Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sometimes, when things seem overwhelming, frustrating and negative, it can be hard to stay optimistic. And let's be honest: it's not the most optimistic of times. The thing I love about this song is that, if you listen to the lyrics, it's essentially saying there's so much to be grateful and excited about in life, why dwell on the negative? Why complain?
"When you're happy like a fool, let it take you over... When everything is out, you gotta take it in..."
Words to live by.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
This happens every year. I'm going to warn all you warm weather fiends that you're not going to like the next sentence: I hate summer.
Before you start calling me a fool or egging my car, let me explain. I have about four days a summer when I love it. The sun, the breeze, the activities, the food... everything comes together in a synergetic way.
The other 90 days, I'm wishing it was autumn. Or the holidays. One of the two. Either way, the problem with living in southern California is that by the time the actual summer ends, the really hot weather picks up. Do you know how many Halloweens I've spent sweating like a pig inside my costume and hating life? Too many to count!
I wholeheartedly believe I was meant to live in areas where it's cold about 350 days out of the year, like London or San Francisco. If I could convince Handsome to move to one of those cities, I'd be ecstatic (and silver tongued... he is unimpressed with chilly weather and has let me know this).
Most people try to argue that living in cold cities is different than visiting (no kiddin'! I'm saying this in a yokel voice, btw), but they're missing the point. The allure of a chill, a rainstorm, a bank of fog, is based on being cozy inside, curling up with a good book under a blanket and outfits.
Yes, I love my cold weather ensembles, almost more than I love shopping for them.
The sweaters! The jackets! The boots! Put me head to toe in cashmere and I am a happy girl. Here are a few I've been dreaming about (and might possibly purchase at Aris in Laguna):
Cozying up with a book and a latte during a rainstorm (as previously mentioned):
|Helmut Lang Cowl, MiH Jeans, Repetto Flats, Helmut Lang Clutch, Anita Ko Elephant Earrings|
|Helmut Lang Blazer, Helmut Lang Leather Leggings, Sonar Ankle Booties, Chloé Shoulder Bag, Jennifer Meyer Turquoise Dome Ring, Jennifer Meyer Diamond Earrings, Armand Diradourian Scarf|
An unexpected date night at a delicious, hard to find bistro:
|Helmut Lang Crepe Dress, DVF Suede Platforms, Marni Clutch, Cartier Love Bracelet, Asha Earrings|
And the Helmut Lang...
Monday, August 29, 2011
Last Thursday was the 40th anniversary of Chez Panisse. If you've never heard of it, allow me to enlighten your life for the better.
Alice Waters and company opened its doors in 1971 with the goal of presenting food that was seasonal, organic and locally grown, as well as creating a warm and cozy environment with precise attention to detail.
Girlfriend was doing this before it was cool and has since done much for the sustainable food revolution, as well as promoting food education for children through "The Edible Schoolyard" project. I try to live by the philosophies that she does to the best of my ability (and wallet, in all honesty). My favorite, go-to cookbook is The Art of Simple Food and through reading Miss Alice's words, I feel I'm a more confident cook.
I suppose you could call me a food revolutionary... Viva la revolucion!
Anywhoodle, it's with that confidence I came up with his bruschetta recipe.
For the record, I vacillate between calling it "broo-shet-ta" and "broo-scet-ta," and still haven't decided which is my fave; I try to use authentic pronunciations for things like this, but feel a bit pretentious with "broo-scet-ta." It's a struggle.
This easy recipe has a few of my favorite things, including toasted bread, goat cheese and tomatoes. August is truly the best month to enjoy a tomato and I indulge like no other when it rolls around (I may hate summer due to my lack of clothing options, but relish in the produce this hot season provides). In this recipe, I prefer heirloom cherry tomatoes because I find them to be sweeter and more flavorful. My measurements are a tad absent, but I've come to love cooking by the seat of my pants, meaning I see what I have, whip it up with eyed-approximate measurements and taste as I go.
Cooking (unlike baking) should never be precise, but according to taste and balance (one of Alice's lessons I picked up and love)! Trust your gut and season slowly, tasting along the way.
You'll be surprised at how well you know your own tastebuds... ;)
Goat Cheese Bruschetta
1 carton of heirloom cherry tomatoes
Handful of basil
Two large garlic cloves
Two Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Goat cheese (I leave mine out of the fridge for a little while to soften it a bit before using)*
Good quality artisanal baguette (I like sourdough or french for this)
Roughly cut cherry tomatoes into fourths or sixths (not too big) and place in bowl. Finely chop basil and add to bowl. Mince garlic and add to bowl. Add a good dose of olive oil, the lemon juice and the dijon mustard. Stir well, then season with salt and pepper. Taste, and adjust to your liking.
Split baguette in half lengthwise, then into smaller handheld pieces. You can also create crostini by slicing the baguette thinly, arranging it on a baking sheet, drizzling it with olive oil and toasting in the oven... The choice is yours! Smear goat cheese on toasted bread and top with bruschetta mixture.
