Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day Six-From a Low Angle

"I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It's so fuckin' heroic." -George Carlin

Sidewalk weeds up the street from my apartment. In the distance on the right is an awesome lady who was walking her super happy boxer who came up behind me really excited that I was knelt down on the sidewalk to take a picture of these flower weeds coming through the cracks. She said it's really great to be able to see things like this, to actually notice them. And that she knew it would make a great picture. Sometimes strangers are really awesome. Especially when they have really sweet dogs.
(Sorry about the f*bomb gma<--that's slang for grandma, cause that's how I roll. Boom.)

Day One: Selfie
Day Two: What I Wore
Day Three: Clouds
Day Four: Something Green

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day Five-From a High Angle

I took this picture of my sister walking down the parking garage stairs at Santana Row yesterday. I had the day off work to attend a memorial service for Paul Whiting, a family friend that my dad has known since he was a kid. He was my dad's best friend's dad. I remember him from when I was a little and in high school when he took me to my first 49ers game with my dad. He always had season tickets and loved to share them with friends. I mostly just remember him smiling and laughing, which is think is the best way to remember someone.

After the service, my sister and I changed into cooler clothes because San Jose weather is much warmer than we are used to in San Francisco and Berkeley, and met her friend for happy hour drinks and appetizers. Then I went back up the peninsula to meet up with friends to celebrate our friend Carlie's birthday. It was a long day. With too much food; I ate way more than my fair share. So much so that I have no idea what will even sound appetizing today. I think I need some salad, stat!

Enjoy your weekend and I'll be back with another one tomorrow!

Day five of what?
Day One: Selfie
Day Two: What I Wore
Day Three: Clouds
Day Four: Something Green

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day Four-Something Green

Today was a very long day. I was so busy at work making sure that I was caught up on everything for my day off tomorrow that I didn't go outside to look around for something green in the afternoon as planned. After work, I met up with a friend and when I pulled up to her house I noticed the evening sun shining through this plant in her front yard. Bingo. Shortly after this was taken I got to meet a brand new person.
Welcome, little one. It was very nice to meet you. Happy birth day.

Day four of what?
Day One: Selfie
Day Two: What I Wore
Day Three: Clouds

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day Three-Clouds

"A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed... It feels an impulsion... this is the place to go now.  But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons" -Richard Bach

As luck would have it there were zero clouds above the peninsula yesterday. There were some seriously blue skies overhead. Which I would usually appreciate. Go figure. I knew there would be plenty of fog in the city but I didn't have any ideas about where to go. The way the fog sits over the city can be very mundane and there's not much texture or contrast when the fog is up high like it was yesterday when I left for work.

Then I thought about how the fog creeps in over the mountains at night up near 92 and decided to go on a fog chase after work. I got lucky because it was the perfect time to get a contrasty picture as the sky was still bright blue and this billowy blanket of fog was rolling slowly towards me. I was also really happy that someone decided to take a boat out because I think it adds something extra to the photo and helps convey how monstrously large the fog blanket is. Please ignore the speck of dirt in the middle of the water, I don't know how to fix that sort of thing yet. It's on the to-do list.

I have another quote for you because I really thought the first suited the picture but this one better suits me.

"You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds." -Henry David Thoreau

Yeah, that's right--I talk to inanimate objects. Jealous?

Day One: Selfie
Day Two: What I Wore

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Two-What I Wore

This is a ring my mom gave me that I have been wearing almost every day since 10th grade with the exception of one month during my junior year of college when I lost it between my couch cushions. I found it when I was looking for something else that fell into the cushion abyss known for collecting pennies and I was so excited I started jumping around. My roommates just stared at me.

I don't remember where she got it or why, but I have always really liked it. It's three rings connected, but not merged, so they are free to move around, making them fun to play with. I developed a habit of fidgeting with the rings using my thumb to move them into different formations, stopping when I'm satisfied. I used to wear it on my left ring finger until a couple years ago when someone I worked with told me it looked like a promise ring and that why I was never asked on dates. I switched it over for experimental purposes (of course) and I think he may have been right.

I brought my camera to work with me yesterday to get a picture of what I was wearing during my break but it's kind of hard to use your camera when you leave the battery at home on the charger (FAIL). So, being that I went to yoga before I went home and definitely did not want to hand out any visuals of myself post-workout, I had to think outside the box on this one. In case you are wondering about the surface, it's actually a mouse pad made of a velvety-soft material.

Happy hump day!

