a quiet fancy

A punderful blog on fashion, food, and politics- the perfect triumvirate of all things tasty and tasteless

Monday Round-up

I’ve been a fickle blogger recently and I think the next 27 days (woot woot!) will be no improvement. I’m on the final countdown for thesis + two term papers before graduation, am hosting a speaker for a symposium at my school for the next few days, and am organizing an event for a club I am a part of for next weekend. On top of that, I have yet to replace my no-good camera-transfer gizmo, which totally blows because I have some amazing food I want to show you.

So, please forgive me that this might be spotty for a while. I’ll keep the round-ups coming and do as much as the days allow me to. And I vow to get a new gizmo before next week.

Current events:

I’m just going to highlight one, because my thesis just happens to be on the U.S. sanctions regime on Burma (I call it Burma rather than Myanmar because that is how the U.S. refers to it during my time period, not as a personal statement), and the latest news has added joy, confusion, and a lot of other mixed emotions to my already meddled thoughts on sanctions:

“U.S. to ease sanctions on Myanmar”.


Thank you, Hillary, for confirming that my findings are baller (inside joke with myself?).


Breakfast tacos with kale-cilantro chimichurri sauce, Naturally Ella.

Chicken and soba noodle soup, Williams Sonoma – made this for dinner tonight. I’ll feature our version sometime: very good.

Heirloom tomatoes, Tartelette.

Meyer lemon doughnuts, Flower Child.


Advanced Style is by far the most fun of the fashion blogs I read. These ladies (and gentlemen, occasionally) are not just style icons. We have a lot to learn from their spunk, humor, and amazing stories.


Need Supply spring lookbook

I know I have featured Need Supply before, but their new spring lookbook is so fun I couldn’t not share:

Please flip through the whole lookbook. It’s so great.

technical difficulties

Due to technical difficulties (again), I’m going to need to delay my food post (again). I will go and get some replacement equipment and make sure next week is dedicated to food (but really, what week isn’t?).

So I’m going to flake out with another master list. But I think this is important. As a fashion lover, I have a tendency to highlight mostly high fashion, and overly expensive fashion. But come on, a lot of the stuff I love to look at is not affordable (or for that matter, sensible). They are things to admire from afar.

I don’t shop much, but when I do it’s either at the sale rack or one of these sites:

Of course, some of these still have some expensive things, but they also have lots more affordable options.

rain in the forecast

We had a surprisingly sunny day today here in Portland. It was lovely. But we now face another week of rain. Even though I’m really sick and tired of this persistently bad weather, dressing for it never gets old.

Here’s a a list of dream rainware (i.e. things I could not afford, but are pretty to look at and at least somewhat practical). I realize this isn’t helpful for most people in the world at this point, consider it my online rain dance to help you ward off the impending drought (especially to you guys at home:)).

Some of these may be a little Portland-centric. Hipster-ness comes from the rain actually, which is why it eventually seeps into us all.

Penfield, Wmns Seabury Olive coat– I had a hard time picking one. Basic, but stylish raincoats.

Good Night, Day, Elora Slouchy Toque (Merino Wool)– simple, beautiful knitwear.

Pendleton: the Portland Collection, blankets!– I can’t wait to do a post on Pendleton.

A Peace Treaty, Origami Scarf (sold at Need Supply)

Native Shoes, Fitzsimmon boot– coolest unisex shoes out there. Adam and I are going to split a pair (just kidding, that wouldn’t work).

Monday Round-up

This weekend was subsumed by my spring break, which was really just one long weekend. Luckily, I did no homework all the way up to the very end, unless you count a third of your thesis as homework (which I do. two-thirds done, baby!). But this spring break was pretty successful: enjoyed great company and food, watched a few too many crappy romantic comedies, and cooked a few recipes I’ve been putting off (more on those later).

Did I mention I wrote a third of my thesis?

Anyway, here’s your round-up:


The Wren summer 2012 lookbook has me so excited for the sun. You have to wait a little before you can buy the collection online, but if you like it, check out their spring collection.

Current events:

Thesis lovin’ time: Aung San Suu Kyi and hope for democracy in Myanmar (ooo, I should tell you guys all about my thesis!)

What to do about Syria….

All eyes on the Muslim Brotherhood

I really appreciated this opinion piece from the NYT on the “politics” of going to college. (Ooops, did I just give myself away with those meaningful “” ‘s? My bad.)

Pasadena, my hometown, made the NYT. And since it’s not January 1 (i.e. the Rose Bowl), you should just assume it’s bad news.


First of all, I made both the cauliflower soup and the purple cabbage pesto from last week’s MR. Both were five stars (out of five). I have a jar of pesto left (1/2 head of cabbage goes a longgg way) and am trying of a different vehicle than pasta to slurp it up with this week. Any suggestions?

Peach crumble oatmeal from The Yellow House. I can’t wait to make this for breakfast the moment nice peaches appear in my store! Also, I love this blog!

