Relationship Questionaire Meme by stegaliu
February 18, 2009, 10:33 pm
Filed under: Family

I, like Dooce, don’t love all the crazy meme’s that float around Facebook but this one was a nice way to reflect on my currently absent husband and our past 5.5 years together.  I figured since he is working his butt off and sleeping on couches it’s the least I could do.

What are your middle names?
My middle name Marie, just like my mom and my sister.  Patrick’s middle name is Phillip, after his dad.

How long have you been together?
Married for 1.5 years, together for 5.5 years.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
0 days.  Haha.  No really.  We barely knew each other at all before we started dating.  In reality I’ll say a month but that’s going with a very loose interpretation of the word “know”.

Who asked whom out?

Well I asked him to give up his free weekend to be the sound guy on a friends film but he asked me to the party after the shoot where he kissed me so…it’s a tie.

How old are each of you?

I’m 25 and he’s 26.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Mine.  When we lived in NYC and Eli and Thomas were still Northeastern-ers we saw them more but now that they seceded to the South (and took our beloved Carter with them) it’s down to less than a handful of times a year.  We see at least 1 of my siblings every week and over the holidays my brother Chris basically lived in our guest room.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Hmm.  I think that’s a difficult question because we’ve had a pretty easy time of it.  I think the hardest things would be work related.  Because we were always freelance and now only one of us is we differ on how to handle unemployed time, future planning, etc.  I tend to try to be proactive and Patrick just tends to form ulcers.

Did you go to the same school?
Same school, same major, same early graduation date because we just couldn’t handle the idea of school anymore.  Oh how times have changed.

Are you from the same home town?
No. I’m from outside Philadelphia and Patrick is from Little Rock.  Oddly there are many things about each place that remind me of the other, not necessarily good things, but even though they seem like they should be very different, I don’t think they are.

Who is smarter?
Oh this is a question just begging to be asked.  Patrick has an uncanny ability to be able to have an factoid for just about anything you would want to talk about.  Little do you all know but I’ll guestimate that he makes up about 25-30% of these factoids.  He gives the appearances of intelligence by merely overwhelming you with facts that you wouldn’t know were true or not.  That being said, he’s smarter.  I’m pretty sure the older I get the less smart I’ve become.  My memory deteriorates every day.  I’d look into it if only I could remember.

Who is the most sensitive?
Patrick.  No question.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We rarely eat out but when we do it’s usually somewhere new.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Who has the craziest exes?
Patrick.  Not crazy in that bad sense of it, well not all of them.  I can’t elaborate on this unfortunately.  Just know my ex’s are vaguely normal.

Who has the worst temper?
Me.  Bad temper and a short fuse for the wrong situation.  Patrick can just take it in and bottle it up and you’d almost swear that he didn’t even experience the thing that would have made any other sane person red in the face with anger.  I, on the other hand, get mad if a recipe is written badly and storm around the kitchen banging things and cursing.

Who does the cooking?
We both cook a fair bit but Patrick can attest to me not liking it as much as he does.  He lives for an elaborate meal and just his listing of his plan for Valentine’s dinner nearly gave me an anxiety attack.  I like things simple, straightforward, delicious and preferably in one pot. This is why noodle dishes are my favorite.  Patrick wants and will cook 6 courses and the whole kitchen will look like a bomb exploded in it.

Who is the neat-freak?
Neither.  We are both messy.  Not dirty, just messy.

Who is more stubborn?
Both of us are very stubborn.  We could both argue a point that we don’t even care about for hours just to be “right”.  It’s insanely frustrating since I am always right and he just won’t relent.  Jeez.

Who hogs the bed?
Hmm.  Patrick is almost twice my size so technically he hogs the bed by default but I tend to steal the covers.

Who wakes up earlier?
Me.  Patrick used to be the type who would sleep until noon but slowly, over many painstaking years, I’ve gotten him to get up around 8-9 on a weekend.  My body doesn’t understand the concept of “sleeping in”.

Where was your first date?
Technically we had be dating for a month or 2 before we really went on a date.  On our first official date we went to Cosi.  Unfortunately the quality of that particular chain has suffered so much we don’t really go back to reminisce.

Who is more jealous?
Hmm.  I have no idea.  It’s never erally been an issue.

How long did it take to get serious?
I think we were always pretty serious.

Who eats more?
Hard to believe (I hope) but me.  It’s a bad habit I am trying to break.  I seriously shouldn’t be able to eat more than him.  It’s gross.

Who does the laundry?
Patrick.  He’s just not allowed to fold mine because I’m a folding Nazi.

Who’s better with the computer?
Patrick.  To me, a computer is just a TV I can type on.

Who drives when you are together?

Usually, Patrick.  Sometimes I request the drivers seat but more often than not, it’s him.  I’ll cop to being a bad side seat driver and also a bad road trip companion.  I’m usually asleep in minutes.

So that’s that.  Time for bed.  Just me snuggling with Maddie.  She’s cute but a poor substitute for Patrick.


