16 July 2010

In which I explain...

So...the silence.
So sorry about that...

Allow me to explain. No really, allow me to explain. I just started a new internship. (I'm working with dreamy books, dreamy bloggers, and dreamy digi marketing, at the dreamiest company.) I'm looking for a new apartment. I'm trying to run miles upon miles around the glorious grande manzana. And in the process of keeping it all straight, I've lost track of time.

My b. Whoops.

So, for the time being, I'll be tumbling over here. Tag along if you'd like, because I'd love to have you.

Who knows, maybe I'll be back in a week, maybe not. Just don't call it a comeback...

22 June 2010


The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac

And here we have, haiku review number two: 
dreamy and tempting, 
be cautious: you'll want to get
the hell outta dodge
Up next: I Was Told There'd be Cake by Sloane Crosley

19 June 2010

Fullcodepress and Forrst: 2 awesome bits of geekdom

I'd like to draw your attention to two terribly awesome bits of geekdom:

1.) Fullcodepress:

I'm borrowing words here but: "The concept is simple. Web teams take each other on, at the same location, to build a complete website (for a non-profit) in 24 hours. No excuse, no extensions, no budget overruns." I believe the two words you're looking for are: awe and some. Go USA!

2.) Forrst (or @forrst)
Essentially a tumblr-esque platform for designers and developers, Forrst has the potential to become an invaluable resource for the fancypantolones of the digital realm. PS: It's invite-only.

14 June 2010


Well week and book one of my 13 weeks/13 books/13 miles project has come to a close...

Let's get one thing straight: I am not a reviewer. I have consistently shied away from offering anything other than a friendly book suggestion. I know that I tend to overuse gushy adjectives and my critical eye is a not as sharp as I'd like it to be.  Book reviewing is an art form and it's one that I have not yet mastered.

Now, all of that said, I don't see the harm in writing a teeny tidbit to express how I felt about this book-- something short, sweet, and (hopefully) taken with a very large grain of salt.

Blogosphere, I'd like to present, for your consideration, the book review haiku*:

Once a Runner: A Novel by John Parker, Jr.

inspiring read
I wish I'd read in high school,
read with your kicks close.

Up next: The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. I'm going back to Cali, Cali...

 *For this particular experiment I am merely following the 5/7/5 structure and taking "on" to signify a syllable. Don't get all haiku police on me, por favor.

02 June 2010

Breaking up is hard to do...

Sonya Chung's article on The Millions this morning ("It's Not You, It's Me: Breaking Up With Books") got me thinking a little about reading and commitment.

I'm going to come right out and say it: I do not see anything wrong with giving up on a book

Now, my parents instilled in me a sense of duty--finish your vegetables, finish your homework, finish your sentences--and I suppose I interpreted this philosophy to also mean finish your book. And for years I trudged through fiction (and a little non-fiction) that I would have otherwise put down after the first few chapters.

But now, as I transition into my grown up years and begin to embrace grown up perks (I eat brownie batter for dinner sometimes) I think I've made peace with the fact that I will not enjoy every read I start. I abide by the "Page 57 Rule."
Page 57 Rule: One must give each book a chance up until page 57, after that, one may continue as one sees fit. The origins of this rule trace back to a cool summer roof top night shared between three friends and a pitcher of wheat beer.
I also fully agree with Ms. Chung's understanding:
"My commitment to finishing books in the past was probably related to the above – fear of ensuing guilt and shame. Failure, too, I suppose.  And perhaps at this point in my reading life, I’ve finished (and more than that, really ingested into my mind and emotions) enough books so that I feel a little freer in exercising the right to choose how to invest my reading time and energy; to veer from the Canonical Path – if such a thing actually exists anymore – and forge my own highly specific map of literary experience and influence. "
 So go forth and be choosy!

PS: Also check out Debbie Stier's thoughts on not finishing Commitment by Elizabeth Gilbert.

01 June 2010


Guess what? It's summertime. How on earth is it summertime? Wasn't yesterday Christmas? C'est la vie, I suppose. I must be getting old. Summer is here and with it I'm welcoming cook-outs, short-shorts, and all good things.

I'm approaching this particular summer Forest Gump style--I will be runnin'. This Sunday will start the 13 week mark until my half marathon and my Asics and I are pumped.  I've decided to tie this training in with a new summer reading project. Back in January I had all the best intentions of beginning a 52 books/ 52 weeks project. Well, now January is June and I don't see the harm in giving the whole 1 book/ 1 week concept a new spin. Feel free to send recommendations to julia[dot]forrest[dot]costa[at]gmail.com. (I read almost anything, but keep it short-ish, por favor.)

I have gigantic feet. All the better for running, my dears. 
I also have a gigantic brain (not pictured). 
All the better for reading, my dears. 
Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. (Scribner; 2009)
Why: Because after nearly ten years as a "runner" I've never taken the time to sit down with a copy.  I believe the word you're looking for is SERIOUSLY?!

