Monday, July 27, 2009

J.Crew Catalog August 2009/I Was Right

J.Crew's August 2009 catalog came in the mail today, and aside from the fact that I WANT EVERY SINGLE THING IN IT and that I want the model from the men's section to walk out of the pages and become my well-dressed, WASP-y husband, the whole catalog was shot in Monterey County in (thebeststateever) California! Monterey County, as in the county that contains Big Sur!

If you think that that place sounds somewhat familiar, it's because I made a post about Big Sur in June! I knew that Big Sur was adorable, and so does J.Crew, which really just proves that I am right and that whenever you read about something here and you aren't sure if it is actually adorable or not, you can just remember this and stop doubting the cuteness.

And now I just really want to go camping in Big Sur or at Lake Tahoe and I want to go on a road trip that is more significant than the tiny, sort-of road trip I am going on this week. Like a real road trip to the Grand Canyon or Niagra Falls or Mount Rushmore, or just anywhere, really!

Love, Jillian

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paul Newman

My birthday was two days ago, and it sucked. It's fine though, because I wasn't expecting it to be wonderful or anything. I'm just sad that I turned 21 while throwing up everything but my internal organs. And not because I was SO DRUNK or anything, no. It's because I'm pretty sure I caught whatever it is my sister had. Jillian was kind enough to tell me I probably had swine flu, she called it "my birthday present to your hypochondria." How sweet. Anyway, it was basically no fun. BUT then I decided to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and it was the least horrible part of my day. This reminded me just how perfect Paul Newman will always be to me.

Now, I love Robert Redford. He's Robert Redford, duh. But ever since forever ago I've thought that Paul Newman was the perfect man. The fact that I love Paul Newman a little more, Jillian loves Robert Redford a little more and we both love Jimmy Stewart equally, pretty much defines our relationship. When Paul Newman died, our friend Caroline and I were in her car and she said something like "Wait, I was supposed to marry him!" I felt exactly the same way.

Paul Newman is adorable in any movie he was ever in. Okay, at least to me he totally is. Because I'm sure someone reading this is thinking: Wait, he was not adorable in Sweet Bird of Youth or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof! Or this and that blahblahblah. But, whatever guys, he was still Paul Newman. Plus all those pictures of him and his wife are always really cute. And remember that part in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where Katharine Ross wakes up to him being really adorable on a bicycle and then she gets on the handlebars? UM THAT IS MY PERFECT LIFE. I've wanted to be Katharine Ross's character forever. She had the best hair and was hanging out with Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Ah!

I love Paul Newman so much that I even watched all of Harry and Son one night just because he was in it. Truth. Then there's Newman's Own. Yeah, it's all about charity which makes Paul Newman pretty cute, but, also, who doesn't want to buy salad dressing that has a sketch of Paul Newman on the bottle?! Someone who is way more soulless than even me or Jillian, which is both amazing and horrifying. While I was telling someone about how much I love Paul Newman, they immediately said "Oh, but like, the young Paul Newman, obviously." Excuse me? Paul Newman just got super adorable as he got older. He started wearing those really cute glasses and wearing ultra-cute old man clothes. I LOVE OLD MAN CLOTHES AND GLASSES.

Now someone reading this is probably going to tell me about how they read somewhere that Paul Newman was a horrible husband and a functioning alcoholic and how my dreams should be shattered. Well, SHUT UP. Seriously.

Love, María

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Maia Hirasawa

María is really into all things Swedish, so over the years I have been exposed to a lot of adorable Swedish things, especially adorable Swedish-girl indie-pop. Hello Saferide and Frida Hyöven and El Pero Del Mar and Lykke Li and I could go on and on are all adorable (I'm pretty sure that María has plans to write posts on all of these), and they are all adorable girls who sing adorable songs, but they are all so... blonde. I don't know why, but even though I can recognize that they are all adorable, they just don't make my head explode with cuteness. Maia Hirasawa does!!

I admit that I am probably biased and that part of the reason why I love her so much is because she is Swedish and Japanese and I am really down with European-Asian mixes because I am one and so I could theoretically do things like eat rice and seaweed and raw fish and pasta and sausage and cabbage all day and have them all be foods of my people! Although, those are probably not very good when you mix them all up like that, and most of those foods put me on the fast track to diabetes and/or a heart attack. Ideally, I would also throw in a little bit of the food of María's people, because I basically crave it constantly (this is why I need the snack bed!). The point is, Maia Hirasawa is still insanely cute regardless of whether or not you are biased like I am!

