Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daily Chuckles - Should your man smell like Old Spice?

I can't help but laugh every time one of these Old Spice commercials comes out.  Between these and the "most interesting man in the world" Dos Equis ads, I'm glad that there's advertising agencies out there still being creative and truly earning their keep.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Daily Ramblings - Adulthood: When did that happen?

While driving into work this morning, I was thinking about what I'd like to write and share with you all today.  It's a topic that came to mind after foregoing my Saturday morning sleep-in to attend the HOA Board meeting to discuss upcoming construction following a chimney fire in our building, and guest parking space violations.  Riveting stuff right?  Since husband and I bought our townhouse a little under 2 years ago, the realization that I'm now firmly entrenched in that thing they call "adulthood" is upon me.  The question is, when did that happen?!  I certainly don't feel my age and I'm pretty sure that I don't act it half the time. 

The top 10 signs that I might indeed be an adult:

1) My metabolism has slowed from a brisk jog to a leisurely walk.  Gone are the days of not caring what I'm eating, not reading labels, thinking of a buffet as a challenge that can be conquered...  My doctor warned me that 28 is the magic age when things start going south.  Silly me for not believing her.  Trying to fit in a daily workout so that I can fit in all my pants is a way of life now.  Then again, the realization that I find cottage cheese with pineapple tasty and delicious isn't so bad either.

2) The apparel section pales in comparison to housewares.  I took a trip to Ross on Friday afternoon, which is always a good way to pass the time and satisfy my bargain shopping instinct.  Over the last few years though, I've realized that clothing trends hold no appeal to me.  In fact, I'm quite convinced that skinny jeans and open toe boots (somebody please explain to me the point?) are a cruel joke being played on us by the fashion industry as they look good on maybe 0.42% of the population.  So, after a brief 5 minutes rifling through women's clothing, I immediately found myself drawn to the home goods where I spent the next 20 minutes looking at baskets, potholders, artwork, vases and other trinkets, trying to picture if they would fit within the theme of a particular room in the house.

3) The phrase "damn kids" come to mind.   It's true, I might be turning into my father.  Is it bad that I'll see a group of kids loitering on a corner and that's what I think?  ;)

4) Things hurt more than they should.  I did ballet for 12 years and remember the days when I could put my foot above my head or bend over to touch my toes without a resounding crack on the way back up.  I'm not sure when waking up and feeling "lopsided" on account of stiff muscles became a normal occurence.

5) I look back at my teenage years and realize my parents were right.  Those times when my parents didn't want me to do something I now realize wasn't because they wanted to "ruin my life" (as a typical overly dramatic teenager might believe).  I now have complete appreciation of the fact that they were doing what was best for me, because they knew better and were wiser.  Now that I'm wiser, I totally get it - something that I never thought I'd understand. 

6) I appreciate getting carded.  I look young and still get carded for everything.  When I was younger and I would get carded, I would hand over my ID with a reluctant groan and eye roll (in my head at least).  When people would say "you'll appreciate it later in life", I'd always smile politely and think "yeah, maybe one day".  Well that day has come and the older I get, the more entertaining it is everytime someone asks me for proof of my age.

7) Bachelorette parties aren't my thing.  I went through a phase about 3-4 years ago where it seemed that every other month I was attending a wedding.  The bachelorette party was always something to look forward to - a weekend away in Vegas, 5 or 6 girls packed into a hotel room, 3 hours of sleep a night and waking up to cocktails.  These days, the thought of such activity scares me no end!  Does any of that involve hanging out in my pyjamas while drinking a glass of wine and getting comfy on the couch?

8) We get together for dinner.  Back in the day, meeting with friends meant picking a bar.  Now, getting together with friends means going over to somebody's house for a home cooked meal, wine, and civilized conversation.  Dinner parties were something that my parents did and are now apparently something that I do.  Weird right?

