Friday, December 31, 2010


well, tonight is the (duh) last night of the year. the end of 2010. a year that flew by. a year of incredible changes. i hope it has been good for y'all. it has been for me. i am excited about this new year and ready to catalog the old one. i send my best energies to you friends. here's to 2011!

adieu for now!

2010 countdown: 1

one of the two of our favourite songs. the gardener by the tallest man on earth. this is a really cool video for it. i hope you listen and enjoy.

the second song is our song. it is sweet and silly and romantical.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 countdown: 2

you gotta love the carolina chocolate drops. mississippi and i have sang (sung?) this song loudly around the house for several months now. enjoy!
adieu for now,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


hello kiddos. 'tis wednesday and the holiday break is going by way too quickly; but i'm really excited about spending the next five days with mississippi. major Q time. i'm hoping we will haunt a few bookstores, get the new online shop ready to go, and maybe just maybe clean our filthy nest.
as for right now though? i'm going to get some shuteye. i'm a very sleepy gal today. more posts of interest to come (i'm also hoping)!
adieu for now,

2010 countdown: 3

one of me and mississippi's favourite songs. edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes, home.

lovely, no? home is wherever i'm with you.
adieu for now!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


good morning friends! 'tis sunday and mississippi and i are having a very slow start to our day after christmas. there is wrapping paper everywhere.
i had too many christmas spirits last night because my head be hurtin'. we had an awesome christmas though. mississippi and i spent it with mama and b which was really special. the food was great, i got to participate in some of the very special christmas family traditions that mean so much to me. awesome stockings first, then presents, then mom makes a killer breakfast (which she did again: orange glazed french toast), then me and b watch old movies. it was important to me to have that again this year and to share it with mississippi, who had an awesome christmas too.
yay! i'm glad the holiday is over though. whew! but it was my favourite christmas in a really long time.
much love friends, i hope your holiday was awesome too!

2010 countdown: 4

and just in case the computer has another episode like yesterday, my countdown song for december 27th: serge gainsbourg & jane birkin je t'aime mon non plus. mississippi and i listened to a lot of serge in late summer. particularly when we moved into our new house, the album this song was featured on was on constant play.

adieu for now, friends!

2010 countdown: 5

and now for something completely different... (warning: if you are in a chill mood today, just listen to the post for christmas day instead). i love this song by visqueen. i put it on one of the cd's i made for mississippi and every time i listen to it, it reminds me of that exciting time.

adieu for now!

2010 countdown: 6

for christmas day, since i didn't get a chance to post (computer problems). this is lay low.

i listened to this album over and over again in the spring and into early summer.

Friday, December 24, 2010

chunk of coal: 7

good morning christmas campers! 'tis friday. the town hath rolled up its sidewalks and mississippi is at work! i just ate half a pumpkin pie for breakfast and have been debating over which of the two songs i wanted to post in the countdown today to choose. so, i decided to post both. one because it's been stuck in my head all morning and because i think it would amuse me on christmas eve, to post it. mississippi put this on one of the many mix cd's he has made me and i listened to it a lot in the spring and summer.
the other is romantical. that's right, romantical. every time i hear this song i get all swoony for my man. heh. what else is new? alright alright, i'll cut the sweetness. enjoy these two lil gems.
happy christmas eve, friends! so much love!
adieu for now,

and for my sweet man... and yes, it makes me tear up every time i listen to it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

merry rantmas!

good evening, friends. 'tis thursday and i've spent countless hours running all over town nailing down crafty christmas accoutrements and last minute stocking stuffins. whew!
wanna know what i was reminded of constantly since i left the comfort of my motown christmas pandora station? i reeeeeeallly don't like "classic" christmas music.
the garbage that is piped into every single place of business from the day after halloween until...well, thankfully until tomorrow night is mind-numbing. totally mind-numbing.
growing up in our house, christmas was cozy. vince guiraldi (charlie brown christmas), and nat king cole, maybe a little emmett otter's jugband christmas (who doesn't love a muppet gift of the magi?!). that was pretty much it, maybe a little deano if we were feeling particularly feisty.
as a grown up independent gal, the selection became quirkier. the waitresses and the aforementioned motown. guiraldi and cole have to be played at least once for nostalgic purposes; and because they're awesome, frankly.
but this being my first holiday in which i haven't worked retail (and controlled the christmas music i was exposed to), i found myself contemplating shoving ribbon candy in my ears to get the saccharine pop country ballads and lame-o covers of bing classics out of my head. sacrilegious. ack!
who knew cindy-lou would be such a grinch in her older years?! wowsers. rant over. time to listen to the new 80's classic, "christmas wrapping".
adieu for now!

and the countdown continues... 8

i listened to this a lot this spring. introduced to me by mississippi, it quickly became a favourite video as well. it's very other-worldly and scandinavian. some random ancient mythological water nymph struggling through the modern, sterile suburbs. weird and awesome. it makes me want to watch "let the right one in" except i don't want to be scared witless.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

hiromi & a canon: 9

this is the second post in the musical countdown of my 2010. such an interesting year. this is hiromi. she does a really unique spin on pechelbel's canon. it's a long spin, but worth the listen. my favourite version didn't have an interesting video, so here's a live one. it's a little different, but i've given you all the details needed to find the record cut on you tube. in the meantime, take the time to listen to this. it is really such an enjoyable take on the song. i listened to it a tremendous amount this year (and was tickled to death that mississippi loved it when i put it on one of the mix cd's i made him when we first met). it relaxes me. hope you like!
adieu for now!
p.s. she's not playing a harpsichord, she placed a metal ruler on the strings to give it that sound. r.a.d.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

