Monday, March 28, 2016

book review: spritz by talia baiocchi and leslie pariseau.

Is it weird that I enjoy reading / leafing through / collecting cocktail recipe books? Maybe it is a little, since I don't drink very much at all. But I've always been interested in looking through cocktail recipe books. I guess it makes me feel fancy? I have a few very vintage "Old Mr. Boston" cocktail recipe books I found by chance at a used bookstore one time, and I think that may be what got me hooked on them.

So, naturally, I was drawn to Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes
by Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau. The physical book itself satisfies my old-cocktail-book-collecting little heart. It very much has the look and feel of a vintage drink recipe book. And what's inside is even better!

Spritz begins with a fun delve into the history of the spritz, basically a mixed drink consisting of some variation involving wine with sparkling / soda water and other ingredients. It's meant to be a low-alcohol beverage to be consumed at the beginning of the evening (if you're all fancy and care about which beverage you drink when). I really enjoyed the history lesson, which was breezy, informative, and enlightening--kind of like an Alton Brown treatment on the subject. And something about the idea of the spritz definitely calls out to me--could be the low-alcohol portion, or perhaps it's the self-indulgent idea of making a wine beverage fancier. Oh la la, am I right?

Then came the section of collected drink recipes, which covered more traditional spritzes to funkier twists. I decided to try my hand at a sort of combination of a couple of the recipes, based on what I had on hand at home: dry red wine, mandarin flavored soda water, pineapple juice, and lime juice. It was similar to the "Sangrita" recipe on page 120, and it was definitely tasty.

The last section of the book shares some related recipes for nibbles to go along with your fancy spritzes at your aperitivo table. Many sound quite yummy--I will have to try the ricotta, prosciutto, and fresh seasonal fruit crostini for a future movie night with my bestie. The fare in this book is right up her alley.

So, Spritz is definitely a winner for me! Want to know more? Check it out:

  • More Info
  • Author Bio

  • **Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, all opinions are my own!

    Friday, March 11, 2016

    avy's faves: board books | march 2016.

    I knew my soon-to-be-one-year-old daughter was pretty advanced, but I didn't expect her to be writing her first blog post before her first birthday. Well, technically, I guess I wrote the post on her behalf. But we won't quibble over technicalities. She certainly chose the content with her careful and discerning taste in books. Avy can be pretty picky and critical when it comes to the quality of her reading material.

    Without further ado, please enjoy her selections:

    The Jungle Book: An Animals Primer (BabyLit series) by Jennifer Adams & Alison Oliver

    This is Avery's all-time favorite book. I'm not sure why this one specifically enchants her so much, but it does. She loves it and gets excited every time I read it to her. We usually gloss over the quotes on each page from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book in favor of a simpler reading: I read the name of each animal, say what type of animal it is, and make that animal's sound to the best of my ability--what the heck do porcupines sound like? Jackals? Peacocks? Anyway. She always looks at me expectantly, waiting for each animal's sound. It's adorbs.

    Baby Beluga by Raffi & Ashley Wolff

    Mike and I read-sing Baby Beluga to Avery every night at bedtime as part of her nightly routine. It's part of her bedtime wind-down. So, this beautifully-illustrated board book is a definite fixture in her little life! Sometimes she really enjoys it, and sometimes I think perhaps she gets a little annoyed by it if she's wanting to resist bedtime, which it's a pretty clear signal of. But mostly she loves it.

    Tickle by Leslie Patricelli

    Avery loves the Leslie Patricelli board books I've checked out from my library. Tickle is an especially cute one, and Toot is another one she really likes! The pictures are just simple enough while vibrant and eye-catching. The text is brief enough but maintains a great sense of humor baby and grown-ups can appreciate. And the baby starring in these books is totally gender-neutral, too, which is cool.

    Dr. Seuss's ABC by Dr. Seuss

    Who can resist a silly, sing-song Dr. Seuss book? This one is a classic, and it seems to hold Avery's attention well with the rhythmic, rhyming text. I mean, what's better than a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz, or Itchy-Itchy-Ichabod?

    First 100 Animals by Helen Parker

    This book is just one example of the host of similar books Avy loves--board books featuring bright, clear photos of real-life animals, people, and objects. She especially loves looking at farm animals and babies/toddlers. She also loves staring at family photos in our house and my mom's house; I really need to make her a photo album / book with photos of all her family members to look at. I really think she'd love that.

    Well, that's it for this first edition of book reviews on Avery's behalf. I have to say, the girl has good taste! I'll share again soon when I have another good batch of Avy's faves. :)

    Monday, March 7, 2016

    book review: pop painting by camilla d'errico.

    Art inspiration! Art techniques! A beautiful cover! I couldn't resist taking a look at Pop Painting by Camilla d'Errico. Lately I have been actively seeking out insight and instruction from other artists online and in book form, so this was a natural choice. Camilla's art style is different from my own, and well beyond my abilities, but the tips on techniques, art supplies and materials, and setting up your studio are still totally pertinent and helpful to me as a fledgling wannabe-illustrator.

    First off, I love the images of Camilla's art throughout the book. Her work is uniquely beautiful, surreal, and dreamlike. The paintings shown through the book are quite stunning to look at.

    Aside from showcasing Camilla's work, her book also delves into tips and tricks, painting and art techniques, tools and materials, art studio setup, and getting into art professionally. It's a well-rounded look into all these aspects of being an artist, and it's fairly extensive. I love getting an artist's perspective on her craft and her business. This book is right on topic for me and right up my alley!

    Want to know more about Camilla and her lovely art? Visit these handy dandy links:
    If you're not an artist or not looking for art techniques or tips, but you find Camilla's artwork to be beautiful and intriguing, I'd recommend taking a look at this baby just to see all the beautiful paintings!

    **Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, all opinions are my own!