UNREAL CITY: DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY

 

We have one of the most amazing libraries that I have ever set foot in. Floors upon floors house shelves upon shelves. It is like a maze of knowledge that envelops you and dares you to pull books off the shelves. I love to walk along the halls and think about the thoughts of all the authors of all the books in the rooms. It’s an overwhelming amount of knowledge and ideas right at our fingertips.

I am always skeptical of people who claim books are becoming obsolete. Yes, we have so many more ways to access texts and knowledges, which is amazing, but I think any book lover will tell you that it is not the same to read something online as it is to hold a book in your hand. More people will admit treasuring the experience of a book or a library than you think. While plenty of people may say they prefer the internet or hate reading books, people still treasure them. Sit in a classroom in any of the colleges here in Denver. How many people actually use ebooks? One or two, maybe? I know in my classes, there is always one person, and he or she is always complaining that he or she cannot follow along in class due to lack of page numbers. Go sit in a coffee shop. How many people are using an ereader? How many people are actually reading? Look on the train, in the park, on an airplane, or other public places. Books are everywhere, flying under the radar. In a world that is run by technology, we still hold onto our love of the archaic form of the book. I love holding a book in my hand, smelling the pages as I’m turning them, and thinking about the ideas and words contained in such a small artifact.

Denver is an incredibly literate city. Every destination neighborhood has a used bookstore, sometimes more. Baker has an absurd amount of bookstores, as does Capitol Hill. Plenty of people enjoy the Colorado sunshine by sitting outside reading. I think the majesticness of our library represents the quiet thunder of literary people within the city of Denver. We are unassuming, intellegent, yet ever present on the Denver scene. Just like our library.

CHANGES

 

Hey guys!

 

So as you can probably tell, I am really, really bad at writing on this blog everyday. Therefore, I’m going to change up the format a little bit. Instead of sticking to the format, I’m going to pick a random category to post to every day. I may create some new ones too based off of what I feel is successful. Expect to see:

 

  • A lot more pictures! I want to feature more images of Denver and its people
  • More profiles about places
  • More fashion posts
  • More frequent, more brief film and literary posts
  • Quotes!

I’m excited. Are you?

LOST IN A SUPERMARKET: IKEA’S KARLSTAD SOFA

I recently had my first ever Ikea experience. Hap and I had been in the market for a sofa for a while, so we went to check out Denver’s new Ikea. After an hour long deliberation, we decided on the couch pictured above, the Karlstad corner sofa with Sivik dark grey fabric. Thought I have only had this couch for a month, I have to say that this is one of my favorite couches that I would recommend to anyone.

WHY I LOVE THIS COUCH:

  • The size of the couch is perfect. It’s a 3+2/2+3, which means that you can flip which side is longer to adapt to any room. This is perfect for people who rent, such as us, or for people who like to redecorate often. I like that it provides a lot of sitting space. We can easily fit six of our friends on it comfortably. On a normal night, we can both lie out on the couch with our dog without complaints. However, it is not overwhelmingly large piece of furniture. It is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It is not too tall; it complements the rest of our living room perfectly.
  • I LOVE the fabric of this couch. This couch comes in a variety of colors and textures. The Sivik is soft yet durable. It is a finely woven knit fiber, similar to a microfiber. The dark grey color hides dirt and scuffs while remaining soft to the touch. The color is a deep charcoal that matches many different color palates. Also, if you grow tired of the color, you can purchase other covers to change easily.
  • Ikea’s customer service made purchasing this couch incredibly easy. The staff seemed prepared for any sort of question. When we first entered the showroom, I commented offhand that I would never remember the names of the products or the codes to give the customer service representatives. A friendly helpful attendent overheard me and recommended that I take pictures of the tag with my phone. She showed me exactly what information to photograph so I could show the showroom people. Come time to order, I showed my phone to the showroom attendants and they helped me place my order quickly and efficiently. Everyone throughout the entire process had a genuine interest in helping me pick out my items and ensuring I got the products that I needed.
  • Ikea’s delivery system was also a pleasant surprise. As we were waiting for our pieces to be brought to us, we noticed the delivery kiosk. I have a smaller car, and, as usual, I purchased way too many things. The couch itself came in three large boxes! I was worried about he fees, but to my house, which is easily 30 minutes from Ikea, I only paid $59. We had two chairs and our couch delivered, which totaled in 6 boxes. We just missed the cut-off time (3pm) for same-day delivery, which would have been the same price!

