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i have things to say

Noticed how I named this post, “Sweater Weather”? In deference to the fact that Houston does not have a sweater-friendly climate. It just doesn’t. But but but, if it did?  These would be on my list of absolute must-have sweaters. Yes, indeed.

473923_in_xlSonia by Sonia Rykiel, Intarsia Sweater $335453525_in_xlMaison Martin Margiela, Open Knit Sweater $870

472033_in_xlMarkus Lupfer, Hook A Duck Sweater $375

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Karl Lagerfeld, Nora Sweater $395

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Reed Krakoff, Leather Paneled Cashmere Sweater $1,290456943_in_xlMoschino, Silk Appliquéd Wool Sweater $925

Is it sweater weather where you are? Or is the air-conditioner still a-cranking despite it already being October?

 

Love, Sheela

The concept of free writing used to scare me. Quite a lot. But after several attempts (here and here), I’ve come to realise that it’s really quite the best way to write. So spontaneous. I never have any idea what I’ll come up with and that’s the beauty of the entire process. Like right now. I’m typing as I’m waiting for the chicken to roast. My mini bread puddings are already on the table. Thank the lord they didn’t burn. I’ve never made savoury bread pudding before, let alone mini ones.

image{ inserted three hours later } These mini savoury bread puddings were born out of the desire to finish a very stale loaf of Whole Wheat Bread and an equally lacklustre bag of frozen Spinach which had been cooked in the skillet once. Spinach which had seen better days, let’s just say. I cooked it with shallots and Andouille sausages, with generous sprinklings of Ground Chipotle Powder. Mixed that with the cubed bread, 4 eggs, some milk and some heavy cream. And a little bit of freshly chopped Basil to lighten things up. I’ll share the recipe tomorrow. Or sometime. I hate taking pictures at night. These look so nasty but they taste yummy, I swear.

And now I’m stumped.

How’s that for irony?

Oh, right, my knee. Let’s talk about my knee for a wee bit.

Well, the last few days have been blurry.

I developed an allergic reaction to the painkillers prescribed post surgery. I also became incredibly ill due to anesthesia. Suffice to say that for the most part, last week had me fairly comatose. Now, I’m not doped up anymore and am feeling a lot better. The knee continues to hurts though. Sometimes, a lot. It’s still swollen and impossible to bend. I can’t stand/walk for very long without having to sit down and rest because it aches. It tires easily. My surgeon tells me that’s normal. Expected. And that I’m very much on track. Next week, I start physiotherapy for both my knee as well as my shoulder. No, I didn’t have surgery done on my shoulder but the rotator cuff is very inflamed and needs help.

Can you imagine me with wounded shoulder, wounded knee, both on the right side? Marionette much.

Oven beeping. Incessantly.

I’m guessing that, at this juncture, I’ve sinned against the gods of clocked prose. I should feel sorry but I would’ve felt a lot more woebegone had I ignored the desperate plea of the oven and allowed the fowl within to become scorched. I shall attempt another bout of timed writing (more…)

shutterstock_209659855Hello beautiful world. Hello beautiful people :)

Another long week which makes me even more thrilled with the prospect of a 3-day weekend.  Bliss. I’m running behind on practically everything so this is going to be short on words but packed with cool stuff for you to explore :)

I didn’t think it’d be possible but I’m quite taken by Ree. She makes me laugh. And her recipes are, well, rootin’ tootin’ good.

No matter how smart the world becomes, there are still so many misconceptions surrounding gay and being gay. This is a wonderful, you-must-read-now piece on gay women, the stereotyping they’ve encountered and how they deal. Go on, read it.

Nom nom chocolate.

Apple flirts ever more with fashion.

Grow up, woman.

Do we really need another tome on street style? What do you think?

So, you know how drinking juice right after brushing your teeth is truly gross-gusting? Did you ever pause to wonder why?

The wacky genius of Warhol.

Lather up.

And this is on my must-try list for the weekend.

 

What are your plans?

Love, Sheela

 

Here’s one we’ve all encountered – bananas ripening before our very eyes. Right? Don’t you hate it when that happens? Yes and no. Yes because no one enjoys fending off microscopic fruit bugs doing the nasty with this yellow Parthenocarpic. No because that means Banana Bread is en route.

Did you know that Bananas are technically berries?

I digress.