Her album Though, I'm Just Me is full of adorable lyrics sung in her adorable Swedish accent, like these lyrics from "Mattis & Maia": Mattis and Maia go travelling again/ maybe to another state, or maybe to Japan/ It might be warmer there/ or it might be prettier/ It might be easier/ definitely quieter, somewhere else. That is definitely my favorite song on her album, but I am a sucker for anything in 3/4 because I guess the waltz-y feel just makes it sound extra cute to me!

Though, I'm Just Me is full of other adorable songs, like "Still June," and the adorable lyrics to "Gothenberg" (another song in 3/4) rival all of the other cute lyrics I have written about on this blog. It is so orchestral and sweet and wonderful and makes me want to go live in Gothenberg/Gothenburg/Göteborg even though I had never heard of that city until like two minutes ago! Her video for "And I Found This Boy" is full of adorable dancing, and "My New Friend" makes me want to giggle with all the cuteness and hand clapping. Basically, if I keep writing, I will end up listing every single song on the album, so you might as well just go hear it for yourself!!

Love, Jillian

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Bed Book

Yesterday I took a break from watching the video for "Ella es bonita" over and over and daydreaming abot how wonderful my life would be if I was as tiny and cute as Natalia Lafourcade to talk to my friend Adam! Aside from having an adorable name, he reminded me of this children's book that I used to love when I was little, but he had never heard of it and I couldn't remember what it was called. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was The Bed Book, but when I looked it up and saw that it was written by Sylvia Plath, I thought that I must have been wrong because I've seen that movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig, and she kills herself in the oven at the end and that is decidedly not adorable.

But I just asked my mom about it, and she said that it really was The Bed Book and that she had always really liked the book even though it creeped her out that Sylvia Plath had written it. Apparently she took a break from intense poetry and her not-very-nice husband and repeated suicide attempts to write an adorable book for her children!!

The Bed Book is all about these three siblings and different kinds of adorable beds! There is a bounceable bed, a pocket-size bed, a jet-propelled bed, and, my favorite: a snack bed. The snack bed is the only bed I actually remember, because I want one more than anything in the whole universe. I mean, a bed that has a button for you to push that makes delicious food come out of it on a conveyor belt?!!!?! That is the most wonderful thing I can think of. I'm sure that when my mom was reading it to me, my little child-brain was internally screaming, "WHY IS THAT BED NOT MINE?!" over and over. Because, really, who wouldn't absolutely love to have a snack bed?!

Love, Jillian

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rhubarb Pie

I went to see my dentist this morning in the Village (the super-cute, downtown, beachy, awesome part of Carlsbad), and after I got my teeth cleaned and as I was driving down the 101 and looking at the ocean, I decided to stop at the Pannikin to get an Italian soda, so that my teeth could be completely coated with sugar. It turned out to be a really good idea, because they had just put four, freshly baked pies in the case, and one of them was a rhubarb pie! How could I resist?!

I have to say, whoever the farmer/caveman/dude was who first decided to eat rhubab was a genius. And, also, really hardcore. Apparently, the leaves are poisonous and the roots are a rather potent laxative, so you can really only eat the stalks. I didn't know any of this until just now, but I would still eat rhubarb pie every day for the rest of my life. Especially if I can get it from my favorite Pannikin man that Hannah and I always used to get Italian sodas from on Wednesdays at lunch after eating a Seaside Market vegetarian sandwich sitting on the back bumper of my minivan that we had parked at Cardiff State Beach!

Of course, seeing my Pannikin man and telling him about how much I miss the Pannikin when I am at school made me want to take this out-of-the-way way home so that I could drive through Encinitas adorableness, and when I was sitting at the intersection of the train tracks and D Street and eating some of my adorable piece of rhubarb pie while I waited for the Coaster to go by, Wilco's "Heavy Metal Drummer" came on on my iPod that I had on shuffle! Perfect.

Basically, this is really a post about how perfect Carlsbad/Encinitas/the Pannikin/summer/my life is, disguised as a post about rhubarb pie, so that everyone can be jealous. And now I am going to put on my Anthropologie chemise and get in my bed and take a nap as an ocean breeze gently blows through my west-facing bedroom window. Ha!

