Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Resolutions

2011 is going to be a big year for me. I'll be living in a foreign country for 3 months, interning with a non-profit, coming home and graduating with my Master's, looking for a big-girl job, hopefully finding a big-girl job and moving out on my own (finally).

So here are my big resolutions for this big year.

1. Visit 5 countries I've never been to.
2. Make a foreign friend.
3. Talk to my old friends on the phone more often.
4. Be more patient with my (extremely patient and generous) parents.
5. Be more patient with my (extremely patient and thoughtful) boyfriend.
6. Reduce the amount of junk I own.
7. Reduce the amount of fat I own.

I was going to try to make it to 11 resolutions, but I'm going to stick to what I think I can handle. Maybe I'll add more later if I'm feeling ambitious.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, all

Get any good gifts? I got the Kelly Moore bag I've had my eye on for a while now. I'm so excited to take it to the Hague (and I'm thinking of how to keep it from getting snatched while on public transportation).

My crafty sister crocheted me a headband/earwarmer kind of like this one. And we all got some leather-bound books from my brother, his founding contribution to the Poller library.

Now all I have to do before I leave in 12 days is move out of my apartment in Waco, watch the Bears beat Illinois in the Texas Bowl, unpack the boxes I've moved from Waco in order to pack what I need for the next 3 months (in 1 or 2 suitcases, no less), figure out how to live in Europe and say my goodbyes. It doesn't sound like as much work as I think it's going to be.

Also, I found out that I'm 1/8 Dutch (passed on from my great-grandfather Poller), so my chances of fitting in over there just got 12.5% better.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snood snood snood

I know it's a little late to add to my Christmas wish list, but I suddenly really want a snood. It's probably mostly due to the name, but it would also help me with the problem I face every time I put on a scarf. I seriously can never decide how I'm supposed to wear it. Two ends hanging down? One over my shoulder? Wound tightly around my neck?

(I'm talking modern tubular scarf snoods and not the old-timey hair-net snoods. Not that I knew what either of them were ten minutes ago.)

Love these:

A couple notes on these two:
a) Why have I never bought anything from Topshop?
and b) Can I pull off orange?

I'd like to see if I'm brave enough to try the hooded snood look, like this Etsy shop photo with the creepy mannequin head.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dutch food

To help me prepare for my quickly approaching adventure, Will gave me a book called The UnDutchables: An Observation of the Netherlands, Its Culture and Its Inhabitants. I guess it has served its purpose because I am now silently freaking out about how unprepared I am and how awful some Dutch behavior sounds (though I'm sure American habits sound much worse to outsiders).

One question it has answered, though, is what kind of food do Hollanders eat? (Also, what kind of toilets do the Dutch have? But that post logically comes after this one)

Erwtensoep: pea soup with lumps of ham (or pig's knuckle) and vegetables. I don't really know what pig's knuckle is, but that below just looks like sausage, which I can handle.
 Photo from

Hutspot: mashed potato with onions, carrots and maybe meat, with gravy. Pretty straightforward.
Photo from

Hagelslag: chocolate sprinkles. My friend Kelsey, whose father is Dutch, told me about these chocolate sprinkle sandwiches and I thought they sounded pretty awesome. With my recent rat problem and the resemblance between hagelslag and rat droppings though, I'm much less enthusiastic about them.
Photo from

Haring: raw herring. I don't think I'll be trying this one. At least not in the traditional throat-sliding version seen below.

But I am going to try to get Will to help me make these oliebollen on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mystery creature

After some recent developments (pawprints, bigger poop, my vivid imagination), the opinions of some non-experts and a little bit of Googling, I'm convinced I have some kind of hybrid critter. Something like this:

OK, this guy's kind of cute. At least in theory. Not so much in my apartment.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy birthday, Chris

Today is my older brother Chris' 28th birthday. I cannot believe we are getting so old.

Things I learned from my brother:
  • A well-crafted insult earns more respect than a compliment.
  • Having a big head does not make you an evil genius (or even a regular genius).
  • Don't trust anyone when you're watching scary movies/TV shows, when they have access to cicada skins or when they say they want to try a wrestling move on you.
  • Big brothers make excellent scapegoats.
  • Do what Mom says or she'll break your arm. No, really.
Yep, that's a Pound Puppy in his shirt.

