Monday, December 22, 2008

Favorite Brewery of 2008

This year, I discovered the Laguinitas Brewery, thanks to my new favorite beer store, The Perfect Pour, otherwise known as beer heaven. Everything I've tasted by this brewery has been top notch. They have a terrific line of beers in honor of the albums of Frank Zappa. I highly recommend trying one of their beers soon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Albums I Should Have Bought in 2008

I do have a short list of albums I didn't get around to buying or listening to in 2008. Hopefully, I'll get them with my gift certificates :) Here's that list.

Girl Talk - "Feed the Animals"

I somehow still haven't gotten this, despite being able to pay what you want for it.

Hold Steady - "Stay Positive"

The songs I heard on the radio from this album sounded interesting and not annoying like every other Hold Steady song I've heard.

Portishead - "Third"

I swear I have picked up this album 10x at the store and put it back every time. I love Portishead and don't know why I didn't get it!

I also wanted the new Sigur Ros album, but I'm too lazy to look for a picture of it (or the album's name...)

Favorite Albums of 2008

2008 was a slow music year for me. I didn't go to many shows (2, to be exact) and found many of the "new" bands to be completely uninteresting. But, there were some gems released in 2008. Here's my list of favorites:

Marnie Stern - "This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That"

Listening to this album makes me wish these songs were available to play on Guitar Hero. I've never heard anyone play the guitar this way, and the fact that she's a girl just makes this music that much cooler. Thank you Bust magazine for introducing me to this quirky, cute album. (and if you're a girl and you don't subscribe to Bust magazine, please do so immediately)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - "Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!"

I finally listened to Nick Cave this year. I can't say that I love this entire album, but "Dig Lazarus Dig!!!" was definitely my favorite song of the year. I think Grinderman is a better album, but this one has some gems too.

Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

I think Jenny Lewis has one of the prettiest singing voices ever. These songs aren't as good as those on her previous effort, "Rabbit Fur Coat", but it's still worth a listen.

The Walkmen - "You and Me"

This album wins my favorite cover art of the year. I love the lead singer's voice. Some people may find it grating, but I think it's comforting. This album sounds different, and dreamy, and nice.

Deerhunter - "Microcastle/Weird Era Cont."

This Deerhunter album has been on constant rotation at my house since we bought it. Fantastic Friday night drinking red wine music, or if you just need a break from your stressful day.

and top three albums of the year....

Santogold - "Santogold"

I could not wait for this album to be released. It was almost ruined for me because of all the advertisements in which these songs were featured, but it's still one of my favorite albums of the year. Super fun summer album.

Fleet Foxes - "Fleet Foxes"

The harmonies remind me of the Beach Boys, and I think this album sounds beautiful. I don't understand why some think it's overrated. Is it the best thing ever? No, but it's definitely one of the best of 2008.

TV on the Radio - "Dear Science"

I really didn't like the first TV on the Radio album, and didn't want to listen to this one at all. But, I kept hearing the single on the radio, so I gave this album a try, and loved every song. I couldn't stop listening to it after I first bought it. It's my favorite album of the year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cute of the Week

Cookies and Balls

Most of this weekend was spent making cookies for the holidays. This year, the chosen cookies were as follows:

Spritz: A family staple, in vanilla and almond varieties. Spritz are easy to make with a cookie press. My Nana used to send me huge tins of these when I was in college. They rarely lasted more than one day! They are my personal favorite.

Spritz with cinnamon!

Green Tree Spritz!

Raspberry Thumbprints: I bought the holiday edition of Cook's Illustrated and immediately wanted to make everything in this issue. These cookies were featured, and they taste excellent. I liked their hint to bake the cookies for 10 mins, then take them out of the oven, define the thumbprints with the back of a teaspoon, fill, and bake completely. They turned out wonderfully!


Rosemary Butter Cookies: My friend Meg handed these out a few years ago, and we all asked for the recipe. Lucky for us, these cookies won the Baltimore Sun Baking Challenge, so all we had to do was pick up a paper! These are requested each year and have become a new tradition in my family.

Rosemary Butter Cookies!

Peanut Butter Balls: My friend Meri is the queen of cookie making. Her cookies always taste the best, and she makes kick ass peanut butter balls. This year, she was nice enough to pass the recipe on to me. I think they came out pretty well considering this was my first time ever making candy!

Peanut Butter Balls Before Dipping!

Covered in Chocolate!

After everything was made, I packaged some for giving to co-workers, friends, and family. I found cute takeout containers at Target for the candy!

Packaged cookies!

Take-out boxes!