Tuesday, May 31, 2011

San Di-ahhh-go

This weekend, Brian and I took a spontaneous 2-day trip to San Diego (thank you, Priceline!).  I didn't realize how much I, and we, needed a few days to just be tourists and walk and eat and sit and talk about nothing until we got there.  The whole weekend was like a big sigh of happiness.

{La Jolla}

We stopped at Cody's in La Jolla for lunch on the way down - super cute and the mahi mahi tacos were perfect for a summer day (chipotle creme...mmmm).

We went down to the Marina to check out the battle ship and this statue (a reproduction of the iconic WWII picture that you probably had hanging in your college dormroom in poster form).  It was quite fitting for a Memorial Day getaway.

{view from the Top of the Hyatt}
{totally natural.}

We had an unfortunate dinner experience that involved fuzzy leopard print wall paper and awkward photos that made me want to cover my eyes (let's just leave it at that), but then the Gaslamp Quarter redeemed itself with this bar - the Lincoln Room.  Good drinks, and good ol' Abe.  As a huge U.S. history nerd buff, Brian was impressed.

{can I get married again and hang lanterns from the ceiling this time?}

And on a side note - two things that are only acceptable in San Diego:
(1) Segways as a legit form of transportation (not just in the context of a tour)
(2) Jorts, anytime of day

Day 2 coming up tomorrow!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Apt. #10

Remember that show on MTV, Cribs?  Today's post is not at all like that.  Except for the celebrity-host, gaudy mansion, and 15-car garage, but otherwise, just like that.

While I may not be as famous as some (or any) of the hosts on Cribs, I do know a little bit about apartments.  Since I left for college 7 years ago, I have lived in 9 different apartments, in 5 different cities.  Needless to say, craigslist has been my best friend (I may or may not have been known as the “Craigslist Queen” for a period of time).

Despite never having lived in one place for more than 9 months (I'm a landlord's worst nightmare), I still insist on putting effort into decorating every one of my apartments to suit my style.  This is most likely because - this is where you pick the right answer: (a) I believe that a person's relationship with his/her physical space can have a real impact on his/her happiness and sense of well-being, (b) I see every impossibly small, awkwardly partitioned apartment as a challenge and I will never admit defeat, (c) I can't pass up a good excuse to buy pretty things -- on discount, of course, or (d) all of the above.  Which one is right?  You'll never know.  JK.  It's (d) all of the above, duh.  (Can you tell that studying for the Bar has turned everything into a multiple choice question in my mind???  Bar-brain is taking over!)

If you haven't deserted me yet, please let me introduce you to my 10th little apartment project – our one-bedroom by the beach.  Welcome to our crib.

It is a little disturbing to me that you can basically see my entire apartment in one picture, not using a wide lens or anything...but at least I think it looks like a good place to be.  (I guess I should have warned you that if you expected this to be a grand apartment tour like you see on other blogs, you should readjust your expectations.  I make negative money, live in California, and don't have time to go out and buy flowers in preparation for blog posts, remember?)

Regardless of its size, I love this place.  It really has the best energy, or feng-shui, or whatever you want to call it.

When we moved into this apartment, I vowed not to purchase an IKEA couch.  I wanted a real couch; a nice couch.  So I got this one, from IKEA.  Ha.  I just love it though, and with the money we saved on that, I could splurge on my favorite persimmon Martini side tables from West Elm.

Oh, and I made all the pillows (with zippers!) and re-covered the ottoman (which opens for extra storage)!  The day after I finished final exams I just needed to get all my pent up creative energy out, so I made all of these in one day.  (I know, I'm crazy.  But it felt so good.)  I used the online sewing tutorials over at Design Sponge (here and here), and they were so easy to follow.  I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is a beginner sewer like me!

{orange and blue and green}

The artwork on the wall next to the couch represents my three favorite cities.  The big canvas print is something I impulsively picked up at Urban Outfitters -- it's an illustration of all of Italy's famous monuments squished together around one piazza and it reminds me of Florence.  The other two are maps of San Francisco and LA made into illustrations by Aaron Straup Cope that Brian got me as a birthday present. Here's a better view of them.

Please also note the fabulous arc lamp (registry present!) that has been my obsession for years, and the homeless surfboard.  There's another one in the closet.  Someone has to come up with a better way to store surfboards, really.

I really hate how big TVs just eat up space like a big black hole in your living room, but the white TV is a bit better.  Plus, I love it for all the mindlessness it brings to my life.  On the right of the TV is a water polo ball signed by all of Brian's former teammates.  It reminds him of his glory days.

The elephant, purchased at (where else?) Homegoods, and bedazzled by moi, is one of my favorite household accessories.  He's been with me for two years now.  Did you know that elephants with upturned trunks are supposed to bring you good luck?  I'm counting on it.