Snap, snap...

My motto
as I live and learn
is to dig and be dug
in return.

--Langston Hughes

PS: Sorry this is a double post (if you follow my tumblr) but it was too excellent for just one social media platform.

23 May 2010

A Post-Grad Survival Kit: Blogini Style

I'd like to take a minute to offer up a list of my favorite go-to Gen Y blogs. A little over a year ago I found myself in a strange position. I graduated from a lovely school, in a great city, at which point I was branded with a scarlet "L" (for liberal arts), given a diploma, and sent out into the world sporting a pantsuit and an idealistic smile.

I was a total sucker.

I interviewed with advertising companies. I interviewed in non-profit PR. I interviewed for paralegal positions. Nothing felt right. Thanks to the advice of these bloggers and blogistas, I took a step back and realized what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it, and although I'm still plugging away at the job search, I am in a really great place and am still excited about the career I'm pursuing. Now just try and wipe that idealistic smile off my face.

Gen Y Blogs:
        •  Life After College: Jenny Blake works in career development at Google and she is far and away one of the most positive people on the interwebs. Her recent post on organizing your life via Google Docs has officially made me the most efficient human being on earth. 
        • Life Without Pants: Now, as a life rule, I automatically subscribe to blogs with the word "pants" in the URL, but this one is really awesome all on its own. Matt Cheuvront pens this alternative look at the world of work. See "Breaking Away From Generation Now." 
        • Lindsey Pollack: A spokesperson for LinkedIn (among a million other things), this lady has quite a way with words--she knows grads, she knows jobs, and she most certainly knows how to put the two together.
        • Marian Librarian: Meeting Marian was my first blogger-to-IRL meet up. Warning: she is just as cool in person as she seems on her blog...possibly cooler. This girl is doing big things with books and social media.
        • Sydney: Unfiltered: Sydney is an assistant account exec with Weber Shandwick and she works in emerging media. (Cool, huh?) She blogs about Gen Y, career newbs, and life (such as it is). I'm a big fat fan of her recent entry on why passion is not limited to entrepreneurship. 
        See also: The Happiness Project, Personal Branding Blog, "100 Blogs That Should Be Required Reading in College," "10 Gen Y Blogs to Read in 2010" (via BNET) and Top 10 College Career Center Blogs.

        Money Blogs:

        Fun fact alert. Thanks to this past year I can now say that I am 100% debt free! Although moving back home and seriously slicing unnecessary spending are responsible for my debtless vida, these blogs offered incredible guidelines and set me up in a major way.
        Hope that helps. I follow dozens of other Gen Y blogs (some are fairly unknown and some are fancypants) but these are, in my opinion, the most helpful and entertaining.

        06 May 2010

        Twitter Media Unveils 'Blackbird Pie'

        Print screen, be gone! If you'd like screen shots of your tweets (for whatever reason) simply paste the URL into Blackbird Pie and Twitter will generate a code for your to paste into wherever you see fit.

        Note: this is a rough test, the image will not work on Tumblr and works best with WordPress.

        05 May 2010

        Smories. More Please!

        This is adorable kiddo is telling us about the time when Allanah’s favourite peppermint pink and blueberry striped sock goes missing.

        Having a bit of a down Wednesday? Click over to Smories and have yourself a story hour. Started by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar, Smories publishes 50 new stories each month. The stories are for kids, read by kids, and personally, I can't think of anything cooler.

        29 April 2010

        Max Hastings falls hard for his Kindle...

        "Delayed for three hours at New Orleans airport last month, I lost myself in the journal of Walter Scott, one of the best accounts in literature of a writer's life. I reflected wryly on what the old master might have thought, seeing lines which he penned in his house beside the stately Tweed almost two centuries ago reach me through a wizard's electronic box.
        He would not have quibbled, I fancy, about the means. He would merely have been delighted to find his old words still reaching an audience in a new age and a new world." 
        -I can't text and adore dusty old books, but when I was given an electronic reader, I was hooked

        Note: no mention of iPad...

        28 April 2010

        Social Media Marketing & Publishing: A match made in absolute heaven

        SMM is the most natural avenue for publishers to take for one reason: 

        Association is what keeps social media churning--people are constantly asking: "WHO/WHAT DO YOU READ?"

        Clearly the days of marketers telling consumers what to purchase, where to purchase, and how much to purchase are long gone. (And thank goodness for that--how boring!) Now marketers of consumer goods must figure out how to be the lucky one the consumer picks. Discovering how to wiggle into that position is simple*: find out who the consumer is asking. The age old tradition of asking for a book recommendation is now exactly how the masses choose shampoo, hotels, and shoes.

        Inspiration: Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

        *Prof. Sanaj (Consumer Behavior God) would probably cringe if he read that sentence. Obviously I'm oversimplifying here.

