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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

things i’m loving lately: january/february edition

As you all know by know, I love me some ModCloth.  I actually purchased this brand new zag top back in December and have been wearing the heck out of it ever since.  (Technically they call it a dress, but in my wardrobe it’s a top.)  It is cute, super comfortable, and gets compliments all the time.  I like to pair it withe black leggings and gray boots.

On some other dreadfully cold day back in December, I was so miserable that I went on a cardigan online shopping spree.  I’m all about cardigans anyway, but this winter I’ve been reminded just how much of a wardrobe staple they are for me and that I can never have too many of them.  This particular sweater has become my BFF.  It goes with almost anything, is super soft and warm, and works in almost any situation.  I’ve worn it to work, out on a date night, at home with the kids, and even to hot yoga.

I’m an OPI lover and I fall victim to each new line they release basically every time I visit the hair salon.  Imagine my excitement when I learned online that they had released a Skyfall 007 line.  Say what?!  I quickly made a trip over to the salon only to learn that they had already been basically wiped out of all the shades and wouldn’t be getting more in.  Thank goodness for the internet, right?  I chose Casino Royal, Die Another Day, and Goldeneye.  I really love them all, but I think Goldeneye might be my favorite.  (It’s the polish I wore in these photos – lots of readers loved it too!)

And speaking of nail polish…are you ready for this?  This is a life-changing tip.  (Understand I mean life-changing in a totally superficial, related to nail polish sense.)  My friend taught me this trick.  Apply nail polish as usual (I do a base coat, then two color coats usually.)  Let air dry about two minutes.  Then soak your fingertips in a bowl of ice water for three minutes.  It helps your polish set much, much more quickly than by air drying.  I still let my fingers air dry until the water has evaporated from my fingers but still, this is so, so much quicker.  In the past I would paint my nails, go three hours being ultra careful and then still, the first time I touched anything, they would get blemished.  As a result I probably painted my nails twice a year, if that.  Now I’ve had them painted probably five or six times in the past month and a half.  (Also, I know this sounds really difficult but to me, the first minute is the hardest and after that your fingertips are kind of numb and it’s not that bad.)  I still put on a top coat later, but that never takes long to dry anyway.

No matter how old I get, I’ll never stop giving out Valentine’s Day treats to my friends and coworkers.  I haven’t completely decided on what treat I’ll be handing out this year, but I did buy some fun packaging embellishments from good ol’ Paper Source several weeks ago.  Sadly the adorable stuff I bought is no longer available, but never fear.  They have so many other cute options to choose from.  Last year I made the ever popular soft frosted sugar cookies, decorated them with Valentine sprinkles, and packaged them up with baker’s twine and these cute “XOXO” stickers.

When it comes to baby gifts, I’m normally one to stick to the registry and buy functional items that the parents-to-be really need.  However, those functional gifts aren’t always the most fun to give, so I tend to throw in something else that’s a little more frivolous like clothes.  However, when the baby arriving is a third or fourth child, there isn’t much else the family needs and in that case, clothes it is!  My sweet pal Josie recently gave birth to her adorable twin boys and when I saw these little cardigan onesies from the Etsy shop Haddon & Co., I absolutely could not resist sending her a pair.  This may become my go-to “fun” gift for friends expecting boys…or maybe not.  Wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for any friends reading this!

As I’ve mentioned in my past few instagram posts, I’ve gotten into knitting.  Like, really into it.  It may come as no surprise that I’ve never been great at sitting still.  Knitting gives my hands something to do when Ben wants to watch a movie, when I’m sitting with the kids in the playroom, when I’m sitting watching swim lessons, etc.  If you’re already into knitting I’m sure you are well aware of Ravelry, but if you are new to knitting or looking to get into it, I apologize in advance for just stealing away your next 24 hours as you save pattern after pattern.

File this under things everyone else probably already knows about, but I finally started using the Starbucks app recently and it is awesome.  My girls told me about it last fall during our trip to CT but since getting our espresso maker, I’ve barely been to Starbucks at all.  However, at the holidays we received lots of Starbucks gift cards (woohoo!!)  I downloaded the app, loaded all of the gift cards onto my account, and now I can just pay with my phone rather than a credit card or cash.  So convenient and quick.

I haven’t had a ton of time for pleasure reading lately, but I did read the book The Round House by Louise Erdrich last month and I absolutely could not put it down.  It covers some interesting themes from, at least in my opinion, a somewhat unique perspective and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page.

As always, I have been listening to lots and lots of episodes of This American Life.  I’m going back in time through the archives.  There have been tons of really incredible shows that I’ve heard lately but this one  in particular (Very Tough Love) was fascinating to me and had me Googling afterward to find out more information on the rest of this story.

And now, for your dose of humor, this fantastic video of The NFL: Bad Lip Reading.  When Ben first showed this to me, I thought it was dumb for about two seconds and then we were both laughing to the point of tears by the end.

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with any of the products or companies mentioned above.  I’m just sharing things I love with you, because I love them!

