BOO-tiful

I was at Target the other day, and I came across some really adorable plain wooden letters.  I know some of you are thinking, “how can plain wooden letters be adorable?”  To you I say, you obviously have never seen other plain wooden letters. These wood blocks are to others on the market what Kendall Jenner is to her sisters–sleek, elegant, and not super fucked up in comparison.  Here’s a visual–at Michael’s, you can choose between this guy who is a nice font, but made of paper maiche, something that should have no place in this world outside of a middle school science fair:


Or this guy, who I don’t even need to generate an insult for, because look at it:


Even Comic Sans would be embarrassed to have this hanging in its home.  And lastly, you got this pasty mess, courtesy of Joann’s:

What the hell is going on here.
So obviously, when I found a good one, I had to invest in it.  Because it’s Halloween or, more accurately, because I’m obsessive about Halloween, I bought myself a “B” and two “O”s, picked up some orange, white, black, and gold paints from Michael’s for only $1 a pop (they may have dropped the ball on letters, but are still clutch on all other craft supplies), and headed home to decorate.

I don’t have a palette because I’m not a real artist–in fact, I literally had to google “thing artists put paint on” to find out what to call that–which is actually a really common google search–I only had to type “thing art” and it came right up–


See, I’m not lying, it’s true–so I’m not dumb–I just don’t remember stuff I learned in high school art class–or ever.

Anyway, since I’m not fancy enough to own/know of a palette, I just ripped open an empty Digiorno box I had from the night before and, voila, instant, makeshift palette.  You know, this is actually a pretty great display of my resourcefulness, recycling something most would see as useless.  That’s pretty cool of me.

Onto the letters.  I didn’t really have much of a theme in mind; all I knew was that I wanted them to be different patterns, but have the same color scheme.  After playing around, I ended up with an ombred B, one chevroned O, and one polka-dotted O.


Ugh, too cute.  Because they’re the greatest letters of all, the bottoms are just flat enough for you to be able to stand them up; I put mine on our game/book shelving unit next to a jar of candy corn.


At $4 a piece, the letters were a little pricier than some, but sometimes you need to invest in nice things.  Embrace the Halloween spirit, girl.  TREAT yo’self.

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The Greatest, Most Beautiful Wreath Ever Made, Ever

It’s a hundred degrees.  And I’m not just exaggerating like that time I said I would LITERALLY KILL MYSELF if Nicholas beat Nina on Top Chef New Orleans.  No, it is actually 100 degrees in October and I will seriously BURN THIS CITY TO THE GROUND if it doesn’t cool off soon.

Because it is too hot to go to the pumpkin patch, I have decided to celebrate Fall in a way less likely to make me collapse of heat stroke.  I have decided to throw on a scary movie, and make an Autumnal wreath.

First things first, set up your fans.  Grab every last one in your home, and position them inches from your body.  Have an ice pack in your freezer?  Grab that too.  Dab it lovingly on your face; clutch it dearly to your breast.  You already feel better, now don’t you?

Okay, now turn on Netflix and peruse the selection until you find something worthy of background noise, something you’ve seen before but it’s been a few years now and you really kind of miss it.  My choice?  Scream.

Now here’s what you’ll need:

A plain wreath


Some faux foliage


Scissors

Your trusty hot glue gun

About 12 inches of twine

Step One: Remove the berries from the stem and glue them to the wreath.  Now don’t worry, the berries are attached to the main stem in little segmented stems; think of the large stem as an artery, the small stems as veins, and the little berries as capillaries.  You don’t need to cut off every berry individually and glue them to the wreath; Lord knows I don’t have the patience for that.  Just slice the veins from the artery and glue the vein to the wreath.  This allows our little capillaries flexibility around the foliage you add in the following steps.  I went and used two whole stems worth of berries because I like them so much.

the veins
All bloodied up with capillaries.

Step Two:  Now remember when I made those mason jar candleholders and told you that some of the materials would go toward a future craft?  THIS IS SAID FUTURE CRAFT.  Any leftover leaves I had from the garland got glued onto the wreath.  They’re malleable and easy to tuck under the berries, so do that when you can.  I decided to cover the full surface of the wreath, but feel like just a handful of them to add some color?  Great.  Do YOU.

Step Three:  Decapitate your flowers, and affix them to the wreath.  I used some faux mums and peonies; they added a nice bright pop of color and, yes, I know it’s a Fall wreath and one would expect pinecones for the larger, statement pieces, but we do live in San Diego–florals are appropriate year round.

Step Four:  Take your twine and tie it to the back of the wreath so you can easily hang it.  Put on your front door and induce jealousy.