        99-Year-Old Writer & The iPad: BFFs

        Just in case you missed it, here's a viral vid to lighten up your evening!

        19 April 2010

        The Best Sites for News Roundups

        I'm a bit of a bloghead.

        If you happen to be reading this you're probably a bit of a bloghead yourself.

        I subscribe to an embarrassingly high number* of book blogs.

        But sometimes I just don't have the time to sift through it all. For instance, since I nanny on weekends, I rarely read the reviews in their entirety. (Shame! Shame! Shame!) When I don't have the time I go to a few trusted sources for roundups:

        1. The Book Bench: A long-time favorite of mine, The Book Bench is the blogging arm of the New Yorker and the "in the news" posts are always funny, always informative, and always welcomed.
        2. Bookninja: If you like your news with a heaping side of sarcasm, Bookninja should be your bag (er, blog). The news posts are quick but also representive of the day's events.
        3. Huffington Post: In my opinion (however weighty you think it to be) HuffPo knows blogging like the back of its virtual hand. In the olympics of social media, HuffPo is Michael Phelps (pre-scandal)--swift, effective, and always interesting. I'm a big fan of the condensed reviews.
        4. Nathan Bransford Literary Agent: While this is a particuarly great blog in its own right, I normally head on over to NBLA for his "This Week in Publishing" posts. Say you were without power for an entire week. Or maybe stranded somewhere without cell service. Well, if your power and service managed to resurface by Friday (when these posts go up) you'd be all caught up in just a few minutes.
        5. Omnivoracious: The blogging branch of Amazon.com, Omnivoracious produces great review roundups, daily news piles, and kidlit compilations.

        *Too many to list.

        17 April 2010

        Mmmmm. C'est bon.

        Ready For Dessert from David Lebovitz on Vimeo.

        Le eek!

        David Lebovitz’s new book came out a bit ago and I just had a first read.

        Ready For Dessert (Ten Speed Press) is a compilation of David’s all-time favorites. (Including recipes from his first two books which are currently out of print.)

        David Lebovitz knows sugar, he knows it inside and out, and I could read his sugared thoughts until the cows came home. In addition to his new book, I highly suggest reading The Sweet Life in Paris for extra insight.

        PS: The video is David and his take on the chocolate chip cookie. Fast forward to around 2:30 or so to see him taste test them on Parisians. (Which is really the best part.)

        14 April 2010

        Kitchen Happenings

        Oh my! So it's been a while.

        I have a growing list entitled "but seriously, blog about this" and the list just keeps growing and growing. And the blogging? It just keeps shrinking and shrinking. Well, this...this is a start.

        My kitchen has been hoppin' for the past few weeks. Here's what I caught on film:

         [coffee toffee recipe via Smitten Kitchen]

        What: deliciously lush toffee with a hint of coffee (topped with toasted almonds)/ Why: a housewarming fete for the record books/ When: last weekend/ Recipe review: 10! This was my third time making this. It's foolproof toffee and the coffee is pure genius.

         [Caramel Cake via Lottie and Doof]

        What: creamy yet fluffy buttermilk cake with an oozy caramel glaze. Yup. Creamy, oozy fluff. Can you even handle it?/ Why: because I've had this cake bookmarked for MONTHS, and truth be told, sometimes you just need a buttermilk cake with a caramel glaze. Right?/ When: a lazy Sunday night/ Recipe review: a 7. The cake is baller but it took a while to get the glaze to the right consistency.

         [Black and White Cookies via Joy the Baker]

        What: the best of both worlds/ Why: I needed a shippable birthday gift/ When: last night, 11pm/ Recipe review: a 6. I'd add a tsp of lemon juice to the cookie dough AND the vanilla glaze.

        So that's a slice of what I've been up to. I'll be back blogging within the week. In the meantime, I've started a tumblr to house all the reblogs and photographic spillover.

        Check back, por favor. 

        08 April 2010

        News Bites

        Hello there,
        Happy Friday!

        05 April 2010

        Written and Illustrated by Mark Crick
        Published by Harcourt
        [image via]

        Today seemed like a normal Monday. Monday is my day off and normally I spend it in a coffee shop or running errands. (My life is both fulfilling and thrilling, huh?) Well, today I opted for a morning of coffee shop dwelling and an afternoon of browsing at my favorite new-to-me bookshop. An hour and $8 lighter, I emerged with two very cool titles, the coolest of which is pictured above. 

        Kafka's Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 17 Recipes is an idea so great, so perfectly suited to my tastes, so perfectly produced, that upon discovering it I uttered a "whoa, seriously?" OUT LOUD.

        Here's a teaser: 

        "Tarragon Eggs 
        a la Jane Austen
        • 4 eggs
        • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried
        • 4 tablespoons butter
        • Ground pepper
        • Pinch of salt
        It is a truth universally acknowledged that eggs, kept for too long, go off. The eggs of Oakly Farm had only recently been settled in the kitchen at Somercote, but already Mrs B--was planning a meal that would introduce them to the neighborhood with what she hoped would be universal acceptance." 