  • http://www.elbeautyblogdeeli.net/ Eli aka NC

    Actually there’s a better tip for fast nail polish drying which is applying a few drops of baby oil (Johnson’s for instance) on every freshly painted nail and let dry for 5 minutes. It triggers a chemical reaction which evaporates the liquid solvents faster than just air drying. The iced water might speed up drying time but it gest moisture in the polish, so it will last less and will chip sooner.

    HIH :-)

  • branny

    I’ve been listening to This American Life since I was a teenager. It is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend.

  • Kim

    I absolutely love your blog and recipes and I so enjoy this glimpse into your favorites.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dalia.elsherbeni Dalia Elsherbeni

    Annie, what color nailpolish do you have on here?

  • Caroline L.

    Great edition of this feature – loved everything you listed! Does that ice water trick also make the polish last any longer?

  • annieseats

    To me, maybe a little but not by much. Normally my polish lasts about five days before it starts chipping significantly.

  • annieseats

    This is actually the Casino Royale but it looks a bit darker because of the instagram filter.

  • annieseats

    Yeah, I’ve heard that trick but this works well for me. I haven’t had any issues with the polish chipping faster using the water trick – in fact I’d say it lasts a little bit longer than when I used to air dry.

  • Annie @Annie’s City Kitchen

    I LOVE Ravelry! It always takes me way too long to chose a pattern because there are so many choices.

  • katherinelynn_04

    Ravelry is my jam. I love it like nothing else. I recall being super mad at a friend of mine because she ‘thought’ she had told me about it, but no, she had not (this is when the site was new, so around 2009-ish). She had been on it for several months when I found it and got all excited.

    Also I love that Sbux app too! My favorite part is that I can reload from my phone (which is much easier than using their mobile site). I hate having to reload my card and then buy my drink all at the counter, holding everyone up.

  • katherinelynn_04

    My polish lasts a solid seven days with my topcoat. It’s Rock Hard, which is about $7 at Sally Beauty Supply. It leaves a really nice glassy finish, too, which helps cover any brush marks (it’s also self leveling, so you don’t have to be very careful when applying it)

  • Ashley

    So, this product seriously changed my nail painting life: http://www.sallybeauty.com/Nail-Top-Coat/INM2,default,pd.html

    A co-worker recommended it to me, as I also always, ALWAYS, ruined my nails after painting them. You use it as a top coat and it seriously makes your nails rock hard in a couple of minutes, no freezing ice water needed. :) I absolutely love it!

  • Lindsay McNamara

    You need to try Seche Vite! It’s the best top-coat ever. Nails are dry in minutes and your mani will last over a week!

  • Karen Kerr

    I LOVE This American Life. I’m seeing Ira Glass Saturday night. If you ever get a chance, go to one of TAL’s live theater events. Really fun.

  • http://twitter.com/meggygirl Meghan

    I love these posts because we seem to like a lot of the same things (TAL FOREVER!) and I always discover something new. This month however, I am happy to hear that you have discovered Ravelry, because it is AMAZING and has seriously changed my (knitting) life. It’s pretty much safe to say that I spend more time drooling over patterns than I do actually knitting them. Check out some of Jared Flood and Jane Richmond’s designs if you haven’t already. Love them!

  • annieseats

    Yay to another Raveler! And um yeah, Jared Flood is my FAVE. I think about half of the designs I have saved are his. I haven’t heard of the other you recommended though, will definitely check it out later today! As I told another reader, feel free to message me through the contact form and we can follow each other on Ravelry. I just didn’t want to post my username for all to see.

  • annieseats

    Awesome! Yes, I would totally love to see him/them live if I ever had the opportunity. I will have to keep an eye out for that! Have fun :)

  • lashell_prince

    Like another commenter said Seche Vite is the best. Your nail polish will dry completely in seconds. Just make sure with every coat of polish to cap your tips because Seche Vite for some reason causes the polish to shrink.

  • stephanie.doiron@gmail.com

    Have you ever heard of ”Seche vite”? It’s a top coat. It stinks but your polish is dry within seconds with this stuff… Totally saved my life! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/MasterT_12 Tarah

    These are some of my favorite posts. Thanks for sharing :-)

  • Judi Kahler

    Ravelry has helped me to grow tremendously in my knitting skills. I love it!

  • Angie

    Annie, I just love these posts from you! You always “love” such great stuff!! I have a friend having twin boys too, and those onesies are just adorable!! Can I ask what colors you ended up going with for those? I can’t decide between the green, blue or red! I will get 2 out of the 3. Which do you suggest? Did you do the bow ties too? Thanks! Angie

  • Angela

    I loved that clip! I haven’t laughed that hard in years. Thanks for sharing!

    I look forward to trying the nail polish tip. I love these posts.

  • Sue

    totally agree on seche vite!!

  • annieseats

    The colors I bought for the boys were a green/grey stripe (shown here) and a navy/grey blue stripe. I knew Josie loved the navy/green color combo, so I thought that would be a good choice for her :)

  • Shannon MacLellan

    Oh for heaven’s sake, please ignore my typo! I give up on typing well on an iPad!

