Sunday, November 15, 2009

the day of the bubbles - Adam turns on the dishwasher

Once upon a time there was a young(ish) couple who moved into a new house with a nice big white kitchen with a dishwasher. Week after week the wife would load and start the fancy dish washing machine. It was a simple enough process - put dirty dishes in - load one magic grapefruit scented pellet in the special bowly thing - close door - turn handle - push start. Voila! About 30 minutes lately the dishes were fantastically clean.

The husband was a bit slow on the loading part but the wife was patient - he was at least getting the dishes to the sink and it had been years and years since they had a dishwasher that was not a human being.

Early last week there was an issue - out of forks. No forks - full dishwasher - people coming over the next day for book club. The wife (me) asked the husband (Adam) to start the dishwasher. Easy breezy - neither of us was worried. Adam started it up - pranced upstairs all proud of himself and looking for recognition for this most basic of housework tasks (yawn - head pat - smiles).

A few minutes later a bit of doubt crept into my mind. It dawned on me that Adam cannot find anything ever and will not look for anything EVER. He will simply ask me constant questions such as all of these from just today "where is the measuring cup?" (drawer next to the oven) "where do we keep the cheese?" (ummm the refrigerator??) - "where are my razor refills?" (medicine cabinet - yes - he did ask while standing in the bathroom). Anyhoo - I realized he did not ask me where the dish washing soap was and this means only one thing...he did not use it.

That's right my friends - he used liquid dish washing soap in the dishwasher. The rest of the evening was a scene out of a bad 1980s sitcom. In fact - I am almost positive this happened on My Three Dads or perhaps on Full House when Uncle Jesse was in charge for the weekend. Think bubbles - lots and lots of bubbles just churning out of the bottom and edges of the dishwasher. Envision a kitchen floor covered in beach towels and sheets and more bubbles.

The one bright side? No need to mop the kitchen :-)

FYI - if you do not already use the Method Smarty Dish dishwasher pellets you need to get yourself to Target. They are amazing - no measuring, smell divine and wash like a gang of OCD angels took over your dishwasher.

Happy fall.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

guilty pleasure - sour candy

Everyone has their thing - their kryponite - their comfort, go to stressed out food. Mine is sour gummy candy. Put any sort of artificially fruit flavored sour deliciousness in front of me and I go weak in the knees. Odder than that - just looking at it makes the back of my mouth pucker as if I am actually eating something sour. Even writing this now is putting my mouth into a bit of a pout.

The best sour candy of all is made by Haribo - it's called fruity pasta and it is amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing. Mind you - it neither looks or tastes like pasta but it does have a weird Italianesque chef on the package (I think he is winking at me) and that should count for something.

If you have not already had the pleasure of eating this delight - you need to try it. It's not available everywhere - good luck getting it at your corner store - but it is consistently available at Walgreens.

Go ahead - buy a bag and if you do not like it - just send the rest over to me. I'll eat it until I worry about burning holes in my mouth with sour dust.



Sunday, August 30, 2009

things i want to make part 1 of 10,000

I have the longest list in the world of things I want to make. I see something gorgeous and I bookmark the webpage or add some sort of fancy post-it to the book and sits. The list grows longer - either waiting for me to find some time, develop some unobtainable crafting skill, buy the 1,100 necessary supplies or some combination of the above.

Here is a project I both have the supplies for and **gasp** have started! These are big steps people - I expect a gold star on my chart from each of you after you read this.

Hand knit washcloths - hold your questions as to why any right minded person would feel the need to knit their own washcloths. These are so soft - and pretty - and are relatively fast - and make great gifts. Don't judge - this very well could be your next birthday present and wouldn't you rather wash your bum with something made with love?
I have completed 2 out of a set of 3 - knitting them out of a soft off white organic cotton yarn. All I need to do is finish the last 1/2 of the 3rd washcloth and attempt to block them - which will be a new knitting skill for me.
I found the pattern and this photo (mine are not quite ready for their close-up) on the purl bee website. If you are ever in need of inspiration of any sort - the purl bee is your place. Everything comes with great tutorials and there is not a thing on there that is not drool worthy in some way.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Oh for the love of etsy!

Oh how I love Etsy! If you don't shop Etsy - stop reading my silly blog and get on right now. Etsy's self description is "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade." Absolutely everything on the site is amaaaaaaazing. The quality and the breadth of what people can make is outstanding. So much good gorgeous stuff. Truly I could spend hours upon hours browsing through all the different shops. Sometimes I search for something random - like blue gnomes - just to see what magical things will appear. Then maybe I will sort by region so I only get local artists - I have to see what my SF neighbors are up to, you know? It makes me happy to think that just around the corner from me there is someone else tinkering away on their passion projects too (with obviously much better results).

Last week I succumbed to my addiction and supported some fellow crafters by buying a few things. Here are two of my recent Etsy purchases.

1. patchwork stroller quilt from raggedyowl. This is obviously a woman after my own heart. The simple - super soft small quilt is made with fabric showing gnomes and goldfish and dots and stripes - the photo above does not do it justice. It is so bright and cute and I can't help but smile when I look at it. And...big virtual hugs - the quilter included a handwritten card thanking me for my purchase. It makes me feel good inside to support someone else doing something they love.

2. hand printed cards from papermichelle. How could I resist a gnome jumping out of a mushroom cake?? OMG it's like this person is my gnome soul mate. I did buy 6 other cards as well - they were too perfect to not stock up on.

This is the just the tip of the Etsy iceberg.

Happy shopping my friends.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

I've missed you all.

