Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Where I Came From

Once, my friend Irene told me about a pretentious San Francisco hipster that lived in an artist commune. He dressed in all black for Halloween and was a nihilist. The best part was that, as a serious artist, he only painted and drew mustaches. I love thinking about him from time to time, this boy that I've never met, sitting in his loft with high-vaulted ceilings (in my world, high-vaulted ceilings are a requisite for artist communes) creating twirled mustache images. It's just so ridiculous that I can't help but love it.

Well, I think I have finally decided on his match: my dad (except it's no match really because my dad will always be a gazillion times cooler). Today, my dad posted a link to a Youtube video he made on Facebook. The video is set to a Nazareth song called “Hair of the Dog.” And in the video is a sequence of photos he's carefully selected of dogs dressed in funny outfits. About halfway through, my dad appears holding Petrie, my sister’s dog, which is then followed by a few more pictures of Petrie modeling on the sidewalk. Though the differences between my dad and the mustache-drawer are many, the biggest one I see is that my dad has no pretentious intentions. He creates things like this because he really, truly gets a kick out of it, even if no one else can see just how hip his art might be. This may well make him the O.G. hipster.

My dears, this is my dad. And if you thought I had a quirky sense of humor...

Eat, Pray, Love Gialina

Watching Eat Pray Love on the big screen made me want to run home and re-read the book. If you're like me, you might have found that it didn't fill you up in the inspirational way that Elizabeth Gilbert's book did and, if anything, left you hungry for cheesy, carby pizzas. Since flying to Italy can get pricey, I have discovered a solution that's the next best thing: a trip to Gialina in the City.

A favorite of my friends Preethi and Birt, Gialina offers a menu of fresh salads and distinctly topped thin-crust pizzas. While not a usual fan of thin-crust, I remembered the loving way they had talked about this pizza, the way their eyes had lit up when they described it, and I decided I, too, wanted to feel its warmth and comfort. Taking Preethi's advice to order two pies (for leftovers the next day), we had an heirloom tomato, arugula, bacon and pesto pie and the Butterball which was topped with potatoes, bacon and gorgonzola. They were extraordinary. (And surprisingly filling.) The crust was perfect and the bacon was baked into the heirloom tomato pizza lending a subtle crunch. One pizza would have done the job quite nicely, but thank goodness we took Preethi's advice. The leftovers the next day were so good.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Rummage Sale Goodies

My friend Tanu is moving away this week and had a send-off on Saturday at a bar called Butter. Besides being outrageously packed, the place served SpaghettiO's, boxed mac n cheese and tater tots with a side of jell-o shots. They also played an obscenely good mix of 80s and 90s hits including some by the one, the only, Ace of Base. Who could deny the awesomeness of such a place? Alan and I couldn't help but sing along and bust some moves. At one point "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" came on and as we were getting jiggy with it, I saw Alan singing with a mischievous grin plastered on his face.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"NO... SLEEP...TILL BROOKLYN!" he yelled back, still with the smile and still looking devilish.

After singing a few more lines at the top of his lungs, he said giddily, "I'm yelling and no one can tell!"

The excitement Alan felt by yelling at the top of his lungs in a public place and getting away with it is pretty much how I feel when I come across a gem at a rummage sale and find that someone is actually willing to part with it. At a rummage sale this weekend, I found an exceptional owl necklace that I just had to have. Alan thinks it was modeled after the owl in Clash of the Titans. After coming home and doing a Google image search, I kind of have to agree. This owl is quite the charmer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Delights

One morning, on my drive into work, I hopped in my car and caught the tail end of this haunting cover of the T-Pain song "Buy U A Drank." It gave me goose bumps. I had never imagined a T-Pain song could do that to me, but this one did. Maybe it's the violin? Or maybe it's the way he sings with such abandon, "We in the bed like oh, oh, oh, oh, oh..." Whatever it is, I can't stop listening to it.

And here are a few other delightful posts from around the web that caught my eye this week:

a wicked gown made from a thousand paper cranes

a parrot guts necklace (I could so see this on Sea of Shoes)

With my birthday exactly a week away, I can't help but think about how I'm going to celebrate. This hilarious story supports my decision against having an enorm-o dinner party and articulates Alan's deep, deep hatred for such affairs so very well.

