Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them." ~Lucy Maud Montgomery (from the Anne of Green Gables series).
Are you a book buyer or a library frequenter? Once upon a time, I used to be a book buyer... There's just something about a brand new book, it has that lovely new book smell, the pages are crisp and waiting to be turned, and it looks so esteemed resting on your shelf amidst all your other books after reading...
But soon enough, I had a reality check after saving receipts and realized, wow, I've acquired quite an expensive habit! As a teacher I know how nice it is to have the title you want to read to your class right there, ready to go....And for grown-up reads, I sometimes have to resist the urge to pick up that shiny new title calling out to me from the NY Times bestseller shelf.
Since I've become a teacher, I've become a library frequenter. And to keep up with the latest and greatest, I peruse Amazon to search for new titles and then immediately zip over to my library's home page to add them to my request list.
If you've never done the "library thing," I suggest you reconsider, I was pleasantly surprised how I could reserve everything online. Then, when my books come in, I get a handy email reminder. This makes pick-up a breeze, as all the titles are waiting for me under my last name.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I collect letterpress cards, have I told you that? Every so often, I order a handful of lovely letterpress cards and slowly mail them out throughout the year for birthdays, showers, and my fave -- "just because" cards. Currently loving the letterpress creations of Green Grass Press. You really can't go wrong with fireflies in mason jars!
I know it doesn't look like much, but this coffee tumbler is AMAZING! Seriously! And I've gone through my fair share of mugs, tumblers, and the like... This new little guy from Starbucks is double walled - translation: it seals in the heat and keeps your beverage warm while the exterior remains cool to the touch. AMAZING, right?
I might just have to get one in every color...
Monday, September 27, 2010
This weekend was a busy one for me. Saturday, my parents joined my bf and I at our local state fair - The Puyallup Fair. Puyallup is located about an hour outside Seattle, and the fair is the city's claim to fame. It truly is quite an event as it runs 7 days a week for 3 full weeks. And this past Saturday was an especially gorgeous sunny day, so the crowds were out in full force.
I haven't been to the fair in a few years, and this year was nice to just mull around and see indulge in delicious and un-nutritious fair foods like corn dogs, caramel apples, roasted corn, strawberry shortcake, and of course - Puyallup's signature fair scones.
We perused the barns, cows, goats, pigs with piglets (so cute), horses, even the chickens and birds. This barn was particularly entertaining as there were some funny looking hens in here! Check out the long legs on this little guy!
Saturday night, as if we hadn't gotten enough fried foods in us, we headed out to Fremont Oktoberfest - a favorite annual Seattle event of ours. We met up with friends, sampled some local beers, and enjoyed some savory brats. All in all, a fantastic festivity-filled weekend!
Dinner last night was Root Vegetable Stew with Gruyere Crostinis. This week my CSA box provided me with a handful of plump carrots, and since I've never been a fan of carrots a la carte, I figured I needed to find some vegetables to accompany them. Since using my CSA produce supports my personal goal to eat more seasonally, what better than to add root vegetables - which have just arrived on the veggie scene.
Truth be told, I've never cooked with a rutabega or a turnip before, but they're easy enough (slightly tougher than potatoes). Ultimately the dish turned out great! The garlic and rosemary really added an aromatic flair, and the gruyere toasts were a nice compliment (I could have eaten many more of these...).
Friday, September 24, 2010
The braids are back in town! All over the blogosphere and in magazines, braids seem to be popping up left and right. As a kid, my mom used to French braid my sisters and my hair all the time, and despite much practice, I have never been able to braid my own hair as good as she braided mine.
However, these Heidi-braids make me want to bust out braids all over again!
Love these! Kate Spade has re-imagined our favorite reads into clever book clutches! This one is my personal fave. Loving the bright lemon yellow as well as the title - Great Gatsby was an AP English favorite of mine!
With fall descending, it's definitely becoming soup season. And to kick off the season of warm comforting soups, I made Loaded Baked Potato soup last night. It turned out great, and was pretty quick and easy.
