Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Taking Heed

Untitled by nicole cross"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." -Ira Glass

Just ran into a quote that I bookmarked a few months ago after I saw it posted on mint. I'm really glad I make a habit of savings quotes because, yet again, this quote has taken the edge off. I generally don't re-post things that I have seen on other blogs, but this concept really hit a chord with me today and I wanted to share. I was just thinking I wish I had something ready to post and when I saw this I thought why not pass along an inspiring quote with a photo--okay, an older photo that I happen to have access to via flickr. Oh, well.

I have some photos to work on to share and very little time to edit them as I have a crazy busy week ending with my first big photography job on Sunday! I feel like this week is going to fly right by.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easy Bread

Hello, I have a recipe for you today! I mentioned that I was making this bread in a post a while back but never got around to the pictures until last night. That day I was on a cooking rampage that included this yummy wheat bread, my first attempt at a whole chicken and twice-baked potatoes. It was pretty intense, y'all. I won't lie, I probably won't be making twice-baked potatoes for a while as they are too much effort. I would rather make garlic-y mashed potatoes incorporating the cheeses and skipping all the extra steps. But, I digress, that will be its own post.

This recipe is from Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks which you should really check out if you are at all  into healthy food because her recipes definitely do not forgo flavor for health. She knows how to marry the two together quite happily. This bread was actually really, really easy. So easy that I swore I was doing something wrong because I always thought making bread was supposed to be tedious. And also because it doesn't really rise and I thought for sure it was a lost cause before I even put it into the oven.

My panic and insecurities were eased as soon as I tasted the bread and completely vanished after I slathered on some butter. Don't worry, the wheat totally cancels out the butter. It's called science, people.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Asparagus and the Easily Distracted

Hello! Today definitely feels like a Tuesday. I accidentally/over enthusiastically made Monday harder on myself by scheduling an early 8am dentist appointment because sometimes I trick myself into thinking that I can be a person that early if I try. Well, I was basically asleep when I got there. The dentist even asked me to stop yawning because I was making him tired. Little did he know how lucky he was that my eyes were open.

Here are some shots I took in my kitchen. My desk/dining table has taken on yet another function: studio. Re-purposing is all the rage right now, so in honor of the trend and my huge-desk-small-apartment situation, I've decided I can squeeze in yet another function.

"What does "easily distracted" have to do with this post?!" you say. Calm down and let me tell you: I saw some bundles of skinny asparagus at the store and grabbed a bunch not knowing what I would do with it but knowing that I couldn't pass up good looking produce in my neck of the sunset. Took it home and decided I would make half for dinner and do a photo shoot with the other half. I put the baking half on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzled olive oil and rolled them around so they would all get a nice coat. Then I sprinkled chili flakes, sea salt and some pepper. Parmesan was to follow after they came out of the oven tender but also beautifully browned and crispy.  

However, I was so busy with my photo shoot they came out looking absolutely pathetic and tasting even worse. Seriously some of my worst work, people. Shriveled little oily stalks replaced the colorful firm ones I put in there. I tried to ignore their looks and made myself a plate with some Parmesan, but it was more than I do to eat them. Not even Stephen, who I often refer to at meal time as "the clean-up crew" would eat them. So here are some pictures, I hope you enjoy them because this is about the only good thing I can do with asparagus.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


sienna. by nicole cross
sienna., a photo by nicole cross on Flickr.
Currently wishing I were in Italy eating wild boar lasagna while drinking Chianti. Nothing like a Thursday at your desk blasting your earphones to keep out chatter to make you want to catch the first flight out to a place where you cannot understand a word anyone is saying. Don't even get me started on the change-your-life-amazing gelato my cousin introduced me to in Florence tucked away from the touristy main streets in a barely noticeable shop where you don't even see the gelato until they scoop it up and skillfully swirl it into a cone for you until it resembles a scoop. I'll have the triple chocolate and almond, please.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Here are some pictures from Sleeping Bear Dunes for you to enjoy. The dunes are massive unlike anything I have ever seen before. And speaking of massive, that is a lake people! Not an ocean, a freakin lake! It's unbelievable.