Have a wonderful weekend; hope someone buys u a drank!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spicy Tuna Rolls -- We're Thick as Thieves

There are a lot of times when being tight is not a good thing. Like when your pants are so tight that you have to unbutton them halfway through a meal at Sweet Tomatoes because you got carried away eating all the muffins. Or like Bruce Jenner's face--that's also a little too tight. But then there are times when tight can be a good thing. Like when you have such a dear friend that you can cross your fingers and say "we're tight, we're like this" when explaining your relationship. And perhaps one of the most important times, I recently learned, when it is good to be tight is when rolling sushi.

From the absurd frequency for which I crave spicy tuna rolls, I knew it was only a matter of time before I learned how to make it myself or joined some sort of support group for spicy tuna addicts. Because learning to make it myself was much less of a commitment, I asked my friend Sashee for the recipe she used for a recent dinner party. She promised it was super easy to make and with visions of dancing tuna in my head, I made my way to my neighborhood fish market (which I just discovered not very long ago and which makes a killer clam chowder and serves fried smelt!)

Skimming over the recipe, it all sounded pretty simple. For the spicy tuna kick, I liked that the recipe called for togarashi, an assorted Japanese chili pepper mix, instead of Sriracha sauce (which I am not a fan of in my spicy tuna). I also think that the sushi grade tuna made a world of difference. (It is expensive, but if you shop around, you may be able to find a better deal. I went to three different markets before finding a place that sold good fish at a good price. I bought my sushi grade tuna for $13.99 a pound). One last thing you should know is my secret ingredient was green onions -- trust me.

Sesame seeds and togarashi -- it's in the details

I'm not going to lie. Sushi was harder to make than it looked. Sure, the individual components themselves were not too difficult to prepare, but the actual rolling of the sushi (a very crucial step in sushi roll making) was hard as heck. Maybe it was because we didn't have one of those bamboo mats? I treated my first roll delicately, as if I might hurt it. And thus I ended up with a very loose, monstrous roll with its fillings leaking out. (see above)

Alan was much better at it. He meant business and it showed. These two nicer looking rolls were his creations.

Overall, even if sushi rolling and I aren't like this (fingers crossed), it was fun to make and tasted so good!! Maybe next time we'll just have spicy tuna donburi bowls...

Spicy Tuna Rolls

4 cups sushi rice
4 sheets nori (dried seaweed)
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1/2 lb sushi grade tuna
1 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise
1/2 tsp togarashi
2 tbsp green onions

Chop tuna and mix with mayonnaise, green onions and togarashi. Put a nori sheet on top of a bamboo mat (makisu). Spread sushi rice on top of the nori sheet. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the sushi rice. Place the tuna mixture lengthwise on the rice. Roll up the bamboo mat, pressing forward to shape the sushi into a cylinder. Press the bamboo mat firmly and remove it from the sushi. Cut the rolled sushi into bite-sized pieces.

Makes 4 rolls

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer on Sale

It seems to me that everyone is getting super excited about fall fashion (myself included). While I'm already starting to think about pumpkin patch visits and Halloween costumes, the insane heat wave these past few days has my brain focused on one thing only--staying cool. So I've switched from thinking about double denim and oxfords to all the cute summer duds that are now on sale which would more then help my cause.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How to Have A Fancy Boardwalk Date For Under $25

Growing up, there was one thing my family and I did every summer. It was how we knew it was summer, how we knew the sky was blue, how we knew that my mom would pack up half the contents of the house to bring with us just in case. It was a trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. And sometimes, every once in a while, it's important to get back to that special place that made you so very happy as a kid. Luckily, every Monday and Tuesday, they run a special where all rides are just $1 after 5 PM! You can eat, drink and play to your heart's content for the same price as a date to the movies would normally cost you. Here's how:

First, you must find a date because eating all that cotton candy by yourself is no fun. You could ask anyone: your best friend, your office mate, your dog... If you're lucky, someone you really like might go with you if you promise to go on a few roller coasters. {Date: $0; Running Total: $0}

Once you've got someone, you're ready for some fun. And what could be more fun than a juicy hand-battered hot dog on a stick? If you answered cotton candy, hot dogs and sodas, you'd be in luck because they're are also just a buck each! {corn dog for her: $3.50, hot dog for him: $1, shared Pepsi and fries $1 + $3; Running Total: $8.50}

Nothing beats a Boardwalk corn dog!

We splurged on a Texas doughnut. It was big and huge and making eyes at us. We couldn't resist. You might not be able to tell from the picture of Alan holding it, but it was really big... {Texas Did Us Right donut: $2.50; Running Total: $11}

...as in, as big as my head big. It was so big that at first we weren't sure how we felt about eating the equivalent of a dozen donuts in one sitting...

