Monday, January 26, 2009


Photo by One Love Photo. Just makes me happy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pure Romance

Everytime I see these shoes on S&I I want to throw a temper tantrum until they're on my feet. It's torture. They would look SO amazing under my dress. Well, I suppose they wouldn't "look" that amazing, since you wouldn't be able to see them. But I'd know they were there. That would be amazing.

Speaking of my dress, did I mention I found one? After way too many nights spent agonizing and looking for a better deal, I finally buried any strip of sanity I have, and handed over the credit card. The good news is, I love it. It's perfectly me. Wanna see? It's the Oceano by Pronovias; you can see it here, or in real life here and here. Don't worry, Raf promised not to look. I trust him; he likes surprises. :)

100th Post!

Can you believe this is my 100th post?!!? I'm amazed that I've thought of 100 things to say in just over 4 months. Chatty Chatterson, I guess. I've really appreciated the blog's presence in my daily life over these last few months. It's been a fun way to focus my thoughts, keep in touch, and develop a collection of things that make me happy. It's a great tool to help keep me grounded in such a crazy time of my life.

On to the goodness--how great are these flags?! I originally noticed them in a Snippet & Ink compilation, and followed that path to the woman who made them for her wedding. The idea is that guests can wave the flags after you say your I dos, rather than throwing things at you. Love them! I especially love that they just say "YAY".

Anyone have a screen printing machine laying around that I can come play with?? Or how about a little Gocco? I think I could make that work too! I might have to register for one of these puppies. Read about Gocco here, or check out the Etsy video here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wry & Ginger

While perusing for registry additions on Etsy I came across the Wry & Ginger shop. They make the most hilarious greeting cards, including a couple of my favorites here. They even have laminated ones you can leave on people's bad!

Sunday Soup #3: Cauliflower with Crispy Prosciutto and Parmesan

Evidently now I not only have trouble making soup on Sundays, I also totally forget to blog the results! This week's edition of Sunday Soup (pg 62) got pushed to Monday because it was a 3-day weekend and we were having Andy and Shannon over for dinner on Monday. I can assure you I'm not to a place in my life where I can handle back-to-back nights of good cooking!

The Cauliflower soup was definitely a winner. I think it's Raf's favorite so far, and super easy to make. The only complaint I have is the cooking of the Prosciutto. I see a trend developing where I really can't stand the cooking of the meats in these soups. Raf simply fried the Prosciutto in a bit of oil on the stovetop, but the smell was atrocious! Raf and Andy didn't notice at all, but Shannon actually had to go sit on the porch it was so bad. The good news though--once it was cooked, it tasted incredible! Yet another edition of: Just Deal With It, Brooke.

The best part of Sunday Soups is, of course, the leftovers. I'm typically a one-time leftover girl. After lunch the next day, I'm done and Raf has to finish off any remainder. This one I've come back to 3 times though, and am ready for more. Maybe it's because Raf made the famous bread this time...

Green Dimes & Yellow Pages

We signed up for Green Dimes when we were at Apt 345 to deal with the ridiculous amount of junk mail we received. For $20 they work with direct marketers to have your name removed from mailing lists--and they plant 5 trees on your behalf. Pretty cool.

In a newsletter they sent today, they talked about a new free service, Yellow Pages Goes Green, which allows you to opt out from receiving unsolicited phone books. Signing up was probably pointless at this stage, because I've seen how those guys deliver books at apartment buildings, and I can assure you they're paying no attention to addresses, but hey, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

And I'll definitely be revisiting both of these services when we find a new home.

Cloth Diapers

Knowing I'd love it, my friend Val recently shared photos of all the handmade goodies she and her crafty fam/friends are working on for her expected bundle. It's all adorable, but I was most excited to see these handmade, reuseable cloth diapers. How cute are these?!?!

I've known for some time that when we're the ones with the bun in the oven, I wanted to do extensive research into the wonderful world of cloth diapers. There are multiple benefits--keeping the average baby's 5,000 diapers out of the landfill, saving some dough, and keeping chemicals away from the baby's skin. But it never crossed my mind to make them myself, and I certainly had no clue they could be so darn cute! Ah, yet another way to feed my pattern addiction.

