Saturday, November 5, 2011

to austin, part 2

Day 3
The third leg of our trip took us through southern Utah. For the most part, this was a very boring place - deserts as far as the eye could see, some were red, some were green. The green parts were perplexing, perhaps copper was to blame?

More exciting than random green rocks was Arches National Park. Big red rocks, 120 degree heat, and oddly dressed tourists, what's not to like?

Here's Emily enjoying some rare shade beneath the twin arches. Assorted Europeans can be seen in the background.

Twin arches. I was curious about how these giant rocks came to stick up from the surrounding desert. Not one to simply read the plaques posted all over the park, I looked it up on my phone. These rocks were once at the bottom at the bottom of an inland sea, which is why they have such lovely sedimentary layers. Supposedly, this part of north America had been slowly stretched upward and outward over the last 60 million years or so. The huge expanses of flatness were once cracks between the rocks. Over the millenia, they grew wider and wider until there became the majority of the landscape. Fascinating.

The majestic phallic rocks of arches park.

Emily attempts to blend in with the locals.

Tourists walk in single file, even when no path is specified.

Lastly, a delightful Indian village / gas station just outside Arches. So many opportunities for cultural exploration!

Friday, September 9, 2011

blackberry weekend

The best part of August? Blackberries, of coarse! So last weekend, Ana, Dane, and I went picking! Considering how prevelent blackberry brambles are in Tacoma, it was suprisingly difficult to find good berries. All of the obvious places were pretty picked over. Eventually, we found an undisturbed bush next to the highway. You can see pictures of our berry hunt on Ana's blog, Oh Ana.

When we got home, we got to work making delicious berry treats!
Before we got to the berries, we needed some bloody marys. I love this recipe, it's got horseradish, which gives drink a great complexity. Try it out!
Next up, blackberry cocktails. We made a puree of berries, peaches, and maple syrup, then blended with ice and absolute. Delicious!
No blackberry cooking spree is complete without cobbler! For a little extra flare, Ana poured some melted butter on top before baking. It was like magic in my mouth. So glad we made a couple of these!

to austin, part 1

I went on a road trip to Austin TX a few weeks back. Emily was moving down there for grad school, so I tagged along as her co-pilot. It was a great trip! Emily planned ahead so we could stop at a fun tourist attraction half way through each day, and sleep in a different state each night.

Day 1
We headed due east to Pullman WA, to visit Caitlin and Chris, who had just moved there. Their house is so cute! I don't know what it looked like before they moved in, but they did a great job fixing it up!
After Caitlin and Chris's place, we went south through Idaho toward Ontario OR. We learned that Highway 95, while beautiful, is not a fast way to get anywhere. But if you're up for a long, scenic drive through low mountains and winding river valleys, I would highly recommend it.
Day 2
From Oregon, we went south into Utah. The drive was not nearly as pretty as Highway 95 was, but Salt Lake City made up for that. It was so clean and green, it was hard to believe we were in the middle of the desert. We spend most of our time there wandering around the Temple Square, Mormon headquarters. Of coarse, it was even cleaner and greener than the rest of the city. Beautiful buildings and meticulous landscaping. Here's my favorite temple on the square:
On the way out of the Temple Square, I spotted this spotty moss flower bed. What a cute idea! I love moss. If I ever have a yard of my own, I'm going to rip up the grass and grow moss instead.
Tune in next time for Arches Park in southern Utah!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

when refrigerators die

Many weeks ago, Ana and I put in a request to our landlady for a refrigerator with a freezer. The puny ice box in our current one just wasn't cutting it; our ice cream always turned to mush! Our landlady loves us, so she got right to work ordering a fridge with a separate freezer that would fit in our tiny apartment. The first new fridge they tried to wedge in here was 1 inch too wide. The second fridge 8 inches too wide. The third fridge was just right. Finally, a freezer!