...but then we kept eating and began to wonder how we had ever lived without Monster-Truck-Size donuts.

After you've survived the fried, you'll want to remember to make it a good date. A visit to the candy store is sure to help. For example, I bought a 1/4 lb. of the mixed gummies and turned to Alan and said, "Sweets for my sweet?" When he said no like I knew he would (his favorite candy are raisins), I got to eat the entire bag and I scored points for being a thoughtful date. {Gummies: $2.50; Running Total: $13.50}

I love this candy shop, even if the kid behind the counter seemed to really hate his life and all of us silly people interrupting his text messaging. When I was a kid, my brother and I bought packs of gum designed to look like packs of cigarettes here. (Funny enough, I don't believe either of us has ever smoked a cigarette).

The final step to having an awesome Boardwalk date is to go on your favorite rides. Alan picked the Giant Dipper. He laughed with joy the entire time. I thought I did, too, until we got off the ride and saw the picture of us that was taken. Not so joyful after all. {Tickets for your favorite 5 rides: $10; Running Total: $23.50}I picked the ski lift ride which was 10x scarier than the roller coaster. All the little kids that passed us kicking their legs and leaning way over the flimsy handrail to get a good look at the people below were much, much braver than us. We sat back in our seats, perfectly still, gripping the more reassuring side rail, and this time I was the one who couldn't stop laughing.

With the diverse crowd it draws, the clowns, the games, the rides and lights, I think the Boardwalk might be the closest thing to a movie-carnival I'll ever go to. For spending a grand total of $23.50, that's definitely okay with me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Carrie's White Dress

Yuri Lee

Furs, sequins and knee-highs -- the IRL LOOKBOOK.nu/Nasty Gal party on Friday brought out all kinds of fashionable people in a variety of outfits. Although it turned out to be a pretty low-key party, there were a few highlights. I met Yuri Lee, the founder of LOOKBOOK.nu, who was very nice and told me that she created the site after having observed the enormous popularity of street style sites like The Sartorialist. She wanted people to realize that they didn't have to wait around for a fashion noteworthy to take their picture and so created a place where people could post pictures of their own outfits themselves. I also met Annabel from Blushing Ambition who was just as cute in person (but much taller!) as she is on her blog.

The next best thing that happened that night was that we parked around the corner from Pearl's Deluxe Burgers which was featured on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" (I love this show). Tyler Florence gave this place a nod (or should I say nosh) as one of his favorite burger places of all time. Of course, we had to go and go we did. I ordered the bacon cheeseburger which the man behind the counter informed me is Tyler's favorite. It was absolutely ridiculous. In the best possible way. The burger was so juicy and fresh and the bun was like eating a pillow, it was that soft. Behold the madness:

This is what contentment looks like.

Below are some better pictures of what I wore that night. I got this dress from Francesca's because it reminded me so much of that beautiful white dress Carrie wore in the opening scene of Sex and the City 2. It was a fraction of the price but I think it's a pretty close resemblance.

I wore the dress with my new Charles David Regiment boots. Nathalie described them as homely and Little House on the Prairie-ish, but that just made me love them even more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

What to Wear?

Tonight, I'm going to the IRL party hosted by LOOKBOOK.nu and NASTY GAL in San Francisco. Big huge parties aren't usually in my repertoire, but I find both sites to be so chock full of awesome fashion that I'm really excited about going. Which is not to say that I'm not super nervous about it all because I am. These are people with oodles of amazing fashion sense, and I still have no idea what I'm going to wear! (I pulled some looks off of both sites for some inspiration). One thing is for certain, though: I'm wearing shoes I can dance in!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stan's Donuts: Best Glazed Donut in Town

Sometimes, after a hard week's work, there is nothing you'd rather do than get up, pull on some shorts, and sit in the sun and eat donuts. And sometimes, so long as it's not every day, I for one believe that we should listen to this yearning, put on those shorts and go get some donuts. I have found that the best way to quiet this desire is to find and consume the best possible donuts (and therefore the most satisfying). Now, people have brought me to fancy shmancy donut shops before, and while they were good, they weren't great, and definitely no match for my favorite donut shop of all time: Stan's Donuts in Santa Clara. I cannot think of a more un-fancy place than Stan's, but the way they fry up their dough, it couldn't matter less. In two words, their donuts are mind-blowing. The ones to order which will knock your socks off (they knock mine off all the time) are the plain glazed donuts. I know some of you may be thinking, "But what about the apple fritter? That one's my favorite!" but I would advise you not to lose focus. Order the plain glazed and prepare yourself for the perfectly crisp exterior and deep, doughy interior which sometimes reminds me of the joy of falling into a soft, welcoming bed at the end of a long, tiring day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wedding Wear Inspiration