So, yeah, I love it when bananas ripen at the speed of light because that’s when I get to make Banana Walnut Bread. I prefer chopped Walnuts in mine but really, you can incorporate just about any nut lying around in the kitchen.  Husbands and children exempted, ‘kay?

shutterstock_135803411BANANA WALNUT BREAD

Yields 2 8×4′ loaves

Prep time is around 10 minutes

Cook time 35 to 40 minutes

Total 50 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour (I use King Arthur’s European Style Flour so the crust gets a little crunchy even as the inside remains soft and moist)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

4-6 medium ripe bananas, mashed (we eat a lot of Del Monte Organic Bananas)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Mazola oil (or any vegetable oil)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (again, you can adjust quantity and type of nut)

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  We’re using the centre rack. Grease the loaf pans generously with non salted butter and set them aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine mushed-up bananas with sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix well on Medium speed. It might look as though the ingredients have separated but they haven’t. Add flour mixture and mix on Low until completely blended. At this point, the mixture will resemble batter (insert sigh of relief, like I did). Stir in the nuts.

Divide batter equally into the loaf pans.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean and dry. Should the tops of the loaves darken before they’re baked through, remove from the oven, cover with foil and return them to the oven for the remaining duration of the bake time.

Let the Banana Walnut Bread Loaves stand for 10 minutes prior to serving. I like wolfing mine down with a tisane. If you want a slightly different flavour profile, you can add lemon or orange zest (or several tablespoons of the juice) into the batter. My daughter often begs me to include Dark Choc Chips so there’s another version right there. Adapted from the amazing Browneyed Baker.

It’s October and so much of the year has already gone by. Too many wasted moments. Too many dashes out of the door. Too many hugs not given. Too many words left unspoken. And far too many special moments that should have been savoured, I’ve let slip by.

So here’s what I’m doing right here, right now.

I’m setting aside time to be thankful.

thanksss

I am thankful for still having a head of hair. After over two years of fighting elevated IGEs of close to 5,200 wherein Prednisone was my only friend, I’ve lost almost half of my hair. And what’s left is incredibly weak. But I am thankful. *

I am thankful to live in a country wherein the freedom to be Catholic exists. Not all of us are as blessed. Being from a Muslim country, I have sadly borne witness to this on a personal level, numerous times.

I am thankful for the kisses my daughter gives me each morning before she heads off to boot camp aka high school. I dread the day when university beckons, and I am no longer able to reach out, hug her, tell her I love her. Be physically there for her.

I am thankful to have been nurtured in an environment wherein hugs and physical demonstrations of love were always encouraged.

In turn, I am able to pass that on to my family.

I am thankful for my first job abroad. Alone for the very time in my life, with very little money, there were days when dinner was a slice of  bread and nothing more. That time changed me. It made me street smart. It made strong.

I am thankful for being afraid every now and again. Fear forces me to look within myself. To understand what’s going on. Why I acted the way I did. And come out of it, aware. Without fear, I would never venture beyond self-imposed boundaries.

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I am thankful for all the horrid and not so nice people whom I have met. Because of the way you talk, act, and think, I know exactly what sort of person I do not ever want to be.

I am thankful for each and every single dysfunctional relationship in my past. Without experiencing them then, I would never have learned to recognise the glint of real gold today. I would still be placing superficiality and material things on a pedestal.

I am so thankful for my husband.

He is the crunch to my bacon.

He is the sweet to my Milo.

He is my everything.

I am thankful for today.

I am thankful for being alive.

I am thankful for being me.

 

What are you thankful for?

Love, Sheela

* In August 2012, I was diagnosed with a condition wherein my body believes it’s under siege all the time and retaliates by over-producing histamine. That, in turn, leads to rash all over my body, including my face. Many nights I sleep with ice packs. In addition to chronic oral medication, I’m also currently undergoing Xolair injections fortnightly to try and temper the situation. For a while, the therapy worked but lately, it appears to have lost efficacy, so I’m investigating further options. Wish me luck :)

Indeed, they do.

Here, in Houston, we’re barely (if ever) presented with style loopholes that necessitate creative layering. Opportunities to wear a scarf or sweater or boots are about as rare as the Hermès Diamond Crocodile Birkin. You can imagine how a coat wouldn’t fit here. I could buck the norm and go big but visions of sweat necklaces doting my décolletage forbid me to venture further. As such, living vicariously through the layering adventures of others is, well, du jour.

Hypothetically speaking, given the right temperature and circumstance, I crave coats in almost every shape and form. My love is lavished equally on architectural lines, baroque notes, whimsy and outright flamboyant. I ask only for spectacular design and zero itch factor.

Presenting a parade of what I would wear in a flash.il_fullxfull.566536035_97r4This, this, THIS is it. This cuts across predictable waves of Blacks and Greys and Navies like the Northern Lights streaking across the night sky. A masterpiece from Malam.

