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Here I am at my worst and my best.

My worst: Remember when I said I wasn’t a natural waterskier? Here is the photographic proof (thank you Leslie for making this your desktop background, I’m sure it’s a hit). Do I look like a natural at anything to you? Naturally a drowned cat? Naturally someone who really is better at being on land? And to my sister that says having ugly photos of you on the internet is character building: my character is so built right now it’s like a brick house.

My best: Being photogenic thanks to Instagram filters after I became Foursquare mayor at Chill (what my poor dad must be wondering while reading this). Froyo has never tasted as delicious as when you are the mayor.

Are these even photos of the same girl? Probably not. The second one might be my better looking body double that I occasionally hire for candid photo-ops. But the first one is all me.

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lobsterfest the aftermath: onion

Current sunburn status: peeling. Hence the onion title. My skin is peeling off like papery onion flakes. You think this is gross? TRY HAVING IT ON YOUR BODY. This striking imagery is to make up for the fact that there haven’t been any pictures lately. Disappointing, I know. It’s hard to get through a whole blog post with out something pretty to look at.

In other news I have finally resigned myself to the fact that my perfect purple sketchbook is lost. Forever. I have been denying it for a month saying that it would just turn up somewhere but now I must come to grips with the fact that someone out in the world is really benefiting from my bad drawings of chairs and personal lists on topics like “things I didn’t learn because I am not Jewish” and an illustrated guide to “things I will consume immediately upon arriving in the states”. It’s a sad, sad day indeed. Except for the lucky idiot who has my sketchbook, because I’m positive they are having the time of their life. YOU ARE THE WORST. Fortunately, I wrote my name right in the front of the damn thing so there wouldn’t be any sort of confusion about who the person was behind all of the really bizarre personal lists and bad typographic drawings.

Other things I have lost and lament this summer:

My perfectly sized water bottle

My (perfect?) keys

My gym pass (GOD NO!)

My perfect headband that doesn’t hurt my ears or give me a headache

My phone charger

I hope this gets all my bad karma out for a while. Seriously. No more lost stuff. I’m still reeling from the purple sketchbook.

And as a final note: everyone needs to stop acting like summer is over (yes, I know you already went home, Ali and I know you are leaving this weekend, Leslie). I HAVE ONE MORE MONTH OF WORK. Yes, that is 30 days. Aka one-third of my summer is left. And yes, I will spend it whiling the hours away in a small office with an oscillating fan designing a university handbook without any sort of creative control. But it is still 100 degrees, still acceptable to eat froyo everyday, still no homework, SO IT IS STILL SUMMER. Everyone back off.

You thought that was the last thing I had to say but this is actually it: I BECAME THE MAYOR OF CHILL FROYO ON FOURSQUARE. Now I know this won’t mean a lot to my less tech-saavy readers (dad) but basically it means that I have been to Chill Frozen Yogurt more than anyone in all of St. Louis lately. It has been proven by my iPhone app and thus it is true. In case you guys were thinking I was exaggerating just how often I get frozen yogurt, I was serious. I have frequented Chill more than anyone and I reign supreme. I have never been more proud of myself. All in a summer’s work.

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lobsterfest

And so I have entitled my sunburn healing process. Lobsterfest. How many days will it take for my skin to return to a normal tone? No one knows. It’s current shade is somewhere between ripened tomato and firetruck. All over my body. My whole entire surface area is red, thanks to six and a half hours spent floating down an unknown Missouri river. I will say that the six hours were definitely worth it. No one has had as much fun floating down a river (okay, maybe Huck Finn since he basically has a whole book about it) than this girl (okay, maybe also Jordan. He wins the float trip constant enthusiasm award, which is on an entirely different level). It was also worth it because I now have a gnarly Chaco sandal tan to validate myself as a proud Chaco-wearing, outdoorsy, Idahoan. Also I would like the record to show that I applied AND reapplied sunscreen. And not in the way I normally do that attempts to strike a balance between appearing concerned about skin cancer while actually trying to become a golden-brown goddess (I have yet to find the balance). These methods include applying only the smallest dollop of sunscreen, or putting a lot on and then immediately jumping into the pool before it can soak in.

