Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spa Food

I recently saw some pictures online of a yoga retreat -- I had no interest in the yoga part (I tried it, I'm not into it), but I really liked the pictures of the food served!  You know, a lot of salad, organic stuff, quinoa, the like.  I saw one dish that looked like some sort of polenta cake with salad and beans, and thought to recreate it somewhat.  I heated up some slices of pre-made Trader Joe's polenta in a skillet with a tiny slab of butter, then chopped up some button mushrooms and sauteed them with some garlic in that same skillet after the polenta was done and plated.  Served with a heaping side of salad, and we had our own little yoga retreat dinner.  Kudos to H for being a good sport about it.  He's a meat-guy so this was bird food to him!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Baby A

A big congratulations to my good friends L&S who recently announced the impending arrival of Baby A! This happy news combines a few things that I cherish:  friends, good news, and wait for it . . . paper products.  (haha)  I made them a card with a little bit of the customization I love and sent it off thousands of miles away.  Here it is posing all demurely:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Nesting Bug

To all the newlyweds out there (or the couples post-wedding, pre-kids), what is about being in that stage of life that turns you into a serious nester?  I guess it makes sense, and I always did have a bit of a nesting streak in me (I've loved the NYT Real Estate section since 11th grade), but it hit me big time this year.  I can't get enough of apartment therapy, Design Sponge, Young House Love and the like.  I'm even considering subscribing to Architectural Digest or maybe Elle Decor.  (The problem with those rags, of course, is that they feature only the most beautiful, uber luxe manses or manses in the sky which provides little to no inspiration for normal homes for the rest of us).

Here's my problem:  like many young couples out there, H and I are ready to upgrade in terms of living space, etc., but we're not ready for that McMansion in the burbs yet.  I'm not quite convinced I'll ever be totally ready.  An afternoon in Orange County seriously depresses me (true story; it happened just last weekend).

So, then, how do you find a place that you love and can do up the way you want, but that you won't outgrow in a few years time?!  This is particularly perplexing when you want to buy.  I did not grow up moving around a lot as a kid so the idea of buying a place that you'll only get to live in for a few years is utterly foreign to me.  Maybe it's inevitable that you get the "starter home" and then upgrade when the next bug--the baby bug--hits?

Oh, and then here's the last twist (one, however, that I need not address for YEARS):  I LOVE California but the real estate on the East Coast appeals to me much, much more.  My dream home is and has always been a house (read: apartment) in the sky.  In urban-sprawl LA-LA land, that simply does not exist.   

If you can believe it, this is a pied-a-terre in NYC (some people have too much $).  Dreamy, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Heart Saturdays

Okay, so I know it's Wednesday.  But can you blame me if I'm looking forward to Saturday already?  This was last Saturday.  Minus the crazy-guy-talking-into-his-earphone-buds-about-some-government-conspiracy, it was a lovely afternoon at the local Sbucks.   

Monday, April 18, 2011


Just a greeting for my man as he hits the books...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carbs, sweet carbs

I'm not going to bother posting this recipe here (I got it from the Interwebs) because this didn't turn out as planned.  It did, however, turn into this yummy, weird pretzel/croissant/dinner roll hybrid that was great straight out of the oven and okay the next day (at which time I polished off the whole batch :)). 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Olvera Street

I'd walked through the Olvera Street Plaza a handful of times, but never stopped to look around.  It was never the destination; it was always just sort of "along the way."  H had the great idea to finally make it our destination on Sunday afternoon.  Everywhere I looked there was something photo-worthy.  Of course, we didn't bring the DSLR.  So the Droid had to do.

Olvera Street is apparently the oldest part of downtown LA.  It's basically this small walking lane that features all sorts of shops selling everything from Mexican trinkets to leather goods to really good tacos.  The weather was impeccably LA-perfect.  We took photos, walked around, soaked up the sun, and finally pulled out our Yelp app to find the best place to eat.  We found it in La Buena Noche.  We forgot to take pics there, mainly because we were too busy figuring out what manner of deliciousness to eat.  Sopa/tamales/taquitos for him, tacos/enchilada for me.  Olvera Street is going to be CRAZY on Cinco de Mayo!