and so countdown begins... 10

i have been trying to figure out how i wanted to send off this year's blog. i tinkered with the idea of posting ten of my favourite photographs from the year, but considering that my photo-a-day project ended when my laptop died in september, there are dozens of photographs that were never taken from those very special months.
i've thought about posting a goal or resolution for the next year every day until the new year arrives, but i have grown more superstitious as i age, and feel that it would be a poor idea to broadcast them out into the vast universe of the interwebs.
instead, i've decided to chronicle some of my favourite songs of the year. not songs that were necessarily released this year, but that have moved me or embedded themselves in the scent & sound womb of the 2010 memory bank. music affects me more than just about anything else; and many palpable memories have been established in the wrinkles of my grey matter.
indeed, it has been quite a ride.
i've moved three times, struggled through depression and a lot of self-discovery (as per usual), unemployment, a couple of major losses and realizations. all in all a great deal of floundering and a buttload of growth (yes, buttload is a recognized unit of measurement).
i've also had some brilliant fun times, pool parties, laughter, bb-gun shootin', and discovering once again just how deeply i love my family & my chosen family.
also, the most incredible life-changing and beautiful person i've ever met decided he wanted to spend his life with me, of all people in the world. pretty righteous stuff.

i reckon, for the music posts, i'll go in some sort of order. so from january through the beginning of march 2010, i listened to this song pretty much nonstop. it always makes me cry a little and i would sing it ad nauseum on meridian, a road here in town that is lined with live oak canopies.
Jolene- Ray Lamontagne

and because it's a time to reflect, not wallow (or waller as we say down here), here's something new.

have you any?

good morning friends! 'tis tuesday and the moon is hanging big and low in the sky like a giant snickerdoodle after the lunar eclipse early early this morning. it really makes me want a cookie.
well, i've got a tremendous amount of christmas things to do today. i basically got nothing done yesterday with a mixture of emotional and physical obstacles. today i have to make up for it.
i do have to say, i keep getting confronted with touchy interpersonal situations that i have a hard time navigating. i try very hard to do what's best for myself, but often find that i am trying to do right by everyone else instead. it's exhausting.
it's times like these that i wish one could hire a liaison to mediate. "i'm sorry, lu can't make it to __insert event in question here___. she sends her love and asks that you have a happy christmas." if only it were that easy. instead i tread through sadness, obligation, guilt, an oxcart of emotional baggage, and a steamer trunk of reality.
on the great scale, i'm often made to feel that my side couldn't possibly be enough to pull rank on what everyone thinks i should be doing (in others' opinions). very touchy stuff, man. never really learned the skills on how to best proceed in those kinds of situations. my instinct is to be cut & dry, not make excuses and say "here, this is why i am (or am not) going to do such & such, so deal." but then my tender heart and empathetic nature come into play and i wrap all of my words in bubble wrap and dress it as a completely different word and get stuck in terribly gut-contradicting situations. *sigh* anyone else deal with this? am i the only one too afraid to upset loved ones to say what i really mean? i can't fathom that i am.
nonetheless, this little black sheep has to figure out how to do what's best for the black sheep not all the white ones in the flock.
an unhappy sheep renders itchier wool, methinks.
adieu for now,

image of "the little outcast" featured from etsy shop: thelittlefox

Sunday, December 19, 2010


if you don't check orleans apothecary on tumblr yet, then you haven't read my bombshell rant.

soooo, i've been reading my lucky guide to mastering any style all day, and wish-listing the bombshell look i often dream of.
i'm not much of a bombshell in the fashion department per se, but i definitely have my moments of lusting after all things leopard print (grandma always said it was a neutral) and halter-topped.
in all of that day-dreaming, i happened upon several lovely photographs of one miss rita hayworth. enjoy friends! bombs away!

adieu for now!


good afternoon friends! 'tis sunday and while mississippi is rigging and cursing our dreary vacuum cleaner into submission, i'm taking a moment betwixt sneezing fits to post a little bloggimans.
it is a beautiful cool day here in the sunshine state. we have corn chowder (that we totally swiped from mom's christmas party last night) on the stove warming up, dirty jobs on the television, the christmas tree all lit up and a sonny & cher vinyl record sleeve being used as a makeshift mousepad.
it's a nice day at the nest.
adieu for now,

Friday, December 17, 2010


i have quite the affinity for rain boots. i have had in my possession three-five pairs at a time. that is more rain boots that nice dress-up shoes. i'm too practical for my own good. my favourite pair are my trusty leopard print ones with the major grip soles. i got them for $19 about three years ago (maybe 4). i have to say though, that i often covet the classic wellies. they are just so... well, classic!
me wanty.
more to come! happy weekend, campers!
(for more rainy weather styleymabobs, check out

happy splashing!


good evening friends! 'tis friday, and it is a fantastically grey and rainy dusk kick-starting this weekend. most people wouldn't dig that but over at the ortolano house, it's a happy-maker. we have plans tonight; and while our intrinsic nature precludes any and all outdoor galavanting on such a snug-in evening, our schedule simply will not allow such hermit behaviour.
i am terribly happy about getting a little more visiting in with one of my dear sweet friends in town this weekend. i am terribly excited, as well, to get home tonight and crawl into an unfathomably hot bath.
i hope you are all enjoying your fridays, and safe travels to all y'all making the requisite holiday travels. i'm thinking of you!
adieu for now,