So...let's start with the obvious - it's been awhile. My deepest apologies to the 4 people who read this blogging masterpiece. While I have been delinquent - I do have a good reason - I'm back in the working world.

It must be said - working has really put a damper on my life of leisure. Everything I do now is just so much more rushed - no more mid-morning trips to the gym - no more pouring over cookbooks, picking out recipes then a nice stroll to Whole Foods for the ingredients. Alas.

Since it has been nearly four months - here is a quick recap of life in the Elastic Sandwich world -
1. we bought a new car (I have to commute for this new job) - her name is Maude and she is f-ing adorable. I have never named a car but Maude needed a proper title - she is a lady after all.

2. All my friends are having babies! I could not be more excited. One is hatched and the other 3 are coming early next year - all within 2 weeks of each other. Some moons must have been aligned 4 months ago when everyone got knocked up all at the same time.

3. I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon. If I had to sum up running a half marathon in one word - it would be LOOOOOOOOONG. Incredibly painful and it felt so damn good to do it. At the end - when I could hardly walk - I was ready to sign up for another one. Glutton for punishment I guess. Here's a photo - I'm the nerd with her arms in the air.

4. Took a few little trips - New York for work and friends. LA for a trade show. Eureka to visit the grandparents. Portland to visit the brother. Scottsdale for a bachelorette girls weekend. Upcoming...Washington DC (never been) for Labor Day and Tahoe the weekend after then back to New York for a week in October for wedding and work. Phew - lots of fantastic adventures this year.

It's my late mid-year resolution to get back in the swing of blogging and crafting and cooking. Expect to hear from me a little more often. Come back soon.

Cheers -

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

LOVE - life changing product - dry shampoo

Washing your hair everyday is neither good for the environment or good for your hair. What is the point of getting fancy blond highlights if I am just going to dull my hair with over washing? That said - I have a lot of hair - it is both long and thick - and it is sometimes also just a pain to wash and blow dry. Honestly - I would not mind a bit of a shake-up - maybe cutting it just to my shoulders a la Heidi Klum's new cut?? I mean - I have had the same hair cut for at least the last 5 years...

Anyhoo - back to the no washing thing - I find that my hair looks and feels a ton better when I wash it every other day instead of every day. That being said - 2nd day hair lacks a bit of bounce and by the end of the 2nd day - there could be a case of what is technically known as "stink hair."

Fear not my friends - you no longer have to chose between healthy hair and fresh pretty smelling hair! Thanks to the glory of dry shampoo you can have both. I have tried many brands and forms of application and here are my three faves. Note photos to each shampoo are from top to bottom.

1. Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Powder -
pros - fantastic, smells like lemons - no, even better than lemons, smells like a lemon drop - citrusy and sweet and delicious. It also is the easiest to wash out of your hair because it blends so easily into your scalp and roots.

cons - it is messy - it is just a fine white powder that you smush into your roots and rustle around. But the powder is inconsistant and if you squeeze the bottle too hard you can poof a big burst of powder that takes forever to mush into your hair. You can put a little into your palms and add it gradually - but if there is one thing you have learned about me so far in this blog - I do not like to take the extra time to do things right if the fast way might work.

2. Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray -
pros - exactly the same cons as the powder but in a spray - so waaaay less chance of mess. Just spray and go. The smell is a little stronger on the spray too so it works especially well on extra stinky hair.

cons - The bottle mysteriously empties itself. this is a BIG con. You can use it just once or twice and then go back and find the can empty. Obviously this is the work of ghosts with 2nd day hair. Also - when you do get to the end of the can - the spray can be tacky and you can spray sticky powder onto your head - like old hairspray almost.

3. Klorane - Gentle Dry Shampoo -
Pros - It smells like almost nothing - light and fresh and yet does a fantastic job eliminating whatever it is that makes 2nd day hair not so lovely. The bottle is magically both a spray and not a spray - you squeeze it and a light mist of powder waves itself into your hair. It rarely junks up your head or leaves too much powder.
Cons - It just doesn't smell like lemon drops. Alas!

Best wishes for the best of hair days my friends.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cookied to Perfection

We got married at the San Francisco Zoo and served these delightful little whimsical cookies (always my fave growing up) as part of the dessert. There was a hole in my heart when they were no longer available. We stockpiled and filled the freezer with all the bags we could find. And now? And now they are back and all is good again in the world.

Cookied to Perfection

Sunday, May 3, 2009

an outfit with a cardigan is like a unicorn without a horn - the magic is missing.

Everyone has their "thing" - their signature look and mine apparently is the cardigan. After receiving an additional two cardigans in the mail from J Crew this week (so cute - one white lightweight one and a black cashmere v-neck that was on sale) I came to the realization that I have at least 20 cardigans and that is not counting some questionable cardigan-like wrap sweaters.

So - I had an idea for the blog - this May is going to be "cardigan-a-day-month" for me. Every workday I will wear a different cardigan. I will document these outfits daily for the month on this here blog. Now - anyone who knows me realizes that these outfits will be virtually the same v-neck t-shirt, jeans, flats and cardi combo so don't be expecting groundbreaking style a la Mary Kate or Kate Moss.

Let's face it - we all have plenty of stuff and tend to wear just a few favorite things. In this painfully stagnant economy and with a sense of using whatcha got - I think this little experiment is going to be a lot of fun.

A few things to note -
If you also have a cardigan-like obsession of your own feel free to turn May into your own outfit experimentation. I would love to document someone else's journey as well. Join in - it's gonna be crazy fun!!

I am only doing this on workdays - I have a clear uniform for the weekends that involves just 2-3 key wardrobe players and I feel no need to mess with perfection.