Today, my friend Jennifer reminded me that her wedding is just a month away! I've been so excited for her big day that I realized that I haven't even thought about what to wear. I'm liking the idea of a really simple, classic dress -- this one from Madewell with its petal sleeves is making me swoon -- worn with a bold, weighty necklace. Above are my favorite splurge necklaces and below is a much more affordable option (although it could use a bit more heft).

(clockwise from top left & bottom)
1. Madewell dress
2. Queen's Wardrobe necklace
3. J. Crew necklace
4. Madewell necklace
5. Forever 21 necklace

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Take A Bow

Lately, I've been enamored with bows of all kinds. They're so sweet on shoes, worn in the hair or wrapped around a present. They're even better when they're in the most unexpected of places, like on the front of a pair of shorts. I fell in love with these shorts immediately when I saw them. But first I tried to deny our immediate love connection. When I couldn't get them out of my head after a week of thinking about them, I went back and put them on and never took them off again. (Even at the office, where it's not appropriate to wear shorts, I sneak them on under my slacks).

(Fan Clothing shorts, Forever 21 basic tank, borrowed blazer and Seychelles heels)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Reading and Raspberry Lemonade

If I had infinite time, I would spend more of it reading books and practicing yoga, two things that have fallen off recently in this crazy parade of life. Alan devours books, and so on a recent trip to the library with him, I checked out a few myself. I am normally more of a fiction reader, but when I passed by the non-fiction section, I was drawn to so many good reads there.

I'm currently reading The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson. As a regular walker myself, the title grabbed me and I'll admit that I was kind of surprised and curious about how someone could write an entire book on such a simple subject. It's been pretty interesting, and I've liked learning about all the great writers who were also avid walkers.

The other books I like having around so that I can flip open for a dose of inspiration and eye candy are:
1. The Way We Live with the Things We Love - I find the home space to be one of the most intimate and real places to learn about people and what matters most to them, and so am forever fascinated with all things home-related (aside from plumbing and the like, I suppose). This book focuses on how people display their collections of objects. Sometimes they are absolutely amazing and a place I would want to model my own home from, and sometimes they are a little creepy (but beautiful nonetheless in their own right).
2. Paperie for Inspired Living - So many great, creative ideas on how to use paper to spice up your life in this one. Now if only I were better at Photoshop...
3. A Twist of the Wrist - This is an interesting cookbook which I started reading because of the seductive pasta dish on the front cover. All the recipes promise to be easy by using jarred, canned and boxed ingredients, but the recipes still look really intimidating. I don't know if I'm going to get much further than drooling over the pretty pictures in this one.
4. The Book of Photography - Maybe it will teach me a new thing or two (or a million).

Since it doesn't look like infinite time is getting here anytime soon, yesterday I made raspberry lemonade (which turned out fantastic!) and spent the rest of the day reading. (Side note: I find the act of making lemonade oddly very soothing... I wonder what that says about me?)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Wonderful Week

I walked around in a zombie-like state for most of the week because of some major sleep deprivation. My friend Sue was in town and my friend Irene was back in town after a 6 week excursion to far away places. I pretty much wanted to spend all my free time with them. Look at their beautiful faces, I mean, how could I not? I know Sue (on the left) is looking at me like "Why the heck are you taking a picture of me right now?" but, don't worry, I know she still loves me.

One day I met them in the City for dinner. I arrived just after sunset, right when people started turning on the lights inside their homes. The illuminated windows from the outside looked so cozy.

I could spend an entire day walking around San Francisco admiring all the houses.

We ate at Tuba, a Turkish restaurant in the Mission. Everything was really yummy.

There was a lot of lamb involved. And lots of kebabs.

The craziest part of the night (does this look as crazy to you as it did to me?) was the dessert. It was phyllo dough, crushed pistachios, honey and--wait for it--cheese! If pancakes and grilled cheese had a baby, this is what it would taste like. It sounds sort of weird, but the combo was actually really good.

I can't wait to catch up on sleep this weekend. Have a good one!
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