After searching at thrift stores and craigslist and the Rose Bowl Flea Market for the perfect entrance console table, I caved in and used registry money to buy this one at Crate&Barrel.  Sure, it's a little expected, but it's really perfect for the space, and it kind of feels nice to have nice things sometimes.

Also, you probably won't care at all about this, but one of my greatest successes in decorating this place was finding all five of those matching double-sided glass frames at Homegoods one day.  It's usually impossible to find multiples of anything there, but I got lucky and found five.  And they were exactly what I needed since you can see the console table from both sides.  I was seriously so happy that day that I could write a whole post about it (but I won't for your sake).  It's the small things, people.

{On the left: a gem, just in case you thought I was forsaking my hippie NorCal roots, and a beautiful vase from Iran gifted to me from my long-time friend Sogol; on the right: bird vases from our wedding going to good use.}

Personally, I would have chosen non-pink flowers for the vases, but when your neighbor's front yard is your floral supplier, you can't be picky.

I bought a bookshelf and then filled it with BarBri books (fml).  But then I bought herbs to put on top so now I feel less awful every time I look over there.  It's been 5 days and they're still alive (great success)!

{Readers, meet Betty the Basil and Ronny the Rosemary.  Betty and Ronny, meet my Readers.}

{the dining "room"}

This dining table is one of my favorite furniture purchases ever.  I bought it on Craigslist from a stager, who had me pick it up from her warehouse in Hunter's Point in San Francisco.  For those of you who know where that is, 'nuff said.  For those of you who don't, let's just say it is THE sketchiest place you could ever imagine.  I don't even know if you could imagine the extent of the sketchiness.  Like, cars just left in the middle of the road that make you wonder if the people were kidnapped straight out of the passenger seats sketchy.  And my only protection was my friend Shahrzad, who is a wonderful friend, but let me tell you, she'd make as good of a body guard as I would a housewife.  So that was a trip.

The chairs I bought at an antique sale - they are vintage Herman Miller leather chairs.  The ones that connect on the sides.  I don't know how much they are worth, but I got them for a steal at $80 for all four!  They are also the only items of furniture that Brian has ever expressed an opinion about (he vetoed my suggestion that we sell them instead of transporting them to L.A.).  They are probably the coolest things I own.

The rug was a $20 steal at Urban Outfitters, and the bowl is Nambe (another one of my favorite registry items - thank you wedding guests)!  The pictures are both mine - one from Aruba, one from LA - which I had printed on canvas - DIY art!

{California 4 Life}

{clearly a spotlight lamp was really necessary here}

This bar is the first piece of furniture Brian and I ever bought together.  Quite fitting considering the first gift Brian ever gave me was a margarita set, eh?  We spotted it (OK, I spotted it) at a garage sale in the Marina in SF while we were on our way to brunch with some friends.  After brunch, I made Brian go back and negotiate, and we got it for a great price.   A few days later, Brian sent me a link to the Crate&Barrel website showing that the fabulous bar we had just purchased was selling there for 10 times the price!  Ya garage sales!  It all opens up and the top unfolds so that it can be a proper bar, too!

Besides drinking Dom from our fancy bar, we also like to eat.  So here is our kitchen, where our personal chef cooks us gourmet 100-calorie meals 6 times a day.

I was kidding - you got that, right?  As if I would only eat 600 calories a day.  Pshh.  Anyway, there's not much to see in our tiny kitchen, but I tried to make it look as interesting as possible.

{the essentials}

{I have a blackboard addiction.  I'll show you my wedding thank-you cards one day and you'll understand.}

{I'm a sucker for uselessly gorgeous kitchen accessories}

And this is where the magic happens.  HA.  I've been waiting to say that this whole time.  But I'm actually not going to show you much of our bedroom because (a) it's not done at all; and (b) some of us don't know each other that well yet.  

I will show you this though -- this is the view I wake up to every morning.

{hello palm tree}

Please forgive me the college-dorm-style IKEA lamp.  I need something to make me feel young, OK?

And this is my Buddhist goddess head, and her throne of books.  Mostly this is here to make you laugh.  Please observe the book titles.  This is both the most Bohemian and most conservative corner of our apartment.  Irony, my friends.

On the left is an engagement picture that I had made into a silhouette via Le Papier Studio on Etsy, and it says "I left my <3 in San Francisco" along the bottom.  I was going to use it as a guest book type thing at our wedding, but then I didn't want people to sign all over it because it was so pretty.  So now it hangs.