Highlights of the float trip include:

1. Actually managing to organize a float trip for 14 people. 20-year-olds are generally awful at coordination. All kudos go to our friend Annie for making this happen. No one could have done it but her. Seriously. Everyone made it to the raft and it was a complete act of god.

2. Being repeatedly attacked with water guns by a roving family (gang?) of Missourians (hicks?) in canoes. This was varying levels of amusing depending on how much time we had already spent on the river. The first time was kind of like a thrilling river pirate show-down. The third time was more like a lot of annoyed 20-year-olds wondering why they were being tormented by middle-aged adults with water guns.

3. Ending the float and discovering that a single, miraculous bag of pretzels remained dry. Everything else was entirely soaked and had a mildewy river stench.

4. Getting out of the raft and seeing the glory of my new Chacos tan.

5. Having an excuse to eat an extreme amount of snacks. You need energy when you are out in the sun all day doing nothing but sitting on a raft!

6. Peeing in the river. There are no bathroom stops along the way! No one can fault you for this and everyone does it! I’m not saying peeing in places that are not bathrooms is something I really look forward to, it’s just a lot more socially acceptable in the river than at the pool.

7. Being so so so tired from paddling because there was no current at all that you definitely need some froyo from Chill once you get back. And when you get to Chill you realize they have toasted almond flavor AND lime tart (not as good as salted caramel or coconut, but it will do). SCORE.

8. Everyone made it out alive.

Less awesome things that happen two hours later when you realize that no amount of sunscreen could ever have prevented the kind of burn you are currently suffering from:

1. Not being able to sleep, sit, or wear clothes because they all feel like sandpaper on your sunburn. I have never been so aware of my lower back in my whole life. Undeniably the most sunburned portion of my body, I feel it when I try to fall asleep, it touches against my office chair at work, I cannot wear a pencil skirt because it is literally bound to the small of my back and is the most abrasive thing ever.

2. Feeling about three degrees hotter constantly. As if it was not hot enough here already (IT IS).

3. Putting on a lot of lotion to heal the sunburn and then walking to work only to sweat it all off. If you haven’t experienced the lotion-sweats, I envy you. I would say it is three stages worse on the Sweat Severity Scale than when you go for a run at four in the afternoon. Not only does lotion seem to make you sweat a lot more, it generates a really appealing and not-at-all-obvious greasy/sweaty film all over your skin. I arrived at work today looking like a swamp monster.

4. Looking weird. Sunburns aren’t attractive.

Fortunately the list of pros outweigh the cons so we can all rest easy that the float trip was worth it! My hot tips for the coming week: sunscreening liberally, lotioning with moderation, sitting in air-conditioning as much as possible.

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Here is Rita (one third of our dream team of roommates). It’s just a small hint of the glory that is our apartment. Obviously camp chairs are our main source of seating. Don’t you know we are in college?

Here is Rita (one third of our dream team of roommates). It’s just a small hint of the glory that is our apartment. Obviously camp chairs are our main source of seating. Don’t you know we are in college?

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water sports for all

So I took a one month hiatus. I mean, who wouldn’t deserve an extended blogging break after studying (gallivanting) in Europe and working hard (hanging out) back in St. Louis? Blogging is so taxing, let me tell you.

Before I get to the point, here are the highlights of what I’ve been doing for this month:

  1. Sweating. It’s very hot here. Sometimes the air is so humid it’s almost like drowning while you breath.

  2. Working. I’m an intern. “Cool,” you think to yourself, “you and every other college student on summer break.”

  3. Eating. I eat frozen yogurt on the regular (no thanks to my roommates Rita and Danielle for trying to curb this addiction). Just tonight I received my ninth punch in my frequent purchaser punch card. You’ll be pleased to know that not only is my next froyo is free, but it also means I have been averaging about 2 froyos a week since my arrival. Thank you universe, I really did need a gelato substitute. WRONG.