Don't anyone fret that the weather may be too warm for daily cardigan wear - I have a few short sleeve and lightweight options in the rotations.

Depending on how wild I feel - there could even be a whole week devoted just to black cardigans. One could at this point assume I have a problem - but shush shush let's not go there now.

Did you know that if you type "stack of sweaters photo" into google you get thousands of images? Bizarre world we live in.

Please don't expect a daily update of outfits - I can assume that I will still only be posting 1-2 times a week. I do promise all outfits will be photographed and posted.

Add comments please!! I know people are reading (unless you all are just lying to me to make me feel better) so please please please just throw a sentence at me occasionally so I can not feel so cyber lonely.

Happy May


Sunday, April 19, 2009

THREAD - comfy cozy sewing machine cover

Even I have to admit that I am getting a bit too 1950's out of control housewifey when looking at this project from afar - but there really is a purpose behind a sewing machine cozy. Really. When I signed up for my spinster quilt class I knew I would be carting my machine back and forth and there were risks involved - dirtiness and damage and such. I looked around for covers/carrying cases for my particular machine and there were two main problems - they were not all that cheap ($29.95) and they were ugly and orthopedic looking.

Thus - I had to take matters into my own hands. With a little help from online tutorials - one from Spool and another from one of my fave blogs Lavender and Limes. I kinda smushed the two tutorials together to make the easiest possible solution. And since I have a fabric buying addiction - I had plenty fabric on hand to stitch up a cover.

Just 30 minutes later and I had this functional masterpiece. It is absurd - I fully admit it - but it's cute huh?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

THREAD - irish linen homemade dish towels

In a very bourgeois effort to go green - I have been slowly trying to wean us off of our paper towel dependence. It seems that we were going through a roll a week - using them for just about everything - as napkins to dish drying to counter cleaning. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (life changing) have solved many of the issues of cleaning but not the dish drying.

Using super soft Irish linen fabric (1 yard) I bought as a remnant a while back and some scrap woven ribbon I was able to make four fantastic simple kitchen towels in just a few hours. While creating these really requires no pattern (in fact - you could just make a larger version of the napkins I made a few months ago) I got the idea from a great new book Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross. The pattern is called good-guests-do-the-dishes dish towels. This book is full of great fast fun projects - I am especially excited to try the smocked sundress for my baby niece Leila as well as the hold everything tote.

A few things to note about making the towels:

Pick a fabric that is soft so it wont scratch glassware.

Chose a fabric that is also absorbent. Basic quilting/sewing cotton will not work because it just wont absorb enough water to actually dry the dishes.

Linen, soft thick cotton, jersey or lightweight terrycloth would work best.

When using a loosely woven linen like I did you have a little leeway with edges and hems - there is a very nice organic look when the hems are a little off - sort of a pretty softness.

Scrap fabric in an alternating color would work really well for the loop - adding an extra pop of color. I used the woven ribbon because it matched and it was just hanging about the apartment (recycle, reduce, reuse).

These pretty towels should make drying the dishes a little more exciting for at least a day or two.

Happy cleaning.


p.s. - don't you love my pot rack (it's from Crate and Barrel)? The thing is amazing - showing off our pretty cookware and clearing up key cabinet space for important - less pretty things - like the croc pot.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

THREAD - BIGGEST project to date!

I've accomplished the biggest project so far as a housewife. First off - no I am not pregnant - I'm talking crafts here - not procreation. It is a quilt and I made the whole thing myself. Even took a class. The class was me and a bunch of old single ladies - I do say - I fit in well with the spinsters.

The final product measures ~4.5 feet of pure sweat and tears beauty. I honestly shed blood over this quilt. Somehow - every time I moved my arm when hand quilting (so about 10,0000 times) I would scrape it across a row of pins. It looked like I got in a fight with a cat and lost - huge red scratches up and down my forearms.

I have no idea who this is for or what I am going to do with it but I find these projects are the best - there is a lot of pressure when making something for someone else - it is fantastic to just play around and be surprised by the final product.

things I learned and key accomplishments -
how to use a ruler - a fancy quilting ruler
how to cut a straight line (measure twice - cut once!)
needles are sharp
I cannot sit still for 3 hours (I pretended I had to go to bathroom just to shake my sillies out during my class)
pins are sharp
how to make bias strips and attach binding
hand quilting does make for a nicer/cleaner finish but it sure is a looooooooooooooong (pain in the ass) process
working with stripes is dangerous - you cannot hide any errors with them - they blow your cover with their straightness and symmetry - bastards

Like a mom with an ugly kid - I will always treasure this slightly wonky quilt as my first BIG project. Lots of time and effort went into it and I learned so much about sewing and determination and I now have a huge respect for people who undertake these sorts of projects. It was also a real lesson in patience for me too - I have lots of fantastic fabric and books and a big list of projects (nice, fast, cute, easy projects) that I was aching to get started on but I really stuck to my guns and would not start anything new until I conquered the beast. The green floral and pink polka dot beast.

Final words of wisdom - quilting is like a home renovation - assume it will take twice as long and twice as much money to complete as you originally planned.



Thursday, April 9, 2009

a girl can dream

Sometimes I have this fantastical dream where I wake up and magically there is a new room in my apartment - a room where you can bring dirty clothes - put them in a shiny machine and they come out clean and smelling of fresh april showers.

Then I wake up for reals and notice that my floor is strewn with clothes - clothes both clean but never put away - as well as dirty and falling out of the closet. I shamefully admit that I am 29 years old and very often take my laundry to my mom's house.

