A Very Hipster Holiday

This past weekend I hosted my first shindig at my new apartment. Ok, sure – I’ve had friends over for dinner several times… and there was this one time I hosted an impromptu after the after party situation… and I even hosted my family Thanksgiving this year. But the inaugural “Hipster Holiday Soiree” was the first time I’ve thrown a proper party in my new space.

I LOVE hosting parties.  Baby showers, Royal Wedding tea parties, holiday dessert parties, cooking demonstration cocktail parties… I just love to play the role of hostess. I typically get carried away obsessing about every little detail from the invitation to the decor and ESPECIALLY the menu. I didn’t feel like doing that this time around. I just wanted to have people over, celebrate the season and enjoy their company.

So it occurred to me – Hipster Theme. Boom. Built in apathy and smug disinterest were required if I was to be the ideal hipster hostess.
People always congregate in the kitchen - even in a wee loft. #hipsterholiday

I sent out Facebook invitations instead of printed invites. I think around 30-35 people attended, I never stopped to take a head count. It was a little tight in my tiny studio, but I don’t think anyone minded.

Winding down from a fun evening. #hipsterholiday
Instead of planning 6-8 complicated appetizers and several sweet treats… I served super generic store bought Christmas cookies, a cheese tray and some salty snacks. I did make the savory treats from scratch: toasted nuts with cayenne & brown sugar, my world famous rosemary popcorn, and of course, hummus. Hipsters love hummus.

Since my party started at 8, I figured my guests would have eaten dinner ahead of time and would arrive more thirsty than hungry. I consulted my Glamour Magazine Party Book from 1965 to help me plan my approach with beverages…
Prepping for #hipsterholiday I consulted my 1965 Glamour Magazine Party Book. Opted for more low brow beverages like lone star & PBR
Whoa! People were serious booze hounds back in the day. A cocktails-only party is a ton of work and the hostess spends all her time bar-tending instead of mingling with her guests. Over it.  I adopted a more low key beer, wine, and limited self-serve cocktail offerings approach.  It wouldn’t be a Waspy Redhead affair without some bubbly (10 bottles). And since hipsters prefer to drink terrible beer, ironically, I picked up a case of Lone Star and Pabst Blue Ribbon. I had several bottles each of red & white wine, as well as bourbon, scotch, gin, and apple cider simmering on my stove spiked with salted caramel vodka.

I ordered some super cute holiday “photo booth” props from etsy, and encouraged my guests to use #hipsterholiday in their tweets and instagrams.

Such a fun evening! I think this will become an annual tradition. I highly recommend you throw a Hipster Holiday party too – the most laid back entertaining I’ve ever done.

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Happy #Fakesgiving!

Yesterday I participated in a fun new fall tradition. My sweet friends Kate & Sam invited me to join them and their friends in their second annual Fakesgiving.  Fakesgiving is just like Thanksgiving, except instead of eating with your family, you get together with your friends to break bread and celebrate the season.  I am all over this concept!  Lately I’ve been fascinated by the phenomenon of the “Urban Tribe” which is a sort of second family that young professionals create for themselves in response to trends like delaying marriage, increased perceived social media connectedness, decreased genuine connectedness etc. Pretty sure connectedness isn’t a word, but it works here so indulge me.

Throughout out my life I’ve had a tendency to form sort of familial bonds with my close friends.  I think it has a lot to do with being an only child from a relatively small extended family. I’ve inadvertently crafted my own extended family from my friends and coworkers. I proudly play the role of Crazy Aunt Elizabeth to my friend’s children, and enjoy being close not just with my friends but with their husbands, their parents, in-laws etc.  Little by little over the last few years, my Urban Tribe up and moved on me. Some of my closest friends and their kin are spread all over the country, and while we do our best to stay connected through email, texts, Facebook etc… I do miss being in the same city.  It was nice to join my friends and get to meet more of their friends and see their Urban Tribe in action.