Miso soup with butternut squash, poached egg, and spinach from La Fuji Mama. Fuji Mama lived in Japan for several years and shares many of the authentic Japanese dishes she learned to make there. I can’t wait to try them all.

Pumpkin gnocchi with pumpkin seed pesto from Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook. I can’t believe I just found this beautiful blog. The young woman of Notions & Notations is an imaginative cook with a beautiful eye for food photography (and all in her spare time while being a medical student!). Her blog is proof that food photography really is an art.

Boozy watermelon-rosemary lemonade from Food 52. Oh Food 52, you never let us down.

Rhubarb pie by Jennifer Wang, another inspiring food blogger. I love the colors of rhubarb, and I have a feeling this will be my last chance to find the stuff fresh. Pie anyone?

Have you ever brewed your own beer at home? I’ve been eyeing kits like the one below for a while (seeing as I have no clue how to make beer on my own). I’d love to hear about your experiences…

Trader Joe’s shopping list

I had a plan today, a good one too. We had beer chicken tacos for dinner tonight, and I wanted to share with you the tastiest way to make shredded chicken with booze. But due to some photo uploading problems, we’re just going to have to wait (trust me, it’s worth it).

So instead, I thought I’d maybe share some of my favorites from Trader Joe’s. I’m not a Trader Joe’s expert; it’s not really affordable cooking fare when you are a college student. But if you are careful about the deals and know what items are worth the bucks, it can still be a kind of bargain.

When I last went to TJ’s I looked online for a shopping list of the best TJ’s items and didn’t find quite what I was looking for. I hope this helps for someone planning their next trip, especially if your TJ’s is as far away as mine (it’s only far because there used to be like five within a ten-minute radius of my house…oh Southern California).


Don’t go to Trader Joe’s for your produce. The selection is often very limited, not high quality, and they use so much freaking plastic, and that unhipness is seems so unlike TJ’s. (The upside of this, though: you don’t need to try to pry apart the plastic produce bags.) However, there are a few things I really like from this section:

Packaged kale, pre-cut: because who wants to cut kale?

Bagged lettuce heads: these guys stay fresh much longer than lettuce maybe should. Reuse the bag.

Basil: don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure this is a much better deal than I get at my Fred Meyer/Ralphs

Snap peas: much fresher than the ones I usually find


Greek yogurt, 0%: as good as Fage, but less expensive

Vanilla & cream/blueberries & cream yogurt cups: dessert-worthy and won’t leave you craving something worse

Grated Parmesan & Romano: the bag will last you weeks…very good deal

String cheese: all good


Artichoke hearts: yep, they made the list.

Mochi: a little pricey, but a wonderful treat (this brand is not unique to TJ’s)

Mahi mahi: I don’t care if it’s fresh or not fresh or not (get it?)

Chicken gyoza: make your own dipping sauce, 3-minute meal

Gnocchi alla Sorrentina: this is so delicious, but a little small for 2 people like the bag claims


Milk chocolate peanut butter cups (I prefer dark chocolate usually, but peanut butter just goes better with milk chocolate)

Vegan chocolate chip cookies (I’m not sure if they have these still, but they were so good!)

Everything else:

Trek mix: There are several kinds now. I get the one with three variations of chocolate chips, almonds, cashews, cranberries, and golden raisins (the unhealthy one). And I eat this very meticulously. It’s best if you take out one of each goody in here and pop the whole handful in your mouth. If you do this, you run out of almonds fast. Buy unsalted almonds.

Trek mix granola (I think called Trek Mix Simply Almonds, Cashews, and Cranberries): delicious

Powerberries: A new discovery. Skeptical of the healthful power they supposedly possess, but I don’t really care…

Freeze dried mango: pure and unsweetened goodness

Tortellinis and mini raviolis: a childhood-turned-to-adult(ish) favorite

Reduced fat cilantro salad dressing: so good on top of lettuce, sunflowers seeds, diced tomatoes, and cotija cheese

Asian style spicy peanut vinaigrette: guaranteed to boost your salad cravings

Tomato basil marinara: cheap and tasty

Cookie butter: next to the peanut butter. Tastes like cookies. You can put it on anything, but don’t put it on everything or you might shorten your lifespan drastically. It’s real bad for you.

Tomato and red pepper soup: my favorite thing about TJ’s, hands down. If they had a warehouse store, I’d buy it in cases.

Unsalted peanut butter pretzels= straight shots of peanut butter (I mean this in a very, very good way)


I could actually add about 30 more things to this list, but I think that would defeat the purpose of it.


“Happiness is love. Full Stop.”

You might think this is cheesy, but really, it’s true. “Happiness is love. Full Stop.” And this was the theme of David Brooks’ talk at the World Affairs Council last night. These are not his words, but they echo a persistent philosophy throughout his op-ed career at NYT (ex: “They Had It Made”, 2009).

The person who made this claim first was George Vaillant, a psychiatrist and professor at Harvard who studied the effect of relationships on happiness. His conclusion: happiness is determined in many ways by relationships.