For the sewing pattern and instructions, go here.

While surfing Etsy the other day, I also came across these non-baby cloth pads (boys beware). Very interesting. Who knew??

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Think Pink!

What do you think, Ash?? Except, instead of purple, think PINK! We could totally bling your space out! Hard core, yes. But so pretty at the same time! I think the fact that the room is so bright and airy (think ocean view banquet room!) allows it to work.

Not sold? Show your mom for me!! :)

Paper Flower Bouquet

Don't panic. I'm not suggesting that I've been so traumatized by talk of floral prices that I'll be carrying a paper bouquet instead of a live one. (Although, I must admit, it is a little tempting!) I saw this blog post tonight that suggests tossing a paper flower bouquet at the wedding, rather than paying for an extra toss bouquet. While I'm not sold on the whole bouquet tossing thing in general, the idea of being able to share a handmade paper bouquet with one lucky lady, does sound like fun! (Assuming it doesn't get gnarled in some nasty cat fight, of course.)

They link to all the fun paper flower kits over at the Paper Source--the same ones I eyeball everytime I'm in the store. The Paper Source even has a video on how to put them together (I love this lady's videos, btw, she's just so kooky--I can totally picture her crafting with Mom.) Because I'm budget challenged, and realized all it would take is those wire things and some floral tape to go crazy with any fun paper we want, I searched for a free petal template and found one with more instructions here. I could probably even draw my own if I thought I was that cool. (I don't.)

Jordan, doesn't this project have YOU written all over it?! You can start practicing for some home decor, then teach me when you come down for the Jason Aldean show!? Mom, have you made paper flowers??

Saturday, January 17, 2009

That Hugo Boss

...he cuts a nice suit." Rememeber that, from The Holiday? I love that movie.

It didn't take long after my last post to get Raf fired up to go suit shopping. A whole 7 minutes would be my estimate. We went to the mall to check out the Mens Wearhouse--they've been advertising a buy one, get one free sale for the last couple weeks. Their stuff was nice enough, and great prices, but the sales guy wasn't really understanding that I wasn't that interested in a typical old-school, oversized style suit.

We decided to pass through Nordstrom on our way out. Guess MW wasn't the only place having a sale. It was slim pickins, but all their suits were 50% off until they get their new stock next week. It took us about 2 seconds to pick the perfect suit off the rack. You've never seen my man look so good. I certainly haven't! It's modern, fitted, a great shade of, hot, HOT! And, best news ever--it was mis-marked (accountant Raf's brilliant catch), so we saved $80 more than expected!

Can't wait to see him fully decked out in this little Hugo Boss Red Label number on August 1st!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yellow & Grey

Looks like yellow and grey have become our primary colors. As you may recall, we're getting married at a big yellow house, so you really can't ignore that color's role in our day! Raf is planning to wear a grey suit--a tux just felt too overdone for us. Then we all fell in love with the grey Anthro Natural Sunlight dress. (Remember that one? Everyone voted. Everyone loved it. It's the one.)

Now I'm looking around trying decide which shade of grey for Raf's suit. We've been leaning toward dark grey, but these photos by Jose Villa make a lighter shade look pretty darn good too!
We've been considering having the groomsmen wear vests rather than full suits. We've been planning on a lightweight grey sweater vest--we hadn't even considered suit vests, but they look pretty good here. We'll also start searching for some fun shoes for the girls to wear with their dresses. We'll have plenty of options, but who doesn't love looking for a cute yellow shoe?!
All of these beauties found here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More Flowers

Raf was home sick with "food poisoning" earlier this week. Evidently our super professional diagnosis was a bit off though, cause I'm pretty sure food poisoning isn't contagious. So I had one of the least lovely nights of my life last night, and spent today trying to sleep it off and keep something down. Ick.

The only joy in this kind of misery is, of course, blog hopping. Kate clued me in to the floral design portion of the House Martin blog after my last post. Here's some loveliness found there today. (I'd share many more, but the sizing doesn't copy over well.)