It's either the parental laundry walk of shame or spending an afternoon at the illustrious Big Bubble. The Big Bubble is neither big nor particularly bubbly. It is run by an Asian woman with a mustache who is fond of wearing overalls over a sweatshirt. For a good 3 months I thought she was a man. She also has a huge crush on Adam - refuses to acknowledge that I am his wife - refers to me as his "friend" - and once called me fat. All this in a place where homeless people bath themselves in the sinks occasionally.

Since both the trip home and the afternoon at the Big Bubble are painful in their own special way - I need to continue my fantastical dreams of one day having an entire room devoted just to doing laundry. One day, one day soon. A girl can dream....


photo from

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

four glorious years

Hard to believe it has been only four years since Adam and I went on that first fateful date (he called BS on a story and made me call my mom!) but here we are - four years older, wiser, fatter, happier and married. To celebrate this significant occasion we made plans to go to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants - El Dorado Kitchen (below) - in Sonoma - located right on the historic square.

When we woke up on Saturday morning the weather was beautiful - warm and sunny and gorgeous so we made the impromptu decision before leaving SF to try to stay overnight and enjoy Sonoma a little longer. Feeling like Mary and Joseph we started calling all the inns in the village trying to get last minute reservations for one night during high season while a film festival (umm Bruce Willis was being honored??) was going on.

After striking out at many places - including our usual favorite - The El Dorado Hotel - we finally found a room right across the street at The Sonoma Hotel. The hotel was adorable - very classic Sonoma County B & B. Unfortunately - we did get the bastard room nestled nicely between the lobby and the street - obviously this was our penance for not planning ahead.

The food at the El Dorado was fantastic as usual - steamed mussels with frites, potato leek soup, steak, halibut (which was life changing), dessert(s) and wine...phew!! From the first bite to the last every morsel was just superb - and we were truly glutenous. All in all - just the perfect impromptu weekend - good weather, great food, incredible service - all with the man of my dreams. What more could a girl ask for?


Monday, April 6, 2009

rollin' rollin' rollin'

All this running lately has given me quite the tight ass. Unfortunately - I'm not giving myself compliments here - my ass is not yet modelesque high and tight. Instead my backside is just painfully sore and in need of a good massage - preferably the Thai or Swedish variety - no American style Sharper Image massage chair BS is gonna work on these knots.

Until I hit it big selling my strange birds and sock creature creations - I am going to have to find another solution to my backside problem that does not involve have a foreigner with hands of gold on my constant payroll.

Thus comes in the elegant blue foam roller. Six inches wide, 36 inches long, bright blue solid hard foam - simple, concise, ugly and somewhat unruly (stupid thing rolls around the whole apartment) but gets the job done. Just 5-10 minutes of sometimes painful rolling and stretching has made a huge difference - especially if I am well behaved and roll out my legs and butt right after my run and not later in the week when I am also trying to read the new US Weekly sideways. The bonus is that you can use the thing for tons of other exercises - including abs - since you are unbalanced on it you engage your core muscles more - very pilates.

So if you are having some stiffness in the leg and bottom area - get rollin' - it will change your life.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

run run and run some more

Goodness gracious - I really do not know what is coming over me. Just 2 weeks after finishing my freezing cold, rainy, windy miserable 12k I went ahead and did a 10k and - gasp - almost enjoyed it!

Almost everything was better with this run- the weather, my speed, the course and on and on. The day was absolutely fantastic - sunny but cool with just a touch of breeze. The course went over the Golden Gate bridge and back. I doubt there was any more beautiful place in the world to be running right then.

It was sad to do the race without Mean Wendy by my side this time. Luckily - I had a few other good friends running along with me (Britney, Beyonce, Katy, Fergie etc.) and no offense to Wendy but they are much better singers.

Oh by the way - at the end of the race I was burnt - that's right - just two hours in morning sun will now cause me to burn. I went ahead and bought a hat to run in from now on but at the rate I am going I will soon have to run in a full body sun suit and only at dusk.

If all goes well with my running over the next few weeks - I will be running a half marathon at the end of May - the race is in Alameda and called....drum roll please...I Run for Chocolate and Champagne! Seems so fitting because - let's be honest - I run to eat and drink. If they called it I Run for Nachos and Margaritas - I would have run it years ago.

Let's hope this running thing continues a little while longer because I am now officially signed up to do the Nike Women's Half Marathon in mid October!! There is a lottery every year to even race because it is so popular. It's the creme de la creme of all races - people come from all over the world to participate in this fancy pants race (Tiffany's necklaces at the finish line fancy).

Phew - good thing I don't have a job because I have a lot of miles to log over the next few months. Pesky things like jobs and kids get in the way important goals like champagne and Tiffany's necklaces. Ahem - I mean - personal goals like bettering myself through exercise and raising money for important race sponsored charities.

Cheers -


Friday, April 3, 2009

FOOD - bacon, eggs, cheese oh my!

My mother likes to say "everything is better with bacon" and I would like to consider this the new family motto - because truly - there are very few things in life that are not vastly improved by the addition of a little bacon (even chocolate).

On this note I decided to finally try a quiche - which I would like to refer to from now on as bacon pie. I got a great simple recipe from my friend Marissa - so easy and so delicious. Here it is - give it a whirl.

Ingredients -
6 slices of lean bacon (just to kill us faster I used 8 slices)
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) heavy cream
3/4 cup (6 fl oz) milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup (4 oz) shredded Gruyere cheese
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions -
Partially bake the pastry shell at 425 until it begins to color (10-12 min)
Lower heat to 375 for the quiche
Fry the bacon, dice and set aside
In a bowl combine milk, eggs, and cream and melted butter. Whisk these together until well blended.