One of the coolest things about Fakesgiving is that while we were enjoying the meal and sharing pictures on instagram, Lauren and I noticed that other people all over were also having Fakesgiving and sharing their pics with the same hashtag. Groups of people all over the country were documenting their turkey carving, friend hugging, and too-much-to-drink having just like we were. It felt like we were part of a more global potluck than just our cozy group.  Here are some of my favorite snapshots from the festivities…

#fakesgiving table! @katewarters @samwar

Thanks Lauren for snapping a pic of the pretty table Kate set!

First course of #fakesgiving with @tasteskateate @samwar @ohmypuddin

First course was a delicious squash soup

Brussels salad, turkey, taters, Parker house rolls, cranberries, dressing. Bliss. #fakesgiving

The main meal had all the delicious dishes you would expect from a Thanksgiving including: turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, dressing, and mashed potatoes, along with new favorites like a Brussels sprout salad with blue cheese and bacon that was crazy tasty.

Willing fall weather to arrive with my wardrobe. Ready for cashmere scarf season! #ootd #fakesgiving

The attire for Fakesgiving was casual and comfy.  Though the temps were in the 80′s I wore my favorite cashmere scarf and willed it to be fall-like.

Three men and a baby! #fakesgiving #plaidpatrol

The men wore plaid.  Even the baby men.

Per usual, it's all couples & me. Have drafted this guy as my plus one. #fakesgiving

Could you die at the cuteness?!

During the meal we said what we were Thankful for (which is just as awkward at Fakesgiving as it is at the real deal, but still a sweet and grounding exercise) and answered questions from hilarious “conversation starters” that were on the back of our place cards. Since I was new to the group, I was glad to learn more about the other guests like the worst gift they’ve given and received, which celebrity they would most like to invite to dinner etc.

Post #fakesgiving walkabout

After dinner we went on a walk through Monte Vista to digest a bit before we hit up the dessert spread.

 Good times were had by all. I highly recommend you gather some friends and celebrate Fakesgiving this season.

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Cooking For (and with) Others…

In my last post I wrote about how I want to try and cook actual meals when it’s just me.  For some reason I have a block about that and I usually eat cereal, tuna on crackers, or cheese & salami for dinner.  I’ll admit I haven’t made any improvements in this area, haven’t cooked anything for my “party of me” since I wrote that post.  So that’s the bad news, but the good news is that my kitchen is still getting plenty of use because I’ve been cooking for friends a bunch lately.

Tonight I had my friends Marissa, Jennifer and her adorable 5 month old, George, over for dinner.

Breakfast for dinner with the gals! Nutella French toast, oven roasted home fries & bubbly. Cheers to Monday!

Nutella stuffed French toast and oven roasted home fries with fresh thyme.  It was just a random, mellow, regular ol’ Monday meal, but we had pink champagne anyway. Is there anything better than breakfast for dinner?

Well dinner for dinner is pretty good too… and Sunday night I made dinner for my parents.

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Leek and butternut squash risotto. This was very tasty, if I don’t say so myself. I

I don’t have exact recipes for either of these cooking exploits. Sorry team.  I kind of made these dishes up as I was going along. And speaking of making things up as you go along… A few weeks ago my friend Lauren of ohmypuddin and some pals joined me for an impromptu dinner party. Lauren and her husband brought over their CSA box, as well as a few fun and truly random (lobster pate?) ingredients. We didn’t have a meal plan, or even and idea about what we were going to make, we just started cooking.

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Even though my galley kitchen is wee, there is totally enough room for two food bloggers to cook at once.

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When you’re not sure what you’re making for dinner, it’s a good idea to distract your guests with champagne while you’re figuring it out.

 

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We settled on “Eggs in Purgatory” which is a spicy tomato dish with eggs that cook in the sauce.  We served it over quinoa with a side of roasted okra, peppers and broccoli. It was an eclectic but ultimately very tasty and healthy dinner. I was extra proud of Lauren and I because despite not having a game plan, each component of the meal finished at the same time (that’s not an easy feat, even with more planning).
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Our friends were such good sports about the surprise dinner.  They were also good sports about the fact that I’ve lived in my apt for two months and still don’t have anything on the walls and there’s a lamp without a shade and a box you cant see in the corner (babysteps).