Loving the yellow here.
And the red dahlias in the white birch tubes.
Considering we're doing table arrangements in Patron bottles, it's nice to see minimalism looking beautiful. Loving this butterfly weed.
And I found this little number in the current Pier 1 promotion. Love the flowers.
Ok, more sleep for me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I saw these pink bouquets on photographer Jerry Yoon's blog recently. Immediately thought of Ashley. I love the bride's bouquet. Here's a closer view:
Also found this montage of wonderfulness on the blog. Loving the flowers here too.
I'm envisioning kind of a farmer's market mix for myself, something like this one--but maybe with slightly more summery colors:
And this is totally unrelated to flowers, but I wish I had a reason to need a horse drawn buggy!
Now that I've had a conversation with Ash about the average price for wedding flowers, I need to remind Nena of our genious plan to have her take a flower arranging class....!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday Soup #2: Black Bean Soup with a Hint of Orange

It only took one week for our Sunday Soup schedule to fall apart. Of course. So, this week's edition of Sunday Soup comes to you on Monday--we were just too hungry to wait out the 2.5 hour commitment by the time we were headed home last night! (So we opted for Smokin Okie's in Pleasant Hill, instead. If you're in the Bay, check it out sometime. It's a hole in the wall that Gina introduced me to last Thursday...and by Sunday I was ready again! So far, I can highly recommend the Chicken Pot Pie--I loved it so much, I looked up a recipe that night!)

This week's soup was Black Bean Soup with a Hint of Orange (Sunday Soup, pg. 80). SO GOOD! I love a flavorful bean soup, and it's definitely the orange and the dollop of sour cream that made this amazing. Yes, it was a time commitment, but oh so worth it! And the good news is that 2 of those hours involved me registering for Facebook (yes, I finally caved), rather than slaving over the stove. Some notes to self:
  • 2.5 hours is probably an under-estimate. I let it simmer for a good half hour more to get to a consistency I liked, and ended up pureeing a good portion. (I prefer a thicker soup.)
  • Because of the time commitment, this would be a good one to cook on a Sunday afternoon, then reheat for dinner, or for lunches throughout the week.
  • Buy a hand juicer tool--Raf squeezing is less than effective.
  • Spanish-style chorizo is hard to find. She recommended Whole Foods, but they don't carry it anymore. The selection at Safeway was even more abysmal, but I ended up buying a package of beef (instead of pork) Mexican (instead of Spanish-style) chorizo anyway, then came home and stuck it in a frying pan to heat up (hoping that would get me close enough to the Spanish pre-cooked equivalent). Can I just state a side note here--home cooking is such a reasonable (and obvious) way to become a knowledgeable food advocate. Do you have any idea what is in chorizo??? YUCK! Have you ever watched it cook? Double yuck! But, if I'm going to love it in a restaurant, I better be able to stomach the process myself. Waste not, want not, right? Anyway, good news is, the soup still tasted great, even with no Spanish-style reference point.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Family Projects

I'm so behind on blogging! I've had so many random ideas to capture this week, but no time to post them. Let's remedy that...

I've been giving a lot of thought to "family projects" for the wedding. One of my favorite things about my family is that everyone has a craft--woodworking, metalsmithing, sewing, gardening, paper crafting, thrifting, etc. It's awesome. Especially when you're having a backyard wedding and looking to have personal touches around every turn! I want our day to be full of stories, even if nobody ever hears them. They'll be there for us; we'll know.

I believe that the best gift a person can give is a handmade one--something that took some sweat and creativity. So, I'll be asking some of the family builders to forgo registry nonsense and instead make items that we can use at the wedding, and cherish for the rest of our lives.

From my dad, I'm asking for seating of some kind. Maybe a bench or two, or some lounge seating. While visiting Kate, she flashed across this photo in her inspiration collection, and I fell in love with the bench instantly:

While looking at firepit photos, I came across this awesome lounge seating. Love the vibe it creates. I'm thinking I could have dad build something similar, then ask one of the family sewers to help me make the cushions. (You can find more photos on the firepit artist, John Unger's, website):

I also love a classic Adirondack chair.

