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Family

May 6, 2011
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I’ve been thinking about my family a lot lately. I’ve known them all my life (because I’m the baby!), and they’ve shaped me into being the person I am today. They’re such a big part of me that I wanted to share a little of that part with you. If I had the proper outlet, I could probably write an entire book about some of the crazy memories we’ve shared, but since I only have WordPress, I’ll just give you the introduction.

This is Tommy Richards, my father. He’s quite the amusing fellow, taking corniness to a new level. I’m really very extra sure that my sense of humor came from this guy. He’s a workaholic, so he hardly ever uses his vacation days. He’s one of those people who has to do everything themselves because it would be too expensive to have someone else do it or it wouldn’t be done properly (another characteristic I must have inherited). He drinks O’Doul’s on weekdays and doesn’t eat sweets. He’s been telling my sisters and me that “Sugar is worse than cigarettes!” for at least ten years. He got an Xbox a few years ago for Christmas and likes to play shoot-em-up games like Halo and Call of Duty. His first shoot-em-up game was Goldeneye for the N64 (my have we progressed!), and he would always be more than willing to play Area 51 if there was an arcade around. One of his favorite things to do is come up with inventions that would change life as we know it. I think I speak for my sisters when I say that the “Johnny Vac” is our personal favorite. I won’t go into details, but I will tell you that it involves a toilet and a vacuum… He’s a very intelligent man, and I think I owe a lot of my personality to him.

This is my mom, Ludie Richards. She’s the greatest mom ever. She always (usually) supports me in everything I want to do. From kindergarten through senior year of high school, she sent me to school everyday with a lovely, nutritious lunch. She cooks dinner every night except on Fridays, and she doesn’t watch any other channel more than the Food Network, except for maybe The Food Channel, which we recently acquired through a digital cable package. She raised me to appreciate Irish punk music and alternative rock to the point where I already knew the words to Black 47 songs and the soundtrack to Trainspotting and Empire Records by the time I was 10. She used to have super long hair, but a few years ago she cut it to her chin. Personally, I like it better short. She always tears up during emotionally uplifting movies like Finding Forrester, Billy Elliot, and Pollyanna (some of her favorites). She also loves music festivals. When she goes to Jazzfest, she never sits down. She’s either intently enjoying one band or walking around to discover a new one. When she talks on the phone with her sister Vaughan, they usually get to a certain part of the conversation where her voice gets really quiet so people won’t hear what they’re talking about. She usually sports a pair of converse high-tops or chucks as a casual look. People tell me that I get more of my features from my mom. You can really tell when you compare pictures of the two of us when we were really young.

This is Allison, my eldest sister. She’s five years older than me and about 5 inches shorter. But don’t let her height lead you to think that it reflects her personality; when it comes to that, she’s 10 feet tall! She’s not afraid to put you in your place if you’re doing something wrong and will argue you into the ground if she has to in order to prove a point. I’ve always admired her eloquence when it comes to speaking with adults and other people in a professional or formal setting. She’s also a fantastic writer (I have her proof-read most of my papers). One of my favorite things to bring up about her is the way she used to dress in high school (snake-skin pants, glittery tops, and the like), but then she usually pulls out the card reminding me how I would dress myself to match one solid color with the same solid color (e.g. navy blue t-shirt with navy blue shorts). She’s deathly afraid of roaches and nearly has a panic attack whenever she sees one (even if it’s on tv). She and I have very similar interests so whenever we start talking to each other, the conversation usually turns into a discussion about dragons or Lord of the Rings (to get an idea, read this blog post). She has a cute little puppy name Toby who has an underbite (he is her son).

This is my sister Margaret. She is a social butterfly. She could show up anywhere alone and have made ten new friends by the end of the night. I suppose she would be considered the “cool one” out of the Richards Girls. She loves going to music festivals and concerts and is the go-to girl if you wanna go somewhere to have fun. Her hair is super straight! I have tried curling it multiple times, but it always falls flat within five minutes unless I plaster her head with hairspray. She can also open her eyes as wide as a lemur (as seen here). She’s the sister who looks more like my dad, but people often think she and Allison are twins (personally, I don’t see it). She likes watching romantic comedies (which I don’t really get), but also digs the same stuff Allison and I like (i.e. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and anything dragon/ninja related). She’s definitely the most athletic Richards and probably the healthiest. My fondest memory of her is when we were trying to beat the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (it’s a family event), and she couldn’t for the life of her beat the Shadow Temple boss Bongo Bongo. She went on a Zelda hiatus for like a month because it stressed her out so much. One day she finally picked the controller back up (after much persuasion by Allison and me) and beat that sucker in like a minute only losing half a heart or something crazy like that.

My family is one of the most important things in my life. I know it’s a little cheesy and everything, but it’s true and I don’t think I say that enough. I always get really excited when they come to visit me because they’re so much fun. And I’m not really one to get homesick, but every time I go home I realize how much I missed it. After the stress of school or some completely insignificant drama between friends, sometimes the best thing in the world is the feeling of going home.

