Moving Day

Something Magic has moved!

This past week I shifted Something Magic from here to www.alainarkraus.com. I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile and I finally bit the bullet to make it happen. It’s still pretty dusty, but new posts will be going that way and new pages/features will be showing up as time permits me to work on it.

For yesterday’s 5 Things I Love, follow this link.

5 Things I Love – Sept 12

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1. Superfruit Jelly Bellys

I’ve seen these on a number of visits to Marshalls but this weekend I finally took the bite and they are quite a tasty treat. They have real fruit juices & purees in them, so that must make them healthy – right?

2. Floppy Disk Sticky Notes

I work UX at a software company. Of course I love these.

3. iDuck

I don’t believe it’s come up on here before, but I kind of have a rubber duck collection so this little fella’s combo of music & duckiness is superb. Besides, it solves the mp3 player & bathtub conundrum in a fun way that doesn’t result in electrocution.

4. Dilbert

I was introduced to Dilbert in my youth by my father, an engineer, and my appreciation has only grown over the years. There are days when I wonder if Scott Adams has a spy cam in our office his strips are so spot on. Others are just funny because they could totally happen in our office and I wouldn’t be at all surprised.For example,this conversation may happen in the War Room at any time.

5. Earthsong Saga

There are a few online comics that I have taken to reading and this one not only features an interesting fantasy (sci-fi? it takes place on another planet) storyline, but Crystal Yates is a fabulous artist as well.

5 Things I Love – Sept 6

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1. Retro Owls

I’ve been seeing them all over the place – material at the fabric store, decorating hobo bags, Etsy finds – and I must admit I’m quite enamored of them. Check out these rainbow hued ceramic fellows or these fluffy friends by hilary cosgrove. Winston & Squeak break the mold a bit, but they also make smile every time I see them ;)

2. Temptations by Jello

I gave in. The French Silk was on sale and my mom has been talking about freezing yoplait whips then eating them like ice cream… so, I gave in. I bought them. I froze them. I ate them like ice cream. Now I’m hooked.

3. Glitch

Back over a year & a half ago I first heard about this new massive multi-player online game called Glitch during a web conference and was so intrigued I jumped at the chance to join the testing group, which I was able to do last winter during the alpha test. The world has grown A LOT since then, moved from to beta and I’m still loving it so it only seemed right that it finally make it’s way on here. Look for a post with screenshots and more soon…

4. Mr. Men & Little Miss

These cartoons and books were a favorite of mine when I was little so I was stoked to see them return. I may just have to stock up on them for my hypothetical future children to make sure they can enjoy them too.

5. Belize Necklace

I knew that I liked this necklace and that it was much prettier in person after seeing at the lia sophia conference this summer, but now that I own it I’ve moved from like to love. Paired with the Cyclone hoops it makes a fabulous copper statement which I personally am greatly enjoying.

5 Things I Love – Aug 29

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So, apparently I forgot that Monday was Monday. And Tuesday was, well, Tuesday. So finally today, here’s my 5 Things I Love for this week.

1. The Return of Superheroes

Maybe it’s the whole tomboy growing up with brothers & no sisters thing, but I’m really enjoying the resurgence of the superhero (even if superheroines are more often than not scantily clad with unrealistic dimensions). So to continue in the theme of the shirt from last week, I recently gave in to my nerd tendencies and picked up a new tote bag. Not just any tote bag, but one featuring Thor, the Hulk, Spiderman, Wolverine & Captain America along with the slogan ‘I only date superheroes’. This one is similar (but I like mine better). I figure if I tote my tote around long enough people may stop asking me how it is that I’m single ;)

2. Bear Cub

I was talking music with one of my co-workers a week or so ago and, based upon my enjoyment of Mumford & Sons, she recommended that I try out Bear Cub. She was right. I listened through the link she sent me on Grooveshark (the modern day answer to cd sharing) and now I’m passing along the recommendation to you all. Unless you don’t dig the folk/indie/pop vibe, but you shouldn’t be afraid to expand your musical horizons.

3. Essence C in Raspberry

It’s the TopCare knock-off vitamin C powder, but what I love about it is that it really tastes like raspberries. Also, less expensive than Emergen-C (though I do buy that too at times) and great for the upcoming cold season.