* The goat cheese is optional; this tomato concoction tastes great on the bread by itself.
Friday, August 26, 2011
National Dog Day! Woot, woot!
I am a true lover of dogs, but clearly prefer mine the most (as most owners tend to do). I've said it before and I'll say it again, Moe is one of the true, great loves of my life. I know we were meant to find each other and I knew it the second I saw his face for the first time; I'm so happy I trusted my gut.
Picture it, Christmas Day, 2008. My then fiance, Handsome K, woke me up and led me to my mom's kitchen. He handed me an envelope with a piece of scratch paper that had "You get a dog!" scribbled on it in BIC pen. His delivery is a little lacking at times.
Up until this point, I had been BEGGING for a dog. K and I had been living with one another for six months and had been together for six years, so for me, it seemed like the logical next step. I grew up with dogs in the house, two cocker spaniels, one named Sally, the other named Bailey. K, however, didn't. He had a string of sickly, poor cats that all managed to die some horrible death or another until Pumpkin, the coolest cat ever, came into the picture. He's still alive if you're wondering, and still patrols the neighborhood like the little prince he is. Either way, K didn't understand why I wanted a pup so badly.
Back to Christmas. I'm pretty sure Handsome thought he was getting a bargain gift in that he knew I wanted to adopt a dog, well, adopt a pitbull more specifically. I think he assumed "adopt" meant free.
He was wrong.
Anywho, I had been trolling AdoptAPet.com for a while, morosely looking at all the dogs that needed homes, that needed some love, that needed a rescue from death. After my Christmas gift, I hit the ground running and quickly searched out all the pitbulls available at that time on the site.
Sometimes I wonder why I was so gung-ho about getting a pit, and I've come to the conclusion that I love rooting for the underdog, for the animal or person who's been dealt a rough hand in life and needs a second chance. For me, I like it when good things happen to good people, but I love it when good things happen to good people (or animals) who really need it.
I was looking for one that was friendly with people, kids and other dogs, adorable and youngish. With those criteria, I quickly found 17 and emailed them to myself to review. As I started clicking through, I kept going back to him.
I couldn't resist his little nubby ears, and his description made him sound like an all-star, so I emailed the rescue group that was in charge of finding him a forever home. "This dog sounds pretty amazing and almost too good to be true," I typed. "Will you please give me a little more information about him?" The response I received was the following:
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I was privy to some amazing English teachers in high school and once I graduated, I realized how lucky I had been for their guidance. They not only set the tone for college, but for my interest in writing as well.
Anywho, on Happy Place, I have once again found a way to kill 15 minutes on a single web page and not get bored. Before I even mention what it is, I should say I realize I am tempting the spelling gods by posting about this. Once someone complains about their hatred of grammatical errors, they are doomed to not only commit one, two, five, but also have a group of people seeking them out with a fine-toothed comb, looking to catch any possible mistake.
I'm ok with this fact.
Spelling errors drive me crazy. Please note, I'm not talking about typos or the short sighted errors that incidentally happen in writing quickly. Mistakes happen, c'est vrai?
I am talking about misspelling words that were drilled into us as children, then as preteens, then as teenagers, and maybe even for some of you, as adults. I'm talking about the following:
- Its and It's
- Your and You're
- There, Their and They're
- Our and Are
- To, Too and Two
- Weird (does it look weird because the e is coming before the i? That's because it's the correct spelling of the damn word!)
- Awe (I'm referring to this not as in "I'm in awe of you!", but more specifically, "Awe! What a cute baby!"). I suppose the same could go for ewe (which is an adult female sheep, by the way, not total disgust).
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
It is HYSTERICAL. And creepy. And really sad. But mostly hysterical.
I wanted to post the ad about the mattress, but to be honest, I just couldn't go there. Anyone who thinks they can re-sell ANYTHING with afterbirth on it needs to be punched in the face. I don't care if it's in the shape of a heart.
So here are some additional faves that luckily don't have spilled bodily fluids on them.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Weddings always bring out our innate paparazzi, don't you think?
In going through my albums, I'm inspired to ramp up the picture taking, especially since K and I need to figure out our new camera before Africa. Nothing says 'major fail' quite like thousands of blurry wild animal photos.
Either way, here are a few highlights that I did manage to document...
|A visit to the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company, a favorite stop of mine in the valley.|
|Getting some use out of my DVF striped hobo and go-to hat.|
|Trespassing on my grandparents' old property with great food and even better friends...|
|...and getting caught.|
|Celebrating our anniversary where it all began... The CIA.|
|Spending some quality time with the coolest 12 year old on the planet.|
|I've decided every wedding needs mustaches and sombreros.|
|Experiencing bone aching exhaustion as only moving can induce...|
|Spending quality time with my best pup, Moe.|
Friday, August 19, 2011
I will say I feel I probably experienced more of my parents’ anger towards one another than my sister growing up because I had a horrible time sleeping. It used to take me about two to three additional hours to fall asleep after I’d been put to bed. I’d be lying in the dark, staring at the ceiling and, much of the time, I’d bear witness to their arguments without their knowing it. They tried to spare us by hashing things out after we’d gone to bed; how were they to know I was still awake?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Which means I have two straight weeks of delicious British accents to look forward to.