Fashion?

April 21, 2011

To start, I would just like to point out that my cousin Trudy inspired me to write this particular blog post. She recently started a new fashion blog (That Anonymous Girl), and I am a huge fan of it. I was looking at a bunch of the photos she posted, and I thought, “I wish I could wear that stuff.”

If you know me or have seen me around campus, you probably know that I’m not the most fashionable person in the world. My standard outfit consists of what my friends like to call my “Anna Suit”. It consists of leggings with gym shorts on the bottom and a t-shirt on top. I wear this pretty much every day. It’s comfortable and easy to pick out. I know, I know. I’m a walking fashion icon, but I’ve really been trying to refine my wardrobe for the past year.

This particular refinement has been a little difficult for me. As a poor college kid, my preferred way of spending my money is on delicious food (because honestly, how can you not when you live in New Orleans). Recently, however, I’ve been buying things from various stores online. Because I’ve done this, I get a mailbox full of emails from stores every morning with new sales and new seasoned fashion lines or whatever. This is nice… but I usually end up deleting them all because I’ve already spent my measly work-study paycheck on another item (or food). My standard morning involves me waking up and deleting emails from Ann Taylor Loft, The Gap, Urban Outfitters, The Limited, J. Crew, and Ralph Lauren. Frankly, I’m not really sure why I get emails from Ralph Lauren because I’ve never bought anything from them before, nor do I have a profound desire to do so. I also don’t pay much attention to the Urban Outfitters email. This isn’t because I don’t like Urban Outfitters; it’s just one of those places where I’d rather go to the actual store (which we have in New Orleans) because I’d rather try things on (a lot of the stuff looks funny on me/skirts are too short). J. Crew is one that I usually just look at and dream about. Way too expensive. Plus I don’t think I’m WASPy enough to wear some of the stuff they sell.

Really the only ones I truly consider are LOFT and The Gap (because sometimes The Limited makes things too shiny). I like the classic young professional look. That’s what I’ve been trying to add to my wardrobe lately. My previous wardrobe had a very young look to it, and I figured that since I’ll be going out into the “real world” some time soon, I should probably not look like I’m still in high school (not saying that I was particularly fashionable as a high schooler either). I also like LOFT and the Gap because it’s affordable when things are on sale (because I’m the cheapest person ever – a $45 item is about $20 more than I’m willing to spend). These looks are relatively easy, and I don’t have to work too hard on them. And don’t even get me started on ideeli, which might be the greatest thing that has ever happened to online shopping (and Gilt Group, which is a bit more expensive).

The harder looks are the ones that I see in the emails I get from Who What Wear (one of the more cleverly named fashion blogs on the web). This blog shows the everyday looks of fashion icons that frankly I don’t think I could pull off that well. These are the trendy looks that I wish I could sport. My cousin is very trendy and writes about these types of looks a lot. It’s one of those things where I look, but I don’t really actively pursue. I don’t have the proper mind-set to want to look trendy every day. I can’t look at my lacking wardrobe, throw items together, and work the streets like I’m on the runway. I think part of this comes from my need to be comfortable all the time when I go to class. That’s very important for me, especially since I usually like sitting indian style in my desk. I also prefer sitting on the ground to sitting in chairs (unless it’s a super awesome comfy chair), so most of those trendy looks would get dirty.

There are a few celebrities whose style I really wish I could effectively imitate. The first is Zooey Deschanel (whose Twitter handle is @therealzooeyd – follow her, she’s fabulous). Her classic-looking style is something I absolutely LOVE! Once I have real money and sophistication, I am totally going to try to attain this look. Polyvore gives some awesome examples of her look. These are a few of my favorites (click to get the full breakdown from Polyvore):


The list goes on…

My next celebrity style icon is Emma Watson. I don’t like some of her styles (mostly because I couldn’t really pull them off well), but I’ve seen many that I wish I could imitate. The ones I like are sorta reminiscent of Zooey’s style.

And of course I can’t forget the iconic Audrey Hepburn. Call me old-fashioned, but I love her elegant and sophisticated look. I can’t really say much about it because I don’t really know much about it, but I can give you examples of things I like!

So I’m not really sure what to do with myself even though I know what types of clothes I like. I guess I just need to start looking for them? If anyone wants to point me in a certain direction, please feel free to do so. I need all the help I can get! And don’t forget to visit Trudy’s blog That Anonymous Girl. Just click the link!

