a quiet fancy

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

Category: Current Events

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”.

Boom.

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

Food:

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.

Fashion:

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.

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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:

Fashion:

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.

Food:

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…

“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.

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

Fashion:

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.

Food:

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.

proud cynic

Did you read Nicholas Kristof’s raging op-ed last Wednesday against the cynical reactions to Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign?

I’ve been speechless about it since, speechless and so disappointed.

I adore Kristof for his reporting on stories we wouldn’t hear about otherwise. What his cultish critics call an air of “chivalry” I call caring. He is dedicated to the people in his articles, and his hopeful attitude for change in even the darkest areas of the world is admirable if not inspiring. (Did you know he is a native Oregonian?) Kristof is also a great Twitter pal (isn’t it weird how by following people on Twitter makes you feel like you actually know them?), and will often highlight criticisms of his work in tweets. Kristof is a real reporter who usually goes to great strides to provide contextual analysis, an argument, and also the other side to the story.

And that is what confused me so much about his op-ed last Wednesday.

Kristof ends his article saying, “But if I were a Congolese villager, I would welcome these uncertain efforts over the sneering scorn of do-nothing armchair cynics”, a phrase I hope he regrets. The irony of this nickname is that its converse is the do-nothing armchair supporters of the Kony campaign who are bravely fighting a villain through “likes” and shares over Facebook and Twitter. They continue raging on despite the backlash, continuing to flaunt their ignorant goodness by simply ignoring the facts. If you support what IC has done, fine, but use it as a gateway to real information-gathering and discourse towards change.

When George Clooney was arrested this weekend, many of my Facebook friends (who rely on Yahoo’s homepage or Perez Hilton for their news), began to rally behind the people of the Nuba Mt. of Sudan for a minute. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE George Clooney, but we can’t rely on him for advocacy. He’s a gateway for discourse, and frankly, I think it’s his duty as a smart, respected celebrity.

But don’t make these people our heroes. Don’t forget whose stories these are. Kristof is not a Congolese villager, and he is not likely to be affected by the ills and distractions of Kony 2012. For once, he seems to forget the people at the heart of the campaign. Don’t they deserve a more cynical approach?

Here are some alternatives to Invisible Children. Although donations are good (when going to reputable organizations), they are not the only way to produce change:

UNICEF
Save the Children
Child Soldiers International

Monday Roundup

We have both been sick all weekend. On the bright side, it meant little thesis for me, but that’s a problem also.  So here’ a quick Monday round-up all my quiet little fancies from the weekend.

Let’s start with food this time:

Guinness pudding from Closet Cooking.  Okay, I know it’s past St. Patrick’s Day, but shouldn’t Guinness be celebrated year round? It’s delicious.

Purple Cabbage Pesto pasta from The Yellow House:

“Snowballs”, Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, or whatever you want to call them from Lottie + Doof.  My favorite!

Rosemary Turkey Meatloaf from Food 52. (This would be a good food for a “Delicious foods that fool you by looking pretty gross” post…I’ll bookmark that one for later.)

Lemonade drumsticks that I may not wait for summer to make, from The Noble Pig (whose blog writer owns a vineyard and tasting room nearby that I can’t wait to visit. I’m a fan!) :

Okay, I hate pink, but just look at these pretty rose martinis from This Is Glamorous.  So romantic.

In the news:

The ongoing crisis in Syria, which I fear is losing attention fast.  Don’t let it.

The tragic ending for a young girl in Morocco because of a very dangerous law gives absolution to a man who commits rape if he marries his victim.

*More reactions to the value-add teacher assessments. What do you think?

*Health care op-ed by Paul Krugman. Very powerful, as always.

Fashioning:

Mikkat Market: Have you online window shopped for hours on Mikkat Market yet? I check back here weekly for their unique, affordable pieces (I don’t actually shop very often. Just browse like a maniac. If I were to actually shop though, it would be here.)

Happy Monday!

Ulyana Sergeenko

As I was reading Honestly WTF yesterday morning, I found out I had missed over half of Ulyana Sergeenko’s fall collection! You may have already seen it. Probably, because it’s amazing. I didn’t think you could even get more amazing than her last collection, but she did it. I love things that feel old, and this feels both that and refreshing to me after this season when there wasn’t much that I fell head over heels for (I mean, not as much as usual, and mostly because everyone used my beloved cows).

Here’s a preview of a couple favorites (but what is favorite when it’s all perfect? (actually, there’s a pair of what look like overalls that makes me a little uncomfortable, but the model isn’t wearing a shirt underneath them, so maybe that’s why) ):

(Oh yeah, and brought to you by Russian Vogue.  Cool, huh?)

(Wish I had seen this yesterday to include the last one in my moss green post.)

Yesterday I read an article I wanted to share, but I warn you, don’t read it if you love animals but aren’t already a vegetarian or planning to become one:  New York Times: Mark Bittman, “The Human Cost of Animal Suffering”

I cried. Really. In the library. But it was partly because of thesis (just kidding).

Happy Th(ank God it’s almost Friday)ursday!

