retail therapy + gastronomy = happy girl

Today was all about treating myself. Treating myself to whatever I wanted. And boy did it feel good!

First, I took some time to decide on the special patterns I’d work on for ME. I’ve always loved the Adrienne Vittadini “Allegra Twist-Front Top” (on the right), despite the fact that the very few bloggers who have managed to get through it have reported ridiculous errors, confusion, and complications. In fact, everyone says that about all Adrienne Vittadini patterns. Am I insane? But it’s so pretty! I don’t even like the lace or patterning all that much–it’s the twist and the seam across the bust. All I really want to do is read the pattern to figure out how it’s constructed, then I can start to build my own pattern out of it.

I also think I’m going to get Wendy of Knit and Tonic‘s latest, Sahara, from Stitch Diva. The yarn raises a big issue, however. There’s so many reasons to not buy the Tilli Thomas the pattern calls for (cost, the whole keystone pricing thing, and, most importantly, the fact that it seems to knit up looking more variegated than mottled, and I hate that striping), but what to get instead? I’m not opposed to KnitPicks, really, and various reviews of Andean Silk have been largely positive. But then I thought maybe I’d go to Tess Designer Yarns and treat myself to something special (the silk & ivory is the wrong weight, but I could make it work). Of course, there’s only pictures for a few of the colors; I’d have to call and talk to someone and would have to tell them what color I want, which means I have to know when I call what color I want. Instead of trying to find a sequined/beaded yarn, I think I’ll do the beading myself. I’ve never knit with beads, and it’s about time. So this project will be an undertaking, to say the least. I’m on a quest for yarn and beads. Thoughts?

This afternooon, I treated myself to other things–most notably, new clothing. It was the “friends & family” weekend for the whole Gap co (Banana, Old Navy, Gap), so two friends and I went shopping. And wow, we did some damange. I needed tops in colors and jeans that would fit. I got a little more than that.

retail therapy!

We were in the Banana Republic for literally hours. The lines to get into dressing rooms and then to pay were interminable. Afterward, we went to the Gap but I didn’t get anything, and by then we were too exhausted to go to Old Navy. I got everything I needed, anyway.

And then, tonight, I rediscovered my love of cooking. My cooking mojo had been on the fritz for a while–six months? A year? I’d cook, of course, but it was uninspired cooking. I moved to New York, alone, and it got worse–I couldn’t get excited for my “party” of one. But tonight? It was a celebration.

tuna with cipollini onions and baby bok choy

It’s a grilled tuna steak, perfectly rare, done on my grill pan, which just came back to me. Alongside we’ve got balsamic-roasted cipollini onions and sauteed baby bok choy. The tuna and onion combination came from Giada de Laurentis and her Family Dinners cookbook. (Since I’m on the subject of Giada, you must read this. Be warned, you will pee in your pants it’s so funny. At least, I can’t not laugh at it.) Back to the food. This is what hers (or her food stylist’s) looked like, in comparison:

tuna with cipollini onions

I didn’t do too shabby, did I? The tuna, cut to my specifications at Citarella, was melt-in-your mouth tender. It was amazing.

I’m sitting now in a mess of a living room. I have every single kitchen item known to man in here now (my belongings were returned to me yesterday). So not only is my cooking mojo back, I have all the tools with which to play! It’s gonna be an adventure.

17 Responses to retail therapy + gastronomy = happy girl

  1. Jen says:

    I’m right there with you on the “no Tilli Tomas” sentiment. On the Simple Knitted Bodice I’m doing, I’m using Misti Alpaca Worsted in place of the TT Rockstar and Pure and Simple… which are the same two yarns Sahara calls for. Gave me gauge right off the bat. If you don’t have an alpaca itchiness sensitivity, it would probably be at least one option.

    Yay, shopping and cooking mojo! Dinner looks (looked?) yummy! :)

  2. Ashley says:

    Good job, Minty. Sound like you had just the weekend you needed.

    _Do_ you have an alpaca sensitivity? Because I used some of the Andean silk for a scarf that languishes unfinished–since I realized halfway through that, well, I have an alpaca sensitivity, and the Andean Silk has its share of guard hairs sticking out.

  3. MeBeth says:

    I love that twist front top – good luck! And your dinner looks great – I can’t bear to make cipollini onions at hone because I cook them at work all the time, but yours look delicious.

  4. gleek says:

    i totally understand about the tilli thomas yarn. i personally will never buy from them until they get their act together. why bother when there are plenty of other yarns to turn to?

  5. maryse says:

    you know the sahara is lovely. i have so many books and magazines that i hesitate to pay that much for just one pattern, but the shape of that sweater is perfect and could be one of those patterns that you knit up over and over again.

    sounds like you had an awesome weekend. nice shopping loot.

  6. Jessica says:

    So glad you are doing good things for yourself and enjoying it. :) The top is beautiful. Good luck with finding the perfect yarn for it (I wish I had something to offer on that front but I really don’t). It was great meeting you on Friday! Hope we can do it again sometime soon. :)

  7. Opal says:

    I’m using Andean Silk for a scarf right now and I adore it. It’s silky soft and it’s great to knit with. So if you can do alpaca I’d definitely consider it!

    Your dinner looks scrumptious!

  8. Rachel says:

    Okay, that Giada thing is HILARIOUS. I’ve now sent the link to a large number of people who also agree.

    I just love seared tuna, super rare. Your meal looks amazing. If you ever feel like cooking fancy for more than one person, well, I am in NYC sometimes… :)

    That twist top thing is lovely — what a shame that the pattern is a pain. I’m sure you could improve upon it!

  9. Amanda says:

    Oh no – I’m so sorry to see the “ex” attached to boyfriend in the post before last – that’s always a sad thing, even if it is the best thing. And I have to say – I’d want my kitchen toys back too – I’m glad to read that they were returned.

    Mmm – rare tuna – you’re giving me ideas!

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