Love, Jillian

Monday, July 20, 2009

Russian Red

Lourdes Hernández is INCREDIBLY pretty, but that's not the only reason I think she's perfect for Flower-Farm. The cute madrileña got her pseudonym Russian Red, from a shade of lipstick she fell in love with. And even though Lourdes is from Spain, her songs are all in English. People ask a lot of questions about this and I've read interviews where she's said that although she's tried to write in Spanish, she just doesn't like what she gets. Well, that's just fine with me since her songs in English are some of my favorite songs right now.

Russian Red gets called the Spanish Feist all over the internet, probably because of her song "They Don't Believe." It's kind of how Natalia Lafourcade gets called the Mexican Lily Allen or Lafourcallen. I don't like that. I like Russian Red's songs because to me they sound really soft and sweet and a little quiet. And even though I am not crazy about every single song on I Love Your Glasses, I still really enjoy listening to the album. "Kiss My Elbow" was one of the first songs I heard, because I thought the title sounded cute. And now, I really love that song. My favorite song on the album is her cover of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" it is just really perfect. I listen to it on repeat all the time.

I also really enjoy watching videos of Russian Red on youtube. She, like her songs, is sweet and almost timid. This video of her singing "Cigarettes" is currently my favorite. There's also her video for "They Don't Believe" which proves once again just how pretty she is and how sweet her songs are. Plus, it has a pony. And I have been asking for a pony every time I get a chance since I was fourteen, so I obviously really love ponies. Russian Red plus ponies means enough adorableness to keep me watching.

Love, María

The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man On Earth is the folk musician Kristian Matsson, from Sweden! He played at Haverford in March or April (I don't remember), and María and Melissa and Liz and I all went to see him. It turns out he is not actually anywhere near being the tallest man on earth, but whatever. I think the name is kind of cute. Basically he sings adorable folk songs and sounds exactly like Bob Dylan.

My favorite song from his full-length album Shallow Grave is "The Gardener." The first time I listened to the album, I wasn't really paying attention to all of the lyrics, so I really only heard the tune of "The Gardener" and the end of the chorus where he sings, so I could stay the tallest man/ in your eyes, babe. I thought it was really cute, because obviously he is doing all sorts of things because he wants the person he is singing to to like him!

Well, it turns out that when you listen to the rest of the song, he is killing people and burying them in a garden and growing flowers on top of their graves. Fine. María will definitely have some snide comment to make about how my favorite song is sung from the point of view of a serial killer, but it is still my favorite! The sentiment of the end part of the chorus that I first fell in love with is still the same even with the serial killer stuff, and it's the thought that counts!

Love, Jillian

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tiger Trap

Back when I was fourteen/fifteen I suddenly began listening to incredible amounts of Bratmobile, Team Dresch, Huggy Bear, and of course Bikini Kill. During this time I also made horrible decisions about my hair/everything. One day, while searching for more riotgrrrl/queercore stuff, I somehow stumbled across Tiger Trap. And as much as I'd like to say that Rose Melberg's voice magically made me want to stop ruining my hair, I can't. Instead, I'm pretty sure I bought the Yo-yo-a-go-go CD for a dollar so I could make something out of the cover.

I would then re-discover Rose Melberg's voice after I had washed off all the Manic Panic out of my hair once and for all. And somehow, I felt as if she had just been waiting for me. Tiger Trap, yes, I remembered that name. And I remembered these songs, almost. Then, after listening to "My Broken Heart" and "Supercrush" and thinking they were pretty perfect, I was suddenly in love with Tiger Trap. Plus, "You're Sleeping" reminded me way too much of my life, except it was less sad/more cute. And even though I was never one of those people who wanted to move to California, apparently it was full of cuteness, so maybe I should have thought twice. Of course, I am from Chicago and there are no winters like Chicago winters. And no matter how crazy it sounds, I sort of love those winters. Plus, Tiger Trap had disbanded back in the 90s, before I'd even discovered the Spice Girls.