Stir in cheese

Season to taste with salt and pepper and add cayenne pepper.

Pour mixture into pastry shell and sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

Bake until the custard is set and the tip of the knife stuck into the center of the custard comes out clean, 25-30 min.

Remove from the oven and let stand for several minutes before serving.


A few things to note -

I skipped the nutmeg because I don't like it - to me - it tastes like old Christmas.

I needed to bake 35-40 minutes but my oven has been off recently. Just start checking it around 25 mins and you should be good to go.

This reheated very nicely in the microwave and we had it again the next day with some artichokes. When reheating it gets a little melty but the crust still stays crisp so don't worry.

Obviously - if you eat this everyday you will die of a heart attack within months - so use some caution my friends. I served this up with a big healthy salad to try to counter attack the bacon pie sudden death potential. It was a good balance.

photo from

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Martha strikes again

Just when I think I am getting the hang of this blogging thing and perhaps even occasionally being witty and helpful - Martha goes and shows me up. No no - not even that - Martha's friggin dogs Francesca and Sharkey show me up. They have a blog. It is called The Daily Wag.

Here are my issues - and yes - some of them are a little personal.

I love love love french bulldogs - they are dignified and dopey at the same time - so endearing. In fact - Adam and I have pre-named our future dog. She will be a frenchie and her name will be Petunia. If all goes well - her life companion will be an english bulldog named Winston.

I am a sucker for animals in clothes. Seriously - put a duck in a hat and I am happy for days. I met my dear husband because of a monkey wearing a fez hat. True story.

Sharkey and Francesca know how to turn it out. They are always dressed appropriately for every occasion (ball gowns, rain gear, felted sweaters with pearl trim) and seem to put more thought into their appearance than I do. This makes me feel lazy - they are dogs. I am somewhat consoled by the fact that they are French. The French always dress better than Americans right?

Their lives are pretty exciting - significantly more exciting than me own right now. Their days are filled with television appearances, skunk encounters, dog fashion shows and they seem to have no end of topics to write about. Whereas - I am writing about cooking up pre-marinated tri tip and organizing my bookshelves. Alas!

Francesca and Sharkey's blog is genuinely funny. I enjoy reading it and browsing through their outfit photos. I should not like these things as much as I do.

These little dogs are outshining me in fashion, humor, experience and even class. Oh and thousands of people read their blog everyday - I can't even get some of my closest friends to look at mine consistently.

Alas - I can never really be mad at them - look how cute and stupid they look. Awwww.


All photos from

Monday, March 23, 2009

FOOD - beef tri tip and roasted brussel sprouts

Tri tip and roasted brussel sprouts - sounds fancy right? We all know I am nothing if not posh. Oh but how easy it was - all because of my secret best friend - the fulfiller of all my wishes, hopes and desires - Costco.

The meat was pre-marinated - brand is Morton's of Omaha - sold unfrozen in the deli case for roughly $4.50 per pound. The hardest part is finding a cut as that is not intended to serve an intimate dinner party for 30. Usually I can find one just over 2 pounds and that is ideal.

The easy part? Cooking. Preheat the oven, put the meat in fat side up and cook for 1 hour. Done and done. It is mind blowingly delicious - it is almost too good to be true but we savoured every bite.

One tip - be very very careful disposing of the wrapping the tri tip comes in. Do not - perhaps - accidentally spill bloody meat juice all across your kitchen floor and somehow the front of the oven - then have to spend 20 minutes cleaning it up.

As for the brussel sprouts - these requires a teeny bit more work than opening the bag and slapping into the oven. Here is the recipe - courtesy of my friend Marissa.

Ingredients -
fresh brussel sprouts (6-8 per person for a generous portion)
olive oil
garlic, diced

Directions -
preheat oven to 350 degrees
Wash and trim the ends of the sprouts
slice each in half vertically
in a bowl - drizzle with oil olive, a little salt and garlic
toss well
place flat side down on a baking sheet (another use for the silpat!) or roasting pan
bake for 20-25 minutes

These also turned out amazing - nutty and toasty and delicious. In fact - Adam - who swore he hated brussel sprouts was stealing them from my plate since he devoured his.

All in all it was a great dinner - simple, unfussy, flavorful food - done with less than 15 minutes of prep time and very little clean up (not counting the meat juice incident). There was also a ton of leftover meat - enough for 2 sandwiches for lunch and a tri trip caesar salad for three the following night. All for just about ten dollars.



ps - photos above from

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I ran I ran as fast as I could

Fog? Check. Rain? Yup. Wind? Of course! Butt cold temps? Done. That's right - all the conditions for a perfect race day.

Luckily - despite the miserable conditions - I had one hell of a running partner in "mean" Wendy - my longtime trainer and now friend. Not only did she volunteer to run this race with me (and got up at the crack of dawn on a rainy Sunday) - she pushed my naturally lazy ass to do my best - even resorting to jokes and a little singing on the hills. In fact - when running up the big hill on the approach to the bridge - she was giving advice to other runners!!

This race was more than a 12k, more than those 7.4 soaking wet miles - this was a personal accomplishment - the first race I have competed in since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and going on those months and months of steroids. It feels really good to know that I am back in control and able to push myself again.

I am glad I did it? Absolutely. Am I happy it is over? Abso-f*cking-lutely. Somehow I agreed to do a half marathon at the end of May. Must have been drunk. Stay tuned!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

THREAD - the first of a flock

There are multiple patterns out there for birds and even better - bird mobiles - and I do love a good ride on a bandwagon - especially one as cute as this - bird mobile.