But the troubles weren't over. About 6 hours after plugging in our perfect new refrigerator, it crapped out! We called the landlady right away, but she wasn't able to come up with any immediate solutions. After 24 hours with no cooling action, our leftovers and dairy were a total loss.
Here you see the first wave of food carnage. After the loss of my precious cheese and deli meats, I decided to be a bit more proactive. Ice block time! Produce drawers filled with ice became make shift motors, saving the last of the condiments and preserved foods. It's actually pretty cold in there now!

Unfortunately, lack of air circulation meant that anything not stored in a glass container was contaminated with new plastic smell. Goodbye, produce.
Ironically, it's business as usual for the built-in ice box. The racks are all gone and the plumbing to the drain was removed years ago, so I just use it to store liquor and wine. Nothing expired in there!

Friday, August 26, 2011

farewell to the happy couple

Surprise Party! Caitlin and Chris had to move to Pullman so Caitlin could continue on her journey to become a vet at WSU. As is often the case with moving, much was left to the last minute, Chris and Caitlin was a wee bit stressed. What better relief than to be surprised with a going away party? They had no idea! All of their favorite people gathered at Sara's place, some from over 200 miles away (myself), to wish them love and good luck, and of coarse, feed them lots of alcohol! After the party, Emily, Sara, and I stuck around to help them finish packing their moving truck. We <3 you Caitlin and Chris!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

shake weight

The other day, I was strolling through Target. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, I grabbed some hair stuff, some snacks, a dozen eggs (I'm loving the "fresh" food section they just put in).

As I was walking toward the register destiny struck. In the center of a mostly empty end-cap of cold medicine was an abandoned shake weight. It called to me. I knew instantly that I had to bring it home with me.

In case I had any doubts as to whether the shake weight and I were meant to be, the register set me right. When my checker scanned the shake weight, she handed me a free $5 gift card, part of a shake weight promo. An extra $5 to spend at Target!? Fate has smiles upon me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

helicopter ride

I went on a family vacation to Oregon last week. We started out inland, staying a night in McMinnville, a cute antique shop filled town where we took a helicopter ride! I've never been in a helicopter before, and the sensation of flying in one was very different than I was expecting. Takeoff felt like we were being lifted by a bungee cord! Once in the air, it was smooth and fantastic. We were cruising around at over 100 mile an hour. Too bad McMinnville wasn't very exciting to see from the air, but overall the experience was wonderful!

Friday, April 29, 2011

lake samish

Hello blog, how have you been? Did you know I went to Bellingham a few weeks ago? It was lovely! Ana and I took the scenic route on the way up there. We stopped in Mt Vernon for a pub lunch and some antiquing, then headed north on Old Chuckanut Drive. It was the only sunny day all week and we decided getting lost would be a good idea. After a windy drive through the woods, we found a place we had never been, Lake Samish.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

other places

My new favorite blog to look at is Design Crush. All of her posts are short and sweet, with tons of fun products and art to drool over, and the most amazing recipes for foods I never knew I always wanted to make! Check it out, you might get a crush too.

Monday, March 7, 2011

lavender martini

Ever since I first went to the bar 1022 in Tacoma, I've been obsessed with their lavender martini. I'm super into DIY, so of coarse I had to find a way to make it at home. After a few weeks of tinkering, I think I've got it!

So here it is, and here's what goes in it (serves 2):

1/2 can heavy coconut milk, none of that light crap here
2 tsp lavender extract, recipe here
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 shots absolute citron
simple syrup to taste

Shake with ice, serve garnished with a slice of lemon zest.
Everything here is to taste, I don't measure when I make these. If you like the flavor of one ingredient more than another, add more! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

happy birdday ana!

My little sister is 21 years old today! It's a little anti climactic considering we've already gone to bars and brewed beer together, but it's a happy life event all the same.