Baked potato bar might have been my favorite meal as a kid, so converting all the joys of a baked potato into a soup, was equally satisfying!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Have you seen these? They are called Silly Bandz. Since the beginning of the school year, sporting these brightly colored rubber band bracelets is the new fad in elementary school. Students try and collect as many different shapes and colors as possible until their wrists resemble rubber band rainbows. And not only that, recess provides the eagerly awaited opportunity for students to "trade," exchanging conversation over swapped bands.
Distracting much? As a teacher, let me tell you, I have confiscated many of these bands, simply because they are a constant distraction to some students during class. While these Silly Bandz haven't been banned yet in my school, there are others who are laying down the law.
On the flip side, as a kid who grew up in the snap bracelet era - I can appreciate why students want to keep them around. Just curious, what is your take on Silly Bandz?
As fall descends, I find I'm already looking ahead to fall festivities like Halloween! Don't you love these table ghosties? Such a fun way to liven up your fall with festive ghosties whose faces double as salt and pepper shakers, but remove the cork and enable the pour factor. Excellent!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Right this minute, I'm feeling like this... Tired already by the mere thought of my too-busy schedule today. I'm so tempted to just crawl back into bed and swat the snooze button a few more times... Hoping to gain back some blog inspiration and enthusiasm by tomorrow...
Sunday, September 19, 2010
My apologies for the blog-less weekend. My bf and I flew out late Thursday night to Indianapolis, and our schedules were crammed up until our departure.
The reason for our trip, you ask? My bf's best friend from college tied the knot! The wedding was held in Lafayette, Indiana - just across the river from the University, and as a +1 of the bridal party, I got to partake in all the festivities. It was a beautiful wedding with lots of vintage flair, and was even officiated by the mayor of Lafayette! The evening continued with a whimsical photo booth, lots of dancing, and silliness...all in all a great time!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
My friend sent me this article, it's very entertaining but also makes you wonder... "What if Historical Events had Facebook Statuses?" I sure know that would keep me much more up to speed on current events! Don't you think all those linked into would find themselves that much more aware and in the know about history?
After watching the Top Chef finals in Singapore and Samantha Brown Asia, I'm very interested in the street food culture. We were lucky enough to try some amazing street food in Japan, especially yakitori and takoyaki. And as always, street food is best when cooked right in front of you and eaten standing on a busy city corner!
So now, I'm crushing on this cookbook, Thai Street Food. It debuts soon, and I can't wait to try and replicate the best of SE Asia's street food on my own!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
If I went to Cadaqués, Spain, I'd want to stay here! One of my former colleagues vacationed in this gorgeous Catalonian town on her honeymoon, and her pictures were blissful! I've been to Spain once before, but it consisted of a just a few short days in Barcelona. Now that this seaside town is on my radar, I'm already wander-lusting about enjoying Catalonian cuisine and relaxing in the Spanish sun at the beach!
Anyone ever been?
What's your skin regimen? Skin care is of the utmost importance to me. I'm a sunscreen "freak," given my fair complexion, and I'm always curious about to learn about and get feedback on new skin care products. Lately I've been trying to be budget conscious and use the Target brand daily renewal cleanser and night cream. However, I'd like to try new products as long as I can confirm they are worth the price.
Lately I've been eyeing these products...
What do you use?
Monday, September 13, 2010
My new favorite nail polish color - Pamplona Purple. Isn't this a fun color? I'm currently sporting this shade on my toes right now. Perfect for football season...
I had the opportunity to watch Invictus on the plane ride home from Japan. Granted, I'm a sucker for a good sports movie, but this movie was truly inspiring! Before seeing this movie, I had never heard the story of Nelson Mandela's mission to unite South Africa through the nation's rugby team. Directed by Clint Eastwood, this movie was powerful, moving, and makes you want to get out there and do good!
Rent it, and tell me what you think!