4. Captain America

FINALLY I made it to see Captain America last night and just as I suspected I loved it. Great aesthetic, fun characters, explosions, a love story… now just to wait to see what happens in Avengers ;)

5. Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions by Zachary Shore

I got introduced to this book right after I made the switch to UX last year, but it is only just recently that I started reading it myself. Written in more of a story format, Shore uses examples from real life and literature to explore cogition traps or ‘blunder’s like causefusion (confusing the causes of complex events) and static cling (an inability to accept change). A great book to read for anyone who leads or has to work with other people.

5 Things I Love – Aug 22

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1. Clove Soap

Several weeks back when I ventured up to Frankenmuth I stumbled across a tore named Those Nature People Herb Haus advertising spices, herbs, etc in their window. Intrigued, I investigated and ended up coming away with a bag of loose leaf Mango Ginger Mint tea and a promise to myself to return and get some of their clove soap. I adore the scent of cloves, so to be able to get it in a soap is fantastic! They’ve also got almond soap, another scent I love, and flat rate shipping from their site if I decide I’d rather shop online than make the drive.

2. Star Wars 4-6 in ASCII

Totally old school from someone who must have had far too much time on their hands, but totally awesome as well (and nerdy, but whatever).

3. Tom Banwell’s Leather Masks

Etsy emails are dangerous, dangerous things. Like this gents lovely masks. I think I have to have one and they aren’t abhorrently expensive so I’d actually be able to afford it. Also, Ren Fest is arriving soon and one of these would be a perfect accessory for the day :)

4. We Run This Town DC Tee

Girl power, vintage styling & superheroines – of course I love this tee.

5. Vintage Confections

Another dangerous Etsy find. These folks have an amazing assortment of candy flavors available. Pumpkin cheesecake suckers? Got it along with spiced pear, mint chocolate chip, sea salted caramel, Neapolitan, vanilla coffee and more…

5 Things I Love – Aug 15

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1. Louis Vuitton Creatures by Billie Achilleos

These critters are fabulous by nature with their oh so high end materials, but even more so they are awesome works of art and cute to boot.

2. The Return of Ankle Boots and Booties

I’m guessing that perhaps this is due to the influence of Steampunk working it’s way out to the rest of the population, but I have recently noticed that lace up ankle boots much like those of the Victorian era and turn of the century have found there way back into fashion. I, for one, am stoked about this. Great detailing and boots – what’s not to love. A couple of examples of this are Madden Girl’s Devotid Bootie, which is a flat, and the Gwyneth Meg Bootie which has a modern buckle twist and 3.5 inch heel. I’m also loving the BX by Bronx Maron Bootie with it’s slight heel, side buckle and stitch detailing.

3.Free Classics for Mobile Reading

Blame it on ‘The Great & Powerful Oz’, which just started filming in Michigan a few weeks back, but I love that I can get all of Frank Baum’s books along with a host of other classics for free on my iPod touch which means no worries about interloaning or late fees while I sate my curiosity on what Baum has to say about the Wizard beyond The Wizard of Oz. Of course, if you’re interested in the Wizard as well and don’t want to download them all seperately, you can get bundled versions like this Kindle edition for $1 or less.

4.Back to School Shopping Season

Despite my apparently youthful appearance (I often get asked if I’m a student) I don’t actually do back to school shopping for school, but the sales are great even for those of us not attending this fall. For instance, my printer recently decided that blue was the one and only color worth printing in. With the sales going on for school I was able to get a nice new printer that will print in a full array of colors for 45% off the retail price which is pretty darn awesome.

5.Pearson Cooking Classics Quick-Cooking Black Beans

These would be the beans that I used in yesterday’s black beans & rice recipe. I don’t particularly care for beans in general, but black beans are on my willing to consume list and these not only cook fast but have a great taste too.

Slow-Cooked Fresh Black Beans & Rice

I’ll admit it. While tomatoes, corn and mushrooms can all be purchased at the Farmer’s Market mine came from Meijer. I was in Pennsylvania last week and had to pick up groceries mid-week because my fridge was fairly barren, so I cheated. However, had I not been prowling Meijer’s produce I never would have stumbled upon the package of fresh black beans and felt compelled to try and do something with it eventually leading to the existence of this recipe.