        Now, not to get all girlish and predictable, but...I KNOW! RIGHT?! So dreamy.

        01 April 2010

        Well, I heard that Borders was having quite a lovely week and on my way home from one nanny job this afternoon I decided give the mega-store some extra moola. You know, to sock away for a rainy day. I stopped by for a some birthday shopping.

        If ever I doubt my desire to work in publishing all I need to do is take a trip to the bookstore and plant myself in the children's section. Each sight and sound serves as an affirmation that I am, in fact, still madly in love with books and what they do for others. (Phew!)

        Today I picked up the following:

        Hug Time by Patrick McDonnell (LBYR)

        "The world is so big...and yet so very small, it's time that we embrace it all. That's something that we all can do. Start with the one who's closest to you."

        Oh, Baby! Go, Baby! by Dr. Seuss (Random House Books for Young Readers)
        Image via

        " Congratulations! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting So...get on your way!" 

        Because what else does a 1-year-old need to hear on his birthday? 

        31 March 2010

        Kitchen Project: 1 resume + 1 muffin tin= an experiment gone horribly right!

        After months of receiving e-mails like this one,
        [my problem]

        kindly suggesting that I pay a small, small fee of $359.10 (OR $64.80 over 6 months) so that I might arm myself with a professionally written resume. Long story short, I was sick and tired of it. $350! $350?! Last month, I found tickets to Iceland for that price. I did need to revamp my resume, though. I needed a few extra sets of eyes.

        Enter: tumblr.

        [my plea]

        I typed up a quick post on my personal tumblr, asking anyone and everyone to take a look at my resume. I promised baked goods in exchange for sage advice and a click of the "track changes" button.

        I expected a few e-mails to trickle in over the next few days. What happened, however, was slightly different. I received over 50 e-mails within a few short hours. (!) Clearly I didn't send out 50+ packages, even with my post office hook up (I'm excellent friends with Shayla, the AM desk clerk at my branch) sending sugar all over the country adds up quickly.

        My point being, ask and you shall receive. We live in an age of excess, you know that. Trying to put a measurement on content is just too difficult but the good news is that putting a measurement on goodwill is equally as difficult. 

        PS: I ended up making

        29 March 2010

        "Publishing books to make money...

        ...is a little like hanging out in a singles bar if you want to get married.
        It might work, but there are way better ways to accomplish your goal.
        If you love writing or making music or blogging or any sort of performing art, then do it. Do it with everything you've got. Just don't plan on using it as a shortcut to making a living.
        The only people who should plan on making money from writing a book are people who made money on their last book. Everyone else should either be in it for passion, trust, referrals, speaking, consulting, change-making, tenure, connections or joy."

        --Seth Godin

        24 March 2010

        If you peek over to the left you'll see  that I keep my reading list under the headline "nightstand frosting". I tend to read for multiple purposes. Let me give you an example, this week, for instance-- Here Comes Everybody for the job search, The Conscious Cook for my stomach, and Juliet, Naked for the Nick Horby-loving girl that I am.

        Just a few updates, however:

        1.) Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky (Penguin): I picked this up after reading through the Online Marketing Syllabus posted at Chapman/Chapman. So far so great. This read is applicable, interesting, and and insightful.

        2.) The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat by Tal Ronnen (William Morrow Cookbooks): From what I read, Tal Ronnen is the vegan chef and after skimming through this, it seems as though Mr. Ronnen might just be able to cook even the most meat-loving of chefs right under the stove. This book includes recipes, profiles of foodies, and Tal's personal picks for vegetables, grains, and superfoods.

        3.) Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (Riverhead Hardcover): I cannot tell a lie, I'm six pages into this sucker. I started it late last night and promptly fell asleep. I'll report back shortly.

        Social Media, Demystified: Prof. Sree Sreenivasen on linking, tweeting, and earning attention

        Sree Sreenivasan, workshop for NBCC membership, 2010 from Sonnet Media on Vimeo.

        I've become quite the little videohead. For ages I would save up my podcasts and listen to them while running, but recently I've taken to adding a little visual fun to my morning treadmill dates. This particular AM, I watched Prof. Sree Sreenivasen, Dean of Student Affairs at Columbia Journalism School (among other things), give a talk on social media at an NBCC membership meeting. It was worth the time, but if you're particularly low on time, here are some of the great points:

        *Be a good pointer! Sreenivasen advises that to be successful in social media we must become "pointers". Quite often, we take on social media from a broadcast perspective, generating loads of content, and this is not nearly as important as listening and pointing (read: conducting scans and linking).
        *Remember we have the attention span of a gnat. Sreenivasen joins Les Hinton in predicting that the scarcest resource of the 21st century will be human attention span. I agree.
        *How to avoid becoming a social media slave. The lure of twitter is that it is e-mail without the guilt. If you miss a few tweets, so what?! Sreenivasen points out that anything with real importance is bound to bubble up again at some point.
        *Twitter Tools 101. What to use and how. Sreenivasen suggests: Twiangulate, Hoot Suite, and Twittersheep.