Thursday, December 16, 2010

tea for the spirit

good evening friends! isn't it amazing what tea & chat time with friends can do for a spirit? i was feeling a little hormonally blue today (i don't like shopping, particularly during the holiday time...yuck); and though i was somewhat uplifted by the fact that i totally scored something i needed to complete a holiday project, i was still quite a bit testy.
enter sweet friend #1, tea at a bookstore. chatting, laughing, affirmations. mucho love. how i cherish this ray of sunshine. he often does and did once again, make me feel terribly blessed and proud to be a part of his world.
shortly after numero uno left i received a call from sweet friend #2! off i went to a local coffee shop to have tea (and receive amazing coconut macaroons...that totally look like boobs, which we giggled about). there we chatted, and laughed and were girly. she is another blessing in my life. she sneaked up a bit on me too! we've known each other for years and suddenly *kapow* i have another ray of sunshine in my life.
how lovely! i came home this afternoon to the sweetest card for me and the mister, heartfelt and handmade by miss tennessee. it meant a lot. it was our first christmas card at that!
now i get to spend the evening with a handful more rays. the pup, mississippi, and family dinner at the folks' house. i'm a lucky girl. a very grateful one too.

stan's the man

i have fallen in love (once again) with thermoses. i actually have never fallen out of love with them, but have recently felt the spark return! i have always geeked out a little for the classic stanley thermoses, especially with the handle. it's so... "takin' my metal lunchbox to work buildin' skyscrapers".
i have recently discovered their awesome flask too. i don't like to admit that i love flasks, but i do. i'm also terribly particular about the ones i would bring home to mother, so to speak. no girly, rhinestone-encrusted cheeky-messaged ones for me. no ma'am. no sir. a good ole green stanley. mmmhmmm!
adieu for now!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


hello friends! 'tis wednesday, and i am snugged in bed with the pup checkin' ma sites and chatting with a dear friend on the telly. phone that is, not vision.
anywho, i'm feeling all cozy and wanting a glass of wine and a good movie like its my job. what i should be doing is cleaning the house and doing laundry. but it's too chilly to get out of bed!! plus my snugglebuddy will be here soon and he's really good at convincing me to stay put in our warm fluffy bed. speak of the devil... time for hugs and snugs. later!
excuse the saccharine-ness of this post. more insight, creative thinking, humour, and substance to come.
adieu for now,


i wish for today:

1. that i didn't talk so much.
2. i had a steady supply of body butter, face & eye creams.
3. i had my christmas projects completed.
4. no credit card or student loan debt.
5. i had milk in the fridge. i'm craving milk insanely lately.
6. i had cold-weather exercise clothes. i miss my morning walks!
7. i had wedding-themed stamps. not ones that would make me want to barf though.

that is all. don't worry, i'm grateful for what i do have. just wishes and wants. it happens, right?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

bit-chompin' & yardbird roastin'

good afternoon friends! 'tis tuesday, it's almost time to pick up mississippi from work and i haven't crossed off a thing from my to-do list. i've been busy writing up a storm for a project and am feeling rather energized about finding a new opportunity. yesterday went well, i haven't a clue as to the outcome and that is okay with me. it stirred up the stagnant water and now i'm clacking away like mad.
mississippi and i are terribly excited about our new etsy shop opening on january first. so much so, that i don't want to wait another minute. to keep steadily building anticipation, we are both posting daily to our inspiration blog it is so much fun! it is keeping me on point with all the ideas swirling around the nest on random scraps of paper, and mississippi's idea notebook. it's exciting stuff and carving out a projected timeline to (re)photograph everything in the new style and upload all of it at a steady, constant clip has me just a-chompin' at the bit.
well, i had but a moment to check in. we have company for dinner tonight and i haven't even begun cleaning the house or preparing the big honkin' yardbird i'm supposed to be roasting.
adieu for now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

dirt roads revisited

I posted this story nearly a year ago. Today I found it, edited it a little and wanted to share it with some of my newer blog-followers. I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I dig it nonetheless. I have no idea what happened to the spacing when I moved it over here. Oh well, I hope it doesn't irk you as much as it irks me!

Dirt Roads

~a rather short story by lulu carpenter ortolano

She sat in a truck bouncing along down a dirt road that was flooded in places. The cab was filled with laughter and music and books sliding off of the dashboard as they rambled on, drinking out of cans.

The four o'clock sun pushed through the gaps in the trees. It touched the spread fingertips of the saw palmettos that seemed to be elbowing their way up out of chaotic brush and ceasing defiantly at the knees of the pines.

The dappled light, quick-moving clouds, the pines and the palms rushed past the window of the truck and she knew a very lovely, very bittersweet memory was being formed inside of her.

There have been other dirt roads. There have been barefoot walks with a lover in the summer. Barefoot walks with pockets full of small, rough-edged stones as a child. There have been frost-bitten treks down clay and sand backs roads that lead to marshes with large grey cranes huddled under each others' wings.

This time there was a tail-gate and dangling feet. This was swaying to meloancholy songs and an arm around her shoulders. This was realizing how long it had truly been since she had laughed with her head thrown back.

Later that evening she sat at her table, drinking cheap wine and looking around the house. This house would be empty soon. Pieces of her world would be empty soon as well. Great big pieces. For someone so seemingly full of life, sadness always seemed able to creep in and sit down with her; a drinking buddy of sorts.

The tantalizing simplicity of the day on the dirt road left her wanting. It had her longing to be able to shut down her mind for a minute and just shut up in general. It made her want to smile wide and laugh as a truck cut through water and fanned mud above the windows, jostling her closer to...something.