    At my sister's wedding. Just a normal day for Chris. (Looks like that Pound Puppy shed on his chest)

    And one with my sister...
    We still have that chair, but it seems to have gotten a lot smaller.

    Happy birthday, Chris. bbpx^5

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    A month to go

    It's officially a month until I take off for The Hague for 3 months. And I am not at all prepared. With Christmas and moving out of my apartment also this month, it is officially time for panic mode.

    But instead of doing something productive (like, say, finding a place to live), I'm just going to keep looking at gift guides. Some of my favorites: A Cup of Jo, Design Sponge and Etsy.

    Deal with a rat

    I'm pretty sure I have a rat in my apartment. All the signs are there: a little bit of poop, some scratchy rodent noises (and believe me, I know rodent noises after the squirrel in the wall) and this morning, something had gotten into the kitchen trash.

    I move out of this place within the next 3 weeks, so I'd like to just treat the rat like a roommate I never have to see until my lease is up (and one that I try to keep out of my bedroom by cramming a towel under the door while I sleep). I thought about buying a trap yesterday, but honestly, the last thing I want to find in my kitchen is a dead rat, or worse, a dying rat. I'm not man enough to take care of that.

    I told the rat how I hadn't bought a trap and that we should just try to live in harmony and I thought it was settled. But the rat did not keep up his end of the deal when he went through my garbage. So now what? If it's this kind of rat, I'm going to want to get a trap or some spaghetti-eating dogs:
    From Disney's Lady and the Tramp (and my nightmares)

    But if it's this kind of rat, I should probably buy a chef's hat (though based on geographical logic and my rat's affinity for leftover Ninfa's guacamole, I think mine's a Mexican-cooking rat):
    From Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Lifetime favorite movies

    If you want to keep any semblance of respect for me, you should stop reading now, because this isn't a post about the favorite movies of my lifetime; it's about my favorite Lifetime movies. I'd like to explain myself, but there's really no excuse here. So read on if you enjoy so-bad-they're-good movies.

    Lately I've seen a lot of previews for the upcoming Lifetime hit, The Craigslist Killer. I'm not going to pretend I'm not looking forward to it. And until then, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that some of these movies involving adultery, murder or prostitution come on.

    I just saw this one for the first time a month or so ago, and it was a pleasant surprise. It's got a crazy Julia Stiles who wants to take her dead mother's place as woman of the house. She starts wearing her clothes and make-up and acting like a jealous wife. And yes, she sleeps with her father.

    No One Would Tell
    These are in no particular order, but if they were, this one with Fred Savage and Candace Cameron would be in the #1 spot. There's nothing better than watching an abusive Kevin Arnold give some tough love to D.J. Tanner. She must've deserved it; he never did anything like that to Winnie Cooper.

    Death of a Cheerleader
    Tori Spelling is murdered. Enough said.

    The Client List
    This movie's got Jennifer Love Hewitt as a prostitute in "Lareena," Texas. I wonder how the folks in Lorena felt about that. Especially when the townfolk look like that guy.

    Poison Ivy
    Drew Barrymore gets her crazy on with the girl from Roseanne. Kills her mom, sleeps with her dad. You know, the usual. I think this might have been in theaters at some point, but it fits in a lot better on Lifetime.

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Men's bags

    I don't know what it is about men's bags, but lately I've just been drooling over every one I come across. I'd probably even buy one if one of the guys in my life wanted one (That's right. GuyS. I'm very popular with the menfolk).

    These are some of my favorites.

    Filson medium field bag from Urban Outfitters
    I also love this duffel.

    And this fantastic laptop/camera bag from Kelly Moore Bags

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Give a book, get an album

    OK, I really like the band Pomplamoose, so I would probably think anything they did was awesome. But I especially like that they give away free songs at Christmastime in exchange for charitable acts. Last year was goat-giving; this year is book-giving. I bought The Face on the Milk Carton for a school district. And in return, I got this:

    Well, maybe not quite that. But I did get 5 songs, including "Always in the Season," my fave (that I missed out on last year by not knowing about the goat-trade until it was too late). That's a screen shot from the video and I plan to dance exactly like that each of the 600 times I listen to it this month.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Where I AM going next semester

    After covering where I won't be going next semester a few posts back, it's time to talk about where I will be spending January through April: the Netherlands.
    View Larger Map

    The Netherlands sits on the North Sea and is bordered by Germany on the east and Belgium on the south. Netherlands means something like low land because about a quarter of the country is below sea level.