  4. Eating not a lot of things that aren’t froyo. Like I mentioned, it’s hot here. I break a sweat chopping vegetables. If it requires the oven or more than ten minutes on the stove, it’s not going to be made. I eat a lot of black beans and fake meat. I’ve regressed since Italy.

  5. Watching tv. I LOVE TV. I FORGOT HOW GREAT TV IS AND I AM NOT ASHAMED TO SAY IT. Shout out to the best sister in the world who hooked me up with online HBO. Sometimes it feels like nothing better has ever happened to me.

  6. Hanging out. This generally is me doing things with my friends that allow us to stay as cool as possible. Sometimes it’s going to Target, sometimes it’s going to the botanical gardens to hear free music, sometimes we go to the pool, which is the perfect segue for the point of this story. Me and bodies of water.

We went to Wisconsin this weekend to visit our sweet friend Katie and her awesome parents at their beautiful house on Lake Kegonsa. Despite what could be taken as a sarcastic overuse of positive adjectives, I had such a good time! We road tripped and ate cheese and shopped at the Saturday market and had meals cooked by a mom, all things I really really love!

But we also did some water sports. Because we were on a lake. And everyone excels at water sports because they are so fun and carefree! NOT FOR THIS GIRL. To say I am unnatural in the water is an understatement. When I jumped into the lake with the water skis on, they came off immediately. I WASN’T EVEN GOING, I WAS JUST GETTING INTO THE WATER. I should have taken this as a sign. I then spent a lot of time rolling a round in the water buoyed on both ends by the life jacket and the skis. It was awkward. It was really awkward. Everyone else of course had a fine time. There was no tangling up in the tow rope, no floundering around losing skis for no reason.

Whatever. I’m not even embarrassed because I found my true calling as a leisurely sun bather. These are the only things you need to do as a leisurely sun bather and literally everyone can be good at it: you sit at the front of the boat (the prow if you are as knowledgeable in boat vocab as I am) and bask in the sun, with an amount of sunscreen on that suggests you are skin cancer savvy, but interested in not being pasty white. Whenever you get too hot/need to pee you hop out of the boat and swim around for a couple of minutes and get right back on to be driven around the lake some more. Take in the views, nap a little, it’s all possible when you are a leisurely sun bather. When I am filthy rich, I will consider buying a boat and a driver just so I can ride around, its delightful. My friends can bring their water skis whenever they want, but you will find me basking upon the prow in a sunhat. Doesn’t that sound refined? I’ll tell you, a semester in Florence and this girl is one classy broad.

Check you guys later. And not in one month, I swear.

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HEY I LEAVE TOMORROW

…and by leave I really mean start my four day saga of going home. There will be overnight stays in Bologna, Paris, DC and then I finally get to Portland! It’ll be a marathon but I am ready. I have spent my last days being lazy all over town, eating all the classics in excess (lots of panini, kebabs, and gelato) and enjoying the sun after last week’s rain. The great news is that if you look really closely at the back of my left shoulder there is what may or may not be a tan line from my tank top, SUCCESS.

I’ll miss Florence (aka the riso flavored gelato), but for now I am looking forward to putting on my Chacos and drinking a whole gallon of skim milk. Or diving into a swimming pool of oatmeal. Either one. (Hint to Morgan: please have these ready for me upon my arrival).

We had the final art show last week and it was just chock full of the most conceptual stuff you could imagine. Which is really just how the semester should have ended, with as many esoteric art references and extraordinarily vague themes as we started with. Here’s the roomie Q and I at the show: 

Such artists we’ve become! 

In closing: PEACE OUT FLORENCE. It’s been real. Seen you in a very long time from now. Not because I don’t love you, just because I need a chance to loose all this gelato weight and you need some time to restock your pistachio flavor. 