I have been completely tied up with my quilt (which should be finished and posted very very soon) and my upcoming run (tomorrow - wish me luck) once that is complete I will be all about some birds. I do love me some birds.

Look for the full flock soon.

Oh - and Adam thinks this bird looks like a space whale which completely baffles and slightly offends me.



Monday, March 9, 2009

I would like you all to meet Gladys

Gladys is a beauty - an aged beauty. She originally belonged to my Aunt Mary Celine as a child and through time and life she got packed away and forgotten. Aunt Mary recently found her again and - knowing me so well (we did have sock monkeys on our save the date) - decided that I could give her the proper home in her retirement. I will be forever thankful.

It was love at first site. First off - she immediately needed a name - which is where the husband came in. Adam gives everyone their proper name - he has been known to give new - more appropriate names to things that already have names - such as my parents' dog (his name was Wally, now it is Walter Joseph, sometimes referred to as Johan). He took one look at her and immediately said - Gladys - and it just works.

Then through a group effort of Adam, my mom, myself and some wine - Gladys was given a back story. Given her plump lips, intense eyebrows and ample derriere - it was determined that Gladys has had a bit of a hard life. A life filled with stress smoking, diner waitress gigs and not always the best husbands. She is a survivor with a good heart and a weakness for love. She takes pride in her appearance - getting her eyebrows and eyeliner permanently tattooed on and always wearing a fresh coat of her signature red lipstick.

I hope you all can meet her some day.


Friday, March 6, 2009

FOOD - chicken tikka & pilau rice

I'm branching out - going ethnic - and we are not talking burritos here people.

With my hand being firmly held by my cooking ambassador Suniti - I was able to make my first Indian dishes - chicken tikka and pilau rice. I do say - both were delicious.

Having really only eaten Indian take-out or Kennedy's (Indian curry house/Irish pub) over the years - I was really surprised how simple the dishes were to make and how healthy. Both were made with just one main ingredient layered with spices - simple, very very flavorful and uncomplicated.

Here is the recipe for the chicken tikka -

ingredients -
1-1.5 pounds fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes

marinade -
1 cup lowfat plain yogurt (we used Indian yogurt - it is thicker than most standard yogurts)
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp red chilies
1/4 tsp fresh green chili

directions -
  1. mix all ingredients for the marinade together
  2. add chicken and thoroughly mix and cover each piece with the sauce
  3. place chicken on baking or broiling pan covered in foil - ensure each piece has plenty of sauce
  4. set oven to broil, leaving door slightly ajar
  5. broil chicken for ~10 minutes or until top of chicken begins to brown
  6. use tongs to flip all the chicken pieces over and then continue broiling until chicken is cooked through
  7. eat!!
Things to note -
Suniti mixes everything by hand - no wooden spoon or anything. She says it is important to feel the food as you cook. This makes sense to me but still challenges my fussy nature.

Taste taste taste as you go along - we would add a pinch more of an ingredient a few times as we went along.

Watch those chilies - I can handle foods with a little kick (not going to be signing up for a pepper eating contest anytime soon though) and the 1/4 teaspoons of red chilies and green chili (with a dash more added as we tasted) were plenty. They really kicked up the flavor but anymore would have completely taken out the taste of the other ingredients.

Unless you are Suniti's 80+ year old mother who makes her naan everyday from scratch - go ahead and buy frozen or fresh naan from the store. Throw it in the oven at 400 degrees for 2-3 minutes and you have yourself some toasty warm tasty bread.

Next time we are going to make samosas - I cannot wait!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

THREAD - drool worthy baby bib

Since I am now a sewing addict - I needed a quick sewing fix and this was the perfect project. From the first fabric ironing to the final stitch I was done in less and an hour and a half and I am by no means a fast sewer.

I took a few patterns and tutorials I found online and morphed them into this final project. One tutorial had a pdf for the pattern - just need to print, trace and cut. Another recommended adding a layer of flannel in the center for extra absorbency (given baby Leila's almost camel-like spitting issues this is a good thing) so I added a layer thin cotton batting. Finally - there was the issues of ties versus snaps versus velcro for the closure. Obviously - stick-on velcro was the way for my lazy-ass to go.

Since these are so easy to make and friggin adorable - I expect baby bibs to be the new fingerless glove - I wont be able to stop until my hand turns into a claw.

Enjoy -

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

LOVE - strange birds & glass jars

There are many things I am randomly a fan and/or collector and obsessive of - here are two current favorites.

1. random strange birds
I counted - there are more than 20 birds in our apartment in various species, sizes and mediums. Above are two of the most unique.

The one on the left is ceramic and supposedly a dove - to me - it looks like an albino pigeon. At work it was on a lamp between a few desks - everyone would move it around so it would not be overlooking them directly (its beady eyes are a little disconcerting).

When I first took it home I put it on a shelf in the bathroom but Adam made me move it - he said the bird was watching him shower. Then I tucked it onto the radiator in the living room right in front of the window so it looked like it flew into the apartment. This is where it currently lives although nobody has yet to think it is real - alas! I'll admit it is a bit creepy but there is something endearing about it and I do love that it is ceramic.

The bird on the right is metal and heavy and is a nutcracker. Like a good bird it cracks nuts in its bird beak. You cannot beat form and function right? I love the heft and the simplicity of it. The nutcracker birds lives - perfectly content - on the butcher block table under a large ficus tree in the kitchen.