This church was founded in 1791!

This was creepy.  That white figure is on stilts wearing a full white face mask, and he was beckoning people to come in.  Aren't churches supposed to be inviting places?!  I felt bad for the children passing by; they were terrified.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The One Where I Became an Angeleno

Okay, okay, so eating from a food truck does not make one an Angeleno.  And yes, I've eaten from a food truck both here in LA and in other parts of the US before.  But, the "food truck revolution" did start here, and it really is a part of the culinary culture in this city.  The thing I find frustrating about them is that they're never where you want them to be.  For this reason, we still haven't been to the more popular trucks (Nom Nom truck for bahn mi; Grill Em All for grilled stuff (duh), and Kogi truck (for Korean tacos)) because they're always far away (either in distance or in LA-traffic-world; urban sprawl, anyone?) or "off" on the nights we want to go.

So imagine our surprise and delight when we came back from an outing last week to find some sort of FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL steps away.  Um, hi, where have you been all my life?  None of the heavy hitters were there, but who cares?  It was heaven.  My sweet tooth sought out the most sugary, calorie-ridden dessert I could find.  I found it in Cool Haus.  Everyone else must have felt the same way because the line was crazy long when every other truck had maybe a 2 minute wait.

I LOVE how they like Bauhaus.  How random is that!  A truck after my own heart.

I had the mascarpone and fig ice cream with double-chocolate cookies.  DELICIOUS.  But very unwieldy.  And probably overpriced at $5.  H had the pear sorbet with lemon and rosemary cookies.  Eh.  The sorbet was good but the cookies were too hard.  Not the best ice cream sandwiches I've had but great branding.  I'd probably go back again, but I wouldn't chase it all over LA.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Don't Get it...

You know how there are those structures that are just iconic?  Like the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge?   (And those three in particular are scarily photogenic).  Here in LA, I think the closest thing that comes to "iconic" is the Hollywood sign.  According to the Wikipedia entry, it originally read "Hollywoodland" and was meant to advertise a housing development in the area.  And then, of course, it became associated with the movies, glamour, and all that jazz. 

I never really understood all the fuss about the sign, so H and I combined our plan to hike with some Hollywood sign inspection.  We took the Hollyridge Trail which takes you steeply above the sign.  It was a good, short hike and I got to see the back of the sign up-close.  Eh.  Not completely sold.  The most entertaining part of the whole experience was what a motley crew gathered on that trail.  About 1/2 of the crowd came for the hike (shorts, sneakers, water bottles) and 1/2 were tourists who came strictly for the sign (cameras around the neck, jeans, bedazzled flip flops).  H and I were prepared like the former but gawking at the sign like the latter. 

Downtown LA in the distance; Griffifth Observatory in the foreground.  Cloudy Saturday.  Perfect for hiking.

These two photos here are misleading.  There's actually a high fence between the trail and the sign.  These were taken through the chain link for a clear shot.

High security much? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why yes...

...that is a nine-months pregnant lady about to jump through hoops of fire.  H and I went to an exhibit in honor of a friend who was screening her latest work.  Her pieces were quite well-done, and we had a fun time deciphering the "larger" meaning in each of them.  The highlight for me was getting to meet the baby who had jumped through those hoops while in utero.  He was incredibly adorable and so much lighter than I expected!  I always associated babies with being heavy and unwieldy, but he was a petite charm.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Among Vices

If you know me, you know that I love flowers.  Seriously adore.  I know they're not practical and they die quickly and all of that, but I can't help it.  I love them!  It helps me out that H indulges me in this regard and is an excellent flower-gifter.  Without any flowery holidays on the horizon, I picked up a bouquet for myself at Trader Joe's recently.  I enjoyed them for almost 2 weeks so I consider that a $3.99 very well spent!  Looking forward to the next TJ bouquet...

Cut the stems down very short and arranged in a short vase

The lilies and red roses were the first to go, so I repurposed the mini pink roses into a nightstand arrangement.
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