School is evil

No, not really. School is the best. But here I am, up at 3:30, and still only 3.61 (yeah, I’m counting to the second decimal) pages into my thesis. I’ll quit for the night at 4.00.

So, I promised a blog on teachers. I’ve been thinking about teachers a lot. So much I’m starting to really consider becoming one. And I’m going to make a vow now that I will never make a student write a paper over 3.50 pages (just kidding, make ’em sweat).

The value-added assessment of teachers that has been taking root in New York has me thinking twice about this field, though. And isn’t that awful? (At this point I should brag about how smart and fantastic I am that you should want me teaching your kids, but it really wouldn’t be true.) That this system might scare away the young people with a passion for teaching, kids, and social justice. And those aren’t three separate variables (ooo, thesis nomenclature). Teachers should be the heart of social justice. Higher test scores may come out of social justice, but they definitely will not cause it.

The budget woes of the last few years have stricken everyone, but it’s the younger generations that are being hit the hardest. And when cuts are made to education, it is the children in the lowest income neighborhoods that are hurt the worst, those whose schools were suffering long before 2007.

The first priority of our schools must be to provide a place of safety and care for students. That means reinstating afterschool where it has been cut and adding mentor programs for children whose parents work long hours or cannot be there for them. It means guaranteeing that children have someone caring for their needs outside of the classroom. It means providing healthy breakfast and lunch for those students whose families cannot afford to provide necessities. It means making sure that teachers make sure to put a student’s well-being before test scores, ensuring that someone is aware of their relationship with their family and peers. Teachers are not only educators, but they are also daytime caretakers. They must be observant of everything a child is going through, from physical to emotional health. The escalation of violence we have seen in schools in the last few years shows just how sidetracked schools have become. Why do people not see these troubled kids slipping through the cracks, alone and desperate?

Though no one really wants to admit it, we must put our students first and their “education” second. Learning goes hand in hand with stability and care. Teaching to the test gets the process backwards. The teacher’s job should be make learning engaging and safe. And to make this happen, teachers must care about more than their own test score.

(I am not, by the way, advocating that teachers not be assessed. But there has to be a better, less fallible way.)

I fear for the teachers in New York who have achieved the first step of the social justice process, but it’s the kids who are losing good teachers that I am really scared for.

Humpday

The title isn’t another “that’s what she said”, if you have a dirty mind and just assumed that. Wednesday is Humpday, because it’s the hump of the school week. Did I use the word to define itself? It’s the middle of the week. There.

(My humpday is actually midnight on Tuesday, because I contrived the most wicked class schedule that starts on Monday afternoon and ends Thursday. My evil plot was destroyed by my nemesis, Thesis, which drags me in almost every Friday just in spite of me. Therefore I will be at school for twelve hours tomorrow and be back early Friday morning. My schedule-planning supervillain equivalent is the warlord from Despicable Me, but without the army of sweet little minions.)

T.M.I.

I actually have lots of homework tonight, so no feature post. Here are your Humpday Highlights:

Fashion:

Now, I wouldn’t be posting this if Portland’s H&M was one of the stores selling Marni tomorrow for two reasons: 1) I would be downtown right now, pitching a tent in front of the store, and 2) because I would consider you my competition and hope to keep you uninformed. But I’m selfless, and Portland is too hipster to have an H&M selling Marni, so:

GO TO H&M!

Things are going to sell out in hours, if not minutes. To see if the store near you will be selling the line, go here. Don’t worry about store hours. Go now. I promise, you won’t be alone. You can view the entire collection on Fashionologie.

Warning, though. This collection is a more expensive than things from H&M usually are. Make sure to check the price tags and do some investigating first!

Food:

I’m eating a Round Table gourmet veggie pizza right now. It’s delicious. If you’re skeptical of Round Table, don’t be. Get the garlic twists.

What I’m reading about:

Some good news

This Kony 2012 stuff

A couple responses: Musa Okwonga, Foreign Affairs I, Foreign Affairs II, Visible Children – I have lots of thoughts on this, but I’ll reserve them for now.

Ongoing Syria

*Taking the power out of the Miranda Rule

*Thomas Friedman’s excellent article on Obama’s relationship with Israel

Quick post: Monday highlights

Today I realized just how hard it may be for me to fit full posts into my schedule every day.  And not because I’m super busy I don’t have time for it, I do most days.  However, my tendency to procrastinate all day has been a little out of control this final semester, and I spend most of my day putting off my school priorities (okay, most might be a stretch, but a lot). So for the next two months this will be the game plan.  On days when I am a responsible human being, I will write the posts I have planned.  On days like today and thesis due dates, I will organize posts in the following way:

Fashion find:

Need Supply’s new sunny March lookbook- I look forward to these every month!  Men’s too.Need Supply Co.

Drooling over:

This fig and olive tapenade on Food 52Food 52

What I’m following in the news:

*Indicates this is an article from the New York Times in case you do not subscribe and don’t want to use your monthly quota on one of these articles.  I will try to limit these to opinion pieces and editorials.

Also, we saw Wanderlust tonight.  Right now I’ll give it a C rating very arbitrarily.  Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd get double A’s for just being themselves.