2. glass jars of various sizes
For as many birds as there are in the apartment there are just as many - very possibly more - glass jars. Itty bitty to two feet tall - there are jars everywhere and I love them. They are pretty and useful and unexpected.

The jar collection started with good intentions - I gathered a few at a sample sale to put holiday treats in - for $1 apiece they were a gorgeous environmentally friendly very Martha Stewart way to present cookies and biscotti and other holiday deliciousness. But then I gathered more (they were free!!) and soon people at work would find more jars as the office was closing and started to bring them to me - then I got a few more for my birthday. It was a death spiral of jars.

Now they almost all serve a purpose - to display fancy soap and matches in the bathroom as in the photo above - to hold knitting needles, thread and ribbon in my crafting bookshelf - filled with leftover ornaments at Christmas for decoration (stole that from a Martha cover a few years ago) - and on and on. There is a simple functional beauty to them especially since they are scattered around the apartment.

I guess it is the simple - slightly odd - things make me happy and truly make our apartment more personal.


P.S. - I even have one glass jar filled with small glass bird figurines. My passions collide!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

YARN - one pair of mittens - this time with fingers!

With a little persuading by Sarah - I finally made a pair of mittens with finger and thumb covers. On a rainy Sunday filled with Dim Sum and yarn shopping - Sarah picked out the yarn and I got to work. I love the coloring on these - they are made from just one skein of yarn but it was hand dyed - making for that great variation in color from mitten to mitten.

I used the same pattern from Martha Stewart that was noted in my original post for fingerless mittens Since this yarn was much thicker than the original pattern and Sarah has petite paws - I reduced the cast-on stitches from 39 to 30. With a stroke of luck I finished the mittens with just 6 inches of yarn to spare.

In our adventures Sarah and I stumbled upon the greatest little yarn shop called Urban Fauna Studio The place is about the size of my bedroom but filled top to bottom with treasures - 2 inch tall knitted robots, felted centipede toys, ceramics that look knitted and the most beautiful yarns - most hand dyed, sustainable and/or organic.

There are no stuffy pretentious old ladies there - nobody to judge the quality of your cable knit. Instead it is owned and operated by a guy in (maybe) his early 30s who acts surprisingly like my brother who is a tattoo artist in Portland. Seriously - he was wearing a t-shirt with a hot dog dancing with a mustard bottle.

He was incredibly helpful and truly passionate about his store, art, yarn, knitting, spinning and the culture of just experimenting and playing with material. It was very refreshing - especially for me - I often just pick up yarn and let it tell me what I should make - I rarely go into a shop with some grand preconceived plan.

I have quite the stash of yarn now. Luckily it has been cold and rainy so I can justify sitting around happily knitting away.


FOOD - chicken caesar salad with homemade garlic croutons

Pop quiz - you have - 5 pounds of frozen chicken breasts, a loaf of stale sourdough bread and 6 heads of romaine lettuce (obviously I just cannot resist shopping at Costco)
- what do you make for dinner?? Chicken caesar salad with homemade garlic croutons - so easy - so delicious.

Since I used dressing from a bottle (cheating I know but it is good, really good - I promise) the only real prep was baking up some chicken and making croutons.

I looked up a bunch of crouton recipes and then sort of created a hybrid of my own using a little less butter, a lot more garlic and larger cuts of bread - no dainty uniformed-sized croutons in my salad.

Here is the general recipe I followed for the croutons -

1/2 loaf of french bread (I used a loaf - not a baguette - of sour batard), cut into 1-1.5" squares
5 tablespoons butter - either salted or unsalted
2-4 large cloves of garlic, minced

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees (if you are me - remember to first remove all the baking pans you store in the oven, much easier to do before they get hot)
  2. in a large saute pan - brown butter, add minced garlic, cook for ~1 min until coated not yet browned.
  3. add bread to butter/garlic mix in pan, toss to coat.
  4. Spread coated bread onto baking sheet (on a silpat if you have it, otherwise use an uncoated baking sheet)
  5. bake for ~15 minutes until dry and crispy. Check them frequently after 5 mins of cooking to shake them around and prevent any burning.
  6. season with a little salt - less if you used salted butter.

A few notes -
Although the croutons look and smell amazing (seriously my apartment smelled like freshly baked garlic bread for hours) try to stop yourself from popping one in your mouth immediately after pulling them out of the oven. They made not feel super hot to the touch but I have the burn on my lip to prove that they are.

There will be a lot of loose garlic bits on the baking pan when you are done. I just tossed this into the salad with the croutons. It added a nice baked nutty garlic kick.

I did a simple baked chicken with lemon, pepper and a little salt since the dressing and the croutons are so flavorful there was no point in going all out with the chicken. I sliced it thin, restaurant style similar to what is shown in the photo above.

Many of the crouton recipes called for olive oil instead of butter. I had more butter on hand than olive oil and love the way that browned butter tastes. If you prefer olive oil - do a quick search on or and you will find numerous recipes.

I made the croutons a day ahead - then my dear husband took the bag to the couch and proceeded to eat them like chips (crunchy butter soaked baked garlic chips). Luckily - I had no shortage of stale bread, butter or garlic around (thanks Costco!) so I made another - larger - batch the next day for dinner.

There is a Martha Stewart recipe that uses cookie cutters to shape all the croutons into hearts. How ummm sweet - I don't think I will be doing that anytime soon.


Saturday, February 28, 2009

THREAD - pleated lady apron

I decided to finally be an adult and complete a sewing project by actually following the directions - exactly - from start to finish. Knowing that I usually like to "wing it" and make something up as I go along - this is a big step. My first big girl project was a pleated apron from Amy Butler's book In Stitches.

