• books,  fall,  geekery,  nerdiness,  summer,  writing

    Back to School Style for Grown-Ups

    The hot hot summer has begun to cool and soon it’s time for back to school. Since I’m not a teacher and no longer a student, and since my son is still in diapers, I can think about the first day of school without panic. (Though I do still have that recurring dream about not knowing where any of my classes are…)  Memories of the first day of school are heavy with nostalgia for me and, I imagine, for many of you.  I was a nerd kid, and I used to lay out all of my school supplies on the carpet just to look at them in the weeks before…

  • books,  fashion,  fiction,  literary looks,  nerdiness,  style

    Literary Looks: The Sun Also Rises

    Lately, I’ve been feasting on a lot of good reads. To celebrate, I’m compiling the first of a series of literary looks inspired by books and writers. My book club recently finished The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. It’s a well-researched, fictional account of Hemingway’s relationship with his first wife, Hadley, told from her point of view. During their 5-year marriage, Hemingway wrote and sold his first novel, The Sun Also Rises (1926), which is set in Pamplona among the bullfights and running of the bulls during the Feast of San Fermin. Remembering that novel got me thinking about Spanish style, and prompted this literary look, which would be perfect for watching the festivities in…

  • beer,  beverages,  booze,  cheese,  food,  local,  microbrews,  nerdiness,  recipes

    A Recipe for Wintry Weather

    It’s been snowing all day here in Madison. My daffodils and hyacinth are covered in glistening chunks of ice. There’s almost nothing good about winter weather in spring, except for the fact that it gives me an excuse to make just a few more hearty meals before turning to lighter, springtime fare. And nothing says hearty like beer and cheese. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a stipend from New Belgium Brewery to purchase their beer and create a recipe with it. Since I can’t drink beer these days (I’m 28 weeks pregnant), the next best thing is to cook with it. Most of the alcohol cooks…

  • creativity,  fiction,  music,  nerdiness,  writing

    What Oscar Wilde and Dolly Parton Have in Common

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde I’m not usually in the business of providing inspirational quotes on this blog. My cynical nature, further honed by law school, prevents me from getting jazzed up over “Just Do It”-type mantras (in fact, sports analogies actually unmotivate me). However, I came across the Oscar Wilde quote above on another writer’s blog, The Siren’s Song, and it stuck with me. It got me thinking about the link between individuality and creativity. Lately, I’ve been listening to old Dolly Parton songs. And I’ve come to admire her– rhinestones, fake 40DDs and all. Yes, that’s right. If you would have told me,…

  • beer,  blogging,  booze,  cheese,  food,  local,  nerdiness,  wine

    Cheese and Holiday Cheer

    One of my favorite things about blogging is that is provides me with a good excuse to do all of the nerdy, quirky things that I’ve secretly always wanted to do, but was too embarrassed to admit to anyone else. For example, I’ve always wanted to stop at one of the many souvenir stores that dot Wisconsin’s roadsides, selling things like cheese and moccasins. So, on my my way to visit a friend in Green Bay on Monday, I stopped on a whim at Schutlz’s Cheese Haus off of Highway 151. Schultz’s is everything you’d ever want in a roadside cheese store. It looks like a little house you’d find…

  • chocolate,  farms,  green living,  holiday,  local,  nerdiness

    How I Became a Bacon Snob

    When most people think of the farmer’s market, they think about its midsummer bounty: the fresh cut flowers, the fragrant herbs, the rainbow of summer vegetables. I, too, adore the height of summer. I hoard and preserve tomatoes for sauce, strawberries for baking, and giant vats of pesto for pasta. But last Saturday, during my first trip to the Dane County Winter Farmer’s Market, I realized that some of my favorite market treasures are available year-round. Here’s what I bought last week: Jordanal Farms. This place has turned me into a bacon snob.  No, “bacon snob” is not an oxymoron. If you have ever tasted Jordanal Farms’ nitrate-free, pasture-raised bacon,…

  • art,  beauty,  design,  fashion,  nerdiness,  vintage

    Four Centuries of Fashion

    I’ve been doing a lot of research on vintage fashion for a novel I’m working on. I recently came across a treasure trove of information on the website of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Perusing the photos of garments from the 1600’s through today is like taking a walk through time–albiet in a corset and sometimes painful shoes, but always looking fantastic. Here are a few of my favorite ensembles from the Met’s archives. All photos are from the Costume Institute’s website.

  • booze,  nerdiness,  scotch,  tastings

    Scotch Tasting for Beginners

    When I’m not blogging or writing, my day job is lawyering. And lawyers and scotch go together like… Denny Crane and cigars. I’ve never enjoyed scotch, or any type of whiskey for that matter, but I figured that, like golf, I might as well give it a real try before I put it in the column of “Things I Don’t Like.”  That column already includes Running, Insomnia, and People Who Say “Irregardless.” I recently attended a single malt scotch tasting at the The Malt House in Madison. Scotch, for those novices like me, is malt whisky that was produced in Scotland. Scotland has 89 operational malt whisky distilleries. “Single malt”…

  • blogging,  design,  fashion,  nerdiness

    Geek Culture (and Couture)

    If any of you happened to stumble upon my blog yesterday, you may have been greeted, not with pictures and posts as usual, but by hostile gibberish that looked like this: Parent directory wp-content wp-admin wp-includes No, that was not supposed to be an experimental concrete poem. In a fit of what can only be described as temporary insanity caused by too much time online, I decided that would try to move my blog to a new web address. By myself. I can’t explain why I decided to do this without the assistance of a professional. I can only say that I was motivated by a surge of geeky empowerment…