Enjoy the little things…

February 14, 2011

Last week while I was watching the movie Zombieland (starring Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg and outstanding actor Woody Harrelson), something struck me. I think some of the best advice I’ve received in life has come from that movie. The various rules that Columbus (Jesse’s character) maps out for the audience are pretty important for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, but they also can come in handy in real life (before the Zombie Apocalypse occurs). For example: Rule #1 – Cardio. People should stay active, whether it’s for running from zombies or just staying healthy and fit. Rule #8 – Get a kickass partner. Everyone needs a right-hand man for back up as well as companionship. Life can get pretty lonely sometimes, and it helps to have someone who kicks ass just as hard as you do by your side. (Look at the end for the complete list of rules.)

With this in mind, I began thinking about Rule #32 – Enjoy the little things. The movie puts a pretty heavy influence on this particular rule, and I think we should too. Whether you live in a world infested with the undead or maybe just need a little ray of sunshine to illuminate a particularly dark day, it’s the little things that can lift your spirits and get you through the trouble. They’re probably the easiest form of happiness you can attain, and most of the time they’re free. Looking back, I’ve always enjoyed the little things in my life the most but never really realized how much happiness they bring me. So I decided to make a list of some little things that get me through the day (in no particular order):

  1. Freshly Sharpened Pencils – Because who doesn’t love that faint smell of wood and graphite as you twist it along that sharp blade. My pencil sharpener is a particularly good one too, so it gets my pencils extra pointy. I write most of my notes in pencil, and I can’t stand the way my writing looks if it’s too thick because the tip of the graphite is too stubby. Sharpened pencils bring actual joy to all the homework I have to do, and lately I’ve had entirely too much. There’s comfort in a good pencil.
  2. Singing in the Car – I can be sad, angry, happy, or annoyed and instantly feel better when I get in my car and drive with a good song on the radio. I don’t really do that much driving now a days, but whenever I drive home to Mobile (and back), I always have to listen to something that I can sing along to. It keeps me entertained without taking away my focus from the road. It’s a very peaceful experience, especially when you’re driving alone. If other people are in the car, I try not to sing as much or as loud as I would if I were alone because, I’ll admit it, I don’t have the prettiest voice on the planet, and I don’t really want people to have to suffer. My current driving playlist that I pop on when I get in the car is a combination of Dr. Dog and Modest Mouse. I listen to it on shuffle so I get a pretty even mix of the two bands. I chose these two bands because I know that no matter what song comes on next, I won’t be disappointed with it. My driving playlists have to be as such because it’s dangerous to fiddle with your iPod when you’re driving. Safety first!
  3. Blankets – Okay, so I know blankets can sometimes be vital to life (like if you live in the tundra), but here in New Orleans, it’s usually warm enough to go without. I absolutely love when my room is cold because I can grab a blanket and snuggle up. Blankets are very comforting: they’re like big warm hugs that last for as long as you want them to. And blankets are a luxury for us as well. Some people are freezing, and they need blankets in order to stay alive. Plus they can serve multiple functions. Is it a warm, beautiful day outside? Well get out of that cold room, spread your blanket on the ground, and bask in the warmth of the sun. I feel all warm inside just thinking about it!
  4. Reading FoxTrot on Sunday Mornings – Okay, so I haven’t really read FoxTrot in the Sunday morning newspaper for some time now, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped enjoying it. I just don’t get the newspaper anymore. FoxTrot was always one of my favorite comics (it’s the perfect balance of nerdy-cool), but it only was published in the Mobile Register every Sunday (which made me sad). I’ll admit it: even at the age of 20, I don’t really care for reading newspapers, but the Sunday Morning Comics never get old (except maybe Garfield and some of the lamer ones). Even though I don’t get to read FoxTrot in the newspaper anymore, I’ve recently started following Bill Amend (the mastermind behind it) on twitter (@billamend). Definitely an entertaining guy. Look for him.
  5. Listening to Music While Walking to Class – I suppose this is sort of related to singing in the car and the comfort of hearing music. My last blog post was about walking music, so you can read that for more insight into this concept (except the walking songs aren’t really up to date with what I’m walking to these days). I just love having music in my head when I’m walking to class (or anywhere really). It’s sort of like having a soundtrack to your life. My mood can change entirely (usually for the better) just from the type of song I listen to while I’m walking. It’s very therapeutic, especially if you’re walking to a big exam or a particularly boring class.
  6. Porch Swings – There’s one porch swing that I like in particular. It’s the porch swing on the left side of Cudd Hall (if you’re looking toward the building) on Tulane’s campus. On lovely spring days, it’s an ideal spot to wait for your next class or do a little last-minute studying. Last semester (Fall 2010), I had a big block of time between my morning lab and my mid-day history class. Instead of going back to my room for an hour (or sometimes less), I would go sit on my favorite porch swing and read. It was such a delightful experience. To break it down even more, I can safely say that I like both porches and swings, so the two together are ideal.
  7. Bubble Wrap – Such sweet, sweet satisfaction.
  8. Book Smell – Whether it’s an old, moldy one or a brand spankin’ new one, I absolutely love the smell of books. I’ve always been a pretty avid reader, so I guess I created an association between awesome books and the general smell. My sister got a kindle last year, and I just couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hold a strange metally thing in their hand rather than paper and binding. Of course I understand the convenience of kindles and nooks and such, but I would just much rather have a book in my hand.
  9. Juice Boxes – From Elementary School to High School, I always got a juice box in the lunches my mommy made me (and she made me lunch every day). That little cardboard container of 100% juice was a staple in deciding the success of my day, mostly because I would feel incomplete without it. Now that I’m a big kid in college, I still love juice boxes. My mom sends them to me all the time. My friends have also come to love the utter convenience of delicious juice in a disposable container. And they’re good for you too (if they’re 100%)!
  10. Old SpiceAnother smell that I really like (and there are a lot of them) is the smell of Old Spice. It doesn’t matter the specific type of Old Spice; it all smells awesome to me. If I’m ever standing/sitting next to a guy and he’s wearing Old Spice, I can’t help by want to tell him that he smells really good (which I often do depending on how comfortable I am with the male in question). I guess that’s sort of the point of wearing a good smelling deodorant though, so good work, Old Spice.