Perhaps toward a simple and pleasant peace that she could keep with her all the time.

morning express

good morning, friends! 'tis monday, the sunrise is an insanely gorgeous shade of grey-blue, kind of like the eyes of a weimaranar pup. lovely lovely!
this weekend was insane. we had to get a mississippi visit in, but since money is so tight, our friend conductor ben, offered up the trip on his tab. and though it is so wonderful of him to do so, and we had a lovely time replete with exploding traffic cones and a big bouncy red horse named Rody; i still felt bad accepting it all. i'm too proud of a boar sometimes, methinks.
we ended up driving through the night saturday to get home in the morning sunday. we rolled in to tallahavegas near sunrise and i spent pretty much all day sunday researching and preparing for the big joe opportunity i have today.
i'm terribly nervous because it is a big deal to me and i'm trying not to get too worked up over it. my nerves are eating away at me a little but a sweet note from my man is going into my pocket for calming reminders throughout the morning.
at the moment, i have an insatiable craving for a sausage biscuit (um, delicious says what?!) little bud is playing hysterically with his toy (as per usual the moment we get home from dropping mississippi off at work). he's just like me with his little routines.
we have our mama-baby mornings. it's quite nice. i reckon it's time i get a move on for the day. send me positive energies, friends! sorry so random this morning, i'm going off about 4.5 hours of sleep right now! i hope you are having a fantastic monday!

Friday, December 10, 2010

sweater puppies

you may remember earlier this week i had a crisis of pants. today is a crisis of online window shopping. sweaters. cardigans. sweater coats. all things knitty and cozy and snuggley. anthropologie is a cruel, cruel mistress indeed.

promises to keep sweater coat/cardigan $188
winter fern sweater coat $228
bright and bold sweater coat $188
hanakatoba cardigan $168 (how sexy is that?!)
time to gather sweater cardigan $148 (and yes i would totally rock a squirrel sweater)

adieu for now friday friends!

cross that off the list

well well well, an anti-climactic result to the situation in question. a bizarro non-relieving sense of relief. now on to the other monsters underneath my bed.

delicious little deep-fried stress ball

boy howdy am i thisclose to being in a foul mood today. i am highly overstimulated. i'm craving hermit time like a pregnant lady craves pickles and ice cream. i have an incredible amount of things swirling around in my head and just enough pieces missing from the puzzle to keep me truly full of static and vinegar.
all that aside, i'm dealing with a situation that is very delicate and frustrating right now. a situation in which i can honestly say i've never really succeeded; and yet every so often am faced with once again. it's silly really. everyone around me can give plain and simple advice about it. very solid, cut and dry advice that sounds delightful in theory. however, in practice would be quite messy and i'm tired of having to clean up all of the messes.
alas, my gut tells me that the plain and simple answers are the easiest, though they won't cover the situation completely.
it is the route i have taken with it, but we shall see where the shrapnel lands. i need to hire a diplomat on my behalf. that or let it all out, consequences be damned and leave the relationships in questions altered forever. hmmm...
now it makes sense as to why i've been wanting a sour cream donut so badly the past few mornings. delicious little deep-fried stress ball.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

news from nido di!

oh and by the by, mississippi and i have decided to close our etsy shop at the end of this year and reopen with a new plan, a new aesthetic, a new (collaborative) inspiration blog, and of course... a new name.

as of january first, nido di gazza will be no more, and orleans apothecary will be open. we have already started the blog:, and the shop is created (however the shelves are empty for the moment). we are terribly excited about this, and hope you take the time to check us out on january 1st, 2011.
we will be keeping our personal blogs as well (so no worries for those who fear change), but this new venture is just wonderful and we are chomping at the proverbial bit to get it up and running.

'tis all for now!

'tis the season

good grief i am so behind this week! i swear, this has been the lost week. i woke up this morning and couldn't believe it was already thursday. do you want to know what i have accomplished this week? nada. minus a really good meatloaf dinner and an excellent batch of my corn & sausage cheddar chowder. nada.
this little lady is so terribly overstimulated that i cannot even turn on the lights on the christmas tree without twitching a little. i have learned that over the course of over a decade in the retail/customer service industries that i am rather scroogey this time of year.
i thought this year would be different because i am well...unemployed and hence have no reason to be pissed at the rampant greed and consumerism that weasels in around my "nat king cole sings the christmas hits" record-enjoyment time. however, with the astonishing lack of funds on our end, with bills looming, and required travel eating away at our mental and emotional well-being... i want to just say bah-humbug.
however, existing as a somewhat rational (though far more optimistic than rational) being, i still find pleasure in the simple things. i am still a grateful creature. i am still a wallower in the solstice delights. i have a tendency and inherent knack to revel in holiday cheer.
at this juncture though, mississippi and i both want to disappear from the hustle and bustle and travel and superficial b.s.
is that possible to do that this time of year without becoming that lady in front of you at the grocery checkout line on christmas eve that is buying twenty cans of cat food, a carton of pall malls, and a case of Tab? ish kabibble. i choose to believe so.
do not be offended though, local friends at the inevitable holiday disappearance of the florida ortolanos. we will not be seen for a while. at least not until the bills are paid and we have fun money again. which may be spring, who knows! we will return again rested and ready for the new year.
adieu for now, lovies!