On the right is the nightstand that I picked up at the Crate&Barrel outlet for $15!  Yes, $15!  It's not quite the modern tree stump from West Elm that I had been dreaming of, but I'm not one to pass up a good deal.  On top is a beachy-ish lamp from Homegoods, and my "One Line a Day" diary, a gift from my lovely friend Lydia.

What to do with girly things is a big conundrum when you move in with a boy.  I've managed to (mostly) contain all of my girly knick-knacks and accessories to one area - my vanity.  Well, it's not quite a vanity.  It's actually the Sloan Leaning Desk from Crate&Barrel (geez, I'm apparently sub-consciously obsessed with that store), and then I stuck a round mirror on the wall so I can see myself while I blow dry.  I re-covered an ottoman I owned to use as a stool.  I really like how it came out, and Brian is just happy he doesn't have hairspray and foundation brushes all up in his space.

And now, in true Cribs fashion, I will conclude this tour by saying: Thanks for stopping by; NOW GET OUT!

(JK, you can come in any time.  Especially if you bring wine.  Or bread.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Blame You, L.A.

Guess what time Oprah is on in San Francisco - 4:00 PM.

Guess what time Oprah is on in Anchorage - 4:00 PM.

Guess what time Oprah is on in Denver - 4:00 PM.

Guess what time Oprah is on in Tallahassee - 4:00 PM.

Guess what time Oprah is on in Honolulu - 4:00 PM.

Guess what time Oprah is on in Indianapolis - 4:00 PM.

Guess what time Oprah is on in L.A. - 3:00 PM.

Thanks, L.A., for making me miss the LAST EPISODE of Oprah ever.  You always have to be "different," don't you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tart (Eric Greenspan's Pop-Up Menu)

Pancake lasagna.  Need I say more?

(No, but I will.)  If you're not drooling yet, let me tell you a little bit more about this delicacy from Tart's Pop-Up Menu by Eric Greenspan (the chef who started The Foundry on Melrose).  It starts with a fluffy pancake layer on the bottom.  Then a layer of fennel sausage - a little sweet, a little spicy.  Then another layer of pancake, followed by a layer of smokey, crispy bacon.  Then (you guessed it), a layer of pancake, with another layer of sausage.  The layers are all held together with a maple bechamel sauce (yes, mapel bechamel!).  Top with a layer of egg, smother in melted cheese, and you've got perfection.

Everything you're imagining in your mind came true.  It delivered.

{also, I got new shoes yay}

The best part about this dish?  It solves the perpetual brunch question: sweet or savory?  It's sweet, it's savory, it's salty, it's spicy, it's bready, it's cheesy, it's eggy.  It is the physical manifestation of BRUNCH.

The worst part?  It was only featured at Tart for the 3-day pop-up menu period, and I have no idea where you can get this elsewhere.

So if you are ever lucky enough to find this on a menu near you, order it for God's sake.

And if you're ever at Tart, (although I must note that it is in the most random location ever) order the regular bloody Mary (not the Spa one - turns out grapefruit juice does not belong in a bloody), and prepare to be knocked on your behind.  Oh, and also make sure you've got your hippie/hipster vibe on (remember what I said about the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and not wearing shoes?  Tart is kind of like that, but friendlier).

P.S. Sorry for the iPhone pics - I left my camera at home, and Brian obvi doesn't have any cool iPhone pic apps on his device (and I obvi don't have one of my own)!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Celebrity Sighting of Celebrities Sighting Each Other!

Celebrity sightings make me smile. They always feel so surreal because, in my mind, celebrities are fake - they are just characters, not people (sorry, celebs).  So seeing one in real life is kind of like what I imagine it would feel like to see a unicorn.  But less crazy.

Well if celebrity sightings make me smile, you should have seen the grin on my face yesterday when I sighted TWO celebrities at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, SIGHTING EACH OTHER!!!  It was so out of this world.  I kind of felt like I was having an out of body experience.  I will now recount the entire story to you so that you can join me in smiling disbelief.

Sunday morning, I woke up (after successive rounds of snoozing the alarm), and of course, my first thought is: coffee.  Coffee and food.  My second thought is: we have none.  So I complain to Brian, and he says we should walk down to Main Street and get some (always a problem-solver, that one), and I say, let's go to Urth.  On our stroll down to Urth, we realize, it's Farmer's Market Day!  Hurray!  My favorite kind of food establishment!  So Urth is out, farmer's market is in.

