So long, farewell, and dream of poutine!

I wish I had an exciting or reasonable excuse as to why I haven’t been updating this blog. I guess the truest thing I could say is that last semester in Creative Non-Fiction I was living and breath and writing pages upon pages of food writing. I was also extremely busy, running around like a headless hen, that my meals weren’t exactly exciting or terribly worth sharing. I also was falling for a new guy, and we all know courting takes up a lot of time 😉  I thought a lot about if I wanted to take this blog forward, can it, can all kinds of internet writing, or something of the sorts.

I’ve decided to move away from Peel, but when something goes away another takes its place. Come visit me on my new site I dream of poutine. The posts will be shorter and I’ll be extensively using Instagram (which I’ve genuinely fallen in love with over the past few months). Think of it as an Amuse-Bouche instead of a seven course meal.

Thank you for popping in and continue to Peel Away!

❤ Jocellyn

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Mamma Mia

#instafood

I didn’t have the luxury of growing up in a food driven family. My mom wasn’t the domestic type. I specifically remember one meal she made that left little to be desire. She pulled out a delicious smelling, but not homemade, loaf of garlic bread from the oven. Hungry and eager to dig in, we quickly noticed that she hadn’t taken the plastic wrap off, creating an inedible layer. I cannot remember if we threw the loaf in the trash compactor, or if we cut it the long way and ate the buttery, garlicky middle—something tells me the latter happened—but I think it highlights my mom’s cooking prowess. Eating out and takeout was the Pulkkinen-Harvey way.  Sorry if you read this, mom: you were great at everything else. Except driving…I digress, I digress!

I got a real dosage of home cooking when I dated this kid named Matt Giglio in high school. Minus the large family, they were the stereotypical, loveable, loud Italians. And there was always food on the table. How he and his sister stayed so skinny, I will never know. Despite my true Haitian heritage, and my very English-German last name, I like to think that if kids are in my future (sweet lord I hope they aren’t!) that I would be of the Italian mom variety. Home cooked meals on the table five nights out of the week, whipped together with love and adoration…and of course a little bit of brassy attitude. The other two nights, if you were curious, would be reserved for a nice restaurant meal and the other would be for leftovers. Yeah, I’ve put a little thought into this.

So, a few nights ago I ignored my pungent fish sauce and decided to go the Italian route. Sorry Asian food, you’ll have to wait. I went with the laziest meal possible, while still being able to keep my culinary muscles flexed. Think of it as an ‘active rest’ day in the kitchen. Folks, you guessed it, I made some pasta. And since I can kind of be an ingredient snob from time to time, I turned my nose up at the jarred, thick, preservative laden sauces that filled the shelves. I find that pasta only feels like a heavy meal when slathered in that red goop, so I ventured out and made my own. Well, I actually slightly modified a Martha Stewart version. Something tells me Stewart isn’t an Italian last name, but her sauce utilizes fresh ingredients, so I figured Mamma Giglio, if she could see me, wouldn’t mind.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds unrefrigerated ripe tomatoes (preferably plum)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (from 2 garlic cloves), plus more if desired
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Variation: 1 cap-ful of balsamic vinegar to give it a little punch
  • 1 pound spaghetti or spaghettini
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Finely chop tomatoes, basil, parsley,balsamic, and garlic, and mix together with oil (or pulse ingredients, including oil, in a food processor to blend).*The photo above is an example of a halved recipe. If you are doing the small one, and only have a small food processor, you are going to want to do this in two or possibly three batches
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, and toss it in a serving bowl with the raw sauce. Transfer to 6 shallow bowls, and drizzle with oil. Serve with cheese.

I like to make the sauce and let it rest for at least fifteen minutes, an hour would be ideal, to let the flavors mingle. This sauce tastes great warmed but, but it is also phenomenal cold. Fresh basil is absolutely necessary in this recipe. The dried kind can’t compare. If you aren’t sure what to do with the leftover basil leaves, which can understandably be a deterrent when buying fresh herbs, make sure to grab a lemon at the grocery store and make some lemon-basil water, which is so refreshing after a workout (yeah, people, I’ve actually been working out!)

Lemom-basil water and my new fruit bowl. Isn’t it massive and magnificent?!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Extra! Extra! Great News for Moi-Self

About a month ago I put in an application at a high-end clothing store that would be coming to the downtown Burlington area. This hadn’t been my first time applying to an expensive retail store. As much as I valued the work I did at Goodwill for 17 months, I often felt, despite amping it up on my resume, that store managers saw that and immediately thought less of me. Hey, hey: if I could work in a store that size and deal with a meth addict berating me for 30 minutes on two different occasions, I think I could handle a woman of disposable income. Much to my surprise, the day after I put out my resume I heard back from the store owner. We had a great first interview and she seemed really excited. She told me she was going to be interviewing for a few weeks, but would be getting back to me regardless of whether or not I got the position. I e-mailed her 10 days later telling her I’d still be interested if she hadn’t already filled the position, and a few days later she told me she wanted a second interview. I walked down to Starbucks (our meeting spot) praying that it would go well. I even jokingly told people I hope she would just hire me on the spot. You wouldn’t believe my surprise when she did!