So those are a few of my favorite things. They may seem insignificant, but they really make my life so much better. Maybe you should start noticing the little things that brighten your day (or even a particular moment). It’s always important to follow Rule #32. And don’t forget to keep all the other rules in mind:

  1. Cardio
  2. The Double Tap
  3. Beware of Bathrooms
  4. Wear Seat Belts
  5. No Attachments
  6. The “Skillet”
  7. Travel Light
  8. Get a Kick Ass Partner
  9. With your Bare Hands
  10. Don’t Swing Low
  11. Use Your Foot
  12. Bounty Paper Towels
  13. Shake It Off
  14. Always Carry A Change of Underwear
  15. Bowling Ball
  16. Opportunity Knocks
  17. Don’t Be A Hero
  18. Limber Up
  19. Break It Up
  20. It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint, Unless It’s a Sprint, then Sprint
  21. Avoid Strip Clubs
  22. When in Doubt, Know Your Way Out
  23. Ziplock
  24. Use Your Thumbs
  25. Shoot First
  26. A Little Sun Screen Never Hurt Anybody
  27. Incoming!
  28. Double-Knot Your Shoes
  29. The Buddy System
  30. Pack Your Stain Stick
  31. Check the Back Seat
  32. Enjoy the Little Things
  33. Swiss Army Knife

Walkin’ Music

December 9, 2010

Hebert Hall (where I walk for most of my classes) when it snowed in December of 2008.

You know when you’re just walking along (maybe to class, maybe down the street, maybe even in the mall), and you wish you had a good song playing in the background of your life to entertain you? Well this blog post is dedicated to those songs. I’ve realized over the past few years that some of the most peaceful moments I’ve had are when I’m listening to my iPod as I walk somewhere. Every day when I go to class, I make sure that I have my music ready for the trek down McAlister Drive. My iTunes library is large enough for me to have a different song playing every time I step onto the road, but I can’t help but always pick the same songs for the journey. Whenever I hear these songs out in the real world (i.e. not playing through my head via earphones), I usually make the comment to whoever is listening, “This is a good walkin’ song.” There are particular songs that I listen to when I’m feeling a particular way, and there are songs that I just love so much, I can’t help but want to listen to them all the time. So I present to you:

Anna’s “Walkin’ Music”