Friday, September 10, 2010
Happy Friday! This week has crawled by due to a case of the sniffles. The second week of school and I've already caught a cold, what is going on in the universe! I'm determined to beat this cold away this weekend. My middle sister is coming into town for a quick visit with her bf, so this weekend is all about family time together. Have a good one, cheers!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I joined a CSA! A few of my friends convinced me to make the switch, and I'm now a proud soon-to-be recipient of local organic produce, delivered to my doorstep! How fabulous is that?! I ended up going with this local Seattle company - New Roots Organics, per some great reviews.
My first box is set to include cherry tomatoes, cucumber, corn, sweet peppers, heirloom fingerling potatoes, broccoli, spinach, dapple fire pluots, ginger gold apples, and local peaches. It was also slated to include rainbow chard and fennel - but I subbed those out for avocados and nectarines. Can't wait to start cooking!
I've been trying to save instead of spend (not an easy task for me). If I really set my mind to something, I can be frugal, although it's not my innate nature. But I admit, I sometimes find it hard to resist charging those perfect fit jeans or those cute-as-a-button-perfect-for-fall-boots...and then having buyers remorse after the fact.
What are your strategies for saving or avoiding indulgences? I've cut back on my coffee habit, but I feel like there are other solutions out there. Anyone? Help a girl resist the urge to shop...
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
As I've slowly been blogging snapshots of my trip to Japan, I realized I have yet to write about my first blog-friend meet-up! After announcing I was going to Japan early this year, Vivian of Lost in Translation suggested we meet up, and I thought it to be a grand idea. After some emailing and facebooking... we organized to meet up for a night out in Japan's nightlife capital - Osaka!
Vivian is the first blog friend that I've ever met face-to-face. And we had a fabulous time! I kind of liken meeting and making blog friends to to online dating, (except the goal is friendship of course) :) After months/years of reading each others blogs, leaving comments, you kind of get an idea of the blogger's personality. Well Vivian and I got along wonderfully, as I'd anticipated. Here's a few pics from our night out on the town in Osaka!
P.S. Can you tell we both enjoy throwing around the peace sign?
Question for you all: Have you ever met up with a blogging friend or acquaintance? How did it go?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I found a new watering hole in Seattle - The Walrus and The Carpenter, located in the lively neighborhood of Ballard. Nestled in a converted warehouse type space, the decor had lots of whimsical charm - oysters on ice, a chandelier built of branches, and a behind the bar crew of sous chefs sporting striped Royal-Tenenbaums-esque headbands.
The food and cocktail list was inventive, creative, and like the decor - unique. My friends and I really enjoyed everything we ordered - in particular the watermelon panzanella and cremeux de bourgogne with pickled plums. When we arrived for happy hour, the place was nearly empty, and by the time we departed there was standing room only. What a fun find!
While I try and bring my lunch most days to school, there is always that occasional hectic morning when I dash out the door empty handed, and must resort to buying elementary-school lunch. Now, while the quality of said lunches has improved, is not quite the desirable lunch fare an adult would crave...welll, except for maybe waffle day...
I love how these Bento Boxes, originally used for Japanese-style lunches, have been reinvtented as chic lunch compartments. Don't the individual compartments and colors jazz up the ingredients of a homemade lunch? Might just have to buy one of my own!
never thought of
Friday, September 3, 2010
I did it! I got my hair cut...and went back to bangs! It was kind of an impulse move, inspired by this look, keeping my already long hair and adding swoopy bangs. We'll see how my students react today at school when I show up looking totally different! A kid will always give you their honest opinion...(wish me luck!)
Thursday, September 2, 2010
With the rain and cold settling in, here in Seattle, it feels more like fall than the tail end of summer. While I'm sad to pack away my shorts and tank tops, I am looking forward to some perks of fall; thick scarves, pumpkin-spice lattes, and series premiers!
What is your favorite season?
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Tonight is my first book club meeting! My sorority friends formed our own book club as a fun way to organize a monthly get-together to see each other, catch up, and enjoy good reads and good company Our first book is a "chick-lit," Heart of the Matter, by Emily Giffin (author of the Something Borrowed, Something Blue series).
I wasn't expecting to have any real strong reactions to this book, but man...did this book annoy me! I'll have many thoughts to share tonight with my girlfriends as we gab literature over wine!