  • RikiTikiTembo

    I would say that most of us here who follow Annie most certainly do not come “just for the food” we share a connection with her. Many of us have laughed and cried with her even if we have never met, our loyalty as readers is much deeper than food. I love to hear about your life Annie as much as your fabulous food. Your blog is the whole package. Def one of my best friends in the kitchen even across the many hundreds of thousands of miles apart that I and I’m sure many other readers are:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=567080337 Becky Bennett

    I love these posts!!! Keep them coming!

  • http://buildmeupbuttercream.com/ Melanie

    Thanks for the nail polish tip… sounds a little brutal but it’s like shoes… fashion is worth the pain :) I’ll definitely be giving it a try!!

  • annieseats

    Thanks, RTT. You hit the nail on the head.

  • gailwerner

    Annie!!! Those cardigan onesies are SOOO cute! I have got to get my Dean man one of those! Also, thanks for the tip on the Starbucks app! I can never remember how much I have on my gift cards! Also, as a LOYAL TAL listener, can I just add that’s yet ANOTHER thing that falls into our “twins” category? Do you listen through the phone app? It’s pretty awesome. Check out some personal fave episodes (#203 — OMG the Little Mermaid recording!), #258 (I found the story of Jerry Springer strangely fascinating), #354 (FASCINATING story on cryogenics), and #447 (a story about P.I. moms that seems too crazy to be true).

    Also, with The Round House, didn’t that ending feel like a punch in the gut? Shew…I should have seen that car wreck coming and yet I was totally surprised by it! (and sad)

  • Karen

    I love these posts! Welcome to the world of Ravelry. I have spent many, many hours browsing patterns. And if you haven’t seen them yet, there are other bad lip readings that are equally funny.

  • R.F.

    Thanks for the nail polish tip!! ((:

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=719770093 Stephanie Bellows

    Wow. Just wow. That was rude. If you don’t like what she’s posting then don’t read anymore. And don’t leave comments like this.

  • annieseats

    Yes! I do use the TAL app and love it, of course. I am going backwards in time listening to them so that I don’t miss anything. I’ve heard PI Moms (craziness!) but none of the others you mentioned yet. Can’t wait!

  • Elizabeth

    Jamie, it’s very disappointing that you would take the time out of your day to leave such a negative comment. Don’t like a post? Don’t look at it! Annie has established a community of women who admire and respect her. We trust her opinions and we when we come to this blog, we gain a lot more than just a recipe for tomorrow’s dinner. The only thing Annie seems to be “trying” at is inspiring us all to be a little better in the kitchen and in life. It’s too bad those lessons seem to be lost on you.

  • Mercedes Johnmeyer

    Tried the nail polish tip today….not bad! Were you able to keep your fingers in the bowl for three full minutes? After about 30 seconds it felt like my finger-tips were going numb…it actually started to hurt! I think I’ll try the Seche Vite top coat people here have recommended. Thanks for the idea though!

  • Mercedes Johnmeyer

    Wow…what a useless comment. I think you’re doing a great job! I was wondering though…I see you monitor your comments, so why would you publish this one? Whenever I get ignorant comments left by people who are just looking for a fight or are out to get people riled up, I either delete it or mark it as spam so as not to give them the satisfaction. Just curious! Best wishes :)

  • annieseats

    Believe me, there are some that I do delete but I was honestly curious to see if this person would further explain their comment. Oh well. Also, I really do believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if I disagree with it.

  • Jamie Martin

    I also love the posts! Thanks for sharing with us Annie

    (not the same Jamie :))

  • annieseats

    Yeah, I can do the three minutes. It’s not so bad. I’m going to try the top coat soon too.

  • Loretta E

    Yay for Ravelry! That site is amazing and I have way too many projects waiting to be knitted…

  • Bridian

    I love these posts! Not to sound like a creepy internet lurker, but I love when you give little insights into your life. I think you are an incredible person and I love learning more about you even when it’s seemingly insignificant things like this. Keep ‘em coming!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thanks :) I appreciate it, and I’m glad you are enjoying these posts.

  • http://twitter.com/Cheeriochelsea C Men

    I am an Emergency Medicine resident and I keep my nails painted constantly. I use Seche Vite and my polish lasts 4 days under intense wear at work. I think all the cooking/baking/cleaning I do might damage my nails more than the ED though. On a side note, I just want you to know what an inspiration you are to a fellow working woman :)

  • annieseats

    Good to know, thanks! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/janelle.nutter Janelle Rountree Nutter

    I had heard that about nails and cold water years ago, but I was told to “run your fingers under cold water.” Well that didn’t work. A combination of cheap nail polish (as a teenager) and running water only smudged. And I never did it long enough anyway. But socking them makes so much sense! I never paint my nails because they’re easily chipped within three hours, but I might have to try this! Thanks, Annie!