But why hadn't I at least decided to love them a little sooner?! I had worn the same grey dress and Doc Martens for almost two weeks, so I should've spent all that extra time listening to these songs! It was too late for all that, but it wasn't too late to fall in love with Rose Melberg. I did just that by finding out everything I could about Tiger Trap, while listening and wondering how many times I had to have my heart broken in order to somehow start a band that was as adorable and noisy as they were. Eventually, I'd also love Go Sailor and The Softies, but those are other posts.

Now, when I listen to Tiger Trap, I still love each song and sometimes sing "Prettiest Boy" when I'm cleaning my room. And I'm still wondering, where my perfect fit puzzle piece boyfriend is.

Love, María

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Beach Boys

Probably the most adorable band that has ever existed is The Beach Boys. I mean, think about it. The music in all of their songs sounds like a merry-go-round, and they sing about adorable things like cuddling and surfing and being happy and doing nothing at the beach all day!

Of course, having been born in Orange County (I'm hardcore), I have to like The Beach Boys. I have known all of the words to "California Girls" since forever, and they even say in the song that California girls are "the cutest girls in the world." I am by no means above flattery, so just that lyric alone could win me over. But even a Midwest farmer's daughter like María, who lives nowhere near an ocean and doesn't even particularly LIKE the beach, can appreciate the adorableness of The Beach Boys.

One of my favorite songs of theirs is "Wouldn't It Be Nice," because it is just so insanely cute! Like when they sing, Wouldn't it be nice if we could wake up/ in the morning when the day is new/ and after having spent the day together/ hold each other close the whole night through? Cute, cute, cute! If your heart did not melt a little after reading that, you are even more soulless than María and I, and frankly, I am impressed. But also, shame on you! The adorableness of The Beach Boys is undeniable, end of story.

Love, Jillian

P.S. Cub's cover of "Surfer Girl" is just as adorable as the original version!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garth Algar!

Dana Carvey was on The Tonight Show last night, and it reminded me that Garth from Wayne's World is adorable! He is so happy and has a floppy mullet and plays the drums! Wayne's World probably wouldn't be half as amazing as it is if it weren't for Garth.

I think that a lot of Garth's adorableness comes from how he and Wayne are basically in love with each other. It is kind of like me and María. And this blog is kind of like our equivalent of their TV show. And this is exactly what it is like when María and I go places in a car together:

And, when we were freshmen, Anisha, Julia, and I all dressed up like Garth and did his "Foxy Lady" dance in front of the whole school!

I don't know what else to say! I love Garth and I want him to be my best friend. Party on, Garth!

Love, Jillian

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Moustache Pencils

My friend Alex posted this on my other friend Alex's wall the other day, and Facebook was all like, "Hey, Jillian, look at this!" So, I did! And it was hilarious/adorable. I really want these pencils because 1) they have moustaches, which are adorable when fake or drawn on, and 2) they remind me of being on the train to Amsterdam when I had just recovered from mono and didn't have to be a social outcast anymore, and Alex and Alex had drawn moustaches on their fingers and we all thought it was the funniest thing ever.

Let's keep in mind that these two Alexes are neither the baby turtle Alex, nor are they the Architecture In Helsinki Alex. Apparently there was some sort of unwritten rule in the late eighties that stated that everyone had to name their first-born son "Alex." This is why I put everyone's last name on my contact list on my cell phone.

Obviously, I really need these pencils for school in September. It's really important to have a good pencil, and since these are adorable and provide you with five different moustaches to disguise yourself with, I can only conclude that they must also be really nice pencils to write with. Hopefully they are as nice as the pencils that the Kaplan testing people hand out in our campus center. If they aren't I guess I can just draw moustaches on those pencils with a Sharpie or something.

Love, Jillian

P.S. I think you all want to take a look at this as well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Outdoor Showers

Whenever I am at school, my inner hippie kind of has to go into hiding. This is partly because of the snow, and partly because the vast majority of people I go to school with would probably be frightened (including María). It makes me kind of crazy to try to control my inner hippie, but usually I can manage. However, my inner hippie started to fight her way out in May, which is when I started lecturing people about how we should all be nice to each other. Then, my inner hippie came out even more when Anisha came to visit and we went to a hippie store that reeked of Nag Champa and bought aromatherapy oils and I wanted to go see every psychic we passed by on the way (there is at least one psychic every few blocks around here).