Slow-Cooked Black Beans & Rice

6 oz fresh black beans
1.5 cups rice
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (green tomatoes would work great as well)
1 cup diced portabella mushrooms
1 cup corn niblets
20 oz water
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp tsp cayenne pepper

Note: I used fresh black beans, so I didn’t need to soak them. I got them from the produce section of my local Meijer by the sprouts & tofu. Feel free to substitute canned or dried beans, just pre-soak the dried ones.

Toss all ingredients into your crock-pot. Cook at medium heat for 3-3.5 hours.

5 Things I Love – Aug 8

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1. Nintendo Cartridge Clocks

Nostalgia meets utility in these re-purposed bits of childhood memories. Of course, choosing your game may be as difficult as beating that final level was back when Nintendo was the latest and greatest in technology ;)

2. Sara Bareilles Kaleidoscope Heart

I may have mentioned ‘King of Anything’ in a previous post, but really I love the whole album. It’s got a great jazzy feel and lyrics that surprise you from time to time. I enjoy the inclusion of songs that are just bit different like ‘Not Alone’ with it’s darker, more bluesy tone.

3. Raspberry Pretzel Cheesecake Fudge

Yes, this oh so succulent item does exist. I came across it while at Cabelas this past weekend and one bite had me hooked. I don’t know who thought of it, but the layers of raspberry syrup, salty pretzels and cheesecake fudge are scrumptious.

4. Porcelain Berry Basket

I suppose it only makes sense with my love of fresh food from the farmer’s market that I would have an affinity for these basket/dishes. They’re simple, fun, functional and the artist makes them in several glazes for those who may want something a little off from white.

5. Chick-fil-a

Considering that this was listed among my top want-to-dos for my fam’s trip down to Pennsylvania this past weekend, it just seemed wrong not to include Chick-fil-a on the list today. We don’t have any in Michigan, but my friends got my hooked in college and now it’s only rarely (usually on trips to visit my brother) that I get the opportunity to enjoy one of their original chicken sandwiches, waffles fries and a sweet carrot & raisin salad.

Mango Beet Soup


Be not deceived by the garnishment. There are no apples in this recipe. It is however full of betalains which have a whole host of beneficial aspects for the body. Much like cucumbers I’ll admit to having a bit of a beet prejudice growing up. My mom liked them but they were a strange purple colored thing that only seemed to show up at large family gatherings and events. I didn’t trust it. Then I decided that perhaps I was being unfair to them one day whilst eating a Greek salad. My prejudice now overcome I decided to give them a try in a different format after seeing them at Farmer’s Market.

Mango Beet Soup

5-6 beets peeled and diced
1/2 mango or about 2 cups sliced
dash of ginger
2 dashes of clove
2 tsp cinnamon
Water

Boil beets until they soften in 3ish cups of water. You don’t want an excess of water but since this will take 30-40 minutes you’ll need to be able to boil it down.

Once softened, run through food processor with mango till about the consistency of apple sauce. I had to split mine into 2 batches through the processor due to size limitations.

Mix back together along with ginger, clove & cinnamon. Can be served hot or cold.

5 Things I Love – Aug 1

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1. A Perfect Day by Natasha Bedingfield

I had forgotten how much I love this hidden single from her Unwritten album. Maybe I’m just a bit different, but I think we can all find things that appeal to our inner selves in the song, especially with lines like “all the mundane has brought out the rebel I was born to be”.

2. Turner St. Outdoor Theater

This past Friday was the last show of the summer, but the gals and I had a fabulous fun ladies’ night catching their showing of The Princess Bride. Next summer’s line-up is already in the works including recent classics like Seabiscuit and Little Miss Sunshine.

3. Apple Cider Cinnamon Popcorn

What would a night at the movies be without some tasty popcorn? Luckily, Cravings Popcorn in Old Town wouldn’t consign Turner Street visitors to such a fate. While there are a variety of lovely flavors available, this is one of my favorites :)

4. Proenza Schueler Fall 2011 Belts

I spied these whilst browsing Marie Claire and while they fall outside of what I’m willing to spend on a belt, the color contrasts and funky shape make them fun and different (they’re #14 on the accessories page).

5. Madeleines

I was first introduced to this light, airy French cookie at Starbucks and was reminded just how good they are today. In fact, I think I may have to add to my ‘recipes to try’ list.

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