She told me that people who were more qualified than I was (i.e: managers at Gap and such) had applied, but that she really thought I could deal with the clientele (heck yes Goodwill and Enrollment Service Center for preparing me for less than savory situations), that I had a lot of energy, and a beautiful smile. Odd, I’ve never heard anyone say that last bit before 😉 Of course I accepted the job immediately and she went into showing me photos of the store, what the bags would look like, etc, etc.

For one, I’m so excited to be working with her and another recent UVM graduate that will be doing full-time (small staff means no jockeying for hours, thank goodness). I’ve really wanted to get my foot into the high-end retail door, as I’m not only interested in fashion, but it can be a very viable means of income post graduation. Plus, I really like the style the store is going for. My boss lived in Germany for 10 years, so there will be a lot of European influence. She was quite happy when I said I wanted nothing more than to live in Europe and wear layers of black clothing. I don’t think I would enjoy working at a place where I didn’t love the clothing. Also, I like that I’ll be getting some hands on practice learning about textiles. I love the way clothing and accessories feel. What I’m most ecstatic about is being able to talk to the customers about how to properly take care of their clothes, because if I ever end up with money to play with (which I sure hope I do!) I still want to be purchasing items that I can stretch out over the years. Cost doesn’t always equal longevity, especially if you are rough. I cannot believe how many girls I know that have ripped their Citizens or Sevens. Finally, I cannot deny how much I’m looking forward to a significant raise!

Things have really been turning around these past few weeks, despite my seemingly doom and gloom post from yesterday. I’ve let go of frustrations I’ve had with people and am starting to solidify a great group of gal pals. I’m finding excitement being surrounded by others and comfort in being alone. I’ve even made it to the beach way more than I have the past 2 summers (gotta keep this tan fresh to death, right?) And now with this new job, which I can definitely see keeping after graduation, I feel like it is a true sign that things are looking up.

And now, to relish in my last few weeks of unemployment before I get back to that school and work grind.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Upside Down

I like to think my life isn’t falling apart. But it kind of is. Okay, so maybe  I’m being a little over dramatic. Nonetheless, I’ve got some seismic plate shifting going on. For starters there is the whole single thing. And a few days ago I put in my notice at the Goodwill, after my boss went psycho crazy on me (and like everyone one else. Lady, I get it. You’re menopausal, but that isn’t an excuse to vent your anger and hot flashes. I don’t get snippy when I’m PMSing…end of rant). I’ve wanted to quit for a long time, but I was kind of waiting to have another job lined up, but after the altercation—and good phone call with my mom—I decided it was time to say goodbye. I then proceeded to go home and down an entire bottle of Rose, while watching some Netflix. Note to all: if you feel the need to have one of those nights I like to call “Wine Whines” go with Rose. At 5% alcohol content finishing the whole bottle will leave you very tipsy, but not sufficiently plastered like stronger reds.Although I have no desire to drink that much again for a long time, I definitely needed that night.

I’ve spent the past 17 months at Goodwill, so it’s a bit weird to not have to tie on my apron, and I’m definitely going to miss my 30% discount, but enough is enough. It was causing wayyyy to much unnecessary stress in my life. I still have my second job until the end of the month, and I have enough money for two months rent, but my days are basically going from usually having to work 6 days a week to having all this free time. Eerie. Of course I’m working on finding a job, but I wouldn’t say I’m running out the door. At least not until next week. I’m kind of looking forward to the break, of being able to relax on my porch, sleep in, and go to yoga when I want. OOh timeeeee is on my sideeee, yes it is. I admit, it’s a little scary, but so was working at the GW, walking on eggshells, waiting for my boss to lash out at someone. No thank you!

But back to the porch: that’s just what I did all stinking day. I poured myself a glass of water with some lemon slices, donned my belly baring crop top, grabbed a blanket, my least favorite yoga mat for cushion, and parked my cheekies outside all day to read The Hunger Games. I know, I’m a little behind the times…. Anyway, I’m excited to say I finished the entire book in one afternoon, got a little teary eyed at a particular scene (hint: it involves a net, Mockingjay birds, and a spear), and got transported into a world of starvation, injuries, and budding love. I’d say that was a success.

Let’s see what summer holds

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Hiatus

Hello,

Kind readers.

Sorry posts haven’t been as frequent. I’m currently in the process of moving from one apartment to another. Psh, not fun indeed! I probably won’t be posting anything  until Sunday when I get home to Maine  (for a week of poolside action!) Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay SANEEEEEEE if you are also moving!

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Okay, so when I saw this I was positively giddy. After reading my previous post, you’ve discovered my inability to DIY 😦 However, I think this is something anyone could tackle. So, ladies, (and flower loving gents) save up those toilet paper tubes and create a flower accent wall in your bedroom, dorm, or apartment !