Now, my inner hippie has basically taken over. This generally happens when I am around other hippies, and when I spend time outdoors. The beach meets both of those requirements. I would not classify myself as "outdoorsy," but every time I spend a significant amount of time outside, it makes me want to be outside more, and it makes me imagine how wonderful my life would be if I spent as much time as possible outside. Like if I could be outside whenever I took a shower!

I love outdoor showers! They are perfect and wonderful, because you can be outside and in the sun and they are not cold and damp and windowless like bathrooms usually are. And you could have a nice view and look at pretty plants and things while you shower! I would totally take all of my showers outside. Which is why I will eventually have to move back to Southern California for realsies, so that I can go to the beach and shower outside most of the year!

Another side-effect of my inner hippie and going to the beach a lot is that I become too comfortable with being in a bikini, and I stop being comfortable with being fully clothed. Which is sad, because even though I am going to have an adorable house when I go back to school, I will not be happy about having to remain fully clothed when it's hot out, and I will not be happy about being far away from the ocean. But at least I will be able to dream of my future outdoor shower and life of beachy goodness!

Love, Jillian

Saturday, July 11, 2009

La Bien Querida

Remember when I said I'd eventually stop posting about cute girls who sing folksy-poppy-sad-sad songs? I lied. I'm sure I will actually stop soon, though. Because there are only so many of these kinds of songs I can listen to before I go running back to indie pop all the time. Last night I listened to Cat Power, and that means that this whole thing is about to be over sooner than I thought. Good? We'll see.

Until that happens, I'll just keep going with these posts. So, here's La Bien Querida. Ana Fernández-Villaverde started this project sometime in 2005. In 2oo7 she released Maqueta and suddenly everyone was just waiting for her to release a real album. I wasn't sure if I was in love with La Bien Querida, but I was in love with her song "Ya no." In fact, that was the song I immediately thought of when I heard Natalia Lafourcade's "No viniste" And then there are songs like "El actor del año" or "Actitudes espectrales" which are just really sweet and sad. I liked Maqueta but, finally, earlier this year Romancero was released and I somehow found it.

has a lot of the songs that were on Maqueta. A lot of people who were waiting for this album ended up being really disappointed with the way the songs were changed. That's why I was trying not to think about how much I'd liked the first version of "Ya no" when I listened to this album. The new version is probably better than the first, but I don't think I can choose which one I like best. That's not the case with all the songs. The newer version of "El zoo absoluto" sounds almost ridiculous to me. There's way too much going on. And "9.6" is just a song I try to skip over. But other than those, I really like the album. I'm glad I finally listened to it because there are also new songs that I've fallen in love with. "A.D.N" is definitely one of my favorite songs. The best part is when Joe Crepúsculo comes into the track; it's just so perfect. In "Los estados generales" Ana Fernández sings: que tengas claro que no voy a competir /a tus amigas se lo digo desde aquí /las olimpiadas no se hicieron para mí, which is so good and so sad and sounds perfect in her voice. The whole thing was really worth the wait.

Love, María

Le Creuset!

Probably the most adorable kitchen accessory you can ever own is a Le Creuset cast iron pot! They are super-cute because they come in all sorts of bright, happy colors! And, of course, they're really good pots in the first place.

They don't just make pots, they also make skillets and roasting pans and teapots and all sorts of things that you can get in matching colors to make your kitchen adorable! I really want to start my Le Creuset collection, but I can't pick a color! There are so many, and I want to make sure that it looks good with my kitchen, so I guess I will have to wait until I have a kitchen that is permanently mine. But that hasn't stopped me from spending lots of time imagining how adorable my kitchen would be with a bright yellow or dark blue pot on the stove!

Love, Jillian

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Perland Dress

I went to Anthropologie today, and it was glorious! I had a bunch of money on a gift card because my mom had bought me two dresses and a Global knife (they are Japanese!) for my birthday, and even though the dresses looked wonderful a month earlier in the store, they looked not-so-wonderful when I tried them on after my birthday. But that is a good thing, because if I had not returned those two dresses, I would never have found the Perland Dress!

Isn't it adorable?! And it was on sale for like half of the original price! And I didn't even know it existed until I went to the store today, because obviously I have become a really horrible Anthropologie customer now that I have no steady income/no school to bore me to death. It comes with little straps, but it is a million times cuter strapless. I am wearing it right now, and since I just bought it, it still smells like Anthropologie. The Anthropologie stores totally have a smell, and so does the Pottery Barn.