Day One: Selfie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day One-Self-Portrait

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." Sylvia Plath

Me pretending the lamp is the sun; I love the feeling of warmth on my face. I don't do a lot of selfies so this was kind of daunting. In honor of the above quote, I will share what happened to me last night before this photo was taken.

I got home late after a soccer game and hanging out at our sponsor bar with the team. And I got home especially late because I forgot where I parked my car and I totally freaked out. If you know me, you know that one thing I absolutely hate is being lost. I always like to know where I am. And when I get lost, I get really, really mad. It's one thing when I'm driving and I can try to fake it, but on foot looking for my car on among streets that look exactly the same while being questioned by a drunken acquaintance (the team captain asked me to give another teammate a ride home) who keeps saying "You have to remember, what did the street look like?" Not so much.

I finally had to call my friend who rode with me to the bar to ask him where my car was: FAIL. The most embarrassing part: as we were walking from my car to the bar my friend says "Ok, just remember you're on Blabla Street and Blabla Street." I said, "Oh, don't worry about it, I don't know streets names and I never get lost. I have a really good sense of direction."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Photography Bender

I saw this on Pinterest and, thought, what the hell! I honor of my newly defined intention to take more photos I dare myself to complete this challenge creatively. I often lug my camera around all day and end up not taking any photos at all; no more! This, by the way, is no small feat considering the weight of my camera and all the other junk I carry in my purse. To give you a better idea, I recently won second place in a bachelorette party game in which you accrue points for having a ridiculous amount of stuff in your purse. I realize not many people brag about second place place, but I had so many points the host extended a second place prize to me. First place girl was out of control!

It occurred to me that something like this challenge could be helpful in my efforts to take more photos because sometimes a little direction is better than none and you might consider something you hadn't before. Take an extra look around. And it's not like I can't take other photos that strike me. So, here goes nothin! Each day I will post the photo I took the day before and a little bit about the thought process or random right-place-at-the-right-time luck that lead to the photo. Deal? Done.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Intentions

Anyone out their an MML reader? If you are not and you think you might enjoy some inspiration in your blog reader (I'm assuming everyone's blog reader is as essential a part of their day as mine is) you should definitely check out Jess' blog. "MML" stands for MakeUnder My Life, a term she coined to describe her goal of helping people design a life with intention, both personally and professionally. One of her methods for doing so is to set out intentions to design your life around. Here are my golden rules.

Illustration by Jessica Hische via Pinterest.

It's simple, it's important. Look at people in their eyes, say please and thank you to anybody who helps you (Insert pet peeve: People who are rude to servers. They are watching over your food. They have to deal with hungry people all day, do you realize how annoying people are when they are hungry? Yeah, so be nice.) Hold a door for an extra three seconds for the person behind you. Maybe I smile at strangers too much, so what? They smile back. Mostly.

Turkey chili with skim mozzarella and Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Aside from my affinity for cheese  I tend to eat pretty healthily, and I want to keep going in the right direction by exploring more satiating foods that are also healthful. A year ago I had no idea what quinoa was and now I gladly would substitute it for rice. I have also learned about more spices which has been great for me because I love lots of flavors and spices open up a whole new world. I have learned a lot about cooking simply from trying new recipes and I have broadened the scope of what I consider "do-able." I definitely still love going to restaurants, but I have made a real effort to limit eating out for the weekends for both health and monetary reasons. It has definitely made me realize that taking a little extra time to make a meal for myself can be quite satisfying and you don't need to be a rock star chef to make something truly enjoyable.
Part two of this goal is fitness; I want to be an active person. I was very active in sports growing up and I have not been in as good of shape since. I know that's in the past and I'll never be 16 again, but I would definitely like to kick it up a notch from where I am now. Sitting at a desk for the majority of the day has not done great things for my fitness so I need to put in some extra effort to try and make up for that.

A drawing a started two weeks ago on a whim. 

 This is big for me. I didn't realize how important it is to me to be creative until a few months after I graduated last year. I had been so fully encompassed by photography classes and photographers and writers in the journalism department that when everything slowed down and I didn't have the same exposure, I felt like something was missing. Commute, desk, commute, gym, dinner, sleep, repeat began to feel so tiresome and deprived. Thank goodness for blogs as they have been one of my main sources to creative people and ideas. I have been doing projects around the house the feed my appetite for making things, and started this blog to share with people and help make myself accountable. The one thing I really want to push myself on is my photography. I want to take more photos so that I can improve my eye and instincts. At least a photo each day; no excuses.

 Natalie at Ocean Beach.

