Fantasy Life Update: Moving In, Desk Edition

I know, knockout status.
I know, knockout status. Like the copy room sign in the background? I’m really living it up.

After your bed, there is but one piece of furniture with which you have a real relationship, and that is your desk. I spend a solid 9.5-12 hours a day at mine, and yet I always avoid really committing. This week, I added three major things to make my mark on my open-plan office workstation: Suki the fake taxidermied rhino, courtesy of my best friend, a not-that-cool-but-kinda-cool organizer, and lastly, gorgeous, perfect flowers from Roadside Blooms here in Charleston. Their model is really cool: green, sustainable flower arrangements that are based on what’s available locally in any given season. You just say, “I’d like small, medium, or large” and they bring it to you in their vintage British mail truck. I know. I know! But the best part is that they were a surprise, all the way from Afghanistan! Nothing quite like a no-reason-at-all pretty to make you feel like everything is going great.


How do you personalize your desk at work? Pictures? A candle? A terrarium?

The Great Cookie Caper: Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies

As some of you know, I’m embarking on a cookie adventure for the next couple months. A lot of you have sent me your favorite recipes (though I still want more!), and this one was one of the first that floated in. My friend Clara is still in middle school, but she is one of the most gifted bakers I know. People from Raleigh to Jackson rave about her cakes and pies, so I was really excited when she shared this with me. I’ll check and see if she’s available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and graduations, but we should probably ask her dad.

The caramel and chocolates are in hiding, but trust.
The caramel and chocolates are in hiding, but trust.

These cookies incorporate my favorite thing: salted caramel. I never, ever saw salted caramel anywhere before 5 or 10 years ago, and now they’re everywhere. I am in no way upset about this development. These cookies are only a little bit tricky, but you absolutely much chill them for the requisite amount of time or they’re not going to turn out. Consider yourself warned.

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The Freakin’ Weekend

Skipping away!
Skipping away!

Let’s talk about our plans for the long weekend. I’m going to go to Edisto with my girlfriends so we can gossip about people we knew in college and paint each other’s toenails (one of those things maybe won’t happen). We’re going to go see the baby turtles go to the sea, eat barbecue, and catch up on reading/lolling. What are y’all thinking of doing?

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks: Jam Thumbprint Cookies

I don’t know what my deal is, but I’ve been really craving sweets this weekend. We’re having people over in a little bit to watch the season finale of Mad Men, so I have an excuse to make dozens and dozens of cookies that I wouldn’t otherwise have made. It’s way too summery for hamantaschen, but I think we could make some jam thumbprints, right?

I only ate 6 while writing this.
I only ate 6 while writing this.

Right. After the jump, check out my five-ingredient summer remix cookies.

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Lazy Sunday

My babely friend Mel is visiting (a post on our kitchen adventures later!), so y’all can read while we’re out frolicking in the ocean.

Getting Out: Charlottesville, Virginia

Oh, college. I remember you sometimes-fondly, often not-so-fondly. See, I was bad at going to college. I got good grades and had friends, but I loved Charlottesville, Thomas Jefferson, and the idea of UVA more than I loved College: The Experience. Toward the end there, one of my peers described me as less a student and more a “townie who takes a lot of classes,” which I think was supposed to be an insult but was definitely true. I lived far from Grounds, worked far from Grounds, and cultivated relationships with long-time Charlottesvillians. I was glad I did that then, and I’m glad I did that now.

This guide grows out of an email I initially wrote to my friend Gill entitled “places for your to go and see and be and do in charlottesville, the nicest town in the entire world.” Gill was trying to impress his U.Va. grad wife by taking her to some places she hadn’t been in Charlottesville, and apparently this list helped.

This will be your face the whole time you're there.
This will be your face the whole time you’re there. It was my face for most of it.

I have virtually no photos from when I lived in Charlottesville that aren’t of my friends and me in younger, thinner, drunker, more beautiful days, because I left there in 2010, before the spread of smartphones. I’ve been back many, many times, but the photographs from those trips, too, are just a nostalgia binge. I’ve dug up a few good ones for you, and those are with the tips I’ve wrangled for you after the jump.

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The Freakin’ Weekend

I guess what I'm trying to say is I like to go fast.
I guess what I’m trying to say is I like to go fast.

I’m not even going to remind you what I’m doing this weekend. What are YOU doing this weekend? I know a lot of my friends are going to Talladega to see that race; the photos above is from that adventure in 2011. Let me here from you!