Friday, August 28, 2009

Because That is How the Universe Works

Sometimes, you write a long and well thought out comment on a friend's blog, and when you hit "send" you receive an error message and it all goes away. And you didn't save it, or ctrl-c it, or anything. Sometimes, you shave your legs and get a pedicure, and wake up with a big ole pimple on your face. Sometimes, things don't go exactly the way you planned (who am I kidding? When do things EVER go exactly the way you planned?), and you just have to figure out a way to make it work. (PS - how do you make a bright red, painful pimple go away in 6 hours when you are at work and then getting on a plane? Thanks.) - This is just how the universe works. It is not perfect, and things will always seem to go wrong just when you were hoping they would all go right.

Which brings me to my Life Motto: You just have to do the best you can with what you've got.

It's a little wordy, but it's what I believe.

I am a planner. I organize for fun. I like me a good schedule, and I LOVE a To-Do list. But I have also learned that it is important to be flexible - to adapt to changing situations quickly and effectively. I think this is something I picked up with all those years in theatre, because lordy lordy do you have to be flexible working in theatre. When I interviewed at Twitter, I had a really great conversation with founder Biz Stone about how he truly valued people with theatre degrees, because he thinks that people who have spent time working in theatre are the best combination of being prepared and adaptable. My first thought was "Finally! Someone outside of the theatre world who values my degree!" but my second thought was that he is so very right. That's not to say that you can't get these experiences or this kind of training outside of theatre, but I think that people who have studied and worked in theatre truly understand what it means to be prepared. The skills we learned in dealing with ripped seams and sore throats translate very easily to problems with PowerPoint presentations and cross-country meeting scheduling. And just about anything, really.

It's about putting out fires, and if you're good (and lucky), you can put them out before they start. That has been my job at a lot of different places (and would have been my job at many of the places I interviewed), and I think most people would say that those are their jobs (their lives) as well. We all have to do it, and I don't really know where I'm going with this anymore, except that I am glad I can adapt. Even if I don't always like it.

Also...lately, I have been actively working on spontanaity. I think that's the next step up from flexibility, right? Ok, I know how to make a plan and adapt if it changes (ps - let's find another word for flexible and adapt, please!). What I am not so good at is jumping on plans all spur of the moment-like.

I fantasize about taking a trip on a whim, or even just going out for the evening without planning in advance...and I am forcing myself to stop with the planning already! This summer, with Will off in the woods, and my life all to myself, I decided to do just that. I didn't make plans, knowing that if none came about, I could spend the night reading by myself and being perfectly content. Or taking a bath. Wow, I forgot how luxurious it feels to just take a bath! If a friend called and said "Hey, let's get together tonight!" I (most of the time) said yes. It has been a great learning experience for me, honestly. Teaching myself to call a friend on my way home from work to see if she wanted to come over for dinner and a movie...but also learning how to tuck myself away for the night and turn down plans if I just don't feel up to it.

It's nice. I am digging this new spontaneity-appreciating side of myself, and I want her to come out and play more often!

This post is all over the place because OMG I AM GETTING ON A PLANE IN LESS THAN 5 HOURS. And also because yeah, that thing about the pimple? Seriously, help. Ouch.


It is a crazybusy day at work, and we have been kind of nuts around here all week preparing for this massive day. Basically, we have three studios here at Fantasy, and all three are booked for all-day sessions. Oh, and all three are large, complicated, high-profile clients, with producers and friends and roadies and security and...yeah. Naturally, I can't talk about it, except to say that there is a lot going on and it is crazy and fun and whirlwindy and woo!

Yesterday, we had a last-minute schedule change, and welcomed Captain "Sully" Sullenberger (yeah, the guy who landed the plane in the Hudson) to Studio B to record some chapters for his soon-to-be-released audiobook! Unexpected, but awesome. He is truly "Captain Cool" - just a very nice guy, and I'm glad I got to meet him.

Like I said, it's been a crazy week, only made crazier by the fact that I have been trying to clean the apartment, pack some things up for storage, and generally prepare the place for Will to come home on Monday. Oh, and figuring out what to pack for my mini-vacation this weekend in Olympia. And trying to get it all done while jumping up and down with excitement over the fact that WE ARE GOING TO SEE EACH OTHER TONIGHT HOORAY! It's hard to pack boxes of photo albums and winter coats while jumping up and down, let me tell you what.

I am eating my breakfast of yogurt (note: TJ's brand Greek-style yogurt is kind of gross. Fage wins, and I will buy it exlusively in the future) and granola at 11am, and I threw a very weird mishmosh of food in my lunch box this morning (have been doing that "eat whatever is in the house because you're going away for 3 whole days" thing this week), but that's ok. So is that runon sentence (sure it is).

My bag is packed (though I still need to decide what book to bring for the plane). The apartment isn't quite as clean as I'd like it to be, and it's full of boxes, but he won't care. And this afternoon, he's baking me a pie. Possibly lemon meringue. And if I don't get to eat dinner before I get on the plane (which is highly likely), he said he would make me a sandwich for the drive from the airport. Oh yes, folks, I picked a winner (am I right, Jacqui?).

Anyway, right now, the dominant thought in my mind is that no matter how crazy the day gets, I am going to have a good night. And that is a nice thought.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I think this might be my favorite Google Video ever. (thanks, Brittany!)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Eating

My dear blog-friend Shannalee (of Food Loves Writing) just got back from a vacation in Maine, and she left a wonderful quote as a comment on Happy Jack Eats (another wonderful food blog I'm now in love with).

The restaurant is Paolina's Way in Camden, and at the end of the meal, they brought her party a laminated card with their bill, with this inscription on it:

"There are things you do
because they feel right
& they may make no sense
& they may make no money
& it may be the real reason
we are here: to love each
other & to eat each other's
cooking & say it was good."

I just thought that was so very nice. There is not much more wonderful than sharing a good meal with someone you love.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


So, I was all set on The Plan. You know, cram ourselves into my ~650 square foot 1-bedroom apartment, save tons of money on rent, be all cozy until we can afford to upgrade. It sounded just fine to me.

And then I started browsing Craigslist apartment listings. You know, just for fun.

This is a dangerous hobby, I tell you. On the one hand, doing this "just for fun" browsing got me the apartment I am currently living in. I love this place, and it's only because I decided (against what I thought at the time was my better judgment) to have a look online one day. I was all set on not looking, I didn't listen to myself and looked anyway, and BOOM. I found the perfect place for me.

Ok, so what's wrong with that? That all sounds good, right? Yeah. Well, the trouble comes when I start doing craycray things like looking at the real estate listings and falling in love with houses I can't afford.

Anyway, backing up. Like I said, we had decided that Will would move into my place, and we'd make do with the cramped quarters because the money we'd be saving would be so excellent, it would make up for it until we could move up. After all, all the 2-bedroom places I'd been seeing were steps backward in some way. My place has parking, in-unit laundry, hardwood floors, a yard, close proximity to BART (really, it doesn't get any closer). The 650 square feet don't feel cramped. It's great. So I don't want to give all that up for a place that has coin-op, shared laundry. Or no outdoor space. Or no parking. You know what I mean? Especially the laundry thing...oy. I cannot go from having my own washing machine to gathering quarters and sharing with my neighbors again. I'm just too spoiled at this point. Plus, I own the machine. The point is that really, it doesn't make sense to move just for an extra bedroom.

So yeah. Long story short is that I don't want to give up all the awesome stuff we've got here just for a 2nd bedroom. So I hadn't been looking. Except every couple of days when I thought to myself, "Well, it couldn't hurt..." - and at least this time, with my crazy looking, I think I may have struck gold a little bit.

It's a 2 bed, 1 bath in Rockridge (aka our dream area). ~800 square feet. Deck in a landscaped yard. Back unit of a duplex. Ample non-permit street parking. Hardwood floors. Laundry in-unit (not sure if it's a hookup or if there are machines there already). Oh, and it has a fireplace. Yeah. $1900 a month, which sounds a little steep, but it is within the realm of affordability (Will's old place was $850 and I have been paying $1100). It would mean less crazy savings, but it sounds too good to be true.

We're going to check it out to see for ourselves. Maybe it will feel cramped and dark, and the "nice size kitchen" will be tiny. Maybe it will be grimy and gross. Maybe the bathroom will be hilariously small. Maybe the washer/dryer will be nasty, and there won't be room for my stacked unit. Who knows? But you know me...I can't resist an in-person look!

Wish us luck...either way, at least we have my great place to fall back on :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Analytics! And Hello!

On a whim, I decided to check up on my Analytics just now. Holy cow, my numbers have gone up!

I don't want to go into too much detail, because it's after midnight and I need to go to bed, but the thing that shocked me the most was HOLY COW for the first time ever, my returning visitors outnumber my new visitors! That means people (you! you lovely people!) are actually reading what I'm writing and Coming Back For More! Wow. I can't tell you what that means to me. I mean, I know I'm not some big celebrity, and there aren't millions of people reading or anything, but it's kind of exciting to know that 53.53% of readers are returning to the site. Whoever you are, I feel all excited and flattered and silly. My bounce rate is down too, so maybe you're actually sticking around to read other posts? And you're spending an average of 20 seconds more on the site than you were back in Jan/Feb. So that's cool.

Also, 504 unique visits from July 20-August 19? Helloooo! Back in the Jan-Feb month, I only had 216 unique visits (and at the time, that was thrilling). I don't know who all of you people are, but HELLO OUT THERE!

I am averaging 30 visits a day...which brings me to something I've been meaning to bring up for a long time. Who are you, lurkers? Come out of hiding! Or don't - I certainly read plenty of blogs without commenting. But if you are reading this, and you have never left a comment, and you're feeling a little bold tonight, please let me encourage you to do so. I am positively tickled that there are actually people reading this thing, and I'm curious to see who you are!

I've "met" some fabulous people through this blog world over the last few years, and cultivated some truly wonderful friendships. I would love to "meet" more of you!

I've been thinking of doing some sort of reader contest, inspired by Shannalee (omg thank you for the cookies, they arrived today, they are delicious and will be getting their own post yum yum yum), so maybe be on the lookout for that...bribery? Naw...

Neighborhood Portrait #2

I like to give myself goals. I think that's pretty obvious, from this situation, but I like to feel a sense of purpose. So when it comes to exercise, I can't just "take a walk" or "go to the gym." This is why I love Curves - there are rules; there is a system. Your goal is to make it around the circuit twice (or three times on a really good day). Somehow that feels more concrete to me than "do the elliptical for 45 minutes." Call me crazy. Maybe my brain is just dysfunctional. That's just how I work. I like the systematic organization of it all.

Where was I? Oh yeah, goals. Purpose. Taking a walk. When I was unemployed, I tried to take walks as a way to get myself out of the house. Exercise AND not being inside on a beautiful spring afternoon? Score! However, I soon realized that without Purpose and Goals, laziness took over and I tell ya, I couldn't think of reasons not to take a walk fast enough. (that was an awkward sentence. Get over it.) Anyway, I like taking walks. A lot. But in order to take a walk alone, I need a reason. Like returning library books! It's walking, enjoying the nice weather, and BONUS: I get books! Everybody wins! Since I am working now, I can't do a midday library-bound stroll, but because it still says light out until around 8 or 9pm, I can go after work.

And a few days ago, that's just what I did. Naturally, I took pictures along the keep myself company? To give myself even more purpose? So here are the pictures. A sequel to my first Neighborhood Portrait. Different part of the neighborhood. Heck, maybe it's a different neighborhood altogether. But I tend to classify anything within a 5-10 mile radius as "in my neighborhood," so whatever.

I am certainly making little to no sense at present, so just enjoy the pictures. Oh, and I'm tagging this with SuperFit because I did this instead of going to Curves one night last week. A 2.5 mile (round trip) walk = exercise! Totally!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Lunch

I had to eat lunch at my desk today, so to entertain myself, I took pictures of my food. Yeah, I'm That Girl.

Wrap: whole wheat tortilla, egg white salad with chives, mustard, spinach, Beemster cheese

Tomato. It's cute.

Oh hi, string cheese! What are you doing here? I love string cheese.

The Trader Joe's brand of Pirate's Booty.

Not Pictured:
Dark chocolate covered pretzels (a snack, really)
Peach (I ate it too fast to take a picture)

Most boring post ever? Maybe?

That Video

Everyone and their mother is talking about this video, where Congressman Barney Frank puts a terrifyingly ridiculous woman in her place. I thought I'd share it here for those of you who somehow use my blog as a source for news. I don't know why you would...but in case you missed this elsewhere, here it is. PS- for the sake of giving credit where credit's due, I got it from Elon's blog.

Le Sigh

My dream house is off the market. No, I did not buy it. But someone did, and I hope they will be very happy there. And then I hope they sell it in several years when I am ready to by a house. I'm sure there will be other dream houses, and lord knows I'm not ready to buy now anyway, but still...I'm a little sad that it's been bought. Because I am dumb. Is it totally pathetic to get sad about "losing" a house you couldn't have had anyway? I think so.

Monday, August 17, 2009

So Far So Good

Earlier today, I made myself a to-do list to combat my lazy afternoon attitude and tackle the amount of tasks that lay before me. I was trying to think of a good way to keep track of my progress so that I could easily blog about it, and found that Google Tasks (it's in Gmail, if you're not familiar) was just the thing to do. My list is sorted by due date, so I can keep track of doing things as I go along. Things not on the list that I should be doing every day are things like dishes and straightening up around the house. Sometimes I actually do need to put those things on a list to get them done, but I'm hoping I can just get it done. Like a big girl.

Here is what I've done so far:

Progress! I'll keep updating as I go...more for myself than for anything else - I'm sure this is not really interesting to anyone else; but if I publish it, then I'm somehow holding myself more accountable or something.

Oh Yeah, Did I Mention...

...that I fell asleep while reading a book on my 3:30pm lunch break today? Yeah, late lunch. Yeah, I fell asleep. I am currently pretending that the nap gave me energy so that I can accomplish Curves, dry cleaning, and prescription pickup after work!

Catching Up

All day, I've felt like I need to catch up. My time without Will is coming to an end (less than two weeks left! HOORAY!!! holycowican'tbelieveit'salmosthere), and suddenly I am realizing that there are things I need to do. Like, now.

I've been sort of busy lately, which is all well and good, but it's led me to feeling behind. I had a wonderful weekend at home with the family, which included helping a dear friend find her wedding dress (I maybe cried a little), seeing Julie & Julia (I want to cook all day every day), and attending a memorial ceremony for my grandma (click here for a beautiful recap from my mom). It was a restful and just all around nice weekend - I even got to nap in the sun by the pool. Heavenly.

Last week was filled with fun dinners with friends and a walk around my neighborhood. Looking back at the calendar, it wasn't actually all that jam-packed, yet somehow I still feel like it flew by in a flurry of business! I guess that's the way it goes sometimes.

Perhaps it is also just because it's Monday, and when Monday rolls around all I want to do is eat ice cream and curl up into a ball on the couch and nap and nap and nap and nap...and nap some more. I know I can't be the only one who feels this way. It takes me a great amount of will power to drag my butt to Curves on Monday nights, but I feel like if I can get myself there after work on a Monday, I can do just about anything! And my family's constant "wow, you look thin!" and "you look smaller!" comments this weekend were certainly a bit of motivation to keep it up...thanks, guys. Even if it wasn't true, it made me feel like my last few months of exercise have not been in vain! (Are they actually "in vain" though, because I am vain for wanting to work out to look better? Hmmm, I do love words) I'd also like to give a shout out to my Reebok Easy Tones and my Fit Flops, for helping to strengthen and tighten my legs! Seriously, after even a 2-mile walk, I can feel the burn.

Anyway, I feel like there is much to do, and I want to do it all, but also I want to sleep. So instead, I will make a list (with semi-deadlines, naturally), and then I will feel better about the things I need to get done!

This Week:
  • Return library books
  • Pick up dry cleaning
  • Take books to Moe's for resale
  • Pick up prescription from Walgreens
  • Go to Curves 3 times minimum
  • Wash guest sheets/towels from Kate's visit
  • Pay bills (after 8/20 paycheck)
  • Wash clothes. At least 3 loads. Maybe 4.
This Weekend:
  • (hopefully) sort through the garage with my landlord and make room for Will's and my stuff...this is a whole situation, since the garage door is currently broken (not my fault), and the garage is filled with my landlord's stuff. Whee!
  • Purchase many $4 Sterilite tubs from Target for aforementioned garage storage project
  • A's Game for April's birthday
  • Farmer's Market (I hope!)
  • Geocaching with Becca, Josh and Keira
  • Brunch with Twitter-blog-friend/SF Newcomer Shelley - I hope!
  • Measure Will's desk (in the storage unit) to see if it will fit in the apartment
Next Week:
  • Pack up some stuff for storage
  • Whatever I didn't get done over the weekend
Next Weekend:
  • Go to Washington to visit Will's family
  • Come home with Will! Yay!

I feel better having written it down in a list. Somewhere in there, I'd like to bake some muffins or something, and I'd like to squeeze in a pedicure at some point, but we'll have to see how productive I actually am...

RIP, Crazy Aunt Purl's Garden

I have blogged many times about how lovely Crazy Aunt Purl's garden is. I truly loved this garden, almost as much as if it were my own. Perhaps because of my own lack of gardening this summer, I was living vicariously through her. And her garden was lovely. She blogged about the wonderful things she grew and ate, and I drooled and applauded from afar.

Sadly, her garden has met its the hands of some horribly overzealous gardeners. My heart sank when I read her post about it. I just feel so sorry, and so defeated on her behalf - it was all going so well! Surviving the summer heat of The Valley! Prospering and producing bounties of vegetables! And the corn!

It is a sad day when your hard work is destroyed, and I am really feeling for Laurie right now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beer and Oreos

Will just let me know that they found the infamous Cold Beer And Oreos Cache, just north of Big Lake Youth Camp. They had heard about it from a southbound hiker who had just been there, and weren't sure if there would indeed be such a treasure waiting for them on the trail. But oh, at 9:45am on this drizzly-but-not-raining-thank-goodness Wednesday, they have stumbled upon the oasis of all hiker oases. oasises? oasii?

See, there are these people called Trail Angels. Trail Angels are generally people who live near the trail, who provide services for free to hikers. This could be something super important like receiving a resupply box and meeting the hikers at a designated pick-up point (in sections where the town post office is closed, or there is no post office, this is crucial!), or something just awesome like leaving a cooler of cold beer and a package of Oreos by the side of the trail. Some Trail Angels, especially down in the Southern CA section of the PCT, go so far as to open their homes to hikers, feeding them a home-cooked meal, letting them camp out on a grassy lawn, and offering showers and laundry facilities. Who are these brilliantly wonderful people?

Well, here are just a few:
I just think it's so interesting (and awesome) that these kind people make themselves available to hikers, just for the love of hiking and helping. They provide their cell numbers and home addresses, so hikers can contact them 24/7 for help. They offer rides to and from the trail and towns, they maintain water caches in dry areas. They are just generally nice people who want to help out. And I think that's just great.

And so do Will, Tom and Chris, who are enjoying their cold beer and oreos!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

1402 Edith St.

I was certain that I had blogged about this house already, but I am failing to find my post on the subject, so I shall just gush in full detail now. This post might be my HouseLustiest post ever.

Of course, I am not looking to buy. Of course, if I were, I could not afford this house. BUT, I love it just the same.

I fell in love with it on the internet. An innocent browse through the Craigslist real estate listings opened my eyes to this lovely listing (not to be confused with Lovely Listings), and it was love at first sight. I thought it was too good to be true - after all, $679,000 isn't insanely overpriced for the area (growing up in Los Angeles has distorted my sense of what is "reasonable" when it comes to these things). You might call me crazy for attending the open house last week, but I couldn't help myself. I mean, something HAD to be wrong with this place, right? Um, if only.

For more information on the property, you can see the real estate listing here, or get info on Zillow. You should especially check out the photos page of the real estate listing, but only if you want to drool and possibly turn into a pile of jelly. I'm not saying it's my dream house, but ok, it is kind of my dream house.

There is nothing about this house to dislike. It is impeccably done, and just gorgeous, inside and out.
Things I love (because I like to torture myself with things I cannot have):
*note: all photos are from the realtor's website - No copyright infringement intended.*
  • The arched door. Seriously, it's not just an arched doorway - the door itself has a rounded top. It could not be more charming if it tried. (you can see it from the inside in the picture I linked to this bullet point)
  • The paint on the outside. I've always had a thing for blue houses with red doors; I don't know why. But this paint is just the perfect shade of green-blue, with the inset-window-trim (I don't know what it's really called, so that will have to do) being a slightly deeper shade. And the red door. So nice. (this picture is of the garage, see below for the deliciousness of the garage)
  • The kitchen. Small, yet spacious. It's actually the perfect size, if you ask me. It has a cut-out window that connects it to the dining room, and sparkling granite counter tops in the most delectable shade of blue-green I have ever seen. One of those cute sinks with the little mini-sink-with-disposal thingie in the corner. Dishwasher. Gas stove. Plenty of cabinet space, including a display-rack-cabinet thing that I can't really describe. But it was cute.
  • Breakfast nook. Next to the washer/dryer cabinet. Yep. It would perfectly fit my stacked unit. Of course.
  • Master bedroom, which is totally bigger than my current bedroom.
  • Second bedroom, which is just the right size for a guest bed/couch and a desk.
  • Ample closet space (several closets).
  • FIREPLACE. I mean, hello. Just look at that pretty thing. And on each side is a little window seat that doubles as storage. Naturally.
  • I even love the kooky, brightly-colored bathroom tiles.
  • The backyard. Cozy spot for a table/chairs, a garage that has a fully-functioning workroom (work bench, pegboard, electricity) attached, a nice amount of grass. There is even a perfect spot for a garden. There is even a deck (looked like cedar? some sort of cherry wood?) with a few steps leading from the kitchen to the yard. Sigh. You're killing me, house.
  • The hardwood floors, the central heat, the fact that the fireplace is in a nook, the kooky tree that manages to look perfect climbing up the outside of the fireplace, the window boxes out front...
I have to stop now. It's just too much. This house is just too wonderful, and I am starting to get that pang of "it's not your house; get over it."

Can someone just buy it for me, please?

Oh, Hello Kitchen

This is so sunny and bright, I can't help but smile. Keep in mind that the walls of my apartment are pretty much that exact shade of mint, so maybe I'm biased.

Bookshelf, I Love You

There is nothing about this that I do not love. Except maybe the liquor bottles. I wouldn't put those out on display like that. But it adds character? Nah, I'd still put 'em away.

Charlie Dog

My parents have submitted our dog, the awesome Charlie, in the Cutest Dog Contest! If they win, they'll get $1 million (over 30 years)...and well, they could really use the money right now.

Also, Charlie IS the cutest dog. Like, ever. Sorry to all of you with cute dogs, but if you met Charlie, you would know how awesome he is.

If you so desire, please go here to vote for him and help the world know of his cuteness (and help my parents win some money). You can vote once per day! And I highly encourage it!

And yes, one of his ears is floppy and the other is not. It's irresistible.

That is all :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Salmon for Me

Tonight, I had a little date night with myself. A girl's night in, just me. I had planned on eating dinner and watching a movie with a big bowl of popcorn. Maybe some ice cream for dessert.

I made a really yummy little dinner of salmon with butter and dill, corn with red pepper, and roasted brussels sprouts. Water with lemon cucumber. So classy.

I had made the corn last week, and it's been sitting in the fridge ever since, waiting for me to do something with it. Tonight I awkwardly cut it off the cob (is there a graceful way to do this? I just sliced it off and then kinda broke up the pieces with my hands), and put it in a pan with a little bit of Earth Balance, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. It was sweet, and crunchy, and just a little spicy. Mmm!

As for the brussels sprouts, I basically used Chrissie's recipe: slice and put cut side down on a little olive oil, on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until they're bright green and starting to brown at the edges.

I had water with a bit of sliced lemon cucumber, just to fancy it up a bit. If you haven't had lemon cucumber in your water, I highly recommend it. It's delish, and makes you feel a like you're in a spa. Oh yes.

I know you're all wondering how I prepared my amazing salmon. Well, I shall tell you! I know, you were waiting in anticipation. This is an adapted version of my dad's recipe. Basically, some form of butter, lots of dill, a little garlic...ta-da!

Start with a piece of beautiful, fresh salmon. This pretty 0.7 pound piece was about $8.00 at Berkeley Bowl. It was plenty for me for dinner, and I have half left over for lunch tomorrow!

Place salmon skin-side down on a piece of foil on a broiler rack/baking sheet. You can pierce holes in the rack part if you want - I usually don't.

Put a few dollops of Earth Balance on top of the salmon. Sprinkle a bit of garlic salt, and a generous amount of dill. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top.

Broil until it looks opaque. Serve with lemon wedges :-)

I overcooked mine a little, but it still tasted good!

I watched Bride Wars (totally dumb, but I love me some Anne Hathaway, and I was in the mood for a cheesy girl movie). I wasn't hungry enough for popcorn, but I think I'm going to pan-sear some nectarine and have it with a small bowl of ice cream for dessert. Good night!

Alameda Flea Market

Last weekend, my friend Aly and I went to the Alameda Point Antiques & Collectibles Faire, commonly known as the Alameda Flea Market. It happens on the first Sunday of every month, and though I've lived up here for three years, this was my first time going. It was a lot of fun, and I ended up with some great goodies!

little blue bowl from the 1940's: $5
yellow pyrex bowl with "butterfly" flower pattern: $10

two floral TV-trays: $2

Saltine tin: $2

Corn bread pan - we saw these everywhere for $25-$45. I bought this one for $5. It needs to be seasoned, but for 5 bucks, I couldn't resist the thought of baking corn bread mini-loafs shaped like ears of corn. Too cute!

There are a few other things I purchased as gifts, so unfortunately I can't share them on the blog, but this place was just full of brilliant things. Some old and gorgeous, some completely bizarre, some totally junky...all fun to look at! It took us about three hours to get through the whole thing - including a stop for some yummy food.

I fell in love with this handmade furniture from D and L Smith. It's actually pretty affordable, and it's just beautifully made. I mean, just look at! Really good quality, and come on - that little dresser was only $225. The cheapo one I bought at IKEA (and subsequently had to re-build and fix with wood screws myself) was $179. Check out their website - they have some really beautiful pieces.