 

This couch is available in other sizes as well, so it can adapt to any space. Keep Ikea in mind with you are shopping for your next big furniture purchase.

 

COOKING FOR THE CULINARY CHALLENGED: CHICKEN PARM!

 

Everyone should have one go-to dish that he or she can whip out last minute that will really impress your audience. In my case, I use my mom’s Chicken Parmesan recipe. Anytime I am having someone new over, this is the dish I make. I know it’s delicious and I could make it blindfolded. Today, I am going to share it with you!

 

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 eggs

1 can of Italian-Style breadcrumbs (enough to cover the bottom of a plate)

Olive Oil for sauteing

1 large onion, diced

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste

1 cup red wine (drinking, not cooking. I prefer Red Truck for this dish, but any red will do)

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1tbs oregano

3-4 cloves of chopped garlic

1tbs of salt

2 cups grated parmesean cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

1 package of spaghetti

 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Using a meat tenderizer (or your fists if you don’t have one), pound out the chicken breasts. Put on a plate.
  • Set up your breading station. Put your tenderized chicken to the left. Next, crack your eggs into a bowl. Add the TINIEST bit of water. (When I say tiny, I mean tiny. I usually run the faucet at a consistant drip and drip in 3-4 drops). Mix together and set to the right of the chicken. Next, take a plate with high edges or a curve and spread a layer of breadcrumbs across it. Set to the right of the egg plate. Last, put an empty plate to the right of the breadcrumbs. This is my method to keep the kitchen relatively clean; I can then bread in a straight line. You can use your own breading method if you have one. I just find this easiest and cleanest.
  • Bread your chicken. Take a piece of chicken in your hand. Dunk both sides 2-3 times in the egg wash. Make sure you completely cover the chicken. Then, lay the chicken in the bread crumbs. Flip the chicken and relay it 2-3 times to ensure the proper covering. Place the breaded chicken on the clean plate. Repeat with the other breasts.
  • Make your sauce. Cook your onion in olive oil until translucent. Add your tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and brown sugar in a pot over medium heat. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Add oregano, garlic, and salt. Turn the heat down to low and stir periodically while you are frying your chicken.
  • Fry the chicken. In a large skillet, pour two tablespoons of olive oil. Coat the skillet. There are two key steps to ensuring proper frying of chicken. The first: wait for the oil to become hot before you put in the chicken. Wait at least 2-3 minutes, or until you see it begin to spit. Place your breasts into the oil. Second key step: Make sure the side fully cooks before you flip it to the other side. Flipping too early causes the breading to fall off the chicken. It usually takes about 4-5 minutes for each side to cook. You can tell when the breading becomes crispier, like a piece of chicken fried steak. Flip the breasts and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Assemble your chicken parm. Before you put your breasts in the pan, Add 1 ladle or 2 serving spoonfuls of the sauce. Spread around the bottom of the pan evenly. This ensures the bottoms won’t dry out while cooking. Place the breasts in the pan, making sure none of them are touching too much. Tips are okay, but not full sides. Cover chicken with the sauce until each breast is completely submerged and no longer visible. If you have extra sauce, that’s okay. You can use it as spaghetti sauce another night. Next, sprinkle your parmesan and mozzarella on top evenly. Sprinkle oregano over the dish.
  • Bake chicken parm for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and just beginning to brown. While baking, prepare your spaghetti according to the directions. When you remove your dish, let it cool for a few minutes before plating.
  • Assemble your plates. Put a small pile of spaghetti on your plate. Place the breast on top. You can add parsley if you want for a garnish.
Voila! This dish is so easy and sure to be a favorite. Note: You can also sub veal or eggplant for the chicken depending on your crowd. Chicken is easy and a safe bet, but if you feel adventurous, go for it!

 

LITERARY SATURDAY: THE PLAGUE

Sorry this post was a little late, guys! With being sick this weekend and having to catch up on school, Literary Saturday got postponed. Now that I am well, enjoy your quote!