9) I voluntarily watch the news.  Until a few years ago, I considered the news a big snooze fest.  I grew up in England where the BBC was delightfully droll and if I had to pick between watching that and doing homework, the latter would probably win.  Not too long ago, I caught myself complaining that the local news is far too much fluff and wishing that it was more like the BBC where national and foreign affairs holds so much more importance.  When did I start caring?

10) That nesting instinct.  I can't help but find burp cloths and baby clothing adorable.  My husband has to push me quickly past the children's clothing at Target lest I get distracted by the t-shirts with "mommy's little monkey" embroidered to the front.  I want to buy children's fabrics and sew tiny little pants, knit up booties and hats, crochet blankets.  The concept of starting a family doesn't freak me out any longer.  I see my friends with their babies and it makes me smile.  What always seemed like a distant future isn't so far away anymore, and I'm ok with that.

What I have realized is that you can be an adult but still hold on to your youth.  You can be an adult while acting like a little kid.  It doesn't matter how old you are, ice cream cones are still awesome and you don't even have to ask mom and dad if you can have one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Daily Craft - Pretty in pink (and purple)

Months ago, I got a total steal at the local thrift store involving 5 bags of yarn with a retail value of probably $400+, for the bargain price of $30.  One of those bags had about 40 balls of fingering weight cotton yarn in about 16 different colors.  I can only assume that at some point, somebody bought them intending to make a gigantic blanket of some kind, then concluded that making a blanket like that in fingering weight yarn would be sheer insanity. 

The yarn has been sitting there just asking me to do something awesome with it and I recently decided to make a blanket with it, as I believe was originally intended, using this pattern.  I'm making it baby blanket sized instead of full sized (hey, somebody I know is bound to have a baby girl sometime!) and it has to be said that my initial trepidation that it would still take forever with such thin yarn is gone.  I'm already a quarter way into it and really happy with how it's turning out.

I'm only using 4 of the 16 colors that I have so once I'm done with this one, I'm wondering if I should make an adult sized blanket with the rest of it.  I'm thinking I'll stick with crochet because it'll be so much faster than knitting it on tiny needles.  Getting through it quicker will also help prevent the WIP (work in progress) hibernation factor - like the sweater that's been sitting in the closet, on the needles, half finished, for 18 months now.  If you have a favorite crochet blanket pattern, please share as I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Daily Travels - CA to AZ and back again

This weekend, I enjoyed a long weekend away in Arizona visiting friends and attending a wedding.  Husband and I have a couple different sets of friends out there so figured it was a great excuse for a road trip to visit!
We left for Phoenix on Friday morning, drove through 300+ miles of "scenery" (that basically looks like this picture the entire time), and a brisk 7 hours later, we arrived in the armpit of hell.  You know there's something unhealthy going on when the weather goes up a degree every 10 miles you get further into Arizona!  Sure enough, it was about 109 degrees when we finally arrived at our friend's house and not a half hour later it was time to hop in the pool.  It's pretty strange to get in a pool that's nearly 90 degrees and have it feel cold because it's just that much cooler than the air.  Anyway, enough about the weather...

Saturday we spent more time in the pool where I worked nicely on my tan and tried to teach my friend's 1 year old daughter to swim.  I also discovered that there's a talent to being able to stand on top of a water noodle while drinking a beer!  It's really easy to spend hours in the pool just floating around while attempting to avoid the heat blazing down from above.  (Sorry, talking about the weather again).  The wedding itself was on Sunday, where we all got nice and dressed up then headed out for a night of good times with some of our best friends.
It's amazing how refreshing a weekend away doing nothing in particular can be.  I'm thrilled we had the opportunity to spend times with friends who are close to our hearts but not so close in distance.  Thanks to them for allowing us to invade their home (and pool!)  As you can tell, I may not exactly be in love with Phoenix -- yes, yes, on account of the weather and, of course, the lack of grass -- but I'm hoping we can find another time to visit our friends again sometime soon.  That quality time makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Daily Dish - What the pho?

