Friday, June 21, 2013

Hot wheels.

My love for summer bike rides is well-documented.  And while I love my bike -- an old-timey single-speed Schwinn Hollywood -- I've been looking for something a bit newer and bigger.  My problem (as with most things I'm looking for) is finding a step-through girl's bike (aka a Dutch granny bike, ha!) in a large enough frame size.

My search continues, but for all of you more average-sized ladies, I found you an awesome new bike.  Critical Cycles ships almost-assembled bikes for free (and Prime-eligible from Amazon!) that come with everything I've been looking for in my next bike: vintage styling, step-through frame, single speed, coaster brakes, a back rack, cute headlamp, and a fun color.  It even comes with a bell, for goodness' sake.  And here's the best part: it's only $250!
There are lots more options (frames, speeds, hand brakes) and colors on their site, but I'm partial this color, British racing green.      

If you're ready to pimp your ride, a few extras:

You can even get a reflective bow to go on your helmet -- hilarious.
You clearly need a brass bell.
A pretty and simple headlight.
Rearview mirror, just 'cause.
And OBVIOUSLY, baskets.  I have this one on the front of my bike, and it holds a lot!
But if you want to go all out, this picnic basket looks pretty roomy.
This bottle basket goes on the back.  Apparently for milk bottles, but I'd imagine wine (or growlers!) would be a good fit.
PS: check out these crazy pictures of Amsterdam's bike parking problem; and what you'll see in 73 minutes in Amsterdam.

(Top image by Flying Pigeon LA.)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bag lady

I'm having a bag problem.  This may be because it's summer and that means schlepping stuff to the lake, traveling more, and going out (wintertime is legitimately hibernation season in Chicago); it may be that I've just given up on trying to find clothes that fit.  For whatever reason . . . bags galore, for your shopping and perusing pleasure: 

The original and awesome LL Bean Boat and Tote.  As you can see, even my dog has one of these (which is yes, insane, but we use it all the time and I highly recommend it -- they're reasonably priced, durable, and washable).  Also a great idea, if you're in the market for gifts: my best friend (who named Tall and Salty) gave these as bridesmaid gifts at her wedding, which everyone loved and appreciated.  

Though camo isn't my usual cup of tea, this LL Bean Hunter's Bag can be monogrammed, which seems like it could be kind of cool.
LL Bean's "fancy" line, LL Bean Signature, has some great weekenders, like this Downeaster Sport bag.
Clare Vivier's clutches are fantastic for all occasions and pack flat for traveling.
This simple, slouchy, Topshop bag is on sale and would be really versatile (it fits work shoes, huzzah).
Who knew?  In addition to gross ads and neoprene unitards, American Apparel has some really nice, simple, leather handbags, like this satchel . . .
. . . and this tote, which would make a perfect summer work bag.  No hardware, no muss, no fuss.
Do you have your eye on anything?

(Boat and Tote image via here; Clare Vivier clutch image via here.) 

Monday, June 17, 2013

How to conquer your fear of knife sharpening.

Amy Adams as Julie Powell in Julie & Julia.
On the heels of last week's link-stravaganza, I skipped the usual weekend post, though I certainly hope you all had a lovely weekend nonetheless, and that your week is off to a good start.  To make your weeknight dinners a bit easier this week, here's a little kitchen tip:  

I've owned a set of knives for about four-and-a-half-years, but have been terrified of sharpening them with the steel (that thing Amy Adams appears to be threatening stabbage with, above).  The upshot of this irrational fear is that my knives are tremendously dull, which means that every time I go to chop something, there's a lot of swearing and near-misses in the fingertip-hacking-off department. 

Last week, in an attempt to chop some tomatoes for this, I realized that even the one knife that I've tried not to use much (so as to keep it sharp -- tell me someone else does this) couldn't puncture tomato flesh without a ridiculous amount of smushing.  In other words: it was time to actually deal with the situation.  I watched this video, and then gave it a shot.
Verdict: it's not that hard, it totally works, and it's weirdly satisfying.  (One caveat: I'm no Jamie, but I found that holding the steel in my right hand worked better.)  You'll be looking like this in no time.

(Top photo from Julie & Julia via NPR.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Funny 'cause they're true.

The Pros & Cons Of Being Tall
I mean, these are all so true, but it bowls me over how often people approach me just for the fun of saying "You're so tall!"  I used to say something snarky back, but I always ended up snapping on someone nice and  well-meaning . . . like the time I gave some sassy remark to an old lady in Nordstrom who apologized profusely and said that she just wanted some help picking out a gift for her granddaughter, who she thought would be close to my age.  I felt horrible!  Who doesn't want to help that lady?

I've never been compelled to walk up to someone and just say "You are [fill in some very obvious physical characteristic here]," just to prove that I've observed said physical characteristic, so for the most part, I just wonder where these people possibly see the conversation going from there.  (I think the closest group to understanding this is pregnant ladies -- from what my friends say, it sounds like they get all kinds of weird comments and rude stares.)

Now, I just say "that's true" in response to people who blurt out weird things, and give them a big blank stare and wait for them to say something else (except for little kids, who even I can't expect to know better -- I just tell them I drink lots of milk).  No one ever seems to have a follow-up if I don't really react to them (though yesterday on my way to the dentist, after some older gentleman did this and I walked around the corner, I heard him shout, "You must be Swedish!"  WHAT?  All credit to my colorist for that one, because I am no natural blonde . . . nor, for the record, am I Scandinavian.)  For the most part, people just look flustered -- and, I hope, get a little clue that they're being sort of rude. All without the guilt of being a smart ass to strangers.  Everyone wins!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hope you've had a lovely couple of weeks (and are feeling forgiving).

You GUYS.  It's been ages.  I apologize.  I've been busy traveling (to one hell of a wedding weekend, I might add), busy at work, and busy enjoying the Chicago "summer" (it's been in the sixties and seventies, but we get what we get).  In other words, I've been doing things that are not writing Tall and Salty posts (traveling makes me fall off the wagon.  I can't help it).  But I've been thinking about you all and storing up lots of interesting tidbits, so without further ado, here is a two-weeks-plus-overdue collection of internet interestingness to get us back on track: 

There was a royal wedding this weekend in Sweden.  Tiaras!  (Caution: that website is seriously addicting.)

A truly amazing baby action shot that will crack you up.

Anna Kendrick is my Good Posture Icon.

You know that striped Oscar de la Renta dress that all blogs went bonkers for a few months ago?  SJP is wearing it on the cover of a magazine, and obviously, it looks fab.

This poster would be so funny in a little boy's room (or for a girl who likes superheroes, though my gal of choice is missing).

You know I love these: cute calligraphy address stamp.

Talk about a "meet cute."

This Airstream "house tour" is incredible and I want to live there.  Or maybe just have this as my vacation home, because after all, it is kind of small up in there.

On the other hand, I would for sure live in Felicity's house.

A sweet idea for a group baby shower gift.

Just in case you need to know what to wear strawberry picking, you're welcome.

If you get "party anxiety" (as my mom calls it), you'll appreciate these Dinner Parties From Hell.

Garden gnomes were permitted at this year's Chelsea Flower Show in Britain, and people were pissed, which is obviously hilarious.

A sweet rain cape.

These pieces of art are EXCEL SPREADSHEETS.  Just . . . wow.

Thanks for coming back after the extended break, friends.  I'll be better!

Images by Chicago photographer Yewon Kim, from Instagram.
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