  1. My absolute go-to walking song for the past month has been Dr. Dog‘s “Nobody Knows Who You Are“. I’m pretty sure I can safely say that I’m obsessed with this one. Dr. Dog really is the “sun that shines from afar;” the honey on my peanut butter sandwich; my cool side of the pillow. The rhythm provides a slow walking pace (and anyone who has ever walked anywhere with me knows that I’m a rather brisk walker), but it isn’t necessarily the pace that calls me back for more. When I’m walking along with this song playing in my head, all I wanna do is jam out and dance.
  2. Recently, Regina Spektor‘s “Fidelity” has been the headliner of my iPod. I liked this song when it came out a few years ago but never really paid that much attention to it. A few weeks ago in my yoga class, my teacher had it on her playlist, and it instantly became lodged in my brain. It’s a pretty low-key song to listen to while merrily strolling to class. If you’re not in too much of a hurry, the rhythm is a good walking pace as well. I just relax, enjoy the day, and “hear in my mind all this music.”
  3. The song that I find myself drawn to when I have to get myself up early to walk to my 8AM is “Lowdown” by My Morning Jacket. I dunno what it is about this song that makes me wanna listen to it early in the morning. Maybe it’s the dream-like effect that seems to flow through the song. Yim Yames’s voice is truly hypnotizing. Or maybe it’s just the name of the band (get it!?). The song starts off pretty smooth, but as you travel to the end, it adds hints of a build-up that wakes me up little by little. It’s like transferring from a subtle dream-like state to a more realistic one.
  4. I like to walk to “The Stars are Projectors” by Modest Mouse when I’m not in a very happy-go-lucky mood (like with items 1 and 2). This song is for those times when I’m feeling particularly driven. If you see me walking down the street with a determined look on my face, I’m most likely rocking out to this song in my head. Walking to it makes me feel like I can face any challenge presented ahead of me. Also, when I’m listening to this song, I tend to become absorbed in it and will most likely not pay too much attention to the things around me (that means I probably won’t give my usual smile and wave to people I see because, gosh darn-it, I’ve got somewhere to be!).
  5. The next two are both Deerhunter songs, and they go back to back. For a while, I would just listen to the entire album of Halcyon Digest for my walkin’ music. I eventually caught myself feeling like walking to two particular songs more often than the entire album. These two songs run right after one another on the album, so I think that line-up just stuck. First I’d start with “Memory Boy” because it’s a pretty up-beat, fast paced song. Since it’s such a short song (only about 2 minutes long), I would just kinda melt into the next (much longer and in my opinion better) song, “Desire Lines“. And let me tell you that “Desire Lines” is one of the BEST walking songs out there. The pace isn’t too fast, nor is it too slow. It’s got that sorta hypnotic “I’m in my own world” type of sound, and the lyrics are PERFECT. “Walking free/ come with me/ far away/ everyday.” Yeah, I could definitely walk with Deerhunter to far away places every day.
  6. I’m a little bit afraid to go into this next band, because there’s so much that I listen to while walking. That’s right: it’s Wilco. Perhaps I should just mention the ones I’ve walked to recently. Let me start with “At Least That’s What She Said” particularly Live at Keystone Park (Brooklyn – July 13, 2009). I gotta have that raw, distorted sound that only a live show can supply. I know, I know! It starts pretty slow, and isn’t necessarily walk-like, but once you get to that break-down, BAM! You’re walkin’! Another good one is “Theologians“. It’s the perfect walking speed for me. I just put my hands in my pockets and go. I listened to this one a lot a few weeks ago because I had to write a paper on Peter Abelard for my High Middle Ages class, and I wasn’t in the best of moods about it. Next is “I’m the Man Who Loves you“. Just another perfect walkin’ song. I shouldn’t really go on with more because I’m pretty sure I could fill at least 10 pages worth of Wilco walkin’ songs (and yes, it would include “Walken” from Sky Blue Sky). If you’re looking for a good Wilco song to walk to, I would recommend not even bothering with one particular song and just putting on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Pure Gold.
  7. Another very pleasant song for walking (I think I tend to walk to this in the morning) is “Haiti” by The Arcade Fire. The lyrics aren’t necessarily uplifting, especially if you understand the french parts, but if you let yourself get lost in the sound, that’s all you need. I’ve decided that my dance/yoga teacher has really awesome taste in music because we used to do warm-ups to this song. The entire album is amazing as well. If “Haiti” is too mellow for you, go for “Rebellion (Lies)” or “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”.
  8. This is probably going to sound stupid, but whatever. When I’m not in a very good mood, and I have to go to class, I usually turn on “There, There (The Boney King of Nowhere)” by Radiohead. It’s probably not one of the best songs to listen to when you’re not feeling particularly chipper, but I suppose it’s sort of a form of catharsis. Plus, it’s just a stellar song. I have a secret dream of choreographic a dance piece to it one day. But I guess that’s not really a secret anymore…
  9. So ever since I saw (500) Days of Summer, I’ve found that “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates is such a great walkin’ song. Every time I listen to it, I imagine myself in the middle of a crowd of people dancing around me. Best feeling ever. It’s a good pace, and it makes me believe that its making my dreams come true. And since Daryl Hall and John Oates sort of creep me out, I illustrated this with the movie (really, just google image them, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about). It’s a super cute movie that I absolutely love. I recommend it to everyone!
  10. Last for this list (but certainly not least) is one of the most feel-good, calming, groovy songs ever written. Yup, it’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” by Simon & Garfunkel. You can’t listen to this song without instantly feeling better about anything. It’s simply impossible. Just kickin’ down the cobblestones, you make your way happily to your destination without a care in the world. “Life, I love you. All is groovy.”

Now these weren’t in any particular order so don’t take this as some top ten list of Anna’s favorite songs. They are some of my favorite Walkin’ Songs. What are some of yours?