The SM farmer's market is much smaller than the SF Ferry Building farmer's market, but at least there was live music (strangely - white men playing steel drums in African garb...but whatevs, I'm not picky about my live music), decently priced produce, and a pretty impressive selection of food-making stalls, so I was happy.  (I'll skip over the part where there was a petting zoo and pony ride filled with little kiddies - suffice it to say that these could be major deterrents to future farmer's market visits if they are a weekly thing.)  Our first order of business was to buy an omelette with fried potatoes and sit down by a grassy area to eat it ("eat" is a delicate way to describe what occurred at this point).  A few bites later, I look up and see a very beautiful lady with her two little boys standing in front of me.  I mostly noticed her because her skin was so flawless and glowing, and in a few seconds, I realized I had seen her before - a celebrity! I thought, the smile and giggle already sneaking up on me.  But I couldn't place her in a movie or a TV show until a few seconds later, when who comes over to say hello but Madeline Zima!  Or in my mind, Mia from Californication.  They were surprised to see each other, and they hugged.

And then it all came together for me -- the woman with the beautiful skin, who Madeline Zima had just greeted was Natascha McElhone, who you might know as Karen, Mia's stepmom in Californication.  There were so many layers of craziness going on that I had a moment of brain overload.  In my mind, I had just witnessed Mia running into her stepmom, Karen, at the farmer's market, but in reality, it was Madeline Zima running into Natascha McElhone at the farmer's market, and then on top of that, I was observing it all, so I was experiencing what shall now be known as a celebrity sighting of celebrities sighting each other!  SO META.

{Natascha Elhone as Karen (with David Duchovny), via Daily Herald, and Madeline Zima as Mia, via Small Screen Scoop}

I'm hoping this is the first of many of such occurrences because really, it made my day.  Gotta love L.A.

P.S. The link on the word "Meta" goes to a blog run by a friend of mine from high school!  Go check it out - she's hilarious.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'm Still Here

So I'm assuming the world didn't end.  Sa-weet.  I wonder how Harold Camping feels about that.  Actually, I wonder what he was doing at 11:59PM.  I wonder what he was wearing.  Was he praying or doing something super sinful to try to live it up?  So many questions for that man.

Anyway, I guess we'll just have to wait for another Terminator movie to know when the apocalypse is coming for reals.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fill in the Blanks Friday

You know how this works - linking up with Lauren for her Friday questions.


1. People always tell me I look like someone they know. I've been asked too many times to recount whether I had a sister who works at X company, or goes to Y school. I don't know what is is about my face, but apparently, I look like people.

2. Friends don't let friends take pictures where their underwear is showing.  Friend duties 101.

3. A sunny day is perfect for a picnic on the beach (in my dream life where I can actually go outside because I'm independently wealthy, have no career aspirations, and don't feel guilty or unsatisfied by that fact).

4. My favorite accessory is my wide black leather belt that I bought at a vintage store in Florence.  I've had it for about 5 years.  I wear it all the time, and every time, it reminds me of the most beautiful city and that amazing store of trinkets.  Europeans do vintage stores so much better than we do.

5. If I could afford it I would start a school in L.A. like Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone.  Have you seen Waiting for Superman yet about the state of the school system in this country?  It's an emotional rollercoaster for sure, but it's not completely depressing.  There is hope, and it's being carried by people like Geoffrey Canada.  We just need more of them.  Go watch!

6. The cure for boredom is ...wait, there's a CURE?!  Where?  How?  Someone please tell me before I die from this horrible affliction induced by hours of Bar/Bri!!!!

7. I am currently "in like" with Santa Monica.  We're only just starting to get to know each other, but so far, I think we're pretty compatible.  I like beaches; SM has beaches.  I like sunshine; SM usually delivers on that one.  Neither one of us likes traffic very much, but SM does its best to make life walkable for me.  But you know, it's just at the beginning, so we're not saying the real "L-word" yet.

I (sadly) do not have a sunset photo for you - fail! - but I do hope you have a wonderful Friday and that you get to see a sunset somewhere, wherever you are!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Napa Lunch

Our day in Napa started, as any good day in Napa should, at Oakville Grocery.

{I believe I caused a traffic jam for this picture, but it was worth it.}

Then we went for a lovely afternoon of wine and picnicking at Rubicon Estate. (But shhh, don't tell them we picnicked there, apparently it's not allowed.  Blasphemy if you ask me.)

{Save the Date: Portofino 2012.  Clearly joking, but that'd be fun.}

{where the magic happens}

{I surprisingly loved the reisling}

Our afternoon ended, as any good day in Napa should, with desserts from Bouchon.  Sharz got macarons (the pistachio was my favorite); Les got a chocolate bouchon.

Oh, then we peeked inside Napa Style and I fell in love with these chandeliers made out of tea cups and saucers (so not my style, but I still love them), and Leslie told us stories about her adventures with giant metal canisters of olive oil in Italy.  Apparently, people have those in their homes there.  Or maybe just the family Leslie nannied for.  Either way, go Italy!

Lovely friends, lovely day.