I also bought a really cute shirt and ANOTHER gray dress. I counted when I was packing up my dorm room in May, and I'm pretty sure that this brings it to five or six gray dresses in my wardrobe. That probably says something about me, but I'm not entirely sure what.

Love, Jillian

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Los amantes del Círculo Polar

Sophomore year, I told Allegra we should watch this movie. I already liked it, but then it became one of our favorite movies and we'd watch it all the time. Before writing this post, I was talking to Allegra on the phone, and I told her what I was going to write. She pointed out that I probably shouldn't just say this movie is "cute!" because well, it's also strange and not so cute sometimes. I guess that's true. But the real reason I'm writing about it is because, well, I really love it. Whether it's all cute or not.

I tried to find a trailer to post with this, but all the ones that had subtitles or were in English seemed really horrible. The movie is basically about 2 people, Otto and Ana, who meet when they're children and then all the things that happen in their lives as they get older. A lot of it is about how lots of things happen by chance and all sorts of coincidences. Anyway, I love it. The actors who play them as children are adorable. The actor who plays Otto is actually Julio Medem's son, and he is just so precious. All 3 actresses who play Anna are really pretty. Even when Najwa Nimri has that horrible hair, she's still really pretty. And of course, Fele is in it. AND they go to Finland because of the Arctic Circle! How cute is that?!

Then there are just all those moments in the movie that are too cute/heartbreaking to explain. And even though sometimes you feel a little confused, if you keep watching, it all sort of works out. Now, I know tons of people who really hate this movie. That's fine because it's not like I'm trying to write a review about it. This is Flower Farm and that's really not what we're about. We're about anything that is precious enough to make us feel like Jillian and I still have feelings. Plus, Jillian really likes things in Spanish, and I really like ugly almost cute clothes and this movie has both!

Love, María


The other day, I saw a trailer for what is possibly the most adorable movie ever! Adam is all about a boy with Asperger's syndrome and this girl, Beth, who moves in upstairs. Adam loves stars and space and even has an astronaut costume! And Beth is just super-cute! And that eyebrow-man actor from The OC is in it, if that interests anyone. I don't even know why I know that, since I've only ever seen part of one episode.

It comes out on 29 July, and I am totally going to go see it. I can already tell that it is going to be cute and adorable and that it will make me want to giggle and hug someone even if they don't say "Jillian, I'd like you to give me a hug." Plus, his name is ADAM! That is one of my favorite names ever. It is so fun to say in the same voice I use to say "Maaaaggie!" whenever I see our friend, Maggie. I wanted to name our cat Adam, but María said that we couldn't give our cat the same name as someone we know in real life. Fine. I will just go see this movie a million times when it comes out instead!

Love, Jillian

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Lately, I have been in a Christmas-y kind of mood, even though it is July. And today I went and saw Departures (too amazing to explain) with my mom and my sister, and in the movie, the adorable, J.Crew-model-material husband comes home from work one day, and brings his tiny, super-kawaii, super-Japanese wife really nice beef so that she can make sukiyaki for dinner! That, in combination with the adorable, thick-knit sweaters they wear, is basically why I wish I had been able to get into the Japanese language class at my high school, so that I could go live there and have the most adorable life ever.

But! The point is, when they mentioned sukiyaki, my mom and my sister and I basically freaked out because sukiyaki is so delicious and happy and wonderful! Plus, we made sushi at my house yesterday (obviously that is the best way to celebrate the 4th of July), so I have been craving Japanese food.

I love sukiyaki because every year on Christmas, our family friends that we've known since I was three years old come over and we put two, giant, electric frying pans on the table (we always have one vegetarian pan) and eat sukiyaki! Every region of Japan makes it differently, but when we have it, we have really thinly sliced beef, spinach, bamboo shoots, tofu, mushrooms, shirataki (yam noodles), and scallions, and it all cooks in this soy-sauce-and-sake-and-something mixture, and everything absorbs the sauce. Everybody has their own bowl of rice (we don't do the raw-egg thing), and you just pick whatever you want from the pan with your chopsticks, and whenever you start to run out of something, you just put more in! Everyone drinks Japanese beer, and it is basically the best Christmas dinner ever.