I tend to have a hard time bouncing back from ruined plans or getting myself going when I have settled on being lazy for the day. Okay, I'll just come out and say it: I'm stubborn. When I set my mind about something, it's done. I don't decide to do a lot of things on a whim, I usually like to think things over. I want to use more of my precious "free" accepting whatever random ideas I have or suggestions from others. I know, I know, you can't plan spontaneity; but can't a girl decide to be more open-minded?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In My Head

Ever since I started this blog I've noticed my inner monologue has gotten much louder. Every time I do something or think about something I can do that would make a good post I start writing sentences in my head. In my car, in the shower, at work, eating dinner, when I get in bed and can't fall asleep. Really anything I can do in auto pilot turns into blog brainstorm time. I keep rewriting and repeating the sentences in my head until I get a chance to write them down. Sadly, some of these ideas never make it to paper or computer screen with such verbal perfection as I had originally thought them before my train of thought became interrupted, but that's life. I'm sure it's a good thing that I have ideas flowing in, but why is it that when I have plenty of time set aside for a latte and a good brainstorm I can't think of anything?

As much as I could get away with in high school and consistently through college I wrote as many essays and papers at the last minute as possible. It sounds like torture, but I really got the best work done this way. At my desk, because I used to have a desktop of course, staring down the words on the screen demanding that they start making better sense and stylishly, at that. Put my hair up, pull my hair down, scratch my head. Get more water. Clean my room. Ah, that's better; a full page of writing would come to me then. Sometimes I would even ask my roommate, who took some of the same classes, if I could help her with her paper so I could clear my head. Conclusions were always written in the morning after what little time I had set aside for myself to sleep had passed. I don't know if I really slept so much as I wrote conclusions with my eyes closed. Then I would rush my hot-off-the-printer paper to my class glamorously clad in pajama pants and a sweatshirt. But even for the panic attacks and near missed deadlines, I was almost always happy with the final product.

While writing this blog has caused some hair pulling and room cleaning, the pressure is different. I have always wanted to look at something one more time, make it better, think of one last thing before I commit to the finished product. And the problem with blogging is, I can. I can hold off as much as I want. I don't have a due date to put my posts in the hands of an expecting teacher. But I can't help but feel the passing of days without posts as missed assignments, missed opportunities. So, alas, I will push publish on this post, my first without pictures as I could not think of a way to visually emote this feeling in a natural way. Trust me, you don't want a visual of what goes on in my head, anyways.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Always Finish What You...

Since moving into my apartment I have started lots of projects. Problem is, I haven't finished lots of those projects and they are cast about wherever they can go without being a direct threat to my tendency to trip and face plant. These projects include furniture and other items I acquired with the intention of making them over-- as in they are currently ugly (I'm looking at you craigslist nightstands).

Below is a great example. This is a table-lamp that I found at Goodwill and painted. Well, I painted one coat November. It still has painters tape waiting for a second coat application. Behind said table to the right, you see a stack of frames I painted white to hang as a cluster. They are now in a box. And to the left in a bag next to my sewing machine is fabric that is now half a pillow and part of a pot holder.

The other day I realized other people do not share my vision when looking at all the random things I accumulate. I look at them and only see what I hope to make them look like one day. A few weeks ago I looked up from violently scrubbing away at an old chest that I found (almost three years ago now!) on the sidewalk in front of my townhouse near SFSU and saw Stephen staring at me blankly. I looked down at the chest and back at him. And then it hit me, "You have no idea why I've held on to this, do you?" Nope. He made one of those painful looking "I don't know what to say without making you mad" smiles.

A couple weekends ago after some rearranging in the living room some of my odds and ends made it into the hallway and that's when I realized I really need to get my problem under control-- I later took out my large watercolor paper pad and started another project. I've been wanting a large piece of art to go over my (soon-to-be) couch on our big brown wood wall (I know, the 70's live on) and decided I just needed to start sketching something.

Story. of. my. life.

I'll show you the finished product, if I still have a blog then.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

On Painting Rugs

Yes, I painted a rug. It all started one day at Ikea... Moral of the story, don't take decorating advice from your sister if she has plain different taste.
Okay, I'll back up. I went to Ikea to get this rug, which I had been thinking of ever since a trip to purchase a shelf a few months back. But somebody thought it was waaaaay too busy. It's geometric, not exactly an acid trip in my opinion. Her suggestion: an oriental style rug. Um, contradiction much? So I end up with this, which actually looks very close to that color in the store under florescent lighting, but in my apartment was a very very sad gray-beige. Greige. Gross. However, in her defense, I did like the other rug she helped me pick out for our bedroom. Thanks, sister.