        Hope you enjoy. Oh, and happy hump day!

        15 March 2010

        "And editors, too, can no longer view their red pencils as the only tool in the kit. They must start thinking of manuscripts or proposals as intellectual property, a kernel of an idea that could be launched into multiple formats. Publishers should stop emulating the old music industry and start picturing themselves as movie studios and books as film development. Max Perkins, meet David Selznick."

        -- Peter Miller for Jacket Copy "At SXSWi: A panel on the future of publishing"

        Lots Before 5: What I've Been Reading

        Sorry for the pause in blogging. I'm in the middle of a week-long nanny gig (including nights).
        Keywords for context: gummy vitamins, Silly Bandz, iCarly, Junie B. (Jones, that is), pancakes with sprinkles, pink toothpaste, homemade cinnabuns, conga lines around the kitchen and pony rides around the living room, bus stop meltdowns, 6am wake-up calls and total exhaustion by 7pm. 
        Tell me you're not green with envy...

        Here's what I've been reading:
        And with that, I leave you, as I'm on girl scout duty this evening and need to plan...please don't think I'm kidding. 

        Later loves,
        The Nanny

          10 March 2010

          5 Before 5: YA for A, marginal musings, and crafty book tours

          1. "Young adult lit comes of age" (via Jacket Copy) Adults are crushing on YA. Check out responses from Bookninja and Bookshleves of Doom
          2. "David Foster Wallace In the Margins" (via eBookNewser)
          3. "DIY Touring" (via Bookninja)
          4. "Social Media in Corporations- The pros and cons of an organizational model" (via PR Squared)
          5. "The Tournament of Books Launches" (via Jacket Copy) Loads more bloggage about this...too much to link!

          09 March 2010

          5 Before 5: Peanut butter, media overload, and acceptable mooching

          The baristas at Starby's must had added a little something extra to my morning coffee because throughout the day I have found myself to be overly enthusiastic about... well, everything--including the blog posts that landed in my reader/tweet deck. Of course, the more likely reality is that I am, in fact, surrounded by insightful Bloginis with lots to share. Which is it? Please take a look at let me know, will you?
          1. "The weird and wacky in publishing (Your Questions Continued)" (via Editorial Ass) Hilarious blogger ends up in hilarious (and somewhat horrifying) book-related pickles.
          2. "Are You the Peanut Butter" (via The 26th Story) Brad Inman claims that "getting things done in publishing is like trying to swim through a jar of peanut butter." Here are 10 warning signs that you are the peanut butter.
          3. "Is your reading suffering from multimedia overload?" (via Guardian) 
          4. "Mooch with me" (via Book Bench) Profile of a terribly awesome bookswap site called BookMooch.com
          5. "Old Media Monday: Reviewing the Reviewers" (via Omnivoracious)
          And a few extra from the archives:

          Fortune Mag: "The Future of Reading" (aka: my treadmill accessory of sorts)

          This tender, green, old-media sprout began to bloom in a curious way, however. Each month Clem was excited when Vogue arrived. She'd rip into the issue and scamper up the stairs to her chambre √† coucher, with enough enthusiasm to do Anna Wintour proud. But after digesting each issue, Clem would reappear with it hours later -- only now a zillion Post-its jutted from its pages, stegosaurus-like. 
          Over time, one by one, those stegosauri began to stack up, spines out, in her closet. One day I decided to take a peek at the dinosaur graveyard to see what my daughter was tagging so furiously. It turned out that she was trying to annotate each issue, sorting the material by outfits, accessories, footwear, and other categories for later reference. I noticed that the more issues she tagged, the more frustrated she became. This was a lot of work. So why was she doing it? 
          "Don't you get it?" my wife observed. "She's trying to turn the magazine into a computer." 
          Et voilà! Of course she was."
          -Josh Quittner "The Future of Reading" Fortune Mag, Vol. 161 #3

          This magazine has been resting on my bedside, unread, for an unforgivably long period of time. I dusted off the cover and schlepped it to the gym this morning entertaining hopes that it might make the treadmill a bit more bearable. While the dreadmill may have dashed my hopes, the article was worth the once over. It's a great article that provides an outline of how the physical act of reading is transforming before our very eyes. After the outline you'll find interviews (in the print version) conducted by Beth Kowitt. Interviewees include: Kurt Anderson, Katharine Weymouth, Jimmy Wales, Steven Brill, and Marc Andreessen

          08 March 2010

          What I'm Reading: The AM Ed.

          Hello there, Monday. Back so soon?