Monday, December 6, 2010

crisis of pants

it's a tie between financial restraint, and expanding hips; but i'm having a crisis of pants. anthropologie is not helping.
AG Angel Cord, $158
7 For All Mankind Slim Trousers, $169
Citizens of Humanity Dita Petite Jeans, $189

thanks a lot, anthropologie. really.
adieu for now,

Saturday, December 4, 2010


i want one so seven and the micro-pig (that i also want) can all keep each other company.

if you have time to kill, browse you tubes many many clips of caplin rous the capybara. i am a nerd. i am aware of this.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

shiny happy frostbitten lawns

good morning, friends! 'tis thursday and my how this week has flown by! today i am getting some of my christmas supply shopping done. notice i didn't say "christmas shopping", for i am making, assembling, crafting my way through the holiday season. i know i'm not the only one, but i'm excited about it. what i really need to do is sit down at the singer and make some holiday stockings, but i'm...what's the word?...too lazy to do it. plain and simple.
today is chilly in the ole sunshine state. a balmy 29 degrees when i woke up. it's my favourite kind of weather and this morning, the ground was so delightfully frosted and the pink morning light made everything look that much more majestic. that's really saying something considering the kind of commute mississippi and i have to make each morning. *le sigh*
tonight we hang mississippi's photographs for his art show on saturday. we are both so excited about it and are tickled that a big glorious handful of the folks that we love and invited are showing up to celebrate with us!
well, i must scoot. i have things to do and craft stores to haunt. i hope that today is a beautiful day for you, kiddos!
adieu for now,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

new treasury + stocking stuffers + superstitions

good morning friends! we have another new item up on the shop, plus i just completed a new treasury of awesome stocking stuffers for just about everyone you know, so check it out!

it's called STUFF IT FOR $25 OR LESS...stocking stuffers for every oddball in your tribe. or click on the treasury list from our shop...

by the way, happy december 1st! i hope you said rabbit rabbit this morning! i nearly forgot this morning! good luck december firsters!

adieu for now, lovelies! happy shopping!

p.s. wallet by GypsyTailor, rum balls by denisesdelectibles

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


we added a few new items to the etsy shop. one of my favourites of the new roster is this awesome vintage wire basket. when i purchased it several years ago, i recall it being called a french wire basket. whether it is or isn't, it's the cutest little piece. it is enough to hold baguettes and wine, i'll tell you that! i think this piece has a lot character. check out the shop when you get a spare moment, friends!
adieu for now!

recap (not to be confused with nightcap)

good morning friends! 'tis a grey, windy tuesday and i'm about to hunker down into a massive to-do list. it should come as no surprise to you guys that i got a cold over thanksgiving weekend. it tends to be the theme for holiday weekends. i was sick on halloween too, after all. but i had a great thanksgiving day. i also got to visit with my dear bestie (in town from nyc) over the weekend. i already miss her because our teeny visit was not enough (considering we haunted each others' houses for years). regardless, i am grateful for the time we did have.
tomorrow is december first. i can't believe how quickly this year hath spun by. i look back on this time last year and it seems like a few weeks ago. so wild! soon, it will be christmas and new years. my 29th birthday. valentine's day, st. patrick's day, easter, and boom! summer again. heavens!
i reckon, i haven't much to say today other than this little catch-up and ramble. i do have a lot on my mind. i ask for positive (and healing) energies for me and mine today; and i send my best to you and yours!
have a beautiful day, friends! enjoy the blustery weather, i know i am. loves!
adieu for now (and more to come),

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thanksgiving eve

i've posted it before, and i'm posting it again. happy thanksgiving little birdies!!

i'm grateful for you! loves!
adieu for now,

Monday, November 22, 2010

new addition to nido di gazza

also, we are adding several new photographs and completely new items to the etsy store this week. i'm excited about that. it's been seventeen days since i added an item. what?! i refuse to let it go on that long without addition again!
the item i posted this morning is one of my favourites. it's a (really rather old) vintage vase. it is fluted and a deliciously rich cream colour. i think it would make a lovely addition to any thanksgiving table, personally. heck, it would work for christmas, valentine's day, easter, fourth of july...anything! it's an all-rounder, kids! heh. i amuse myself. see for yourself and keep stopping by the ole shop. a lot of changes are coming!

seven things to open the week with

good morning, friends! 'tis monday and i'm looking forward to the horizon of this holiday week. here are some challenges and some happy things about it. a little pro/con list, as it were:

1. mississippi is missing a day of work this week (thanksgiving) and boy is money getting tighter! we also realized last night that the time he gets of for the christmas/new year break is awesome, but also goes unpaid. how to figure in the inevitable travel (and accommodations while managing to keep the bills paid is one hell of a challenge to begin brainstorming and implementing this week).
2. figuring out what to do for me and mississippi's first married thanksgiving. there's a little bit of pressure on establishing new traditions and maintaing old ones so no one wigs out that things are changing too quickly. *le sigh*
3. not ordering chinese food. it sounds silly but i have major cravings for it these days. plus, the place is right by the house!! torture. money is way too tight to splurge on something that is probably loaded with MSG and completely derails my exercise efforts. damn you siren song of won ton soup and steamed dumplings with delicious tangy spicy sauce!!!!

happy things:
1. i get to see my bestie on friday! it's not nearly enough time for a visit but i can't wait to hear that laugh of hers dancing across this stagnant tallavegas air!
2. the bens may be coming to visit as well! yay for possible conductor ben and benji happy happy time time!!! that spells out laughter, good beer, and great company!
3. pumpkin pie. my kryptonite. my happy place. my delicious holiday companion. i usually eat about three of these per thanksgiving. there is one with my name on it at my mom's house waiting to be picked up this afternoon. oh yeah.
4. mississippi. he constantly reminds me that we will be fine and that i don't need to worry. the best part is, is that i let myself believe him instead of letting my worries get the best of me. he's a good one, this man o' mine. my partner in crime (which could be his literal title if i can't get this budget under control, we may have to dick & jane our way out...just kiddin'...).