“For weeks on end we were reduced to starting the same letter over and over again recopying the same scraps of news and the same personal appeals, with the result that after a certain time the living words, into which we had as it were transfused our hearts’ blood, were drained of any meaning. Thereafter we went on copying them mechanically, trying, through the dead phrases, to convey some notion of our ordeal. And in the long run, to these sterile, reiterated monologues, these futile colloquies with a blank wall, even the banal formulas of a telegram came to seem preferable” – The Plague, Albert Camus

 

There are many moments within my literary career that I cite as causing my ignited passion for words. Camus’ The Plague always ranks on my list. The overarching metaphor of apathy and disconnection as a plague of our existence fascinates me. I love the relationship between form and function; the first sections of the book are deliberately difficult to read, and as the town begins to care, the book becomes more vibrant. And, as many of my favorite existential books do, this book shakes and rattles my very wellbeing and makes me question how we can even connect to each other, if we can at all.

I picked this quote above for a variety of reasons. I believe in the connection that writing provides to one’s own soul. The act of letter writing in this book functions as an important motif. Many of the characters have ideas they cannot sufficiently communicate through writing, and when they try, the result is dry and mundane, rendering them as characters dry and mundane. In this passage, the townspeople as a collective struggle to write letters to their loved ones expressing their loneliness and isolation. Their attempts become dull and useless, and they begin to welcome the patterns of genre, from letter writing to telegrams. They feel safe through the confines and restrictions that these methods of communication impose upon their unexpressed feelings. Paired with cliche phrases and expected jargon, these heartfelt emotions remain unexpressed and stifled, reinforcing the apathy and isolation. In a way, the townspeople do feel connected to each other, but this connection stems only from the disconnect they feel from the outside world and their inability to express this disconnect. This false unity plays an important role in the book, and for the main characters.

LOOK OF THE MOMENT: BAND TSHIRTS

I have an obsession with band tees. They are somehow softer and comfier than a normal shirt and showcase a person’s personality through their likes and interests. Seeing someone wear a shirt from a band I like makes me automatically know I would get along with that person. I am more likely to compliment a stranger on their band shirt than any other article of clothing. However, sometimes it is hard to style these shirts cutely! Other than jeans, what do you wear with them? Today, I am going to teach you guys cute, fun ways to wear those awesome shirts we have acquired from tons of concerts!

HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS:

I paired my favorite Free Energy band tee with a pair of black leggings and a blazer. Add a cute scarf and comfy heels, and you are good to go! This look is so easy, comfortable, yet stylish and classic. It’s basically the grown up version of what we all wore in high school: jeans, band tee, and zippy hoodie. This outfit is perfect for happy hour, dinner, or meeting up with friends for the evening.

To get this look add:

Leggings (Mine are Lisse)

Blazer (Mine is from the Gap

Heels (Mine are Rockport)

Scarf (Mine is Halogen)

BRUNCH:

I paired my new Weezer cruise tee with a maxi and a cardigan. Pairing a tee with a maxi is a great way to give your look a touch of girliness. If your shirt is more printed, go for a solid color maxi. In my case, my tee is mostly one color, so I paired it with a striped maxi. If you’re feeling more adventurous, mix prints! You can always tame it with the cardigan. So many of the band tees can be boxy or boyish. Adding a skirt adds that touch of adult feminine sophistication that every woman looks for.

To get this look add:

Maxi Skirt (Mine is from Anthropologie)

Cardigan (Mine is from Anthropologie)

I hope this gives you all some inspiration to mix and match your band tees in new and innovative ways! How do you all wear your band shirts?

UNREAL CITY: CONFLUENCE PARK DOG PARK

 

It is a rare  occurrence to see a dog park in Denver without dogs. Usually, this park is full of dogs of all sizes chasing each other around like madmen. Last week, when I took this picture, it was cold and windy. A perfect day for photography, but not so much for playing with dogs. We bundled Gatsby up tight in his parka but he stood there staring at us shivering. I like the serenity of this picture. Many of the dog parks seem fabricated, due to their plastic fixtures and kitchy bag stations. This park preserves the natural integrity and beauty of Denver while providing a safe space for our furry friends to frolic.