This & That

{november  – monday – morning}

√  I’m still trying to get used to my iPad.  I got one about 2 months ago, but have yet to really use it for much of anything.  It seems to be a device on which one consumes, not creates, media.  I didn’t realize that when I got it.  I thought it was like a small laptop computer so I planned on using it to write blog posts and do photo editing.  But so far I haven’t seen any way that I could use it for my intended purposes.

And as I don’t have a smart phone, I’m finding all this app crap to be rather tedious to learn about.  How in the world do I know if an app is something that will be useful to me if I don’t know what the thing does/replaces/adds to my life?  And more importantly, if I put an app on the iPad can I get it off/deleted/made to go away forever– not just hidden somewhere out of my sight, like a portrait of Dorian Gray?

√  I started re-decorating our home office about a month ago.  First, Zen-Den and I re-configured the desks and the file cabinets.  We left the 6′ x 4′ bookcase in the same place, but I decided to take out all the books so that I could re-do the shelves in a way that is more user me friendly.  I re-commissioned an older table lamp that was catching dust in the basement because I thought that it’d provide better ambient light in the room.

When I began this project I was all optimistic that I could do it with what we have sitting around, but so far I haven’t been able to get a groovy vibe happening in that room.  Pretty much all that I’ve managed to do is create a big mess that spills out of the office, across the foyer and into the LR.  So much for flying by the seat of my pants.

√  We’re hosting a Holiday Party in a few weeks.  I decided that we’d do what I’d call bar food.  That is, a menu that is more filling than just munchies, but less bother than a buffet supper.  We’ll have trays of small sandwiches & bowls of chips.  Then hot dips & crunchy snacks.  Plus a table of cookies & candy.  We bought all of our beer & wine over the weekend, so that’s out-of-the-way.

Any suggestions for a great dip of some sort?  I’m making Skyline Dip & Jalapeño Popper Dip already, but would like to add something more to the menu.  Also, if I make some hot mulled cider what kind of alcohol would you want available to put in it?  Rum? Red wine? Bourbon? Something else?  [I’m not a fan of mulled cider so what to add to it is kind of a mystery to me.]

… enough babbling for now.  later.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

16 thoughts on “This & That”

  1. Haven’t got a smart phone and haven’t gotten a tablet yet – I keep thinking I want one but I’m honestly not sure what I’d use it for. And all the data plans confuse me.

    And oh my goodness that jalapeno popper dip sounds wonderful! Do you have a Harry and David’s near you? Their pepper and onion relish mixed with cream cheese is simple and addicting and I see they now have a bunch of different varieties. It’s sweet rather than spicy but you’re already making a cream cheese based dip. I’m also very fond of Black Bean Salsa which has the added benefit of being nice to toss on salads or chicken or tacos if you have leftovers.

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    1. Zazzy, I don’t see a need for a smart phone, but I thought that the iPad would be a lightweight alternative to the laptop. Is it like a laptop? No. But it’s a cute little thing, I’ll give it that.

      Harry and David stores are seasonal, so somewhere in one of these malls there must be one opening up right about this time of year. Will look for the pepper & onion relish. Sounds great. And now I’m off to read your recipe. Thanks for the ideas.

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  2. Easiest dip in the world: buy the steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s, TJ’s Bruschetta Sauce, and some feta. Add the whole thing together in a bowl and serve with pita or crackers of some sort. Super good. Plus, I’m a rum-in-my-cider person…!

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  3. Ally, I got an iPad last November for my birthday and I thought the same thing…but I’ve found a lot of other cool uses for it. I use it to work out with videos on iTunes (especially helpful when doing yoga – no more neck strain!), I use it to read online versions of magazines (the Martha Stewart publications especially have cool, interactive videos and goodies not available elsewhere), and I do use it to work on my blog (if you use the WordPress app, while not pretty, you can publish posts, answer comments, etc.) There are a few apps for blogging that are supposed to be pretty good (Blogsy is one), which I haven’t tried, so I usually just write my blog drafts with the WordPress app, and then later at night edit the post and worry about the images then. Good luck! As far as your re-do of your home office, you’re at the point where I usually advise people to take everything out and start over. And then make a list of items you need/want for the room – and then “shop what you have”. That should help you be a little more objective and get past the big mess stage. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

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    1. Kristen, thanks for the ideas about the iPad. I feel like it should be useful for more than an expensive paperweight! I’m going to follow your lead exactly and start with yoga, Martha & the WP app.

      I like your idea of starting all over again in the home office. A little objectivity couldn’t hurt this mess! I definitely need a list of what I want.

      Plus I need to commit to a color scheme– which will be based on the colors in the fabric on the cushions on the Morris chair which has to stay in this room no matter what! Thanks for the guidance.

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      1. You’re welcome! And (shameless self promotion here) if you still need help on that room – email me! In the future I’ll be offering design advice online and in person (for a fee), but right now, my rate is a grand total of free! And there’s only so many times I can re-do (either in reality or virtually) rooms in my own house. 😉 I’d love to get the chance to work on different spaces instead! 🙂

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        1. Thanks Kristen. I appreciate that. Because the holidays are upon us, I’ve decided to put this project aside until January. I’m putting the books back onto the shelves & then shutting the French doors to the space. No one that visits need see what isn’t happening in there!

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          1. Ha, you’ve discovered the “hidden secret” of making over anywhere…if it isn’t done when company comes over or if you get bored working on the room or if you are just plain sick of the space…close the door and tackle it some other time! Last Christmas we had a rather awkward moment with a full house of family when more than one bathroom was needed at the same time (I had of course made our house look “perfect” while chucking everything we owned into our master bathroom closet, that was spilling out into the not-done, half-painted, half-spackled bathroom)! So, I totally understand! 🙂 Good luck and I would love to help someday!

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            1. Oh you sound like a woman after my own heart. Some of the party goers are from out-of-town & will spend the night. I’ve already started hiding stuff in the master bedroom closet just so the guest rooms look great! The things we do, eh?

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  4. I’d second the vote for the onion dip…I have a friend who makes it and it is heaven. I’d also vote for some non dippy things…bowls of nuts to snack on, cheese on crackers, maybe some little clementine tangerines. I like to cook at least something for these sort of things, and I’ve been itching to try some cheese popover things that I saw in the newspaper. Want me to bring them, along with maybe a bottle of champagne? THAT sounds like heaven to me. The thing I liked about the recipe was that it was about prepping the dough, freezing it, and then popping whatever it was you were making into the oven at the last minute. Easy peasy. Here’s the article, if you’re interested. http://www.sfgate.com/recipes/article/Freeze-dough-batter-for-surprise-guests-4004586.php#page-2 The cheese things are Fontina and Herb whatevers. I don’t have a stand mixer…I wonder if that matters a bunch?

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    1. J, of course you’re invited! Bring the cheese popovers [thanks for the link – they sound wonderful] + the champagne. I have some sugar cubes and Angostura Bitters here, so we can make Champagne Cocktails and have a good old time of it!

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