i'm an optimist. the challenges are gigantic and the happy things are nice little bumpers and flippers to keep the challenges moving, changing, and eventually pinballed right outta here. i can't say i'm not overwhelmed though. i think i'm going to take it one hour at a time. break it down, baby! more to come! i hope your mondays are calm, and easy and beautiful!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

keep the meatballs, ditch the ramen.

good morning, friends! 'tis friday, thank goodness, and i have learned something this week. i don't care for ramen enough to make recipes with it all week. sorry. i also learned that i make wicked good meatballs. which is what i made with sauce and ramen for a "spaghetti and meatballs" effect. it went well. ramen, however, does not keep well. ick.
also, meatballs get even better if you let them swim in homemade-ish sauce for a night. anyway, this meal cost me $4.17 and i'm not going to go into any details about how i made the sauce other than it involved garlic, onions, a beefsteak tomato, tomato soup, tomato paste, spaghetti sauce, cayenne pepper, and a lot of salt and pepper. as you can see, i'm a little out of it today. a little spacey, and quite a bit overwhelmed with my epic to-do list. sooo, here is the photographic evidence of a successful meatball attempt and perhaps the last time i eat ramen ever. heh. happy weekend friends!!!

adieu for now!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

new week challenge!

hello friends! 'tis wednesday and i'm still trying to warm up from my early morning walk. it was quite windy and chilly. now that i've downed a hot cup of earl grey, my fingers are actually nimble enough to type.well, this week's recipe challenges are along the lines of the ever-so-common budget favourite: ramen. monday night was mississippi'sofficial birthday so we didn't have a recipe challenge for that night; but last night mississippi and i made a spicy chicken and mushroom creamy noodley concoction that was quite delicious and it smells SO GOOD while it's cooking.

chicken: three cutlests (from the package i bought last week) equalling $2.24
shiitake mushrooms: $2.50 (used half the package)
oriental ramen: $1/6 packages (used three packages for this recipe): $0.50
chicken broth: the remainder of the package i bought last week which i think i
paid $3.59 for. but the same amount of chicken broth is about $0.99
green onions: still using up the bundle i bought last week. good grief these things last a while! not bad for i believe it was $.075
mushroom gravy mix: $0.89 (used half)
cayenne pepper: had in stock, but it costs about $2.29
soy sauce: used a packet left over from chinese take out (ahem...again. i know i have a problem).

total this recipe would cost about $10.16, but as i have mentioned in all the previous recipe posts, you probably have most of this at home. i spent a total of $3.00 even to make this meal last night. not bad!! try it, it is quite tasty.

steps 1 & 2: sautee the mushrooms with the green onions and seasonings with a little bit of broth as you sautee the chicken with cayenne and salt and pepper in some oil in a separate pan.

steps 3 & 4: then add the noodles and the rest of the broth and add the chicken too the mixture that's already simmering in the pot. ta da! you are done. and it's quite spicy and delicious! plus it makes enough to serve at least four.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


here he comes to save the daaaaay! mississippi just sent me the brunch picture to help perfect the teeny weeny birthday brunch post! thanks sweets!


little sidenote

also, i happend to have made a delicious scrounge brunch on sunday using only what was on hand from the week except for two pork chops i bought for $4.47 (only used two for atotal of $2.24) and a basket of strawberries that were irresistible (albeit out of season) for $4.99. so, this non-photo-documented but extremely delicious brunch cost $9.46 (or more accurately: $7.23)

i fried two pork loin chops in olive oil five minutes on each side. sprinkled them with salt and pepper and rosemary. once those were cooked all the way, i utilized the pork fat (because i'm a good southern girl) and made scrambled eggs, tossing in green onions and cheddar cheese until they were juuuust cooked (i.e. not runny and not hard and lumpy- yuck!). then i simmered a bit of jellied cranberry sauce in a sauce pot with a little bit of water until it melted. i spooned that over the pork chops and sprinkled some sugar over the strawberries. voila! delicious, savory brunchimans!!!

dessert recipe receipt breakdown

apples: $2.79 for three
parchment paper: $2.79
all purpose flour: $1.29
apricot preserves: $2.49
lemon: $0.75
pears: $1.44 for three
cinnamon: $1.69
pie crust: $1.67 (for two)

most of these things you probably already have (flour, parchment paper, cinnamon) but i sure didn't! so all in all the recipe cost me: $14.91 (i miscalculated yesterday and said it was $14.82, my bad!). totally reasonable considering it would be almost $30 at my local bakery for something like that.
adieu for now friends!

little miss galettey mcfancybritches

good morning, campers! 'tis tuesday (already?! where does the time go?) and it's a fantastically stormy day here in tallanasty. the air is a weird pink colour almost as if a hurricane was on its way (though, when that happens the air is a weird green colour; but i'm pretending a little today). stormy days are always my favourite. don't get me wrong, a sunny day is great. but nothing but sunny days all the time is the epitome of boring in my book. i would be miserable in southern california. all that bloody sunshine and cloudless skies?! ick. grody. give me a good stormy breeze, and a nice old fashioned thunderstorm. mississippi is the same way (except he loves san fran). methinks we have a future on the new england coast, or seattle, or london. mehopes anyway.well, i'm here to post my galette recipe challenge. it was delicious! well, it still is. it made a huge dessert (especially for just two people who don't eat much dessert) to tackle. regardless, it was incredibly delicious. tart and cinnamony with a buttery flakey crust. wowza. i would love to make it with berries for the holidays. yum!
okay so here's how it all went down (and excuse that there are not any "prep" pictures; my cameraman was unavailable for the prep time photography).