I can't speak for all American girls, but this little filly loves herself an accent cultivated across the pond. What is it about them that sends my heart aflutter? Last year, when Dear T and Fantastic J got married (this is a timely post as well, as their anniversary is coming up on the 21st... Happy Anniversary, lovelies!), there was a high number of English accents to soak myself in and I managed to work on my own in the process. In doing such, I also created a British alter ego named Beatrice, who is a lover of all things dark beer, tea and unseasoned food.
Heads up, everyone, Bea plans on making a few appearances in Africa.
Either way, Fantastic J shared a little piece from The Oatmeal with all us travelers, and I, in turn, am sharing it with you. It's meant to help with any confusion for both Americans and Brits in learning the others' vernacular.
Warning to my younger readers: there is a plethora of bad language.
However, at least I won't be sweating to death in a wool sweater set like my UK chums...
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Apologies for not posting yesterday. It's been a week filled with lots of (paid) work which, if you remember this post, is a great thing!
Either way, a friend of mine forwarded a couple photos from her wedding today and I felt it necessary to reflect on this special day. I figure the easiest way to do this is to bullet a few memorable moments:
- My friend, Heat, was seriously one of the most gorgeous brides I have ever seen. And I realize that most people say this (unless you look like this), but when I spotted her for the first time, peering from behind a few palm trees trying to sneak a peek at her husband-to-be, I was breathless. Nay, dazzled. Nay, breathless and dazzled.
- Her curmudgeon of a grandmother saying loudly as she was escorted down the aisle, "IT'S ABOUT TIME!" to essentially no one and everyone simultaneously. I'm still not sure if she was referring to the fact that the wedding was a few minutes late or the fact that her sweet granddaughter was getting married, but either way, it made an impression. In addition, it proved that the woman's vocal chords are in working order. She's still got it, folks!
- This wedding marked the first time Handsome K and I got a "married couple" place card. EXCITEMENT!
- Table 14. What can I say? We were the misfit table strategically positioned in the corner to keep us from the "high-falutin' folk." Ok, so we complained loudly about not getting bread when everyone else did. And yes, we may have pretended to eat the hydrangeas straight out of the center piece (much to the horror of Table 11, 12 and 13). But gosh darnit, we were a fun loving bunch and I'd like to say we improved the corner of that room considerably.
- The headmaster of our table, O-Town, gets a shout out as well. His chair dance rendition of Madonna's "Open Your Heart" made everyone feel the love, as only one with Blonde Ambition and an imaginary cone bra can (and since I love throwing O-Town under the bus, he was definitely the one that encouraged us to eat the hydrangeas).
- I feel it only fair to mention the Rat Pack-style singer who not only serenaded us through dinner, but also managed to push his way into the spotlight during the father/daughter dance. Way to go, buddy. Frank would be proud.
- And finally, the mother-of-the-bride commenting on my dancing. Listen, I've never claimed to be the best dancer, although I'm sure some have speculated on my classical training. However, the woman in question approached me in the middle of LMFAO's "Party Rock" in order to proclaim loudly, "You dance like a total freak!" Ladies and gentlemen, it was the highlight of my night, and I could only assume she was incorrectly referencing Rick James, so I took it as a compliment. Which leads us to the photos I was forwarded by my friend, Heat:
Monday, August 15, 2011
Zanzibar is very fun to say, for the record. And downtown San Diego on a summer's eve is like a slightly drunk Disneyland... on a summer's eve.
We had a good time, but I forgot I had accidentally packed all my high heels into our storage unit, which made for a lackluster date night ensemble, and parking was a real pain. Honestly, it didn't hold a candle to Saturday's date...
Right around dusk, we packed some artisanal cheeses from Venissimo and a loaf of fresh sourdough from Bread & Cie into a bag, headed down to Mission Bay (with our trusty pup along for the ride naturally), loaded ourselves in Kyle's parents' outrigger canoe and hit the water.
Moe was a natural in the boat and reminiscent of Cleopatra; in fact, I'm beginning to think he sees us as his servants. Hmmm...
We paddled for about 25 minutes before we landed on a small island in the shape of a horse shoe.
I have come to call this "Moe's Island" because we were the only people there and thus, let Moe off the leash to run amok. He disturbed a huge family of birds (whose caws are still ringing in my ears) and managed to pee on almost every square inch. To say I was proud is an overstatement.
Anywho, we laid out our blankets, snacked on our goodies and eventually, watched the Sea World nightly fireworks show. It was kind of amazing.