Cooking Time With Anna – Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

November 23, 2010

So there’s this absolutely amazing restaurant in New Orleans called Boucherie where my friends, family, and I like to eat every now and again. Every time I’ve been, I’ve had to have one of the greatest desserts I’ve ever tasted: Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. That’s right, it’s bread pudding made out of a doughnut. For a while now, I’ve wanted to try to make this wonderful concoction of simplicity and elegance, but I just haven’t really had time for it. Now that I’m lazing around at home for Thanksgiving Break, however, and my mom just happened to buy two-dozen doughnuts from some fundraising group at her church, I thought what better time to bake! I researched a couple of bread pudding recipes and sort of figured out what I was supposed to do, so here’s my original take on how to make Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

Ingredients:

1 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp salt

A dash of nutmeg (cause I really like nutmeg)

2 eggs

Start by cutting the doughnuts in fourths and putting them in a large bowl (trust me). Then take the can of condensed milk and pour it on top of the doughnut pieces. Let that just hang out while you crack your two eggs in small bowl. Whisk them a little, and then add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk a little more until relatively smooth and pour over the doughnut pieces. Mix well to make sure that each piece is nicely soaking up the liquid. Let stand for about 15 minutes. You can take this time to let the oven preheat to 350°F.

Once it’s settled, give it once more mix and pour it into some sort of pan. My pan was a little too big for the amount of doughnuts I had (in my opinion), so I spread it out pretty thin. I suppose this is good though, because it means I’ll eat less of it when I cut myself a piece. Once it’s in the pan, pop it in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Mine took 40 minutes exactly, but every oven is different. Start low and keep checking up on it.

While you’re waiting for that to cook, you can start making the sauce. I used rum, because that’s what my sister told me to use, but I would’ve much rather used bourbon. Whichever you choose, make sure you have about two shots of it.

Rum Sauce Icing:

Rum (measure to taste)

~1 ¼ cups powdered sugar

~1/2 stick of butter

In a double boiler, melt about half a stick of butter (I ended up using about two-thirds of a stick, but my family is a big fan of butter). Once it’s melted, start adding your powdered sugar slowly. I didn’t really measure out the sugar; I ended up dumping in about a fourth of a cup in every time (averaging to about 1 ½ cups). Whisk until smooth every time you add more. When you’ve added about a ½ cup of sugar, pour in your rum and whisk it in. I’m only telling you to add it now just in case you add too much and you need to mix in more sugar (better to be safe than overly rummy). It will ultimately turn into an icing like substance. Once that was done I just put it aside. It’s best served while the bread pudding is still warm from the oven and the sauce is still warm from the boiler, but we weren’t quite ready to eat it yet.

Serve on a lovely plate and spoon the icing sauce on top. Enjoy!

Overall, it was pretty good. I wish the sauce had been more saucy than icing-y, but it was still acceptable. Next time I might try another sauce recipe. The bread pudding part was delicious, but my sister sort of spoiled it by saying it looked like a weenie casserole…

I’m a Nerd.

November 3, 2010

I’m pretty sure the world has figured out by now that I’m a big nerd. People have been calling me by this title for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never really taken much offense from it. I was never cruelly picked on by bullies as a child like you see in movies and T.V. shows. The only ones who gave me more than a hard time about my interests were my sisters. This didn’t really last long because as soon as they started reading Harry Potter (I was 11), their entire world was turned upside down. I never understood the appeal of the “too cool for school” attitude that all the kids around me seemed to have. Yeah, sure. I would watch The Real World with my sisters when it came on T.V. I would go see those silly teen movies in the theaters with my friends (what else was there to do in middle school). I played sports and took dance classes and was pretty athletic. But all these things weren’t particularly grand (except for dance – I will always love dance).

I think my nerdiness might have stemmed from the fact that when I was still young, my sisters got to a point where they didn’t play with me anymore. I didn’t mind this so much though. I would just go outside to the backyard and play by myself. I could dream up some fantastic scenarios involving the imaginary characters in my head and literally play in the yard for hours. There were no limits to what I might think up. The mysteries hidden in the secret brick that was loose on the side of my neighbor’s house. The great fortress (Murphy High School across the street) of the evil king that threatened to attack my home and family. The brave heroine who had to save her friends from some evil monster or tyrant. And of course I would sometimes imagine myself as a Sailor Scout, a character from Mortal Kombat, a Jedi, a power ranger, or other various pop culture characters from my childhood. Sometimes my sisters would come play with me, and we would run around the house as Jill Pole, and Susan and Lucy Pevensie. I have some great memories from that time.

So what now? When people first meet me, I don’t think that they get the impression that I’m a big fat nerd (correct me if I’m wrong). Recently I’ve been trying to find out if there is some sort of balance for my nerdiness and normalness at this point in my life. I’ve lived for 20 years now, so my experiences have definitely changed me from that little girl who used to play in the backyard, but I think my nerdiness level has increased. With this in mind, I looked around my room for some examples of some sort of leveling off.