Pho is one of those bizarre phenomenons that seemed to me as if it popped up out of nowhere.  One day everybody started raving about how fantastic it is and I felt a bit like a loser for having no clue what the hell they were talking about.  Nevermind the fact that I also didn't really know the right way to pronounce it - "fo" (as in fe fi ) or "fuh" (rhymes with duh).  In any case, a while back I dragged my husband to a local place to try this mystery dish that is revered by so many.

Now, for those of you that may have never tried it, Pho is a Vietnamese dish and while I haven't really tried the dry vermicelli noodle version yet, think of it as a big steaming bowl of broth with noodles, beef, and veggies.  Ours was accompanied by a plate of beansprouts, jalapenos and some kind of leafy green (which I found out later are Thai basil leaves).  The first time eating this, I had no idea what the exact protocol was so we decided to tip it all into the broth and go from there.  This seemed to be a reasonable technique, and one that I think I'll be sticking to. 

I definitely enjoyed that first meal but couldn't quite see myself having the mad craving for it that other people seem to get.  Of course, the craving finally hit me over the last few weeks so last night, while husband was out for the evening, I headed on over to the local Pho joint, with a couple of photography magazines to entertain myself.  I decided to go with the brisket because, as much as I am pretty adventurous with my food choices, I can't quite bring myself to order tripe.  With the obligatory dips made from a mixture of chili and Hoisin sauces, I had a fine time chowing down and left with a satisfied stomach and a glistening brow from the steam rising off the soup bowl.  (A filling meal and a spa facial for the bargain price of $6?!)  I wouldn't consider myself a pho-natic but at least I think I "get it" now.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Daily Art - Griffith Park

Today's edition of daily art, I want to share with you a couple of pictures that I took at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.  Considering that Los Angeles is such a sprawling urban jungle, I love that this park is nestled within the city.  It's one of the biggest urban parks in the country and going up there allows me to forget the madness that is L.A. for a moment.  Even the expansive views of the city that the park provides makes everything seem peaceful from above.

I spent an afternoon wandering around the park with my camera a few years ago, producing a couple of my favorite shots taken at the carousel in Griffith Park.  The horses are a little worse for wear, or perhaps they're just showing the love given to them by the many kids that have enjoyed the ride - kind of like a worn down teddy bear that is falling apart from years of being the designated best pal.

Childhood Memories

I'm hoping this summer provides me the opportunity to head back into the urban wilderness and shoot some more.  What I love about it is that it offers what people generally don't think of as existing in L.A., but it's such an essential part of the area's beauty.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Daily Tip - Simple earring storage

I'm going to admit that when it comes to earrings, I'm a bit of an addict.  While I like them, I've found that necklaces always end up feeling a bit like a noose that I'm inadvertently strangling myself with at some point during the day, and bracelets always seem to be clanking on something (probably on account of my desk job where I spend a lot of time typing).  Earrings on the other hand go in my ears and look so pretty but don't get in the way of anything I'm doing.  The problem for me has always been storage of my little dangling friends.

Recently, I was rummaging through my bookcase and realized that the answer was staring me in the face.  I have two metal mesh book ends that aren't currently in use which are perfect for earring storage on account of the little mesh holes.  Plus they match my minimalist decorating style!  So, next time you're in Office Depot and probably not thinking about jewelry, keep in mind that that pencil holder just might be what you need to keep your baubles neat and tidy.  :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Daily Deuce - Dry clean only?

I absolutely love this photo of Deuce.  He commandeered his section of the couch where his favorite pillow was on top of his favorite blanket.  It wasn't until after that I noticed he seems to be exposing the tag with washing instructions.  Now, the question is whether he's a dry clean only kitty...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Daily Review - Julie And Julia

I just finished watching Julie & Julia, which came hot on the heels of finishing the book last week.  If you enjoy cooking and blogging (and for those of you that have been following, I like both) it's an enjoyable story.  Back in 2002, Julie Powell decided to add something to her life by cooking her way through Julia Child's recipe book - Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. 1.  She blogged her exploits over the year of the project and got both a book and movie deal out of it.  Not bad right?