We've tried making it in the summer before, but it's just not the same. Sukiyaki is pretty magical all the time, but it's insanely good when it's cold outside. When I have my own house full of thick-knit sweaters and cooking appliances and a J.Crew husband, I will make sukiyaki all the time in the winter when it is snowing and cold outside!

Love, Jillian

Friday, July 3, 2009

Black Cab Sessions

I am currently sitting in my sister's bedroom with unbrushed hair and a shirt that I have decided is actually a dress. This is because my parents' house has been invaded by seventeen year old boys who have probably devoured everything in our kitchen by now and who up until maybe 30 minutes ago were all asleep in various rooms. And since there is no quiet anywhere in my house now, I am sitting up here telling myself that it means I don't have to actually do anything with my life today. This is similar to the kind of day I was having when I first found the Black Cab Sessions website.

Black Cab Sessions are basically little performances that take place inside, well, obviously, a black cab. Their motto is "one song, one take, one cab" which I think sounds sort of silly. Some of these performances end up sounding really nice, actually. And it's such a silly/fun idea that once I spent all morning watching them. I think I really like watching how performers use the tiny space. Charlie Siem sits on the floor so that he and his violin will fit, The Cool Kids use the actual cab, and some bands look like they've been stuffed into the cab.

I really like the Jens Lekman session. He sings "Black Cab" which is oh-so ironic, har har. But it's also really cute, I think. And there's also one with Lykke Li which is just plain cute because she's in it. There's the one with Laura Marling, which I mentioned is how I discovered her music. Bill Callahan did one, and watching it reminded me of how I used to have this huge crush on him when I was barely fifteen. And how once I saw him play and got hassled by a cop outside of the Chicago Theatre as we waited for Christopher's parents.

You should all know by now, that Slow Club are Flower-Farm favorites. In their video, they sing "Christmas TV" and of course, it's totally precious. Emmy the Great and St. Vincent, are of course super charming. There's also Beach House, which I used to like watching. Anyway, there are tons of them and I can't talk about all of them. You should probably just watch them and pick your own favorites.

Love, María

Geometric Fields Dress

The July Anthropologie catologue came in the mail yesterday, and it was full of beautiful things! I have been too busy doing really important things like going to yoga and the beach and watching a lot of crime dramas on TV to check the website religiously, so I hadn't discovered this!

Isn't it WONDERFUL?! I want it more than words can express. Plus, "Geometric Fields Dress" is such a pretty name! Fields make me think of frolicking and happiness, except I would probably never frolic in a field in this dress, because it costs $498. That is not a typo! But I still wish it would magically appear in my closet, and that I could somehow erase the knowledge of the price from my brain. Even the back of it is pretty!

I really like the exposed zipper, even though I would totally get the floaty skirt-part stuck in it. Sadly, I will never own this dress unless it goes on super-sale for like $50, because 1) I am basically broke at this point, and 2) I don't think I could ever part with that much money in one go, except for rent. But I have a dress that is plaid and the same colors and I found it in a thrift store, so it was a lot cheaper. Once I get it back from the tailor (I love getting things tailored!), it will be super-cute, and when I wear it, I will pretend that I am wearing the Geometric Fields Dress.

Love, Jillian

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Coeur de Pirate

Apparently, folksy-girl-pop has been really big with us this past week. I'm sure it'll stop but for now here's another female vocalist I like. Béatrice Martin is the cute Québécoise behind Coeur de Pirate. She's been playing piano since she was three and is now barely eighteen. Even though I've known about her for quite a while, I hadn't actually listened to more than three songs until last week. Now that I have, I like her. Her self-titled album is full of charming songs and it doesn't hurt that she is pretty adorable herself. Before really listening to her music, I decided to take a look at her videos. Boy, are they cute!

The video for "Ensemble" is just plain cute. The clothes are cute, the boys are cute, the girls are cute, and there is double the amount of Coeur de Pirate. It makes me have one of those "Oh, I wish that was my life!" moments that make no sense and usually happen when I'm watching the Korean show we are addicted to with Jillian and Melissa.

The video for "Comme Des Enfants" makes me feel very much the same way. It's so precious! And even though I know that what Coeur de Pirate is actually singing about isn't so adorable or precious, I still just want to smile and keep watching them.