Happy Birdday, Ana!

red hot and polka dots

Another party from PJ Hummel & Co. This one was for the grand opening of a small Swedish Hospital branch in Mill Creak. This was a family friendly open house with a firefighter theme. Red drape and polka dots on the inside, real firetrucks on the outside. I actually designed this one, and if I had to describe it in one word, it would defiantly be cute!

Here's the front registration desk. The receptionist wanted the decorations to stay up for ever :P

One of the prop vignettes. There were 5 in total, each one a little different. The idea was to make the hospital feel friendly and inviting.

The activity room on the 3rd floor. They had arts & crafts and face painting for the kids in here. This room was actually still under construction when we decorated. We had to cover ever single wall in red drape to make it look like an elegant party space.

Last, the stairwell. Tours of the space were given via the stairs, rather than the elevators, so the stairs needed to look spiffy. I became the bow queen for this occasion. Doesn't it just look precious?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

making friends

I'm tired of not knowing anyone in my apartment building, so I made a little poster to put by the mail boxes. Hopefully I will make some new friends. I'm no graphic designer, but I think this is pretty groovy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

farewell cupcake

Today, I sent my beloved childhood pet to the big litter box in the sky. I've loved her for 16 years and she's lived a full and pampered life. It was difficult to make the decision to let her go, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

When I hugged her goodbye at vet's office, she wasn't afraid. She relaxed in my arms and purred - she's never done that at the vet before. At that moment, I knew she was ready.

So farewell, Cupcake. I'll always love you!

Monday, January 17, 2011

guemes island

I went on an adventure to hang out with Caitlin, Sara, and Ana on Guemes Island this weekend. It's a tiny island off the shore of Anacortes. We stayed at an interesting artist's studio right next to the little cemetery. Here are some photos of our explorations.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

three great covers

Recently, I've been obsessing over covers. Over the last few months, I've come across a few that stand up as equals with the originals, and the originals are really wonderful. So check them out!

First up, Going Up The Country. The original by Canned Heat is a twangy acoustic blues-rock piece. Imagine yourself sitting out on the porch with a cold beer while you listen to this one. The cover by Kitty, Daisy and Lewis is fantastic departure, in a '50s Hawaiian-rockabilly style. Tap your toes and start dancin!
Canned Heat - Going up the Country
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Going up the Country

Next is My Girls, or in the case of the cover, My Boys. The original by Animal Collective is a stunningly beautiful experimental indie rock ballad. Its serene, peaceful, and inspiring to listen to. The cover is performed by Swedish indie artist Taken By Trees, in a bouncy folk style. Sweet, lively, and just plain happy.
Animal Collective - My Girls
Taken By Trees - My Boys

Finally, one of my favorite songs of all time, Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Tears for Fears' original version is a piece of 80's synth rock perfection. It's the epitome of the genre. The cover by Clare and the Reasons is a cheeky orchestral indie-folk delight. This live performance for Daytrotter is honest and lovely.
Tears for Fears - Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Clare and the Reasons - Everybody Wants to Rule the World

I hope you envoy all 6 of these songs as much as I do. Happy listening!

PS - If you love them, go buy them! Support the artists, y'all.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


A few months ago, word spread around the office that there were kittens in our warehouse. I set out to investigate. Turns out, there were 3 baby kitties and their mama. We trapped the babies old school style under a laundry basket with a stick and string. They came home with my sister and I, and soon became cuddly little house cats.

Catching their mama required a borrowed trap from the Humane Society. We got her fixed, vaccinated, and released her back into her warehouse home to continue killing mice. We give her extra food and water too, just to make sure she sticks around.

The kittens are doing very well as house cats:

Charlie here is the only one still around. He's inquisitive, rambunctious, and loves Christmas wreaths. We might end up keeping this little ball of energy.

Eddie was recently adopted by my buddy Dane. Eddie is sensitive, reserved, and loves watching computer screens.

Georgie was the most difficult to tame, but turned out to be the most cuddly of the bunch. She was adopted by a friend's mom, Carol, and she looooves her new mommy.