And I absolutely don't want anyone building these for us, but the fish Adirondacks were just to hilarious to not share! (Btw, this guy's firepits are intense!)And all this talk about firepits isn't just about the furniture. My older brother, Daryl, is a skilled welder/metalsmith. In Oregon, he builds/restores boats--the latest is a huge fishing vessel, shipping out for Alaska this week. While I was visiting over the holidays, we went out to see the progress on the boat and he showed Dad and I around the shop, where he told us about this machine that laser cuts any image you give it. So cool! I immediately knew I'd be looking for a project for him once I discovered this machine!

So later that day, I'm flipping through the huge stack of Mom's Sunset magazines that I steal every time I visit and come across this cool firepit by an artist right here in the Bay Area, Katrina King.

In the 2 sentences of text that accompany this photo, it mentions the laser cutter machine...WINNER! I've checked out a lot of firepits this week--people are doing some awesome work, but nothing I could afford without a skilled brother! I'm loving this square shape best. And the patina. Now I just need to figure out what kind of image we might want on our pit. Oh...and convince Daryl that he wants to build us one, of course!

The photo at the top is a table I commissioned my dad to build to fill an ugly nook in Apt 345. I gave him a photo in a book I had and he duplicated it flawlessly. Then I painted it green. I still think he wants to disown me for that!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Eat the View! Vote Today!

I first learned about the Eat the View campaign after seeing this video a few months ago--check it out:

This Lawn is Your Lawn from roger doiron on Vimeo.

I know most of you think I'm either crazy or silly, but I've learned a lot about America's food systems over the past year. We've got it all screwed up, and the issue is much larger than you may think. The way we eat is destroying our planet and making us sick.

The good news is, with a little sweat and sunshine, we can begin to change our food culture. If you have a minute, do me a favor and vote for Eat the View here and/or here (the second one requires registration). If we can get a new Victory Garden on the White House lawn, there are sure to be more popping up in a neighborhood near you.

It appears all my crazy talk may be rubbing off on Raf. Last week he spent a good chunk of time in a book store with this goodness:

Souper Sundays

While in a cute little bookstore in Seattle, I was wooed by yet another cookbook, Sunday Soup. I love it for a few reasons. First, Chronicle Books could sell a book about model airplanes or stamp collecting and I'd still want to buy it--they have a knack for making everything look good.

Second, not only is there a full year's worth of soup recipes, but the kicker is the quick-view "Soup Calendar"--basically a table of contents, organized by season. Love it! If there's something I need help with, it's figuring out how to eat in-season. (Feel free to laugh at the Bay Area in-season produce chart on my fridge.)

Finally, the photos are mouth-watering, the instructions seem clear, and she even provides instructions on making homemade stocks (scary!).

It probably doesn't hurt that I'm currently reading Julie & Julia, a memoir about a 29 year old woman who's bored with life and decides to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year--after blogging that she would. While 524 hard-core french recipes sounds like my own personal version of torture, 52 Sundays of soup is something I can handle! (Maybe. Minus busy weekends. And our wedding/honeymoon. Of course.)

The fact that this provides an excellent weekly excuse to convince Raf to bake fresh bread helps too. I'll start with that nag next weekend.

So, on the first Sunday of the new year, Raf and I whipped up the Cold Weather Potato Chowder with Caraway Cheese soup on pg. 59. Except our Havarti was dill flavored instead of caraway seed-filled. Whatever. The verdict: yum, yum, yummy! It was quick, easy to make and super satisfying. I think the bacon is the clincher. However, note to self: cut potato chunks smaller next time.

The final perk--cooking on Sundays provides regular opportunities for Kitchen Dancing, my most favorite pastime. Is anyone else in love with Sugarland's Very Last Country Song right now? I can't get enough.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Seattle: Good Food + Good Company + Good Times = Long Post!

We've been settling back in to real life since returning from last week's Seattle escape. It's such a great city--makes coming home tough. It's the only place that makes me want to live in an actual city (rather than in the furthest commutable farming town). Renting a car and venturing out to the neighborhoods did nothing but encourage this desire. I love the personalities of the homes, the abundant parks, and the adorable downtown streets found around every turn. Sigh.