LOVE,

DELANEY

(and in case you were interested, Italy, “ho due piscine” is still my favorite phrase, and a toddler could still speak better Italian)

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The Last Suppers. Here’s how I finished my semester in the kitchen strong. With grains. With sweet chili sauce. With my favorite feta-as-goat-cheese-substitute. And if you must know, as tonight is my last night in Florence, Quin and I did it up in true style at Best Kebab in the World. A real, authentic Italian meal (not). It’s not actually named that, but it should be because no one knows the real name of it and they do serve the best kebabs in the world. Like I said, we are going out with a bang. BYE FLORENCE.

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The Home Stretch (steak and goat cheese)

HEY LOOK I’VE ALMOST MADE IT! I have one week left of classes before I set (figurative) sail for the homeland. You might want to be hearing some sort of personal reflection on how my semester has been. No. I don’t want to talk about that right now. I just want to tell you about my troubles with goat cheese. 

I would say that I spend at least one hour each week in Italy in active pursuit of goat cheese. I cannot find it. I buy lots of cheese thinking it is goat cheese only to get home and realize it is definitely not (I have had a lot of strange cheeses as a result). There was a brief glimmer of hope when my sister and mom came into town and we found goat cheese surrounded by brie at the market. GOAT CHEESE AND BRIE IN ONE, I’M NOT LYING. I couldn’t even believe it. I ate it right up. And apparently experiencing the pinnacle of goat cheese means I will never be able to find it again and my life must go back to being a very barren, goat-cheese lacking place. There are one million types of cheese here AND I NEVER FIND GOAT CHEESE. Ugh. Whatever. Sometimes I have to use feta. I get over it.

Now that we’ve spoken about that, we can also touch on the delicious six meals of steak Quinlan and I enjoyed a couple weeks ago. We went to Borgo Antico (the restaurant of hallowed hamburger fame) and shared a giant, bloody T-bone steak. It was sooooooo good. Could you tell by how many o’s I used? It was that good. So good and huge in fact that Quin and I both ate two more meals each from that steak. That’s a total of six meals. I am very good with numbers when it concerns food. GOD IT WAS GOOD. So here is a picture of the steak sandwich I made the night after. 

I’ve also had a recent re-discovery of pesto. Something about having only one week left to stuff my face made me realize I have absolutely not been eating enough pesto. So now I make up for that by eating it with every meal. Snack time, lunch time, dinner time. All the time. I love it. It’s good on everything. Here are the roasted brussel sprouts, potatoes, and broccoli I made as a vehicle for my pesto. 

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Magic Pumpkin. It’s real.

So no one told me that squash season is not spring. Maybe they didn’t tell me because that is a pretty common knowledge kind of fact. However, I was undeterred by the seasons because I HAD to make a squash and farro and spinach recipe I found online (all my number one fave ingredients). I was on a mission. I took myself, mission in mind, to the central market only to realize that there was really, really, seriously no squash to be found anywhere because it is not, in fact, October. 

BUT I DID FIND A PUMPKIN. A really weird, not bright orange pumpkin. But I thought to myself, “Aren’t squash and pumpkins like cousins? They are like best friends in the food kingdom. I gotta get it.” So I bought myself a pumpkin, and I walked through the streets back to my house with a pumpkin. And I proceeded to spend 45 minutes chopping up this pumpkin. But you know what? It was totally worth it because it was delicious AND I got multiple meals out of this baby. This was not just some one meal pumpkin. This was pumpkin and farro, pumpkin risotto, pumpkin cream sauce pasta. It was a great week, seeing as pumpkin is probably my third favorite flavor of food (after coconut and coffee, duh). 

Here are the before and after shots. I’m practically a magician. (Shame on me for taking the picture before I added the balsamic reduction, just like my sister taught me.)

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You guys have been missing the food pics haven’t you? How could you not? I love nothing better than a good drool in front of my computer screen so I know where you are coming from. Here are some of the latest highlights.