As soon as I saw the rug inside our apartment I knew I hated it. But I put it under our kitchen table/my desk, anyways, to see if I could like it. Nope. But the thought of going back to Ikea to return something seemed far too daunting. Ikea is the biggest time suck. It's like Target on crack. You know it's going to be crowded and a pain and you are going to see way too many things you like and have to fight with yourself to not put them into your cart, which by the way, just kind of floats around lackadaisically unlike other normal shopping carts (what's up with that Ikea?). And then you go outside and it's dark and you realize you were in there for 4 days; you have neglected your life and your children and your dog and probably lost your job--wait, did I say days? I meant hours, I just feels like days. So I was contemplating the impact of this great inconvenience (I've been known to exaggerate from time to time) when I came across this post on The House of Smiths. "I can do that!" I thought.

Let me tell you, Shelly made this look way too easy. She did not even tape down the stripes and hers came out perfect. Mine...well, let's just say it has character. When I don't look directly at it it looks great! However, to give myself a little credit, the rug she used is about half the size of the one I had.

Bottom line: I have a very affordable custom rug for our dinette, which helped me justify going back for the other one (alone).

Would I recommend this project? Yes, if you are very patient.
I am glad I did it? Does it count if I'm glad it's done? Then, yes.
Difficulty? I would say use a smaller rug than I did and consider using painter's tape. Even though it's a pain in the rear, you probably won't regret it. Unless you are going for more of a spontaneous chevron pattern, like mine. I think I'll use "spontaneous" to describe it from now on, it sounds more exiting and less accidental than reality.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Strawberry Cream Pie and Blueberry Buckle

I don't know about you, but I have not been able to keep track of what day it is all week. I don't know how one extra weekend day has thrown me off so much, but it has. I had three realizations that it was not Monday on Tuesday. Seriously.

I meant to post the photo reveals of the recipes I made for the Fourth of July this morning but I was so tired last night after two hours of playing soccer--keep in mind that I am not in soccer shape and treadmill running has done me no favors--that it took all my energy to ice my re-injured ankle, shovel some soup in my mouth and get in bed. Excuses, I know. Anyways, here they are! Thank you Natalie for your help and your company!
 First up was a Strawberry Cream Pie via Sweet Fine Day. I came across it on my blog reader one day and pinned it for safe keeping. This would be a great dish for a potluck or something to prepare ahead of time; it was pretty easy and has lasted well, I still have a slice in the fridge. Plus it looks so delicious. Buttery graham cracker crumble crust, glistening strawberries and a whopping layer of billowy whipped cream. I think that last piece is about to disappear.
 The only thing I would change if I make this again is I would make more of the graham cracker mixture for the crust, perhaps 1.5 times what the recipe calls for, as I really had to work it around and would have liked to have more around the outside.

Next up, a Blueberry Buckle recipe from Alton Brown via Brooklyn Limestone. I loved all the blueberries in this recipe and I really like the crusty, buttery clusters that formed on top. And it was moist, which is crucial for baked foods in my book.

 I didn't have a square glass baking pan so I used a glass pie pan instead. I've never cooked with cake flour before but after reading up a little (the side panel of the box, anyways) I think that is what made it come out so fluffy.
 Notice the crusty bits around the edges too, yum.

Happy Friday and I hope you have a good weekend too!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Red, White & Blueberry

 Hello! I hope you had a great Fourth of July. I just wanted to share a sneak peak of the recipes I mentioned on Saturday. They turned out to be a great success! I was debating between a few, including a double chocolate cake, but decided to go patriotic with these two. So I guess I will have to wait for the next occasion to make the chocolate cake; or just make one up. Festivus anybody?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sweet Sunshine

The torrential downpours this past week were so crazy and completely out of character for us here in good old California. If I wanted unpredictable rain during the summer I would move to the East Coast! Which I couldn't. And not because I'm a hater but because I can't handle real weather and I really really like Mexican food. Like a lot. I don't know what I would do with myself all snowed in and burrito-hungry. Disaster!

Oh, wait, I know what I would do. I would move back here and go straight for the carne asada.

Anyways, I'm so glad the weather has changed for the better and we are expecting sunny times on this long Fourth of July weekend! Speaking of sun, here are some pictures from a sunny winter day Stephen and I spent in Sonoma shooting Tannis and his wife Sarah. They were so great! We drove up without a set place in mind and they spent the whole day with us and brought their vintage truck to boot! Are you supposed to call trucks vintage? Cause I just did.
 We both took this one, my arms aren't quite long enough.

And these are some of my favorite photos that Stephen took.


Hope you have a great Fourth of July! I have some patriotic recipes in the plans so I will have yumminess to share next week.