Spinach Pasta (Finally!) by stegaliu
February 15, 2009, 11:17 am
Filed under: Cooking

So I know we promised this post a while back, but I hit a hot streak with work in New York and have been up there for most of the last six weeks.  Rough.  But the real problem with this recipe isn’t it’s tardiness, but it’s lack of specificity.  Here’s how it started:

1 – 10oz package frozen chopped spinach

1 tablespoon water

4 large eggs

4 cups all purpose flour

I felt like using fresh spinach, but I only had a 5oz salad portion so I halved the recipe.  I usually hold back on the water until the dough is coming together and I can evaluate whether or not I need it.  So this is what I was working with:

1 – 5oz package fresh baby spinach

2 organic brown eggs

2 cups all purpose flour

I started pulsing and it was immediately apparent that the dough was way, way, way too wet.  So I started throwing in quarter-cups of flour.  At one point I had to rip the dough mass in half because it was growing too big for the food processor.  Although I lost count of how much flour I ultimately put in, let’s assume the recipe ended up looking something like this.

1 – 5oz package fresh baby spinach

2 organic brown eggs

4ish cups all purpose flour

12oz frustration

So the dough finally came together, but I had double the amount I had intended to make on my hands.  Two 16oz discs to be exact.  You know what this means… pasta for lunch and dinner!

You can see how vibrant and green the dough became.  But what to do with it?


The first batch became fettuccine.


Fettuccine is my favorite because it looks so remarkable once it’s all covered in flour and laid out on the counter.



Kir and I had been feeling like something creamy, but we were without cream or anyhting remotely milky.  So we opened up a laptop and asked Internet what to do.  Internet eventually told us that REAL fettuccine alfredo has no cream in it at all.  Apparently a Roman Alfredo is as simple as it is delicious.  Here are the ingredients.

Enough butter

Enough parmesan cheese

Enough salt and pepper

Amazingly easy and quick.  How quick?  Let me tell you something about fresh pasta.  Take that lovely pasta and throw it in a pot of boiling water.  Start a timer

Zero seconds elapsed:


30-45 seconds elapsed:


60-90 seconds elapsed:


And that’s it.  You’re done!  Once all of the pasta floats to the top, it’s as cooked as it’s going to be.

Drain it conventionally.


And start working on the sauce by melting a lot of butter (start with two tablespoons and eyeball it based on how much pasta you made).


Melt all of that down and then toss in your pasta.  Give it a stir to ensure that it has a nice, even butter coat before throwing in a cup of so parmesan (fresh is preferable, but we weren’t feeling so fancy on this particular day).


Toss it all again and then season it with salt and pepper to taste.


Light dramatically, photograph, and serve.



What to do with the rest of this spinach pasta dough?  As I weigh my options I begin rolling out the dough…


Then it hits me.  Just stop.  Stop right there and lay it out on the island.


If you noticed the rest of the mise en place in this photo, you already know where this is going: lasagna.  The sheets of pasta may be unweildy and difficult to handle, but you treat them like an other fresh pasta.  Boil first…


…then drain.


You have to be careful not to tear the pasta, because it has grown considerably in the boil and is very tender.  Lube a baking pan with tomato sauce and start laying out the sheets of pasta.


Once the bottom is covered, deal out heavy dobs of ricotta, handfuls of sausage, shards of mozzerella, and slices of pepperoni.


Once you’re satisfied with the stuffing, repeat the last two steps–you know the drill.


Just keep on stacking it up until you reach the top of the pan and then give it a last coating of sauce and cheese (don’t be like us, set cheese aside for the top).  Bake it to your liking (we did 400 degrees until the edges were carmelized and the center was hot).


Just be sure to let it cool for a good 10-15 minutes before cutting.  Otherwise your slices will ooze and not look so good on camera.


Not the best looking dish in the world, but delicious nonetheless.

Congratulations!  You’ve just done away with 2lbs of homemade pasta.  Have a glass of wine and get some rest (let someone else clean the kitchen).

Superbowl! by stegaliu
February 15, 2009, 11:17 am
Filed under: Cooking, Family, Home

Patrick posted back before the actual Superbowl about his commerial being on after the 1st half so I hope you all had your 3-D glasses.  We did!


We also had yummy goodies:



Our living room was too small to fit the whole brood…


…so the nerds hid out in the kitchen.  Yes.  I admit.  I was in there too except during the commercials.


We also managed to sneak a birthday song on Laura who, of course, didn’t want any celebration.  Silly her.  She’s been in this family long enough to know that we’ll force a song and cake on someone at any opportunity.


And this also happened but had nothing to do with the Superbowl.


It was just the bug being the bug, wearing my rain boots which went all the way to his hips. Can you deny a face like that?

Poconos by stegaliu
February 15, 2009, 10:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Back in January Amy, Nick, Patrick and I made our yearly MLK Day weekend trip to the Poconos.  This year we were joined by Lindsay and Dennis.  There was many rounds of MarioKart, Apple to Apples, champange toasts and fire tending.  Unfortunately the camera battery died during the first day so we didn’t get very much of it.  Here’s a few snippets:


Maddie experiencing her first fire.  She wanted to sit here all day.