It has to be said, it's a fascinating concept - dedicating yourself (and by association your spouse and friends) to a project of this nature.  I'm just trying to picture what my husband would say if I were to put forth such an insane suggestion.  It definitely drove home the point that anything is possible with the support of those around you though!  I found myself appreciating Julie Powell's plight, even though I didn't necessarily find her the most lovable character that I've ever read.

It's almost a rule of thumb that the book is better than the movie, but this may be the exception for me.  I don't know much about Julia Child.  Perhaps it's because I grew up in England and never really got the exposure to her culinary talents that American households did.  Whatever the reason though, what I loved about this movie was the exposure to her character that wasn't fully furnished by Julie Powell's book.  Meryl Streep, as always, provides a wonderfully lively portrayal of the character and I found myself giggling at her on-screen antics.  (I will admit that something about the voice of Julie Child made me think of Mrs. Doubtfire though).  Amy Adams, on the other hand, gave Julie Powell a certain charm that I think she lacked in the book.  Essentially the movie really tied Julie and Julia together very neatly and put it all in perspective for me.

As a blogger, the thing I identified with most though were Julie's musings about who was actually reading her blog.  When I write a post, such as this one, I always wonder who will end up reading it.  I write about things that I find interesting without knowing whether anybody else that reads it will share that interest....or even if anybody else will read it at all.  We have the advantages these days of stat counters that will tell me some person in Kansas, or New York, or Spain, read my blog for 3 minutes yesterday, although it still doesn't tell me anything about that person.  Just like Julie I guess, I publish my musings into cyberspace and it connects me to others, even if I never know anything else about that person.  That in itself is weird but kinda cool.

While I may not be boiling a calf's foot to make aspic, like Julie did, I'm still hoping somebody gets a kick out of something that I have to say and I appreciate all of you that are reading about it.  :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Daily Craft - A ferret update

As promised, I have managed to obtain a picture of Terra the ferret, enjoying lazing about in her new knit hammock!  It seems that my knitting does have ferret approval and I couldn't be more proud.  :)

Daily Ramblings - My week in a few words

Well, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder...

I've missed having an opportunity to pop on here in the last few days and say hi to all of you so here's a quick recap.

- I'm now getting out of work early on Fridays for the summer.  This lasts through Labor Day and is a wonderful thing put in place by my office.  Husband and I used the extra time last Friday to run errands, including a trip to Petco seeing as we had coupons for the Nutro Max food (which is what we're planning on switching Deuce to once he's into adult food).  We also picked up a selection of different wet foods for him to try seeing as he's been a little picky on his usual brand recently.  Apparently he likes the chunked variety so while Fancy Feast isn't my cat food of choice, if that's what he'll eat, it's better than nothing.  We're probably going to supplement with some raw chicken, kidney, liver etc. (mmmmm....offal!)

- The weekend was a great one for hanging out with good friends.  Saturday night we had an impromptu BBQ at a friend's house and got to play with their little girl, Hailey.  She's an adorable 14 months old and full of smiles.  We had picked up some lamb chops on sale at a local butcher for $4.99/lb (quite the steal) which went wonderfully with the pork ribs, corn and potato salad.  Sunday, we spend the day at a much bigger BBQ with more friends.  Husband and I have our own sangria recipe, which we made for everybody to enjoy, and it was awesome!  

- Things took a turn for the worst very early Sunday morning.  We'd both fallen asleep on the couch and I woke up to the cat making biscuits on my stomach.  It was that moment that I realized that my stomach wasn't feeling so good (nothing to do with the cat though) and was immediately struck with all of the effects that accompany a nasty stomach virus.  Thanks to my husband for tying back my hair, making me soup, going to the store to get me yogurt and letting me sleep on the couch for about 20 hours straight while in recovery.  He's a keeper.

I have a couple of crafty things that arrived in the mail yesterday that I have to take pictures of and share with you later, but in the meantime, it's back to the daily grind for me.