I tried to make as many Christmas gifts as I could this year. The girls in my family all received knitted scarves and for my girlfriends, I saw this DIY on making your own tea bags. I recruited my friend Heather to help with the sewing portion. She sent me to Teavana to search for some really unique loose leaf tea. I somehow managed to spend $30 in there.
I’m proud that I made so many gifts this year and even more proud that I finished most of my shopping before December.
We hosted #TOFUHAPPENING at our place yesterday and had a blast! I made gingerbread cookies, mashed sweet potatoes and roasted carrots and parsnips. Other tasty dishes that showed up were: chili, two versions of challah, vegetable curry, “sausage” balls, spinach dal with rice, banana bread, roasted brussels… I’m sure I’m leaving something amazing off of this list.
This is another one of those posts where I didn’t take enough photos of the event. I could kick myself for not being more aware but I was just having fun. I think also playing host made me make sure everyone was having a good time. But use your imagination and picture lots of cool kids crammed into my kitchen laughing and listening to vinyl while stuffing their face.
Unfortunately, I did not get to read as many books as I had planned this year (and many, many less than I did last year). I think it had a bit to do with learning new crafts like knitting and screen printing. Apparently I was really into reading about food and feminism in 2011. Here were some books I really enjoyed:
Bodies: Big Ideas/Small Books by Susie Orbach
What to Eat by Marion Nestle
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera
Food Matters by Mark Bittman
Fat Is a Feminist Issue by Susie Orbach
And my favorite food bible, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. This is a must have for foodies and newbies alike.
Earlier this year, AiLien & Kim invited us to this little event called Tofu Happening. Apparently it had been a “thing” in the past and they revived it. This Sunday we are hosting the event and DAMN do we have some friends that can cook. It’s veggie friendly and there are usually plenty of vegan dishes as well. We also encourage everyone to bring some vinyl. Our house is small, but I’m totally excited to have everyone over. It will be cozy.
I hate to say it, but I’ve been so busy the last 3 months that I’ve fallen behind on new music. Thankfully, Steven obsessively listens to the new stuff, so I have picked up bits and pieces of things I like. Gorilla vs. Bear posted their list, so I figured I would too. Here are a few of my favorite albums from this year.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Unknown Mortal Orchestra
These guys might be have the most unique sound of any band I’ve heard this year. You can stream their album via Spin and I would highly recommend it.
Real Estate – Days
I remember when Real Estate stayed at our house after playing a show in Little Rock. Since then, they have really blown up, touring overseas and being featured on XM Radio and NPR. I’m nostalgic for their older sound, but this is a more grown-up album.
Panda Bear – Tomboy
It’s hard to top Person Pitch. It’s sort of like Quentin Tarantino directing Reservoir Dogs and Pulp fiction so early in his career – nothing will touch it. But Noah Lennox has constructed another beautiful album that is a little more structured than Person Pitch and equally as beautiful.
M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
I had never listened to M83 before this album. I guess it was one of those bands I saw at Pitchfork Music Festival a few years ago and didn’t really give it another listen. Not sure what to compare it to, but I’ve gone back to this album a lot since it was released. Most bloggers have noted that it’s very grandiose, but I’m into it. It’s a nice contrast to all of the chill-wave-lazy-strumming stuff out there.
James Blake – James Blake
I think I cried when I first listened to this album. He has a lot of soul and pours the lonely thoughts into his music. Although I’ve lost those first sparks I had upon first listen, I still love this album with headphones.
Woods – Sun and Shade
This was really an underrated album. It was a fun listen during the summer.
Porcelain Raft – Gone Blind EP
Mauro Remiddi puts a lot of feeling into his music. That notion was confirmed when I saw him perform in the middle of the day at SXSW this March. He came over after the set and asked if it sounded okay. He seems very genuine and makes music because that makes him happy. I wish all musicians could attest to that.
Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island
I admire VanGaalen’s illustrations, music and charity work. Not many musicians (perhaps with the exception of Arcade Fire) donate hefty proceeds to good causes. Diaper Island was a huge hit.
Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital
These guys are so fun live. They have a ton of energy. I wasn’t sure if I would dig this album since it sounds so much more electronic than their past discography, but it really grew on me.
Austra – Feel It Break
Wye Oak – Civilian
Timber Timbre – Creep on Creepin’ On
Pure X – Pleasure