          07 March 2010

          Kitchen Project #12: Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes with Caramel-Penuche Frosting

          So, as I mentioned in this post that I have fallen in love with this book; you should consider these cupcakes the physical manfestation of that love.

          First things first, this project is an absolutely perfect example of how vegan baking can be just as lucious (and caloric) as regular baking. Second things second, this project is an aboslutely perfect example of how vegan baking can be just as easy and affordable as regular baking.

          {Only out of ordinary ingreds: almond milk and earth balance}

          {After the frosting, the caramelized apples make these cupcakes. Oozy goodness.}

          {The finished product.}

          {Up close and delectably personal.}

          Gracias, Veganomicon... you are pure genius.

          05 March 2010

          What I'm Reading: The AM Ed.

             HAPPY WEEKEND, BEANS!

            03 March 2010

            Kitchen Project: V is for Vegan

            I'm two weeks in on "Project Vegan" and I could not be happier with my decision to start this experiment. I initially decided to embark on 40 days and 40 nights without dairy and meat in an effort to refocus my diet. I'm not a terribly unhealthy person, but when I visit the grocery store I seem to check off eggs, milk, and cheese within the first five minutes. Why? After reading bits from Bittman, Pollan, and Schlosser, I began to wonder, could I do it? Could I make delicious food sans cheese? Could I bake without bright yellow yolks? Could I eat organically without going brizzoke? The answer? A resounding yes!

            I approached this project as I do any other: with a library card and gusto. I'm a big time research kid (blame it on the liberal arts undergrad) and I believe that what's good for term papers is often good for big kid research. Listed below are five of my favorites thus far.

            The best part about these books is that they are not just "vegan good" they're "good good" (which I'm discovering is the deal with most vegan food). Even if after the close of Project Veg.,  I decide to enjoy a steak once in a while, each of these titles has a permanent spot in my kitchen. They rock.

            1.) The Bible:
             The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes for a Delicious Revolution by Alice Waters (Clarkson Potter)

            Buy it. Learn it. Live it. Love it. Alice Waters is the queen and and this is her book. This book is not vegan-specific, but instead lays the foundation for eating simply, ethically, and with the use of each and every taste bud. Waters suggests "Delicious Revolution" principles (there are nine) and then claims they can: "reconnect our families and communities with the most basic human values, provide the deepest delight for our senses, and assure our well-being for a lifetime." I believe her.

            See also: Chez Panisse VegetablesChez Panisse Fruits

            2.) Vegan Eating 101:
            Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (Da Capo Press)

            Never before has the term "ultimate" been more appropriately used. I was introduced to Isa and Terry during a freelance project. A friend found out that I was working as a ghost tweeter for a Vegan Bakery, and handed me a copy of Vegan Cupcakes with a post-it directing me to, "READ IT AND WEEP EAT!" The famous vegan duo has done it again. Veganomics provides pantry staples, prep techniques, and words to the wise, all in style that is unique and entertaining. Check all wackadoo (hat tip, Kelly Cutrone) ingredients at the door, this book is vegan cooking, plain and simple.

            See also: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule
            Please try: Black bean burgers, Blueberry corn pancakes, Chewy oatmeal cookies, and Apple peanut butter caramel bars

            3.) The Seasonal One:
            Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide for Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You by Terry Walters (Sterling Epicure)

            I'll admit it, I heard the buzz about this book and decided I liked it weeks before actually purchasing a copy. Thankfully, the book lives up to the buzz. The recipes are divided into seasons and each ingredient list is healthy and whole. Walters steers away from sugar and excessive oil, making it easy peasy to take her up on each dish.

            Please try: The Spicy coconut pumpkin soup and the Tofu kale lasagna (really!)

            4.) For a little sooooul:
            Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine by Bryant Terry (Da Capo Press)

            I can't find the right words to describe this book. Delicious? Glorious? Drool-inducing? Bryant gives flow and that "really, really awesome factor" to food activism and with a suggested soundtrack to accompany every dish and his blessing to "remix" any of his recipes, you're sure to find a little soul hiding right in your very own kitchen.

            See also: Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen
            Please try: Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits and Black-Eyed Pea Fritters with Hot Pepper Sauce

            5.) The One for Beginners:
            The Complete Vegan Kitchen: An Introduction to Vegan Cooking with More Than 300 Delicious Recipes from Easy to Elegant by Jannequin Bennett (Thomas Nelson)

            Newbie, meet vegan eating. Vegan eating, meet newbie. This was the first "vegan" title to appear on my library account and I believe that was a very good thing. This book is highly organized with an approachable grouping of recipes that even my cheese-loving heart fell for instantly.

            See also: Very Vegetarian
            Please try: The Pumpkin Bread

            Obviously I am only two weeks into this, my "favorites" list will probably grow by leaps and bounds. Stay tuned!