Anyway, I got on the plane for the return flight, and didn't put a down payment on a home while we were there, so we're safe. Here are some highlights from the trip (you may notice a distinct foodie theme):

  • Staying at the Pan Pacific was sweet. We got a great rate, especially considering it was over NYE, and especially appreciated the wine glasses and bottle opener in the room! And I couldn't ask for more than to be staying directly above a Whole Foods! Made for an awesome first night picnic dinner, and some yummy local beer options.
  • PURPLE!!! For those of you who haven't heard me rave about this place, it's my favorite restaurant...of all time. Purple is a big cavernous wine bar and restaurant. I get one of their tasting flights of white wines and a super rich gorgonzola pasta, and simply bask in the bliss! We stumbled across Purple on accident our last time in Seattle, and it's one of the top reasons why we can't wait to get back.
  • Ringing in the New Year with my HS friend, Brad, and his girl, Sherilyn. They took us to this adorable little neighborhood bistro for dinner. And when I say "neighborhood", it was literally in a house on a regular street. Considering how tiny it was, we had to wait a bit to get a table, but it was so worth it! Everybody's dinner was perfect (trust me, I tasted all of them!) I had this pasta with a beet and cream sauce, with big beet chunks and sausage. Now, I'm not a huge fan of beets or sausage...but, WHEW! This was good stuff. Raf had a smoked cheese pasta that sounded like too much to me...nope, perfect. If you can find it, you should definitely check it out next time you're in the area. Casa D'Italia in the Ravenna neighborhood. Whatever you do, don't order from the menu they hand you! We're told that's a sure sign of cluelessness. :) They have quite a list of daily specials on a chalkboard they bring to your table--that's the way to go.
  • Running into Kate and crew in the Volunteer Park Conservatory. This was so eerily, perfectly us. You remember Kate--the one I told you about--we worked briefly in Redding, would run into each other at Cal Poly, and are now simultaneously planning our weddings, in partnership, after she found my blog online. Freaking random. Well, I've got another incidence to add to the list--Volunteer Park. We hadn't even chatted yet about when/where we might have a chance to meet up while we were in town, but as Raf and I were looping back around this big, awesome, overgrown greenhouse in the middle of Volunteer Park, we run in to who? Kate, Paul and two of their friends visiting from the Bay. Seriously? No really...seriously?!?!? To be honest, I wasn't even surprised. Obviously this is the nature of our relationship--random, and perfectly in sync. Anyway, we also finally had our very first planned run-in. We met up for a couple beers in Kate's neighborhood to chat about wedding goodness just a few hours before we flew home. I just wish we had more opportunities for planned chats!
  • Good steak and better banter in Bellevue. We shared some good times with a couple we travelled with in Peru in 2007, Chala & Kelsey. We've kept in touch here and there, and Chala randomly emailed me just a few hours before we flew out for Seattle (yes, this is my life), so we made plans to have dinner at their place. It was so great to spend time with them! We got there early, had a chance to meet their adorable kids, chatted at length about their most recent trip to Tanzania (crazy!), and shared laughs until nearly 1am! I still don't know where the time got away from us. Time flies, huh? They're ready to make the move to sunnier pastures, and while I may personally think they're nuts to leave Seattle, I hope we can convince them to join us here, if they must go!
  • Noshing and coffee, coffee, coffee! Raf couldn't get enough of the local coffee shops; I couldn't get enough cafe snacks! Joe Bar was an exceptionally good coffee shop for people watching.
  • The Volunteer Park Cafe is destined to become a repeat favorite for me. For starters, their slogan is, "Always Fresh Goodness"--you know how I love that word. And the chicken pot pie we shared was simply scrumptious! It seems like the perfect place to be, no matter what you're looking for--breakfast, snack, afternoon coffee/beer/wine--it was just a great place to lounge and enjoy life.
    I don't know if I've ever seen Raf as excited as he was standing at the counter at Trophy Cupcakes, searching for the perfect flavor. Trophy's came highly recommended by Brad and Sherilyn--they swear by the S'mores cupcake. Unfortunately, they weren't serving it the day we were there. I stuck with a plain chocolate; Raf ventured out with a Snickerdoodle. On our next visit, I'll definitely be more adventurous. Mine was good...but his was amazing!

Ahh, just thinking about Seattle makes me hungry! Man, I love that place. Until next time...