw them away. Don’t gag.

Season one side of the chicken. Add seasoned side of chicken down into the pot and sear for three to five minutes until it has a nice golden color to it. Season other side and and very carefully rotate the chicken to the other side (I use two pairs of cooking tongs). Sear for three to five minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and carefully discard cooking oil.

Zest the lemons.

Place the chicken back into the pan. Cut the lemons in quarters and push them up into the chicken’s cavity. Place the garlic cloves around the pan. I really want to say, “riddle the garlic cloves around the pot,” but I feared it would not make sense. Plus every time I say the word, “riddle,” I think of Tom Riddle and then I get sidetracked daydreaming about Harry Potter.

Mix the milk and salt and pepper with a fork. ‘Cause you’re fancy. Pour in pan around chicken. Add cinnamon stick. Riddle the sage around the pan. Sprinkle the lemon zest over everything. Add 1/2 stick of butter into the pot.

Cover the pot and place into the oven for forty five minutes for a three-four pound bird. Increase cooking time ten minutes per pound for a larger bird.

After your cooking time has passed, remove lid. Cook an additional forty five minutes. And as Jamie Oliver says, “baste when you remember.”

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Remove pot from oven. Check your chicken to make sure it is cooked thoroughly.

Remove chicken to a plate to rest for five minutes. Carve chicken. Serve. I serve a little bowl of the delicious sauce to dip it in. I serve my chicken with either baked potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice depending upon the laziness of the cook that day.

Pinterest, you win this round.

Because this chicken recipe was amazing. Of course, I made this in my pajamas, in a messy house, whilst browsing the Internet. But Pinterest doesn’t need to know that. Besides It’s too busy researching the next new thing… I’ve heard it’s beaded rugs. Be careful. I’ve also heard they’re slippery.

It’s Marvolo-us!