Patrick was constantly tending to the fire.  And by tending I mean fussing over it.  He can’t leave well enough alone.


The girls being traditional and making the menfolk some lunch.

Well, except Amy.  She let’s Nick fend for himself.



Maddie being her silly self…


…and then curling up next to Amy’s boobs.  It’s warm there.

Valentine’s Day Feast by stegaliu
February 15, 2009, 10:04 am
Filed under: Cooking, Holidays, Home

Patrick decided to go all out for Valentine’s dinner this year.  Let’s see if he knows all the ways to my heart:

Wine? Check.


Fresh baked bread? Check. Leek Confit (one of the more decadent things I LOVE to eat)? Check.


Steamed artichokes with garlic brown butter? Check.


Crash Potatoes? Check.


Steak?  Diane to be exact? Check.


And most importantly..Champagne?  Check!


We happily toasted in the most commercial of holidays in the best way possible.  Full of food and love!  Hope you did the same!



New Recipe by stegaliu
February 12, 2009, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I recommend everyone head over to StegaliuRecipes for our latest installment, Butternut Squash Quinoa Gratin.  It is by far one of the best recipes we have made recently.  Patrick and I nearly licked the baking dish clean.  It wasn’t pretty.  But it was delicious.

Butternut Squash Quinoa

Happy SuperBrand! by stegaliu
February 1, 2009, 9:54 am
Filed under: Misc, Rants, work

Hope everyone out there is planning on spending some time with family, friends, and fried food today as we gather to pay homage to our modern day gladiators– the titans of advertising.  The true contest happens between clients and agencies vying for exposure.  They usually try to promote a new and utterly useless product or service, “re-brand” one that is failing (industry parlance for trying to make something cool again by switching up the logo, spokespeople, ad agency, etc), or tout the product’s dominance in the market by praising the brand’s iconic nature.  Anheuser-Buscher will pay about $27 million for 4.5 minutes of coverage throughout the game (4th quarter discounts aren’t that big), and are promising a show stopping spot to reinforce their Budwieser brand with double the usual amount of clydesdales.  Double!  Oh my!

With all of this verbiage about “brands” being tossed around, are you beginning to understand how advertisers see the public?  Do you have a minimalist, 2-D Apple currently caulderizering on your ass?  Or is it an abstract set of Windows panes?  The answers say a lot about you as a person (oh you didn’t know?) and whether you are more likely to drink industrial or craft beer, buy a frozen TV dinner, or save 15% on your car insurance.  In such desperate times, this is important stuff!

Before I go totally crazy on this thread, here’s the reason I’m writing it:  For the second year in a row a spot that I worked on has made it to the Super Bowl.  Last year it was this Gatorade G2 spot with Derek Jeter.

Now I’m not a director or producer, so I don’t make any more money or gain anymore clout because one of my jobs was a Super Bowl spot.  In the “Footsteps” spot, at around 00:07, I’m standing just to the right of camera freezing my ass off and blocking pedestrian traffic.  Glamorous.

This year the job I did was a little cooler.  First of all they shot inside on a green sweep stage, so hypothermia wasn’t an issue.  Second, they brought in a company called 3ality to shoot the spot in 3-D.  Now they’ve been running commercials for the commercial, encouraging people to go out and get their 3-D glasses before the big game.  There’s a 3-D sequal to Monsters, Inc. being promoted at the end of the first quarter (I believe), and the spot I worked on for SoBe LifeWater is being tied in to all of that.  There are also a number of Hollywood pictures in the works that are being screened in 3-D.  It’s the only frontier territory left in an industry now dominated by computer effects.  Many are touting 3-D as the medium of the future.  Anyway, here’s the making-of.  The spot was directed by Peter Arnell.  He sucks, but I’ll get to that later.  Here is the “making of”…

A list of stores where you can find free 3-D glasses is here.

Don’t be fooled by those shots in the making-of where the svelt director is hopping up on the players and acting all nice and friendly with them.  He used to weigh 300 lbs or more.  And continues to be a giant ass.  Giant enough that Gawker put him on the list of All-Time Worst Bosses in New York City.  That article is the first hit when you Google Arnell’s name.  He’s that bad.  Here’s an excerpt from the comment thread.

“I used to work for Peter Arnell in his fat Arnell/Bickford days. What a horror. He told one of his account managers she should have been aborted and went through more assistants than I go through maxi pads in a bad month. He regularly made people cry. Not me though. The worst thing he did was call me a bitch and I just smiled at him and said ‘I’m glad you know.'”

So enjoy the Super Bowl.  But remember.  Your attendance in front of the television allows people like this exist.  Is it a necessary evil? Maybe.  Hopefully when the economy continues to go down the tubes and no one can afford to secure the services of a “branding guru” anymore, we’ll realize what really matters.  Hopefully.