    I'll be living and interning in The Hague, or Den Haag. It's about 45 minutes from Amsterdam by train. Though Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, The Hague is the seat of the government, the royal city and the legal capital of the world. Or so they say. All I know is that I hope it's the closest I ever am to war criminals.

    Good Chuck Taylors

    And no, I don't know whether there is a red-light district or legal marijuana in The Hague.

    So the Netherlands or Holland? The Netherlands is the official name of the country, but it is often used interchangeably with Holland. I read somewhere that this is because most of the trade was done in the provinces of North and South Holland so foreigners started referring to the nation as Holland. I don't know if this is offensive to people who aren't from one of the Hollands, but I intend to personally find out.

    But here's what the Netherlands is really famous for:

    Wooden shoes

    Windmills and tulips


    I think I can fit right in with that crowd.

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Being thankful

    My family's Thanksgivings are always fairly low-key, especially the last few years. Which I happen to be very thankful for. This year, my brother wanted slightly less traditional food, so we each pitched in (even him) a dish or two.

    I promise I'm wearing shorts under that apron.

    Instead of just turkey, we had turkey spaghetti. We jazzed up the mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese and who knows what else. Sweet potato hash replaced the usual candied yams and marshmallows. Plus a lot of other fattening, filling things.

    I found my contributions on evilchefmom and they turned out pretty good.

    As an appetizer, I made these cheese fritters, which are kind of like mozzarella sticks in ball form. It was my first time to fry anything, and thankfully, there were no major mishaps.

    I wasn't in love with the texture of the cheese because there was so much ricotta, but I've been asked to make them again, which is the mark of success. We decided next time there will be less ricotta and more mozzarella to solve the texture problem.

    I also made a pumpkin layer cake with cream cheese frosting. It was pretty time consuming but worth it. If only dessert didn't come at the end when we were all so stuffed.

    The best part of the day: perfecting the super-secret, super-awesome Poller family handshake. I'm terrible at keeping secrets, though, so I'd probably show you if you asked.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Kids' nesting dolls

    Sometimes (OK, a lot of times) I wish I had kids so I could make cool things like this for them.

    I just love nesting dolls for some reason (like these measuring cups from Anthropologie I forced my sister to buy for me). And I love Etsy's how-tos. Who am I kidding? I kind of want to make these for me.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Where I'm not going next semester

    For many Americans, those little (and sometimes not so little) countries in Europe can be a little confusing. I'm as guilty of this as anybody. Before I got my internship in the Netherlands and started Googling all of my questions, I couldn't tell you whether the Netherlands or Holland was the proper name (or even if they were the same place).

    I've heard people confuse the Netherlands with Norway, Dutch with Danish and The Hague with Den Haag (just kidding, those last two actually are the same). And as a girl who sometimes (just briefly) thinks Swiss people are from Sweden, I can't really judge these mistakes.

    So here's some clarification. I am NOT going to:


    Norway is one of those Scandinavian countries, up by Sweden (where people are Swedish, not Swiss). It's a big country compared to the Netherlands but has about 4 times fewer people. Fathers get 10 weeks of paternity leave, because having a kid makes new dads look like this:

    Did I mention Edvard Munch is Norwegian?


    This is where Hamlet was prince and where you'll find something rotten. They speak Danish, which I happen to be pretty familiar with, typically around breakfast time.

    I'll let this sink in for a day or two and then discuss where I AM going (and whether you should call it Holland or the Netherlands).

    Obligatory first post

    So this is that awkward first post where I'm essentially talking to myself because there are no readers yet. But if there were readers, I'd tell them that the purpose of this blog is three-fold:
    1. To let people I know keep up with all the awesome and/or boring things I'm doing;
    2. To share all the awesome and/or totally awesome things I find on the Internet;
    3. To make myself feel slightly more legit as someone with 1.75 journalism degrees.