            02 March 2010

            5 Before 5: Seitan, Classic Covers, and Rules

            From: Me
            To: You

            Happy Tuesday!
            1. "Publisher's concerns halt Hiroshima book" (via Boston Globe Books) Controversy and doubt led Henry Holt to drop Pellegrino's "The Last Train From Hiroshima." 
            2. "Barry, Hannah 1942-2010" (via Omnivoracious) Great reference to this profile written by Wells Tower
            3. "Lunch with FT: Jonathan Safran Foer" (via FT) Talk of fork pointing and Whole Foods browsing. Check it out. 
            4. "Penguin Classics team up with (RED) for typographic covers" (via Creative Review)
            5. "Lynn Coady's rules for writing" (via Bookninja)

            01 March 2010

            5 Before 5: Gatekeepers, TOC, and Totes

            It's Monday and I'm so sorry about that. There is hope, however, because it's also March. On my run this morning I couldn't quite put my finger on what felt different...same road, same shoes, same tunes, and yet still, something was not right. Just as I bounded into mile 3 I realized that it smelled like spring.

            It smells like spring.

            Enjoy the linkage. I promise kitchen projects later on in the day.
            1. "Math of Publishing Meets the E-Book" (via NYT Media & Advertising)
            2. "Art Spiegelman to Judge Strand Bookstore Contest" (via GalleyCat)
            3. "iPad and the Publishing Conundrum" (via More Intelligent Life)
            4. "Publishing will always needs its gatekeepers" (via Guardian Book)
            5. "Take-Aways From Tools of Change 2010" (via 26th Story) At least make sure to check out the "quick and dirty" observations near the bottom. Good stuff. 

            26 February 2010

            New Book Club Alert! "FUNtastic, splendidly spastic books!"

            I have a bit of a secret.

            I'm am completely addicted to blogs.

            There, I said it. Addicted and fully okay with it. I just love them. I love them with every last 20-something fiber of my being. That being said, after I started looking for a job I tried to cut out the bulk of my "just for fun" blogs and directed most of my attention to job search and/or publishing blogs. But try as I might I couldn't let a few of my favorites go.
            [image via Mrs. Lillien]

            Mrs. Lilien is one of my favorites. A blogger whose twitter byline reads: "designer and stylist extraordinista," Mrs. Lilien produces daily collages of a different "Mrs." My recent picks include:

            The blog is a fun and light escape. Virtual dress up, if you will.

            Today this announcement left me overjoyed. The Mrs. is starting a book club! Every first Friday, she will reveal the book of the month. With the promise of: ""nothing sappy, nothing sorry, nothing to make you weepy- but rather FUNtastic, splendidly spastic books you'll want to keepy," I, for one, cannot wait.

            25 February 2010

            Kitchen Projects #9 and #10: A study in contradiction

            A week ago I made a halfway serious vow to limit my intake of animal products this lenten season. Halfway serious has morphed into fully dedicated within these past eight days. I did however, realize something by the close of day one: I simply cannot exist without sugar. I am a person who eats dessert, this is a fact. I'm also a person who like compromise. I've embarked on a new kitchen project all together--vegan baking. This pumpkin bread was one of my first attempts.

            Tip #1: pumpkin always rocks. Use! It!

            Tip #2: Spices are the new black

            Tip #3: Share

            Now, that delicious loaf is all well and good, but lucky you, I have a D.C. trip coming up this weekend and that's more than enough reason for cupcakes. So this afternoon I used my snow day to do this: 

            Allow me to introduce some friends: 
            1.) The Cinnamon Toast Crunchie: cinnamon swirl cake, cinnamon cream cheese icing, and cereal
            2.) The Classic Candyland: french vanilla cake, milk chocolate buttercream and M&Ms
            3.) The Heave on Earth: brownie bite, swiss meringue buttercream, and a caramel swirl 
            Arrange on a plate filled with gummy worms and sour patch kids and kapow (!) you have yourself a smile-inducing gift.

            Happy Snow Day to one and all!

            Pumpkin Bread (via The Complete Vegan Kitchen by Jannequin Bennett)

            -2 T. flaxseeds
            -1 1/2 c. sugar
            -1 c. pumpkin
            -1/2 c. applesauce
            -1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
            -1/3 c. whole wheat flour
            -1 t. baking soda
            -1/2 t. baking powder
            -3/4 t. salt
            -1 t. ground cinnamon
            -1/2 t. ground nutmeg
            -1/4 t. ground cloves

            1.) Preheat the oven to 350, grease and flour a 9 in. loaf pan
            2.) In a blender or a food processor, mix the flaxseed and 6 T of water until light and frothy.
            3.) In a large mixing bowl mix: flaxseed, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce
            4.) Sift flours, soda, powder, salt, and spices. Add to the pumpkin mixture and combine
            5.) Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour- 1 hour and fifteen minutes
            6.) Remove and cool on a wire rack
            7.) Dive in 

            22 February 2010

            5 (x2) Before 5: prizes, zombies, and Miss Piggy

            Sorry! Too much going on today to narrow the list down to five. Consider the 5 extra headlines a fun Monday surprise. (So exciting, right?) Luckily, it's my blog so I make the rules.