Love, María

The Lorax

The cutest, most wonderful, best book ever is probably The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. It is full of bright colors and rhyming and adorable, fluffy trees! Yes, it is notoriously full of his opinions on political issues, but Dr. Seuss himself said that he was "subversive as hell," and I am totally okay with that. Plus, everyone loves trees and frolicking, happy animals!

It's really sad when all of the Bar-ba-loots have to leave because they have no more shade or Truffula fruits and it is too smoggy for the Swomee-Swans and the water is full of sludge, so the Humming-Fish have to leave, too! All because the Once-ler chopped down all the Truffula trees so that he could make and sell Thneeds.

But even though all of the trees and animals are gone at the end (the Lorax, too!), there is still hope! "But now, says the Once-ler, Now that you're here, the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. SO... Catch! calls the Once-ler. He lets something fall. It's a Truffula Seed. It's the last one of all! You're in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs. Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back."


Love, Jillian

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Laura Marling

Most people probably recognize Laura Marling as former vocalist of Noah and the Whale. They're a band that I just never really got into, so that's not really how I came across her solo album. Instead, I found it while looking through Black Cab Sessions videos. I heard her song "Alas I Cannot Swim" and wondered what the rest of her stuff would sound like.

When I googled her name, I came across the video for "Ghosts." It is both adorable and strange. Marling herself is pretty cute, and perhaps that's why I wanted to listen to her music at first. Now that I've heard Alas, I Cannot Swim I don't think I am exactly crazy about it, but I do really like it. It is a really nice album to listen to, because her voice really works with the folksy-pop she's doing.

The best part about this album, at least for me, is the first part. It's much more simple than the second half, and that's why it works. "Ghosts" and "Tap at My Window" are definitely my favorites. Most of it, can easily fall into the teenage love song category, but I don't think that's a bad thing. It really makes sense since she was 18 when she was recording this. There are those songs that get a little strange and perhaps scary, like "My Manic and I" but it all happens in this almost innocent way.

Two of my favorite Laura Marling songs aren't even on the album. Sort of. The first is "Alas I Cannot Swim" (which is there as a hidden track) and the second is "New Romantic" in which she sings: I know I said I love you but I'm thinking I was wrong/I'm the first to admit that I'm still pretty young/And I never meant to hurt you when I wrote you ten love songs which somehow sounds 100x more adorable because of Marling's voice.

Love, María

Thao Nguyen

Like I mentioned in my last post, lately I've been going through my iTunes looking for music that I have but haven't listened to. This has led me to the conclusion that there was something seriously wrong with me in high school, because I have all of this wonderful music that, at the time, I thought was sort of good, and then never listened to again. Although I loved puppies and kittens, I didn't fully appreciate the wonders of cuteness in high school. I was way too busy begging my mom to let me dye my hair black and wearing lots of eyeliner, because being a fifteen-year-old girl in a beach town in Southern California is, like, so hard (like, totally, dude). This is also probably how I ended up with six piercings before I turned seventeen.

Luckily, I eventually stopped wearing eyeliner and discovered adorableness. And, luckily, some wonderful person suggested that I get my hands on some Thao Nguyen music, which I did, but never listened to. But yesterday I found it, and it is wonderful! Lately I have been really obsessed with girl-folk, acoustic-guitar wonderfulness, and Thao Nguyen is just that!

She's recorded as a solo artist and with her band, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. "Feet Asleep" and "Fear and Convenience" are both really amazing, but my favorite song of hers by far is "Chivalry" from her solo album Like the Linen. It is so cute, and so sad! The lyrics make my heart go, "Ouch!" but the music makes me go, "Aaaw!" The opening lyrics are: I could tell in the way/ he did not kiss back/ What's the use in painting faces?/ You're never gonna find a shade to match/ Well, yours is a common name/ and I hear it all the time/ Could belong to anyone/ It could never be mine/ And I am tired/ I am through/ and when I love, I will love so hard/ Harder than I could love with you. So sad! So cute! So perfect!

Unfortunately, I only have a few songs from Like the Linen, and I can't find the rest of them anywhere! I am on the verge of going to Lou's and asking them to order the CD for me (I haven't bought an actual, physical CD since I bought The Moldy Peaches in the spring of 2005!), just because the songs of hers I do have are so adorable that I know I will love every song on the album.

Love, Jillian