My last post was a little about how I want to cook for myself more often, but it was mostly about how I need to give myself a break and be kinder to myself. So yeah, I’m not giving myself a hard time about how I haven’t mastered (read: attempted) cooking for one.  I’m just enjoying the cooking I am doing for and with my friends and family.

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Being Kinder To Myself…

perfect single dinner

Let’s glaze right over the fact I haven’t blogged in a trillion years (approximation), and jump into where I’m at and what I’m up to…

I’m alright. I’m hanging in there. But if I’m honest, I’m not being very kind to myself. I’m stressing myself out about work. I’m creating silly personal drama for myself where none existed. I’m not getting into down dog often enough. I both metaphorically and literally can’t find my yoga mat (I live in 620 sq feet, it can’t have gone far?). But worst of all… I’m totally beating myself up about all this. Hard.

More than one friend has told me to be kinder to myself lately. I have fantastic friends. They are the best people of all people, in the history of people. I think it’s interesting that my friends haven’t told me to get it together, or get to yoga, or to rethink that second glass of bourbon, or stop being my own worst enemy… They aren’t pushing me to be better, they just want me to give myself a break. They know I can do better, that this weird little pattern is an anomaly, and I haven’t been in this headspace since I was 25 or so. They know I’ll snap out of it. I already have snapped out of the destructive behavior, for the most part. Now it’s just time to shower off the self loathing and cut myself some slack.

I think a key part of being kinder to myself is to actually make myself dinner from time to time. Not a fancy one. Not an indulgent one, or an overly monastic one for that matter. Just a reasonable, simple, kind dinner. Eating cereal out of a coffee mug with expired almond milk on the sofa is ok – it’s better than eating out. Eating prosciutto, goat cheese and crackers standing up at the sink will do – but let’s be real, charcuterie does not a meal make. I whine a lot about how I struggle to cook for one. That I’m kind of wired to cook for a crowd and so I usually just don’t cook at all for my party of me. Whatever. I need to get past that. I love cooking too much to bench myself because I don’t want to be saddled with leftovers (surely my coworkers or friends will enjoy it), or to take the easy way out because I don’t want to do the dishes later (my wee kitchen takes virtually no time to clean).

I should be making things like the bowl of brown rice with a fried egg pictured above. That dish took very minimal effort. It’s not even a “dish,” it’s just a bowl of yum. Serious yum. I cooked the brown rice with the zest of a lemon, some butter, kosher salt and red pepper flake. I topped it with a fried egg, some soy sauce and some fresh cut chives. It was heaven. I can do this. I should do this, on the regular.

I’m working on it.

In the immortal words of Dr. Leo Marvin… “Baby Steps”

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An Update On My Haircut

This time last week I was kind of in shock after cutting my hair.  It wasn’t the 11+ inches of length I took off that had me feeling off balance, it was the experience of having my haircut by a very very inexperienced student. If you missed it, you can read the whole story here.

I wanted to thank you for all of the kind words and support and thoughtful comments you left on my blog, Facebook page, on Instagram etc. It made me feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful friends – both friends I “know” and friends I’ve come to know from this blogging community. So, a week has gone by. I’ve obviously recovered from the experience, and I’m still feeling very positive about the whole thing.  I’m glad I could make my third donation to Locks of Love.  I’m glad I could be there for “Amanda” when she was going through a rough time and was confronted with fear and anxiety as she tackled the task of my haircut.  I’m glad I could learn for myself that my hair is just my hair, it’s not what make me me – I’m not lost with out it.  I’m glad that I was able to get in to see a grown up and more experienced hairstylist on Thursday, and that she was able to give Amanda’s cut some more shape and movement.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss my long hair a little bit, because I do. But I’m feeling more confident about my new style, and I’m excited to start growing it out again.  This time I don’t think I’ll let it grow to my waist, or maybe I will so that I can keep donating to Locks of Love. We’ll see.

I promise this will be the last completely vain post about my hair for a while.

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