What a beauty!

Alright, now for the cost:

Wreath: $4.99

Garland of leaves: $3.99

Two berry stems: $4.98

Mums: $2.49

Peonies: $0.79

The cost of the twine was negligible, probably about five cents or so, as was the glue for the glue gun.  So all in all, you made your very own Fall wreath for under $20, AND got to watch a scary movie at the same time, AND didn’t pass out under the glare of the defiant, blazing sun!  That is literally the greatest triumph in the history of mankind.  And no, that is not an exaggeration.

I’ve Been Searsuckered!

Last weekend my sister and I were both craving a good brunch and a good drunk.  Or, I guess in layman’s terms, just a good brunch.  Being the insufferable foodies that we are, we wanted to try something a little different, something a little more upscale.  A former coworker of mine had mentioned how great Searsucker was.  “It’s really cheap for all you can drink Mimosas!”  He had told me.

“Oh yeah?”

“And the food is great!”

“Well, it’s owned by Brian Malarkey.  Can’t be bad.”

“Yeah.  The mimosa brunch is juuust great,” he repeated.

“I bet.  What’d you order?”  I asked.

“Eh, I dunno, something with eggs.  I drank so much.”

“Nice.  Got your money’s worth.”

“Yeah; took a power nap, and now I’m here!”

Now that I think about it, it was probably the four plus hours of bottomless champagne that fueled his enthusiasm.  However, the menu sounded great, the owner is a former Top Chef finalist, and I heard the mimosas were a steal.  So when Saturday rolled around, we set out for Searsucker.

After a slightly dangerous and politically-charged Uber ride (sorry, James, but I don’t see Carly Fiorina as our next president, and could you please quit turning around and keep your eyes on the damn road?!), we arrived at our destination.  Once seated, I turned immediately to the drink menu.  I was devastated to find the all-you-drink mimosas I had heard so much about were $20.  Twenty whole dollars!  I could buy five bottles of Andre for that price!  Dismayed, I decided to order just a single one to start; that turned out to be the right call as our server, though friendly and very personable, only came by to check on us once.  Twenty dollars for two mimosas would have been criminal.

My go-to brunch food is a benedict, and after seeing the Green Eggs and Ham, I knew that it would be mine.

More like GREENS and eggs and ham.

I know what you’re thinking, because it’s exactly what I was thinking when it was set down in front of me–why is there a salad when there should be potatoes?  Or maybe it’s the second thought I had–why is there only one?   Or perhaps my final, I’m paying $14 for this?  Correct me if I’m wrong, but customarily, one receives two benedicts per order; it’s kind of an unspoken rule.  The menu is written very sparingly (the description for this was “nestled egg + pork belly + brioche + herbs”) so though it wasn’t stated outright, I assumed it would come with the standard two, the way I assumed it would be dressed with a hollandaise and that the food would be cooked.  I also dumbly thought potatoes or fruit OR ANYTHING BUT A SALAD WOULD ACCOMPANY IT BECAUSE WHY WOULD A SALAD COME WITH BREAKFAST, BRIAN?!

After my initial upset, I took a deep breath and dug in.  Now if you looked closely at the photo I provided, you may have already noticed my next disappointment: the pork belly was severely overcooked.  I expected my fork to slice effortlessly through the buttery soft, lusciously fatty meat, but alas, I was met with undue resistance. Eventually, I gave up and resorted to using a knife.  A knife!  On pork belly!  That to me, a lover of all things pork, was just hurtful.

To be fair, the flavors were pretty great–the hollandaise being one of the best I’ve ever had, perfectly salted and herbaceous; the buttery brioche serving as a great foundation for the dish–but $14?  For a single benedict and a handful of lightly dressed greens there to fill the plate and trick me into thinking I didn’t just get served a single benedict for $14?  Unacceptable.

Katy, being the more practical/intelligent of us Leenerts sisters, opted for a hearty Corned Beef Hash, and I was glad she did; after my meager serving, she gave me some of her potato scraps.

Clearly, someone’s going through an arugula phase.

After eating, I felt slightly taken advantage of, and was ready for a place more honest and comfortable.  Katy decided upon Half Door Brewing, and I am so glad she did. Built to look like an old two-story house and being half a block from Petco Park, it has a comforting, Old Time American feel to it.  Katy and I took a shady table on the second story deck and, lulled by this homey atmosphere, spent an hour and a half ordering drink after drink and discussing the finer things in life, like Game of Thrones and how Drake could do better than Serena Williams (no shade intended).

Some booze with a view.

Alcohol, sunshine, and a beautiful view–I’ll take that over a single benedict any day.