All Good Things

Decorating for a party can be quite daunting and expensive at times. Here is a neat idea of how you can make a quick decoration with things you find around your home.

I call these my ‘Toilet Flowers’. Don’t worry, they are just made out of Toilet Paper Cardboard Rolls.

Image

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Cheap Appeal

I’m a stereotypical, middle-class college student. I don’t have the dough to completely furnish my apartment in fixtures from Ikea or kitsch, ironic wall decals from Urban Outfitters. I’ve got to get creative. And I totally toot my creativity when it comes along, because I was the girl who failed at arts and crafts during camp season. When my Martha Stewart shines the world must put on sunglasses!

Even if you don’t have a drug addiction problem, living in a very white room can be a little unsettling, and with accent walls out of the question in most apartments, you need to fill that space with something. I had no tapestries of Gaelic designs or posters of Dancing Grateful Dead Bears—which are ubiquitous in Burlington, VT—so I searched for picture books at The Goodwill. I found this really cool one about Vermonters who had generation’s worth of roots tying them to the land, which explains the 10 or so pictures of cute old people on my wall. I also snagged this book about love through the centuries. I think the human form is pretty delightful, so I like having all the naked pictures up on my wall (my mother was equally thrilled.) I will say, though, once I hit the 1970s the pictures got a little, erm, bushy.

 

I just cut out the pictures I liked, stuck tape to the four corners, and slapped them up on the wall at varying levels. If you really wanted to go all out you could purchase a bunch of different frames and put the pictures in them. I not sure I’ll want to peel the tape off all these photos and re-apply them at the new apartment, so it looks like I’ll have to  find some more picture books!

 

I also think records are a pretty cool addition. I know out there on the blogosphere some hardcore record lover is cursing me through the screen. Admit it, lover of scratchy, though charming sound quality, this record display is pretty dang cool. The Lover Boy album cover is my favorite. Lots of second hand shops carry records still in their folders, but you can also probably find boxes of scratched up records for 25 cents apiece. Have fun with it!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

I Foresee a Brief Blogging Hiatus

Sorry, folks,

But exam season is upon us at Champlain College. Every year I try to tell myself I’m going to be a little more on top of it. Just like every summer I tell myself I’m going to have some fierce Gwen Stefani-esque abs.…Alas, it never happens.

I’m hunkered down in the library with a huge mason jar of water and lemon slices—so rustic and refreshing—toiling away at papers I should have started, like, not today. Why do my time management skills fly out the window come April?! Oh well, accepting my lack of appropriate planning and pushing forward.

If you don’t hear from me in the next week don’t be alarmed, for I am merely finishing out the school year, though I suspect I’ll be able to blog a little come Wednesday. Carry on my friends, through this insanely busy time.

Some brief tips

Lay off the Adderall!!! I mean it! This is especially true if you aren’t prescribed any. Take responsibility for your own actions (or, um, lack of?) and get your work done without the use prescription aid. Let’s say you manage to snag some from the mellow kid who sits behind you in math. What if he is on a higher dosage than you’re expecting? Then plan on being up all night and well into the next morning. Speaking from experience, there is a good chance your stomach will feel like crap, and you’ll look like a cracked out zombie during your presentation (the teeth grinding will be a major giveaway.) Not. Ever. Cute.

Remember to sleep. It’s tempting to pull all-nighters, but it’ll just make your next day harder. As much as it pains you, do what you can and get to bed at a (college) reasonable time. When I fall asleep before midnight, even if it’s only at 11:30, I sleep much better and actually wake up a lot earlier. If that’s pushing it, try to get before 1:30am at the latest!

Eat Mindfully!!! When you’re stressed and aren’t running on enough sleep, the unhealthy side seeks its opportunity to take over. It suddenly seems like a better idea to order lots of delivery food and snack on chips from the vending machine. Snickers and Red Bulls are a great energy jolt, right? Exam time is prime time to put on a few extra pounds, believe it or not! If you can find the time to go to the grocery store for a quick run, do so. Stock up on fruits, veggies, single serving Greek Yogurts, etc. Your insides and waist line will thank you after exam week is over.

Schedule a 5 minute break every hour. Get up and move around. Go to the bathroom. Step outside for a few minutes of cool air to rejuvenate your senses. Heck, even take some time to creep on Facebook—if  you know you have this small window of opportunity, you’ll be less likely to scroll through funny Memes and statuses before you realize you’ve wasted a half hour!

Good luck, my friends, on your academic endeavors! See you soon.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Techincal Difficulties

My camera batteries died 😦 Since they take 8 hours to recharge, they are down for the count. No video tonight.  Even more depressing, my neck is acting up again, so it looks like I’m going to be taking some muscle relaxers this evening. I get very bitter when I have to take them. They make me seem weak and fragile. Well, I’m off to bed with a big cup o’ water, my electronic neck massager (awesome, right?), and my new Carl Hiaasen book.

Catch you tomorrow

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn