Archive for November, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thirty-Six

In high school an old friend once signed off on the back of her tiny school portrait, the ones you exchanged with friends every year, “Another year, another hairdo” and every birthday since reminds me of that message. True? Yeah, but not really cause my hair hasn’t changed much, kinda safe and lazy like that, wearing it up has always been my cop out. And the very few times I dabbled with color..hmm, very regretful. Ashy shades are impossible for me, my hair’s never even come close, just always a couple hundred dollars poorer and a wait of two years to grow it out, no thanks! No pressure here really to the sweet person who cuts my hair a few times a year. I’m well aware of my limitations, the expectation’s never high, no hairdresser on fire scenario at all, I do believe it’s only hair and it’s not the end of the world kinda stuff.

Well my 30s are flying by, goals, dreams, it’s happening or happened, en route folks and there’s much more still. The dream? Don’t look too far, most times its right there and what do I know? It’s pretty sweet! A roof over your head, great food and family, friends and music, and yeah, I’m still working on that trip to the south of France. Thanon-les Bains, yeah you, it may seem like you got buried under all the sawdust that’s been our lives for 2 years, but no, I did not forget about you, we’re there, it’s a date sooner than later, I promise.

Indeed a very long time since the days when the most pressing issue was exchanging school photos and writing clever messages. And my 20s? well that was just a mess of a time that I thought then was so awesome but then again you’re 20something, what do ya know really? Now I know my 30s have been the best so far, you know more, you shrug fuzz to the side better and you just be, being and eating cake, sweet!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

tide pools

My friend Phil shared these photos he took of the tide pools at Swami’s on black friday, skipped out on holiday shopping madness and a day at the beach exploring was a much better idea. This past weekend San Diego’s tides were at some of their lowest points, Swami’s beach, Cardiff State beach and Torrey Pines beach, some of the areas best tide pools. Check out Swami’s, it’s real pretty!

The new moon is hanging between the palm fronds, can you see it? And if you look you can see Venus too, about 5 o’clock from the moon and just above the small palm tree, I see it.

As the tide recedes during the afternoon the reefs are exposed.

A large reef formation and you find all sorts of sea creatures living in the pools or hiding under rocks, hermit crabs, oysters, anemone, shrimp, sand crabs, octopi, small fish and 45 million year old fossil shells

starfish too…and I know these guys, the dad is a famous ukulele maker, sweet family.

The weather has been so nice lately, no complaints. What a nice way to start the holidays, now onto merry and ho, ho, ho…

Sunday, November 27, 2011

pressure

House is on it’s way to being liveable, move-in ready and I’m feeling the pressure to find some things we kind of need soon, house decor necessities, a very interesting task when the budget’s teeny tiny. I need an area rug, something 8×10 in size or larger, hand-knotted wool is ideal and I found a pretty one on Gilt.com at the right price but the measurements were off, too small, just under 9×6, boo on that. I’m trying to talk my other half into getting it for a bedroom or office or something, it’s really too pretty to pass up. There’s also a hand-knotted chobi wool rug on beyondtherack.com that’s pretty, the right size and colors I can live with but the price, not so much, please rug gods, I have a month, make it happen.

I recently bought these items from Fab.com.

Been searching high and low for the right linen shower curtain for the guest bathroom. I blinked on a light grey linen Coyuchi one on ebay awhile back, it was a good deal, just not mine, since then, nothing, there’s pretty ones of course but I want a bargain so the search continues. For now this Izola shower curtain made from eco-friendly 100% PEVA which is a non-vinyl, chlorine-free and a biodegradable material printed with the iconic British Keep Calm and Carry On message will be my stand-in, for $12 you can’t go wrong.

And I’ve always wanted a sheepskin something, something to throw over an armchair and on my hard on the rear wire Bertoia chair and I found one, it’s coming soon in the mail. And this Vogue spread of Aerin Lauder’s light-filled ski lodge home in Aspen, Colorado had me daydreaming even more of warm fur and sheepskin throws and other pretty things, a Nakashima table, Hans Wegner hoop chairs…a pop of color here and there would be nice, a beautiful relaxing and serene home in the mountains, warm and not fussy with amazing basics, I like it a lot.

And seeing the oak lined walls in one of the bedrooms was like a sneak peak for me, I can’t wait to see the kitchen cabinets Pete’s building us, we chose a pretty rift-cut white oak.

Friday, November 25, 2011

strand bamboo floor

Shim building to level finally a thing of the past and laying plywood down was no easy task either, thankful for the 2 heavy duty impact drills our stucco guy, Glen and one of the guys laying our stone, Julio let us borrow, it made the process go by a lot quicker. For downstairs we rented a cement grinder for a day  from BJ’s Rentals in Encinitas to insure for a smooth install, just one last thing to make the concrete level.

Purchasing flooring, easy? Surprisingly there weren’t too many places in San Diego that had much engineered hardwood click lock floors and even more shocking was that most of the sales people were clueless when it came to the product, weird, especially since we moved here from a city where condos are big and installing an engineered click lock floor is the norm. So yeah, we’ve finally got to installing the floors. So much for driving around the city stopping at floor shops all day, after telling our friend, Pete who’s doing our kitchen cabinets our horrible floor shopping experience he suggested we check out the Cali Bamboo site, they’re local, a premier manufacturer of green building materials made entirely from bamboo and they give back by participating in 1% for the Planet, you can’t hate on that, sweet!

And after seeing a sample of their floors we went with Cali Bamboo’s strand engineered bamboo click flooring in their Java color. With a high Janka rating and set on plywood, no MDF and click lock too which means no glue and an easier install, it’s a really solid, great quality floor, it met all the criteria we were looking for and just within our budget, with larger plank lengths too, we’re happy with it!

curbside delivery

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thankful

Unconventional turkey day this year, my brother and husband deciding it was a great day to tear up half my kitchen, really guys? out with the old, time for all new  and I had mixed feelings about their day’s plan, thrilled to finally be starting demo on the old kitchen but it also meant no baking cakes or anything special like that. The old kitchen’s reduced to half the size now, we’re abiding by the city’s building rules of maintaining a functioning kitchen while we reno the house, smashing one half at a time here. Soon folks, soon, we can move in, sunsets from home and some peace, so thankful.

The old kitchen’s turning into 2 bedrooms, this is one half of it. Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

greenhouse graveyard

FSU in the hood! Smashing starts at 7am for the past 2 weeks now, bye bye old greenhouses, bye to the best kind of neighbors you can ask for, word is 27 new homes are going up…change.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

damn the torpedos

Lagging on posts this week, I’ve been so busy lately and yeah, how nice it was to take a 4 hour break from the world last night, watched Runnin’ Down a Dream, the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers documentary, great music, sweet story, amazing talent!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

pasta and clams

I have fond memories of the island of Maui, posting up ocean front in Paia, waking up to waves crashing, sun shining, the warm ocean and there’s no doubt  we’ll be back. My friends, Joe and Elaine used to live on Maui and one year they gave me a cookbook from one of their favorite restaurants on the island, Longhi’s, and it’s been my staple, go to cookbook that I reach for time and time again. Bob Longhi’s recipes are delicious, they work and a trip to Maui is never complete without a stop at Longhi’s in Lahaina  for lunch or dinner or both. Fresh ingredients, very good olive oil and parm and I’m eating Longhi’s at home tonight. This pasta and clams dish has amazing flavor, so satisfying on a rainy, wet saturday night at home, anytime really.

Pasta and Clams (adapted from Longhi’s “Prawns Venice” recipe)

3 pounds fresh manila clams

1 pound dried spaghetti/linguini

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup finely chopped garlic (5 cloves)

a pinch of red chili flakes

1 cup white wine (was out of white wine and substituted clam juice instead)

¼ cup lemon juice (3 Tablespoons)

¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

3-4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Clean clams by soaking them in water for 20 min, rinse thoroughly to take off all the sand and debris. Meanwhile, heat a big pot of water for your pasta and cook to al dente.

Coat saucepan with olive oil and over medium-high heat saute chopped garlic ’til lightly golden. Add the clams, wine (or clam juice), lemon juice and chili flakes, cover to steam until clams start to open (about 3 minutes). Mix in the parsley and remove the cooked clams with a slotted spoon, set aside. Stir the cold butter chunks into the sauce, one tablespoon at a time ’til butter melts. When pasta is cooked al dente, remove from water and add directly into pan, toss well and plate onto serving bowl, top with the clams. Add freshly grated parmesan to taste. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

stone and tile

Lee from Builders Trading Company once again delivered. We went by there having already checked out the prices of our ideal tile/stone at other retail stores in the neighborhood and yes, we got lucky again at Lee’s shop. He had just received the remnants from a reno of a fancy restaurant in La Jolla, lucky for us they overbought on tile and now their leftovers are the tile and stone we’re using for our bathrooms, it works. Rectangular vein cut travertine for the showers and floors and a textured porcelain chestnut tile that’s cut in wood plank lengths for the master bath floor and under the stairs storage area.

We’re also using the same chestnut porcelain tile but in a larger rectangular shape for our slab under the wood burning stove in the living room. As it was remnants from a previous job we got all our tile for 60-70% off of what your normal retail tile store would quote, good quality stuff too, such a sweet deal. Having a place like Builders Trading Company in the neighborhood for a huge reno on a slim budget has been awesome, especially since the budget was blown a month ago, we’re pulling a hat trick now, for sure check it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

no knead bread and truffle butter

Some cold rainy days and nights this past weekend and we were craving something warm and simple, some homemade toasty bread right out of the oven reminds me of staying with my parents in Vientiane, Laos. Every morning vendors on bicycles with baskets full of crusty french baguettes honking their bike horns or bells, my mom rushing outside to buy a couple of loaves for our breakfast, french bread, a staple in Laos long after the days of French colonization, Indochine. This super easy no knead bread recipe is a favorite around here, seriously no kneading, it works!

No Knead Bread Recipe (adapted from Steamy Kitchen site)
3 cups bread flour
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
A covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel…something that can go into a 450F oven.)

1. Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on countertop.

2. Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Generously dust a cotton towel (not terrycloth) with flour. Set dough seam side down on top of towel. Fold towel over the dough. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you’ve got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.

3. Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Holding towel, turn over and dump wobbly dough into pot, using your hands to get the dough off the towel. Doesn’t matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack.

And so while the husband was in Vegas for a night catching a Cirque show with friends and snapping photos of Ben Harper playing at the Stand Up For Skateparks Fundraiser over the weekend I was at home baking bread, smothering bread with truffle butter while the wind howled, spitting rain outside, my comfort food.