steps 1 & 2: get two 9" refrigerated pie crusts (from the biscuit section of the grocery store) and stack them on top of one another on a floured surface. roll them out until it makes about a 16" circle. then move it to parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread apricot preserves in the center of the circle leaving a good 2.5" border. the recipe called for 2" border but it did not seem like enough upon execution.
steps 3 & 4 & 5: cut up three apples (i chose jazz apples because they are tart and i really don't like super sweet apples), and three pears (i chose green bartletts, but i think the red ones would be delicious too). then splash lemon juice across the fruit and sprinkle in several pinches of all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. i get a little heavy-handed with cinnamon because it smells sooooo amazing. mix it all up and plop it on top of the apricot preserves. then pull the 2.5" border around the fruit, making kind of a bread bowl, if you will. leaving the inside open, then brush one egg around the pastry so it gets all brown and crispy when it cooks.
steps 6 & 7: sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top then bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 55 minutes. while that is baking, put several big spoonfuls of apricot preserves in a sauce pot with a little bit of water and several spoonfuls of sugar. note: i don't like to be all measurey, sorry. let that simmer down into a glaze of sorts. after the galette bakes, pull it out of the oven and brush on the apricot mixture. let everything cool then ta da!! dive in! i highly recommend using a pizza cutter to divvy it up. it's just easier. try it, it honestly is so easy and looks so nice when it's done (that it seems waaaay more gourmet fancy pants than it really is!). try it for the holidays, it is super delicious and quite impressive.
later lovies!

Monday, November 15, 2010


p.s. i made an amazing apple & pear galette for mississippi's birthday and my fifth recipe of the week. i chose (since it was a special occasion) that i would make it for $15 or under (which i did for $14.82). however, the pictures aren't in my possession as of right now. stay tuned! it's a recipe that is so easy and looks so fancy when it's done. and it's yummy for sure!
okay, later!

also, happy official birthday to my sweetie! love you bunches!!

little receipt breakdown

chicken cutlets: 6 for $4.87. i only used three though so it averaged to $2.09.
chicken broth: big honkin' box of swanson chicken broth (which is my favourite): $3.59 (i used about 3/4 of it).
tortellini: i already had this package on hand that i got last week 2/$5. sooo, $2.50.
green onions: the same bundle i've had since last week. i think i spent $.79 or so on it. i can't really remember but i'm almost positive that's how much it was.
shiitake mushrooms: i had these on hand as well, but they were purchased last week for $2.99 a package.
ginger: the same container i've had all week that i had originally spent $1.99 on. i have a feeling this container is going to last me through the holiday season.
carrots: also had these on hand, usually a bag of these carrots goes for about $1.99 or so. so, i used about $.89 worth.
romaine: used about 1/3 of the bundle i bought last week for $1.99. i used about $.80 worth.

so if you had to purchase everything it would have cost: $17.93, however this lucky broad spent a total of $8.49. this one was the biggest hit of all the recipes i tested this week. try it out. it's got a great little bite and is complimented nicely by cold IPA.
more to come!

Friday, November 12, 2010

thursday night recipe recap

happy monday friends! things are good at the nest. we had a long weekend of celebrating mississippi's birthday; therefore i am a little behind in posting my culinary experiments. thursday night's dinner was a major major success. it originated from real simple (which has been the trend last week), but i tweaked it to give it some kick. as per usual i added a ton of ginger and several dashes of cayenne. so i made chicken tortellini soup and here's how it went:

steps 1 & 2: sliced green onions and shiitake mushrooms in 6 cups of chicken broth. i added salt & pepper and grated ginger and cayenne.
steps 3 & 4: i cut up three chicken cutlets into cutes and boiled them in salted water for a few minutes and also cut up five small organic (and peeled) carrots and boiled them in water with more grated ginger.

steps 5 & 6: i added packaged cheese tortellini and tore the leaves off of some of the remaining stalks (heads?) of romaine. let it all bubble and swirl around together and prepare to be dazzled!

financial breakdown to come!
adieu for now, friends!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

financial breakdown of the aforementioned recipe

okay so as i have mentioned before, i have been trying to use a lot of what i already have on hand to make these recipes. however, i really wanted to make that sandwich last night from wheat mini baguette-y things i saw at the shop. but i was a good girl and saved money and made it with the bread i had gotten on sale last week. this all sounds so terribly boring when i write it but whatevs.

bread: had on hand, but was purchased for $3 last week.
turkey cutlets: now, i purchased a package of 8 cutlets and used four. the other four are going to be used at a later date. so i used $2.90 worth of turkey last night.
romaine: $1.99 for a big bushel that i am going to have to finish tonight and tomorrow night somehow. i would have preferred to steal the leaves i needed but...i was being a good girl.
tomato: $1.25 does that seem expensive for ONE tomato to anyone else? it was surprisingly yummy though.
mayonnaise: now, i had some in stock, but as with the soy sauce from last night, don't be afraid to save those silly little packets you get from sandwich shops etc. anyway, a bottle ends up being about $1.99.
goat cheese: pretty much one of my favourite things in the world. i eat it every single day and have no qualms about splurging on this when i can. however, the most reasonably priced goat cheese i can find is $3.99 a package; which is what i have been buying lately.
cranberry sauce: i got the jellied kind only to find out mississippi likes the kind with the actual berries in it. oh well, it worked great on the sammich. $0.89
bacon: i had this on hand as well, but a package of the only kind of reasonably priced turkey bacon in stock at my grocery store is $2.99. regular bacon is cool too as most bacon-lovers already know.