Example 1 – My Choice of Posters

Welcome to the Northeast Corner of my room. Yes, that is in fact a map of Middle Earth at the bottom there. I love looking at it. I find it incredibly interesting that someone took the time to plan out all the details for a completely fictional land in order to sufficiently tell a story. I also really like maps. Notice the world map above. I could sit and look at that for hours. My ultimate goal is to get a giant wall map and hang it right beside my bed so I can just lie down and look at it whenever I want. Maps are cool. Fantasy maps are nerdy. There’s balance there. I also think the Middle Earth map’s nerdiness cancels out because I have two band posters next to it. The one on top is Sigur Rós, and the one on bottom that you can’t see very well is Wilco. I think Wilco can more that cover the cost of the nerdiness of my Middle Earth map. That corner of my room is definitely cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Example 2 – My Choice of Books

Ah, yes. My tiny dorm room bookshelf. My lack of sufficient space greatly hindered me from bringing my entire book collection to school with me, but I tried to take the ones most important to me. The first thing you may notice is that there are a great deal of fantasy novels on this bookshelf. If you look closer, however, you’ll see that they are series. Those only count as one in my eyes. Spread a little on top and bottom, I have the Wheel of Time series. It’s my favorite fantasy series. I enjoy picking them up from time to time, turning to a random page, and reading a chapter or two. I do the same with the Harry Potter books (sadly, my last few books in the series are currently lost). Then you have the Inheritance Trilogy. Honestly, I’m not too crazy about these books. Eragon was okay, but I found the writing style to be very annoying. I only have them here because I keep meaning to read them (because my sisters want me to). I’ve been working on getting through Eldest for about 3 years now, and I’m not even half way. Then you get to one of my new favorite series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Yeah, I know these books are probably on a preteen reading level, but they’re just so darn entertaining! Plus I can finish one in a day, so there’s not that suspense and longing that comes with reading the thicker books. Now we get to the cool stuff. If you look all the way over to the top left, you’ll see titles like On the Road, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, Jitterbug Perfume, Crime and Punishment, Breakfast of Champions, Still Life With Woodpecker, Le Petite Prince, The Great Gatsby, Slaughterhouse Five, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, and A Separate Reality. I would consider these all to be fantastic (and pretty cool) novels. I think they balance out my fantasy novel collection.

Example 3 – My Pictures

That may or may not be a signed picture of Michael Shanks, the actor who plays Dr. Daniel Jackson on the Sci Fi T.V. Series Stargate SG-1, that I may or may not have gotten at DragonCon*, a Sci Fi and Fantasy convention that I may or may not have attended in 2007. But look at all the great friends I have in the next frame! Cool points, right?

Example 4 – My Desk

On my desk in a tin lunchbox, you’ll find my collection of Magic: The Gathering cards. I know, I know. That’s the smallest Magic collection ever, but I never really did the whole card collecting thing. I’ve only ever built one deck on my own, and I haven’t played much since middle school anyway (my normal Magic partner goes to school in Boston now). But check out those awesome books to the left! They’re my books for my two history classes. You may notice that most of them say something about Vikings. Well, that’s because I’m taking a class called The Age of Vikings, and it’s pretty much the coolest class ever. My academic endeavors outweigh my Magic nerdiness. VIKINGS, for the win!

Also, I might want to mention that the tin lunchbox that my Magic cards are hidden in is actually a Harry Potter lunchbox…

Example 5 – My T-Shirt Selection

I guess these are what I would consider my “cool” t-shirts. They could potentially be considered hip. On the top row, there’s an old 1986 Jazz Fest t-shirt, an old 1984 Louisiana World Exposition t-shirt, and a battered Locus Fork Band t-shirt (a band my parents used to go see in Mobile). On the bottom, there’s my “Make Wetlands, Not War!” t-shirt from Dirty Coast, my Arabi t-shirt from Dirty Coast, and my Street Car shirt from American Apparel (my sister got that one for me). I guess I consider all these shirts cool because they’re all from New Orleans (except the Locus Fork Band one). Plus the one’s on top are all t-shirts that used to be my mom’s when she was younger (vintage!). They’re pretty cool hand-me-downs.

These are my nerdy shirts. The top is all Legend of Zelda t-shirts, and the bottom are all Star Wars t-shirts. The Wind Waker shirt, the Triforce shirt, the Empire Strikes Back shirt, and the Millennium Falcon shirt are probably my favorite shirts ever. I try to wear them as much as I can without seeming to geeky. The thing is, every time I wear one and someone comments, it’s usually to say, “Hey, cool shirt!” or something along those lines. And come on! Look at that Millennium Falcon shirt! There’s a tie-dyed Death Star! There are X-Wings and TIE Fighters shooting at each other! Sure it may be entirely too large for me, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing that bad boy as pajamas.

So those are some things that I immediately thought of, but there are probably more examples somewhere. And these examples (minus the Magic cards maybe) are physical things that people can see about my nerdiness. If they’re just looking at this stuff, and I don’t start talking, most people would probably think I was relatively normal. Once I open my mouth, however, and I start making obscure references to things (no one ever gets my references…), they’ll probably see that I’m a big-time nerd.

A Dr. Dog Day

October 9, 2010

Fate (Dr. Dog album)

My Favorite Dr. Dog Album

Let me tell you about my day on October 7, 2010.

I woke up that morning feeling a little groggy, but that was quickly remedied with a strong brew of Vietnamese coffee and the realization that today was the day when Dr. Dog would play for free on Tulane’s campus. When I sat down at my computer to check the pointless emails that I receive every morning from various subscriptions (Barnes and Noble, J.Crew, eBay, etc.), I opened iTunes, hooked up my computer to my speakers, and started my day with a little bit of Fate, my favorite Dr. Dog album. I cannot even begin to describe the absolute ecstasy I felt as “The Breeze” started playing. It was the best possible start to the day. The day before I felt a bit of pressure coming over me. I looked at my calendar to see that I have a paper due and a midterm early next week, and I probably wasn’t going to have much time to work on either since my family would be visiting New Orleans this weekend. This song was the cure for that tension. “Are you moving much too fast?… Then put a needle to the groove and sing.”

Almost every day I work in the Music and Media Section of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Today was my early shift (hello 8:30AM!), and I was running a tad bit later than usual, so I had to cross the quad to save time, getting my feet slightly wet (and cold) from the early morning dew on the grass. This didn’t bother me too much because I was listening to “The Rabbit, The Bat, & The Reindeer”, and how could anything be bothersome when I had that song playing in my head. By using hypotenuses instead of walking around, I made it to work on time. It was a relatively slow morning in the MML, so I was asked to check a potentially damaged movie at one of the viewing stations. This means that I got to spend a majority of my time at work watching a movie (Saved! starring Mandy Moore, Jena Malone, and Macaulay Culkin – but sorry guys, it’s super scratched). I also got to use the MML printer to print out my Psych notes for my class that afternoon, so it was free!

With a little help from “From”, I made my way to Hebert Hall for my High Middle Ages class. My professor started lecturing about Henry I (1100-1135) of England, but my mind wandered just a little bit. By the time we made it to Henry II (1154-1190), I had already completed my little doodle montage pictured below (which looking at it now, I realize my dyslexic brain mixed up a title). After that I figured I should probably start paying attention again, so I tried to do so. At the end of class, my professor decided that the midterm (which was supposed to take place next Tuesday) was going to be pushed back to the next week. A great sigh swept over the classroom as everyone heard this fortunate news. That was a huge weight off my shoulders.

Walking from class was accompanied by “100 Years” and “Uncovering the Old”. These songs brought me to my lunch, Bruff-to-Go, where they had egg salad sandwiches (my absolute favorite) and Coca-Cola Classic.

My journey to Psychology Test and Measure Lecture in Jones Hall was a hard one to take, but “My Friend” got me there in one piece. I was dreading this lecture because the outline I printed out to complete during class was longer than most of the ones we had done in the past. I was pleasantly surprised when we finished 15 minutes early. The walk back was taken with “I Only Wear Blue” (from the album Shame, Shame), and I couldn’t stop smiling after I saw the stage on the LBC Quad already set up and ready to go. In just a mere four hours, Dr. Dog would be playing on that stage.

As 6PM rolled closer, my friend Tina came over to campus. I also started hearing from my sister, Margaret, who would be in New Orleans very soon to stay with me. She was running a bit behind schedule, so Tina and I (deciding that we were very hungry) went over to the quad to get free food (Voodoo BBQ!). As we make it to the food line in front of McAlister Auditorium, our thoughts of food are carried away with the wind when our friend Bailey comes up to us and asks if we’ll go talk to Dr. Dog with her. At first I’m a little confused by what she’s asking. Talk? To the band? One of my all-time favorite bands? I look over on the steps of the auditorium, and there they were, eating they’re voodoo BBQ, relaxed at getting ready to play a great show. Of course Tina and I say, “Yes, more than anything,” so Bailey, Bailey’s friend who I never caught the name of, Tina, and I walked over to the steps.

Guys. They’re so cool. Bailey started telling them about the times she had seen them play, but since this was my first Dr. Dog concert, I didn’t have much to add to the conversation. Eric (drums) then told us that they went to The Spotted Cat (or That Cat Place as he called it) on Frenchmen Street last night in the Marigny. Toby (bass) also started talking about the various music clubs and bars they visited. I won’t go into too much detail of the conversation, but let me just tell you that it was amazing. Then some other girl came up and said something along the lines of “Hey guys! I don’t know which one you are, but I love your music!” This was the point when Tina and I decided it was time to go. We bid them farewell and finally went to get some BBQ.

The concert was amazing. One of the best shows I’ve been to. They opened with “Stranger” and completely rocked it. They jammed, they grooved, they rocked, they rolled. They were absolutely amazing. I’m having a hard time putting to words how truly awesome they were. I danced and sang along with them and had the time of my life. Did I mention that they were amazing?

After that we headed over to Bruno’s Tavern to have a few beers. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.