When stuck with an overripe banana.

banana, overripe

Here is our single banana. Without fail.

Today’s post is short because I haven’t been feeling well, truth be told. BUT DO YOU EVER HAVE LIKE ONE BANANA YOU DIDN’T GET TO? And you’re all, “Awww man.” and it’s all spotty and the texture is too soft to be manageable or palatable in anyway, like if you could trap weird sadness inside a sandwich baggie and leave it in the sun. I’m feeling gross just talking about it. But this happens to me ALL the time.

The hubs and I typically eat a banana a day. I have weird health things so they’re one of the only fruits I can eat anymore. A balanced breakfast is a. a banana b. a yogurt from Trader Joe’s c. fistful of supplements and c. a single cup of coffee. Then I’m on my way.

But our math is usually off by one banana. One banana too many to eat them all at optimal banana status or O.B.S. We’ve tried adjusting the amount we buy. We’ve changed where they’re stored. And yet one banana always escapes O.B.S. and heads straight to Ohio. (Meaning Ohio is crummy.) (Why am I picking on Ohio?) (I don’t know, I’m not feeling great.)

I have to imagine I am not the only soul with this issue. Surely there are others who have this issue who are not as blessed as one Alton Brown, always having three to four lame duck bananas available to make his banana bread (which is delicious and if you have a chance it makes for a nice, moist, banana bread). SO I SHARE WITH YOU…

Two ways to make do with that overripe banana (that avoid throwing it away). 

Way one:

One Banana Banana Bread – The Fauxmartha (a good blog name)

Pinterest revealed to me this one banana banana bread recipe (say that five times fast) and I loved it. I’m a great instruction follower when it comes to baking, but my attempts at just tweaking banana bread recipes by half or a third so the one banana would be proportionate to the bread? Misery. Either I succeeded in baking a rock or a never solidifying lump of goo. At least someone better equipped for these matters was able to make the dream happen. I was thinking about including a picture… but why? It’s banana bread, you know what it looks like. Tada. If you click the link and you will see a stumpy loaf (which I solved by baking in a smaller loaf pan).

Way two:

Banana Nut Bread Cookies – Baked By An Introvert (also a good blog name)

Now these, THESE are great. Take banana bread. But make it slightly firmer and not as crumbly. And cookie shaped. Yes. Important to mention. That’s what these are! Now this recipe calls for a 1/4 cup banana mush, banana chips, as well as nuts. I had to neuter the recipe due to nut allergies (HEH) but I’ve never seen or heard about no kinda banana chips. So I used a whole banana and cinnamon chips. When in doubt, my friends, ADD CINNAMON CHIPS. We add them to a lot of our baked goods. There’s a storage can of them sitting on my counter so they can be available at a MOMENTS NOTICE. THAT’S HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. No photos of these because they were all eaten.

But there you have it! I have solved yet another one of life’s little mysteries. Maybe next I’ll tackle why my back hurts when I sit and my limbs get tingly. STAY TUNED.

I promised gift/holiday shopping ideas. Here are some websites.

Before we get into the sites, just three things I want to note first.

1. Shop early. Especially if you’re shopping online. We live in the future. Do not procrastinate.

2. Consider small businesses first. Surely there are independent stores where you live that sell the same items as big box stores. For an example, in Rice Village in Houston there’s a nice man who runs a kitchen supply shop called ChefMarket with the same exact gadgets and accessories Bed, Bath, and Beyond does. Support small, local business!

3. If you can’t shop local, at least save yourself some money. Coupon codes and deals are so easy to find. …you need two sites: slickdeals.net for deals, retailmenot.com for coupon codes. Also, do not be afraid to google. Type in the item name and brand, shop around. See where you can get a good coupon and maybe buy it there! Okay, on to the good stuff.

Small gifts (coworkers, friend of friend) and stocking stuffers.

Yes, Target does have many small convenient items, but year after year I always find myself looking at two places: The Container Store and Restoration Hardware. Not places you think of when you think gifts, but every year they provide a diverse amount of reasonably priced goods that are unique. It’s nice to give people something that is memorable. …maybe it’s useful, maybe it’s not.

Container Store tends to be more handy like this Tea Bag Buddy (holds in heat, manages the stringy bit, gives you something to squeeze the extra water out when you’re done!) or this re-usable cutlery set.

The holidays are the only time I approach Restoration Hardware for anything. The rest of the year they sell distressed bedroom sets and arctic fox fur BEAN BAGS. Not even kidding a little. But during the holidays they have great gifts. There’s a fair amount of items for ourdoory types like this swedish firesteel and a lot of items for kids like this prank kit or this voice changer. And the packaging is this wonderful retro style I adore.