so if you had none of these items on hand and had to buy everything (which i find unlikely because most of these items everyone i know has at their disposal already)...but if you had to buy them all your total would be: $19, however i got out of the store spending only $9.03 ($6.14 if you divide up the turkey cutlets, which i'm choosing to do since it will definitely be used next week).

alright alright, have a great thursday friends!

wednesday night recipe

well, last night's recipe was kind of made-up. i couldn't find one that utilized all of the things i wanted so i combined two ideas. it's nothing new and has been done a million times before but this is what i did: i made a thanksgiving leftover/b.l.t. sandwich and let me tell you it was good!
someone needs a haircut.

steps 1 & 2 & 3: i mixed mayonnaise and room temperature goat cheese together to make the spread. might i suggest using an actual mixer because doing it by hand has somewhat lackluster results, aesthetically speaking. also roast three turkey cutlets (i think that's what their called). how observant you are readers! there are indeed four cutlets in the roasting pan. that's because i made four and promptly realized upon assembling the sandwiches ,that that was too many. then start slow-cooking the bacon. i like to take at least 10-15 minutes for bacon to ensure it is super crispy. sorry there is no photo of the delicious crispy bacon.
steps 4 & 5: butter the bottom toast pieces and set them on the griddle to get all crispy and delicious. then start loading them up with goat cheese mayonnaise, tomato (i used beefsteak because it was the cheapest of the good looking out of season tomatoes at the store), and lettuce (i used romaine and made a salad with the rest of the leaves), and finally the cranberry sauce.
whose label was on upside down. silly jellied cranberry sauce. then put the "lid" of the sandwich on, so to speak and toast it on the other side. everything gets all melty and crispy and salty and sweet. it's just fantastic.
the final product with makeshift salad. don't judge that part please. i needed a salad. and ta da! delicious thanksgivingy b.l.t.'s!! i hope you try that one, it's a good staying in on a cold night and watching movies kind of treat. p.s. it's also paired nicely with red stripe. just sayin'. cheers! financial breakdown is on its way, stay tuned!

what's up

good morning troopers! 'tis thursday? yes it's thursday. my this week has gone by rather fast! i'm sitting here at the nest catching up with friends via their insightful and hilarious blogs. i feel that often mine is neither but at least i have a recipe challenge to use as a crutch this week, eh?
but before i get to that, the agenda: this weekend is mr. mississippi's uber-awesome birthday celebration weekend. it starts tonight at our favourite wine bar and culminates with a trip out of town for a big honkin' oyster dinner on saturday and a chill sunday at home. of course, his birthday isn't until monday, so i should probably figure out something for monday, huh?
well, i reckon i better get to the big recipe post soon because i have to go for a walk around lake ella for some exercise. seriously. little lady needs some cardio.
adieu for now, kiddies! i hope your thursdays are incredibly cool. oh! and happy veterens day. despite party differences, political differences, and strong opinions on war, i want to say thank you for risking your life for us dan, rip, aaron, tony, richard, gunar and the millions of other men and women who serve and have served our country.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

a new recipe, a new challenge

good morning, kiddos! happy wednesday! i started a new project this week in which i cook a new recipe every night. it makes me feel like less of a putz that i don't have a jobby job yet. well, i added a challenge to this project, considering the money is rather tight in the ortolano household. so, my challenge is to make a recipe i find online (or in one of the cookbooks from my obscenely large cookbook collection) for ten dollars or less. i'm also trying to use up as many ingredients from my own pantry as possible. so, here was what i made yesterday (once again from
ginger chicken meatballs with edamame on rice

steps 1 & 2: mix shallots and grated ginger in with ground chicken with salt and pepper, then form meatballs. cook meatballs in olive oil until cooked all the way through. it takes a little while.
steps 3 & 4: cook rice in a separate pot while you sautee edamame (and snow peas, says the recipe, but i forgot about them completely and you know what? they weren't missed). i sauteed the beans in a little bit of chicken broth and soy sauce, and sprinkled brown sugar on them as they browned a little.
then you are done! ta da! gingery chicken meatballs and edamame on top of rice with brown sugar-sweetened soy sauce. delicious!

this got a high rating from mississippi. i concur entirely (though the soy sauce and brown sugar make it a little rich) because the ginger in the meatball has a fantastic bite. really fresh and yummy. try it out. it's really quite easy and filling.

as for the financial total:
soy sauce: i used remaining packets i had saved from a few chinese takeout nights over the past few weeks and bought an extra small bottle just in case that wasn't enough. but if you don't have any of those left over (though i think there are some in every american silverware drawer i've ever seen), then it costs around $1.39.
ground chicken: $3.29 (thankfully, because it was the least expensive option in my grocery store's poultry aisle).
green onions: $0.40 (for one bunch and there is quite a bit left over).
ginger root: for a small container of ginger root to be used in several more recipes to come! $1.99
brown sugar: i already had some in stock but if you don't, it ranges around $1.49
instant rice: i like to use brown but they cost pretty much the same. the brown added a nice nuttiness that i think added to the recipe more than plain white rice would have. $1.49

so if you have to buy everything it ends up being $10.05; but if you happen to have some of this on hand, then even better. i got out of the store for around $7.07! try it out friends!
adieu for now,

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

boot whore

i'm sick and i have a problem.
rocket dog rideon $69.95
not rated official $70.95
blowfish walsh $79.95
bandolino shiante $89.95
steve madden troopa $99.95
DV by dolce vita Pax $107.21
frye elizabeth rings $518.40
frye dorado low $498
frye anna cuff pull on $358.40
frye taylor over the knee $342.20
frye taylor harness $378

that is all. i feel sheepish.