In his talk, Brooks emphasized this point. He cited that a happy marriage is worth an annual income of $100,000 in happiness. Relationships matter (though they are not self-determining), and because of this we need to be more focused on healthy attachments, on both an individual basis and a political one too.  Attachment, for all of you who skipped intro to psychology (good job!– I’m not being sarcastic), generally refers to the relationship between an infant and a mother (or primary caretaker). A healthy attachment means that the mother is able to communicate with her infant to provide for her/his emotional needs of security and care. Unhealthy attachments (and there are several brands of these) mean the connection from the mother is severed, and the infant’s need for security and connection are not met. As Brooks pointed out, unhealthy attachments, though not entirely decisive, act as a lifelong deficiency for children. Kids with unhealthy childhood attachments (which are largely determined in the first 18 months) are far less likely to graduate from high school. And a point that Brooks did not bring up that really should be: kids who have not experienced healthy attachments often are not able to develop healthy attachments to their own partners or offspring later on.

Brooks blames many of the our domestic problems in the United States on unhealthy attachments and unstable family lives. I don’t think he is wrong (though I would probably emphasize it a little less, especially during these hard economic and increasingly divisive times). We humans are largely shaped by experience, and the fact that so many children are growing up in unstable homes is a devastating prospect for our young generation. And policy is not often responsive to these social dimensions. Rather than looking at the psychological roots of suffering, we often resort to material needs as a band-aid. He calls this lack of psychological consideration “the great amputation”. But in this case it’s the loss of a vital organ rather than a limb.

And as Brooks pointed out, there is a similar problem in foreign policy. The lack of consideration of the cultural, psychosocial roots of conflict in other countries results in short-sighted “interventions”/catastrophes (see Lebanon, Iraq, etc.). In our decisions abroad, we often seem to forget about the state’s history, its cultural roots, and its people.

All of this calls for is a strategic change in philosophy. (We do like strategy, don’t we?) To work at a domestic level, we must ensure that children have access to health attachments beyond the home. This is a long-term strategy to raise a new generation of caring individuals. Our most lucrative pathway for this development is education. As Brooks said, “People learn from the people they love”. More focus and trust must go into a force of well-trained, loving teachers.

At an international level, decision makers need to start implementing a less strategic role and be more cautious of culture, history, and individuals before acting. Right now as we consider armed intervention in Syria (something has got to be done, but with caution, multilateral cooperation, and with minimized arms–no one seems to know how to pull that off yet) and future strikes on Iran (and I’d like to add in the U.S. decision to cut funding to UNESCO on behalf of Israel as one of these unthought-out foreign policy decisions), “the great amputation” is cutting off both our brain and our heart despite ourselves.


I love everything about Ruche, down to the lovely story of its creation. A good example of what love, persistence, and a little ingenuity can make…

And with a fall lookbook so dreamy, how could I not share it? Of course, I had trouble getting some of the actual lookbook pictures, so I will share what I was able to re-post (sorry for my lacking technical know-how; it goes against everything my generation stands for):







Now, I apologize another non-affiliated plug for a store I just love, but if you like what you see (which you do), you can find the rest of their collection here.

Tonight, I had the pleasure of seeing David Brooks speak for the World Affairs Council of Oregon. He was as smart and quick as his columns make him out to be. Of course, we don’t see eye to eye on everything–reflections to come. So far it’s been a busy spring break. I promise to be more loyal to this young blog in the days to come, though. And to my aggravating thesis.

Happy Humpday (yeah, I decided the “H” should be capital), everyone!

Monday Round-up

I’ve been moving so much the last few days, eating delicious food and enjoying wonderful company. If only I didn’t still have 2/3 a thesis to write…

This week’s round-up (I’ve been away from the internet a lot this week, so this will be short):

Current events:

The effectiveness of web activism– NY Times

Not a current event, but I loved this article on the brain and love– NYT


Have you read Decade Diary? It’s a blog of fashion and illustration that incorporates passion, talent, and pure beauty. I drool over it daily.


Carrot cake pancakes from Smitten Kitchen (Deb from Smitten Kitchen sells her gorgeous food photos, and prefers they not be used on other sites, so go check out that pretty picture on your own)


Cookie butter from Trader Joe’s. If you haven’t tried this yet, you really should. Its addictive, cookie taste may replace the real thing. But as the woman at the check out line in Trader Joe’s pointed out, it doesn’t have to. Cookie butter is great spread on cookies. What kind, you ask? Any. Put this on everything.

Paul Bertolli’s cauliflower soup from Food 52:

Honey Kennedy’s cake post inspired me to try to like cake (I’m very picky about cake for some reason). I especially want to try this lemon cake from Honey & Jam (another excellent, beautiful, and scrumptious blog):

Sorry for Monday. My thoughts are with all who are not enjoying spring break.


I think Colenimo’s spring/summer ’12 collection is one of my favorites I have seen. The lookbook is whimsical and the clothes understated but timeless. Check it out!

Happy Friday, all!