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A playful plaid piece is never displaced when it starts getting nippy. Those waves around the hips? Less peplum-ballooning, more shape-flattering. I’m reminded of a stylish swashbuckler and that rocks. Full details here.il_fullxfull.646139232_agy0

For many chic women, reworking staples to be season-ready is Style 101. I can so see this classic piece transcending the phrase “must-have” with absolute ease and panache. Wool with weather. Scrumpdelicious.il_fullxfull.642714441_hoyhSpeak (easy) volumes with this oh so versatile piece. It’s a coat. It’s a cape. It’s a cardigan. It’s a poncho. It’s practically everything, and meets so many of my warm weather criteria that I’m ready to strut in Slate.il_fullxfull.617161876_19qvTrust an Italian to create something so graphic and bold without forsaking femininity. I covet this. I covet it so.

What’s on your wool agenda for this year?

 

Love, Sheela

So, Galliano for Margiela, huh?john-galliano112While chaos and unbridled madness run rampant, stripped bare, Galliano has always been about making beautiful clothes. Garments that transcend trends. Which defy technical boundaries.

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By comparison, Maison Martin Margiela is architectural. Pared down luxe. Precisely austere. Stark, even.maison_martin_margiela_5maison-martin-margiela-2011-1maison-martin-margiela-spring-2012-23margiela-x_2432902a

I, for one, am dying to see what he comes up with for Margiela. Paris Couture Week in January couldn’t come any faster.

 

Love, Sheela

p/s such news does leave you with the impression that the fashion world is so starved of real talent, most sins can be forgiven, oui?

I’ve been living under a rock, apparently, because last I heard of the matter, Paris Hilton was (the only one) splurging on her pet pooches. 300sq feet of space modeled after her own pad. Double story. Chandelier. $325,000. Small change for the crazy heiress.paris_1_352629k

It was a big rock.

A quick rummage through the web pulled choices running the gamut from The Colonial ($6,100 and fully equipped with climate control facilities, no less) to The Hacienda ($30,000 featuring running water, lights and air-conditioning). And we’re only talking about houses. Let’s take a quick look around at some of the most ridiculously exorbitant (and useless) things available for pets. Read on and join me in jaw-gaping disbelief.

Makers of the $725 Mink Fur Dog Coat, Harman and Rose drew more than just a few eyebrows when they launched the splurge item last year. Perhaps now they’ve come to realise that dogs do come with fur because I was no longer able to locate the Mink version on their website but instead found this much more practical option on offer.

And then there’s the Versace Barocco Pet Bowl. $754. Emm, I doubt any starved pet, pampered or street-smart, would give a hoot. More malarky here.

On the other end of the pet spectrum, lovers of felines and feline fashion are more than likely waiting with bated breath for Choupette, the Karl Lagerfeld line of wearables inspired by his own wee fluffball. main.original2

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But, you know, Meow Meow Land would be incomplete without rouge. Mais oui. Or paupières. Or crème for a satiny smooth paw finish. In comes La maison de Shupette from Shu Uemura (with packaging featuring Lagerfeld’s drawings of his cat), scheduled to debut in 10 days and counting.

kollektsiya-kosmetiki-koshki-karla-lagerfelda-shupette-for-shu-uemura-460x359

It does appear that societal obsession with pets and pampering them (beyond rational thought) is no fleeting trend.  I admit; I’m flabbergasted. When did we go from caring for the old and needy and young to this?

When did the day arrive when caring for the old, the homeless, the needy, the dying children, the ones in soup kitchens become overshadowed by stupid, extravagant purchases for PETS? That makes no sense whatsoever. And it leaves me feeling disturbed, it does.

What are your thoughts on this madness?

 

Love, Sheela

shutterstock_221204023I love Gala Darling. I want to be her when I grow up. With the technicolour hair and equally vivid outlook on life. For the moment, though, I have to be content with playing “dress-up” with today’s theme, Made Me Laugh. Amidst the angst of knee surgery (read post here and here), allow me to share with you, some links which cracked me up.

Ya wee lassie.

You just can’t help loving (and laughing with) Ellen.

Guess who he takes after.

What a trooper.

And this is pure child abuse, yo.

 

Happy Saturday :)

Love, Sheela

Fret not, this is will not be a whiny continuation of yesterday’s post.

Yes, I’m still under house arrest and, yes, still in quite a frightful load of pain but neverending pity parties aren’t much fun. Not for the host. Not for the guest, right? We attempted to shower today, and it was an acrobatic experience involving crutches, foldable step and bar counter stool. Another necessary prop was the trusty Cling-wrap.

imageI finally saw what the surgeon had done and understood the pain levels.

There were three deep incisions instead of the two I’d expected. There was quite a bit of bruising and bleeding; the gauze pads were crusty with dried blood. But everything looks as though it’s as it should be, so I’m relieved :) here’s to surviving another day tomorrow without going out of my mind with boredom.

 

This is, afterall, a day-by-day chronicle of my situation so the photo had to be shared.

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