It has pleats, trim, a pocket and even a little loop for a dish towel. All in all I think it came out pretty fantastic - maybe there is something to be said for following directions...

A few things to note -
I only used materials I already had on hand. The print fabric was previously a pillowcase that my aunt made me. Cute - little baby dolls on it - but it didn't match any of our sheets and once when I did use it I had a dream about crazy smiling plastic babies. After that - it was banned from the bed.

The trim and thread I just had hanging about from other (possibly failed) projects.

It took me a few tries to get the pleats correct - since the sewing machine naturally pulls the fabric through it pulls the pleats out and made them uneven. I got to use the seam ripper over and over again - yeah!

Sewing is not fast. I could have flown to New York - walked into a boutique - bought the apron - had a sandwich and flown back in the time it took me to finish. It's the little stuff that slows it down - the fussing - ironing, pleating, fixing a hem, measuring, cutting and over and over. But in the end - I get something I created - something totally unique and it keeps my hands busy and me out of trouble.

I for sure will be busting out a few more of these soon. In fact - I just bought some new fabric from with a great vintage kitchen print. Great for aprons and perhaps even matchy matchy potholders.

Happy Weekend.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

throwing the book at clutter.

In an attempt to reclaim the kitchen table from my crafting bonanza - I decided I needed to create one designated spot to hold all my supplies (sewing machine, yarn, fabric, bedazzler etc.)

I suggested to the dear husband that I could use one of the five bookshelves in the apartment for this purpose. He suggested we buy more bookshelves. Call me crazy - but usually bringing more junk into a junk filled space just encourages you to collect more junk right?

After holding out a few examples of books that perhaps we could live without - Mastering the Art of Sensual Massage? (bought 3 years ago - I'm still waiting for even a non-sensual massage) Textbooks from college? 7 books on relieving stress? Investing in Real Estate for Dummies? Really? We need all these? Really? he either finally saw my point or conceded to perhaps get rid of a few choice books to get me to zip it.

All in all we managed to find more than 200 books that we can live without. Leaving 3 bookshelves dedicated to books, 1 for crafting and 1 devoted to DVDs (this college boy displays of DVDs is a battles I will never win). I created nice piles of books that I knew certain friends would enjoy and then boxed up the rest. This weekend we will donate all the books to Out of the Closet - a thrift store that gives all proceeds to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. We figured this a good way to pass on our "wealth" of books while also contributing to the local community.

Here is a gorgeous photo of Adam sorting through his books. For some reason he can only clean if he does not wear pants. I don't want to know how he cleans his desk at work.

Once I get my craft area all prettied up - I'll share that in a post as well. I am currently working on a sewing machine cozy...I know - I have issues.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

THREAD - pretty napkins for dirty mouths

My mom bought some fabric to make nice cloth napkins then promptly broke her wrist doing some whirly dirly dancing. Since I was itching to try a new project (I am developing a knitting claw from making so many pairs of fingerless mittens) and offered to make them for her. I found a great super easy to follow tutorial online from fellow blogger Char Michele.

Here is the tutorial -

A few notes -
  1. the pattern calls for 14"x 14" squares to start with - making in the end 13" napkins which are pretty small - really just cocktail size. To make "regular" sized napkins you should start with 20" squares instead.
  2. My mom - super organized person that she is - lost the thread that matches the fabric. I just used white but it definitely looked a little sloppy versus having matching thread.
  3. Adding together the time it took to iron the fabric, stitch, fold, iron, stitch, fold, iron - 4 sides of six napkins - it took about three hours. I could have done it faster but I was watching some silly romantic comedy at the time too.
  4. Amy Butler also has a great pattern for napkins - each side is a different fabric. As well as matching place mats. These can be found in her book - In Stitches - which I just bought - yeah!!
Happy Saturday. I'm off to get a manicure. Let's hope the nice lady can unclench my knitting claw long enough to slap some polish on my nails.


Friday, February 20, 2009

run run as fast as you can...

In a confusing mix of wrong dates and delusional ambition I have convinced myself I can complete a 12k race a mere 3 weeks from now. Nevermind that I have not run more than 3 miles in over 2 years.

If all goes well - on Sunday March 15th - I will be running from Sausalito to Aquatic Park - across the Golden Gate Bridge en route to the finish line. There is no more beautiful city than Francisco and I will get to see it in all its foggy gorgeous early morning haze. Seriously - if I am going to do this torturous event I might as well have a nice view.

So far I am off to a good start - ran 5 miles yesterday and can still walk. My goal is to do three runs a week (each from 3-7 miles) with my usual spin class, yoga and Mean Wendy trainer session mixed in. I will be nothing if not sore and beaten down by the end of this.

Wish me luck.


Want to join me? Sign up!! It will be great fun - you even get a t-shirt and they give you candy at the end. Everybody likes candy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BOOK - Julie & Julie: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Given this strange interim housewife position I find myself in - I found this book incredibly poignant. The story somewhat parallels my life now - the main character Julie, is 29 (yup) in an unhappy useless job with no clear idea what she would rather do (how about no job and no clue).

To have some sense of purpose - albeit completely random - Julie decides to complete every recipe in Julia Child's epic cookbook - Mastering the Art of French Cooking - within a year - and blog about it. I just appreciated how she used this incredibly complex task as a way to add direction to her life. I understand the desire to find some sort of structure when it feels like there is nothing else tangible to grab at.

More than all the "finding yourself" mumbo jumbo - the book is utterly entertaining. Julie is hilarious and has a potty mouth. Also - if you love food and the act of cooking this book is pure food porn.

Happy reading.