If you're planning to go next month, here are some tips:
  • Bring cash - I had gotten this tip from Yelp, and it proved valuable. There was an ATM there, but the line was tremendously long!
  • Wear sunscreen - I put it on my face, but missed a few spots. I also missed my neck and chest. Even though it was cold and foggy when we got there, the sun came out in the last hour, and I totally lobstered out.
  • Haggle if you want to - I was a little hesitant, and I'm sure I could have haggled at some places where I just walked away instead, but I did get that little blue bowl for $5 (the guy was asking $8). So woo!
  • Bring a cart - or at the very least, bring sturdy bags. I hadn't expected to buy much, and while I didn't spend a lot of money, I got a lot of small items that were difficult to carry individually (even in the plastic grocery bags some people offered). And while you're at it, bring some bubble wrap or paper - not all of the places selling breakables had paper/bubble wrap. I ended up getting some from another booth, but it would have been nice to be able to use my own.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Container Store, in all its glory

It's no secret that I love to organize. Plastic storage bins are my favorite...oh I love them so. You can fill them, stack them, see what beautifully categorized contents lay inside...oh yes, the plastic storage bin is quite a lovely piece of equipment.

I'm going to have to buy some for the upcoming move-things-to-the-garage project, but I'm not sure exactly how many and what sizes. Or where to buy them this time around. The ones I bought at IKEA are cheap, but lacking in quality. I'd like to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to use my 20% off coupons, but I'm not sure they have quite what I'm looking for (and they're more expensive usually).

And then there is The Container Store. I usually avoid it because of the well-known high prices, but the other night, I found myself outside the store in San Francisco with about 10 minutes to kill. What's a girl to do? I wandered in...

Organized. Happy. Yes. This store understands me. And look at all those clear plastic bins! Heaven...

As it turns out, they're not that much more expensive than they are at Target (ok, they're a little more expensive), but since my nearest store is in San Francisco, I think be heading to my local Target for instead.

Still, it was fun to visit and wander around - and I only made it through the first floor!

I know I'm not the only person who loves the clear storage bin - my mom taught me all about them growing up, and I just got off the phone with Erin, where about half of our conversation focused on them...why do we love them so? Is there some deep psychological reason, or do we just like to see what we've stored?

Farmers Market Lunch

I went solo to the Farmers Market today, and was able to pick up all my delicious goodies in just half an hour! Not my usual leisurely walk around the booths, but I had a nice time and ended up with lots of good food.

For example, the kalamata olive loaf, goat's milk feta, fresh basil, and awesome stripey tomato you see pictured to the left. Otherwise known as lunch! :-)

I also got baby eggplant, green beans (and some other kind of wide, flat green beans), nectarines, strawberries, sage cheddar cheese, beautiful summer squash (some with the blossoms still on! Oh I will be stuffing those tonight!), more stripey tomatoes, baby spinach, a cucumber, some lemon cucumbers, some "dry grown" (or something like that) tomatoes, and some nice little button mushrooms. All organic! Fresh! From Farmers! And for $35!

I love the Farmers Market.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Credit Card Query

Well Heeled wrote a post today about a decision she's facing: whether or not to get another credit card. This reminded me that I'm supposed to be thinking about getting a credit card - something I've been toying with for a few years but have never gotten around to doing.

This is the comment I left after her post (where she asked readers how many cards they have). I'm re-posting it here in hopes that some of you can weigh in on the subject. Thanks in advance!
I have zero credit cards. I use my debit card for everything...and so far, I've liked that. I have GOOD credit (from car payments, rent, cell phone, student loans, etc) - as far as I know anyway - but not very MUCH credit.

I have recently been thinking that I should get a credit card to use for things like bills - where I know I will pay it off each month. I don't worry about making extravagant purchases I can't afford; I worry that I'll use my credit card for basic purchases and "forget" that that money is no longer really available to use in my bank account, and then think I have more money than I really do...does that make sense? I guess I'd just have to be more careful about keeping track and knowing that the balance in my checking account isn't truly accurate.

Does anyone recommend a particular credit card for a beginner? :-) I have Wells Fargo, and I want a card with some sort of rewards but no annual fee. Interest isn't a huge issue because I plan on paying it off each month.
So yes. Do you have a card that you love? Do you have any recommendations? I don't need advice about budgeting or living within my means or any of that - I know how to do that. I just want to establish some credit for myself in a responsible way, and earn some rewards on the side!

Where Did I Go?

I have been very tired and busy has been full of paperwork and numbers (aah! numbers! I will learn to love you!), and I have been coming home and either spending time with friends or passing out on the couch. Not too much time for blogging, even though I have things to say. I'll have more after this weekend, so expect an exciting bout of blog posts this weekend...maybe I'll even type some up and schedule them to be posted next week so you don't get them all at once. Ooh boy, I could be that fancy. I really could.

I know you're wondering what kinds of glorious topics I'll be writing about, so I'll just tell you now. This way, maybe you'll come back to read them. In no particular order:
  • Javier Dunn
  • Alameda Flea Market
  • Organizing the Garage
  • The Container Store
  • OMG The Open House I Went To
  • Whatever Else I Think Of
Satisfied? No? Come back in a few days and you will be. I hope.

Note: I just realized my last post was only on August 4. That is not that long ago. Guys, that was only 3 days ago. It's been a long 3 days - I seriously thought I hadn't posted in over a week. Eesh. As Crazy Aunt Purl said today, "I am thrilled that it's Friday. Thrilled, I tell you. Like exhaling, that's what it feels like. Long week. Five days of one thing for two of another, how's that?" Exactly.

Hikers: Halfway

I've just received the halfway-update from Will (his mom mailed me pages from his journal), and I posted it on the trail journal (with some more pictures). Check it out at! As always, feel free to leave him a comment in the guest book - he'll be back at his parents' house in two weeks and will be able to read and respond (and post more entries) then.

Not too much to report on; they hiked at least one day in the pouring rain and Tom had some soaked gear, but they seem to be doing ok. I last spoke to Will on Thursday morning, when I believe they were at Shelter Cove. Their next stop is Elk Lake Resort, and they should get there tomorrow (this last part of the trip has resupply stops every 3 days or so)! I should hear from them at some point this weekend, and I'll be sure to post an update when I do.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Getting Fit: The Challenge

I am participating in The Challenge, from These Little Moments. While it is technically a weight loss challenge, it's really more a staying-motivated challenge. By reporting progress for whatever your goals are (whether your goal is to lose 5 pounds or just work out regularly), it keeps you motivated. Or it keeps me motivated, anyway. Here's my first update:

I have met my workout goal (3-5 times a week) for the last week, so yay! I have been trying to eat healthier (basically less cookies and ice cream) as well. I went to a little intro-to-Pilates-using-a-fit-ball class over the weekend, and even though it was a sampler class and we didn't do full reps, I was sore for two days after! Core strengthening! I learned some new exercises for core strengthening and lower ab work...and remembered some that I had somehow blocked from memory after taking weekly pilates classes a year ago ;-)

No pounds or inches lost that I know of, but I don't get weighed and measured at Curves until the end of the month. I'll have a full update on that when this little month of fitness ends.

I have renewed motivation though, since I just saw some pictures from Will's backpacking trip - he's only halfway done and he's lost a good 10-15 pounds! It's so much easier for guys, isn't it? Ok, so maybe it's the hiking 15 miles a day and carrying 40 pounds on his back... Anyway, so far, I'm feeling good about my progress, and I am psyched to keep going!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gem / Photo

A friend of mine from college is a wonderful photographer. She primarily does weddings (though she also does headshots, baby photos, engagement photos, etc.), and her shots are so gorgeous that I've already decided I will use her someday. If you are looking for a wedding photographer, or if you just enjoy looking at beautiful photos, please do yourself a favor and check out her website at

Destination Dinners!

Through the wonderful blog called Food Loves Writing (written by the blogger formerly known as GradGirl), I have learned of a magical cooking treat by the name of Destination Dinners. Not gonna lie, I totally love them because of how prettily they are organized. Also because the food looks delicious, and the recipes are things I wouldn't think to make on my own. And because of the organization. Goodness, I love me some organization!

Anyway, Shannalee is hosting a contest where you can win a Destination Dinner. Of course, I am entering as many times as possible...not only to win a free totallyawesomedinner, but to give this girl a shout out wherever I can. She is a great writer, a beautiful food photographer, and we have been blog buddies for the last two years. We've never actually met, but I loved her personal finance blog and I love her new(ish) food blog as well. Check her out!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

An update - with photos!

I've just updated Will's trail journal with photos from his visit with his family at Crater Lake, and I've created a photo album with even more pictures here.

Thanks to Sue for sending me the pictures!

Will called around 9am to check in - they had some thunder and lightening last night, but the storms were expected to pass by about noon, and they were doing well and sounding positive. I'll continue to post updates as I hear from him, and I'll be posting a mid-point update on his trail journal when it arrives in the mail.

That's all for now :-)