General gift giving.

Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store, based in New York, can only be described as every fun thing you could imagine. It is awesome. (If you live there, check it out, they say the website is just a fraction of what they offer. If you live in Houston, check out Candylicious for similar fun times. I used to work there and the owners are good guys.) From Glow In The Dark Stars to this classy metal flask to this beautiful foosball table they seem to have something for everyone. 

Fishs Eddy is a charming shop out of New York City that does dishes and serveware. Their stoneware has fantastic personality and vibrant colors. And, having purchased their wares before, I can assure you they pack items very well for shipping.

-Ohh, if I could, I would just shop at Crate and Barrel. Everything is just fantastic… and while there are some pricey things, a lot of their stock is affordable while not sacrificing design. Their holiday season collection is great (food/decorating/etc.), and they offer just a really solid selection of general home goods. The kitchen section is nice, but it isn’t unique by any stretch. (See my note about shopping local and price hunting!) If you’re looking for something a little younger feeling, check out their trendy sibling shop CB2. I love these tree bookends!

Uncommon Goods is somewhere between lovely airport gift shop and rampant silliness. There’s jewelry, home decor, books, toys, gifts for new parents, art, and more. Their gift guides are usually pretty spot on, so use them to look around the site. I got this whiskey stone set for my father-in-law last year. This bonsai forest is pretty neat and the idea of an emergency clown nose just makes me laugh.

Etsy, etsy, etsy.

Etsy is this wonderful marketplace of fun and diverse goods. There’s art and jewelry, yes, but there’s a lot of functional items here too… crafted by hand (for the most part) by an independent artist. If you have time, consider looking around etsy to give a truly unique gift. Here’s a round up of shops and items I’m a fan of.

Kim Westad makes beautiful porcelain pottery. Her pieces often have incredibly detailed dots forming patterns and texture. Her whirl bowl is one of my favorites.

Lulu Bug Jewelry does silver pendants with colored concrete (!). It makes a neat visual effect. This little leaf necklace is small but cute. Jewelry doesn’t need to be huge to be interesting.

-There’s something very northern about Western Art Glass. It’s fish and leaves and just nice stained glass art. I like these leaf earrings and this fish seems like something my dad would hang up in his office.

Gnome Sweet Gnome pretty much just makes these kleenex box whales. I mean there’s a couple other things, but… whale!

Standard Design does quirky prints. I’m a fan of ‘Hello Darkness My Old Friend’. Also a bumper sticker.

Avril Loreti has modern home goods and accessories. Like these paint chip table runners!

-The Dichroic Fused Glass Jewelry by ccvalenzo is truly art. Mostly nature scenes, they look painted in shadow on top of glass tiles, like little scenes dangling around your neck. There’s a lot of gifty stuff in this shop.

Pica Pica Press is just quirky nerd jewelry. Weeeell, for the most part. I like these Pacman earrings and these triforce earrings really could pass as cute, normal jewelry to those not-in-the-know.

-Finally TippyThai Bags. I’m not normal one to squee over purses, but I like these bags A LOT. Like this one. And this one

I hope all these links give you a starting point. And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask someone what they want. They’ll appreciate it!

Surgery was yesterday and I’m fine.

So far it doesn’t hurt so much as ache, but we’re early yet.

I keep getting tackled by surprise naps. I’ll be doing/reading/interneting something and all of a sudden it’s… “I’ll just close my eyes for a secon- zzzz.”

In between the naps I’ve been listening to leftasrain.com. Left As Rain is a music blog/player I’ve been following for years. It’s just mellow indie stuff, nice background music. It’s just perfect. Simple layout, true to it’s musical “voice”, and I’ve found out about a bunch of new bands. I just kicked $20 their way to help cover bandwidth fees.

The other thing I’ve been doing is designing outfits using polyvore.com. Polyvore lets you clip outfit items from websites and then lay them out. For example, I might have a slight thing for flappers right now. I’ve been grabbing 1928 Jewelry and some lacy Banana Republic tops and putting them together to see what I like. No money spent, all the fun of shopping, surprise naps friendly.

And a quick shout-out to alreadypretty.com. Sally blogs what she wears everyday. It’s not some kind of vanity project, it’s more of a discussion of different components of fashion. How to plan what you wear, how to take risks, really how to know what you’re doing. She’s really enabled me to feel comfortable finding a personal voice in what I wear. It’s not this shameful and awkward experience now to pick out an outfit.

I feel like I should end all these posts with ‘god bless the internet’.