Good news: I’ve survived the first two weeks of school, and have just embarked upon my third. So far, so good—I’ve connected with a couple people, gotten into the groove of my new schedule, and I haven’t ripped too much of my hair out over the already massive amount of homework I have. Luckily, I actually like to be busy (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
There are a couple of classes I’m particularly excited about: Book Structures and Typography. Book Structures is, believe it or not, about the structure of books and how to make your own. I’ve already made a couple little, simple books with hard covers, and I am extremely excited to make books that actually look like books. One of my homework books includes Harry Potter imagery. Surprised? I should think not. Many of you probably know of my obsession with books, and also my love of the smell of books (Cara, you know what I’m talking about). Now I get to make my own books with their own book smell! You’ll never see me again. Or, at least, you’ll never see my nose again.
Typography is really exciting for me because one of the main reasons I got into graphic design is its unavoidable association with type. I feel like the Hermione of my class, because I’m always trying to answer questions and remain at the upmost attention (it pays off—I won some green duct tape in Bingo last week. Score!). We’re making ligatures at the moment—two letterforms intertwined to create one cohesive letterform—and it’s been my favorite piece of homework so far.
Ariel update: we got her a new scratching post, because the one we had gotten from Target was no good. To say she loves it is an understatement. When we got it we put a little catnip on it and she went crazy for it (I’m extremely curious as to what happens in cats’ brains when they smell that stuff). She sits on it for the majority of the day. And speaking of cats, Emma got a kitten for her birthday! I’m so jealous that I can’t be there to play with her. Poor Pippin may die of a heart attack, what with two cats in the house now.
Jonji has also been extremely busy with school, and has suffered through some long days recently. We both look forward to the time we get to spend at CrossFit, and the time we get to devote to friends. I finally convinced Kelsey to come over to see the place, despite her best efforts to avoid me (not true). She brightened up our place with some sunflowers and apologized for not bringing ice cream (what a keeper! But next time, bring the ice cream). We also got to spend some time with Todd and Jessica on Sunday, which pushed us to try out a new lunch spot just a couple streets away. The Curious Palette, as it’s called, has tasty, large salads and lovely chocolate croissants. Don’t worry, Tartine, you’re still my number one.
I’ve also been trying out new recipes, just to spice (sometimes literally) things up a bit. I made enchiladas last week and was wholly surprised to find out they were amazing. To make sure I actually am Irish and not secretly Mexican, I tried a Shepherd’s Pie recipe last night. Once again, I ended up pleasantly surprised with the results. Sometimes it pays off to give new things a chance!
1 lb ground beef
1.5 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp olive oil*
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 medium butternut squash, skin removed and chopped the same size as the carrots
1.5 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
Mashed Potatoes (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Start the potatoes boiling (see below), then heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Cook ground beef until browned. Meanwhile, place 1.5 tbsp butter and the olive oil in a large cast iron saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has completely melted, add onions, carrots, squash, 1/4 tsp ground pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and the squash is tender, roughly 10 minutes. Stir in rosemary, thyme, and parsley. Add the meat to the vegetables and stir to combine. Taste to check whether or not it needs more salt.
Pile the mashed potatoes over the pan of vegetables and meat and smooth out until you have an even layer of potatoes all over. Score with a fork however you’d like.
Bake for 30–35 minutes, until slightly golden on top.
*This is a rough estimate—I never measure olive oil, so add more or less if you need to.
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
1/2 cup milk
5 tbsp butter
Fill a large pot halfway with water and place over high heat. Once the water boils, add the potatoes and cook until soft and can easily slide off of a fork when pricked.
Once the potatoes are done, drain and place them in a KitchenAid mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the 5 tbsp butter and the milk (don’t add all the milk all at once or you will be severely splashed) and whisk. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, then taste to see if you need to add more. Mash until smooth.