            1. "Read This: Online Marketing 101" (via Beatrice) Additions to Ryan Chapman's list of must-reads.
            2. "LA Times announces 2009 Book Prize finalists" (via Jacket Copy)
            3. "Macmillan to Sell Customizable eTextbooks" (via eBookNewser)
            4. "Be a Part of a People's Tribute to Howard Zinn: Submit Your Own Video" (via Beacon Broadside)
            5. "David Remnick to Publish Barack Obama Biography" (via GalleyCat)
            6. "2009 Nebula Finalists for Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Announced" (via Omnivoracious)
            7. "Kids' Lit: Beyond Paper Books" (via HuffPo...old stuff, but I just got around to reading it today. Worth it!)
            8. "Android Karenina" (via Book Bench) And the zombi-fication continues...
            9. "The Exchange: Julie Klausner on Pauline Kael, Miss Piggy, and the Sexual Revolution" (via Book Bench) 
            10. "Web 2.0 is like a pyramid scheme" (via 10 Block Walk)

            18 February 2010

            5 Before 5: Faux Plagiarism (?), e-Readers, and Kiddo iPads

            Guess what? It's nearly Friday. For all of you non-job searching-nannies out there this mean fr-fr-fr-FREEDOM! Congratulations.

            1. "Been caught borrowing" (via Jacket Copy) "Is Helene Hegemann a guilty teen caught copying someone else's work, or a vanguard remixer of a new generation, bringing sampling to fiction?"
            2. "Readers Respond to the 'Kids' iPad" (via eBookNewser)
            3. "Book blogging and rotten reviews" (via A Common Reader) "I think the essence of book blogging is that the writers do it for sheer pleasure."
            4. "A Conversation on Resonance and Responsibility" (via 10 Block Walk) "Because we do care for those we encounter, and deeply: writers care for the teens who will read their books, and editors care for those teens, too--and also for the authors, caught somewhere in the middle of this chain of connectivity."
            5. "Are Phones More Important than E-Readers to The Future of Publishing?" (via Publishing Perspectives) (MORE ON THIS LATER!)

            A Kindle in Sheep's Clothing

            Print or e-Reader?
            Are you stuck in a house divided? 
            Do you pepper your life with wishy-washy decisions? 
            Stress no more.

            New Book Smell: Smell of Books (See also: "Eau You Have Cats" and "Scents and Sensibility")
            PS: Hat tip, KR Connect

            Book Cover: Long Live Books 
            PS: Hat tip, GalleyCat

            17 February 2010

            5 Before 5: News bites to read before running out the door

            Because I know you've nothing but free time this late afternoon, I thought I'd provide a little light reading. Just remember, the bookmarking option is your friend.

            Happy Wednesday!

            11 February 2010

            Kitchen Project #8: I Ain't No Challah-back Girl

            Having been raised in the suburbs under two different churches (South American Catholic and Be Nice to Everyone... Especially Children) my first encounter with challah didn't occur until 2006.

            I was a sophomore in college when my neighbor received a package from home just in time for a High Holiday. Everyone in our hallway rushed to room 217, eager to feast. Apparently they knew all about challah and how superior it was to other loaves.  So, I did what any other nineteen-year-old would do, I lied.

            "Oh, would you mind if I had a slice, too? I totally love challah!" I blurted-- imitating my hall-mates as best I could.

            Mere moments after uttering that fib, I was offered a slice of the golden food of the gods, and my life, as I knew it, was forever altered.

            Counting my chickens.

            Pre and post-knead

            I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for the french toast that will happen this weekend.

            Recipe via Smitten Kitchen

            09 February 2010

            It's noon, do you know where your google reader is?

            I am proud to say, for the first time in weeks, my "Literary Love" folder "has no unread items."

            Here are my favorites from this morning. Skim if you have the chance: 

            08 February 2010

            The death of "kerfuffle" and other newsworthy items

            Quite a bit has happened since I last posted anything pertaining to publishing. Namely:
            1. Snowmaggedon/SnOMG, Snowpocolypse II...I'm choosing to call the whole thing Snowgate, only because studying in D.C. for four years left me with a tendency to attach "gate" should the opportunity present itself. 
            2. Amazon and Macmillan officially killed the noun, "kerfuffle." RIP kerfulffle, you were a fun one. My favorite two cents on the ordeal: 
            Lengthy naptimes today allowed for loads of time to read. (tag: # nannyingoccasionallyrocks) Listed below are the headlines that caught my eye long enough to click past the jump (and were well worth the read time). 
            I will be making this carrot cake, which I will then frost with this dulce de leche buttercream. Who doesn't love a birthday?

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