 Just in case you are wonder, those are people, not ants. And this picture does not even do the incline justice...I prefer the view from above.

Monday, September 12, 2011

On the Lake

Hello, Monday. It's you again. I did not miss you. For today's post I will share pictures to reminisce about a beautiful day on the lake. Above, a couple petoskey stones and other random stones from the lake on the bathroom counter. Petoskey stones are a Michigan thing, lots of people collect them and there is also a little town of its namesake.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Moses & Meredith

Hello and happy hump day! Here are some pictures I took in Michigan of my cousin Tanya's friend and her kids at a park. Tanya asked before our trip if Stephen and I would like to take pictures of them so that is how we met. Meredith was very easy going and gave us a good 30 minutes of happiness and smiles before she called it a day and was done with all the fuss. And her big brother, Moses, was a total ham, which was great!

We said "give her a kiss," not "give her a squish!" (I can make as many bad jokes as I want; it's my blog! And if it were a party, I could cry, too. See, I can keep going and going and going...)

At the end of the shoot, Moses was still rearing to go and, as you can see, rolled himself into a burrito. I don't think this kid has a hard time entertaining himself. It was nice to meet you all and thank you for the great session!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Last Day in Chicago

Hope everyone is having a nice three-day weekend. I have been on a cooking kick this weekend so photos will not be far behind. I also have to go through my photos from Michigan as well. On Saturday I decided to make this bread found on Heidi's blog 101 Cookbooks. Then I made this lemon and herb chicken from the sophisticated gourmet with his cheese and chive twice baked potatoes. Today I am going to make this pasta salad, also from Heidi, because I have wanted to make it for a while and I am on a roll over here! I even made French toast this morning. No pictures, though. I was too hungry.

These two are from our last day in Chicago as we were leaving the art institute and on our way to Due for another round of deep dish pizza. Stephen bailed on me while I was taking the top picture because the metal walkway was so hot and he couldn't take it so that's why he's so far away from me in the bottom picture. I think he was also irritated because the security guard told him he better not skate the bridge on our way out the door in a really awkward way where we couldn't tell whether he was being serious or not but either way it was condescending and weird.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Accidental Zoo Encounter...

On this day we went to the Wrigleyville area for lunch and checked out the ball park. Then we took the train to Fullerton and walked down Halsted to Armitage to check out the shopping when we ended up at the zoo. We decided to take a look around (Stephen for the kangaroos and myself for the tigers) and found ourselves mesmerized by the primates and how similar some of their expressions and movements are. 

We almost expected them to say something to us because they were looking right at us. It was like they wanted to tell us something--or better yet, a secret. And probably also because Disney gave us false hopes that animals might break into song and dance at any given moment. Unfortunately, the bear didn't tech me about the bear necessities or the ways of the prickly pear either. Oh, how reality disappoints.


Stephen decided to compare his hand to that of an orangutan. I wouldn't touch it. Germs.

Happy Friday! I hope you have a nice long weekend! I know I'm excited about it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Boat, a Pizza and a Bean

Here are photos from our second day. We went on an architecture boat tour, which was much better than I expected.

Then we went to get pizza. Stephen insisted we try something called "jardiniere" which is different vegetables marinated in olive oil and cooked into the pizza. He tried a jardiniere style pizza with meatballs the night before when he met up with some people to shoot photos and he really liked it. I was definitely interesting but I'm not sold on it. Ours did not have have meatballs and it had jalapenos, which I had mixed feelings about. To his credit, the one he had the night before sounded better than the one we had.

And the crust was really good, like, buttery, flaky pizza pie good. Actually, as I ate the crust I thought, this must be why people say pizza pie. It was like the savory sister of regular pie crust. As far as pizza goes, I still prefer to keep it simple. While I did like deep dish, my favorite pizza is still a nice, fresh margherita pizza. Can't beat it.

Take a look at that crust! I can almost taste it.

Then we found the bean. And we played with our cameras for a bit before walking around the rest of the park and eventually back to our hotel.