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Archive for January, 2010

As everyone who knows me already knows, I love music.  I studied classical piano from age 8-18, accompanied at mass in high school and college, sing with the SD Master Chorale, and work part-time as a soloist/section leader at a local church.  But classical music isn’t the only kind of music I love.  Classic rock gets me through long doc review projects at work, and hilariously bad 90s-early 2000s pop  convinces me to run those 10 extra minutes on the treadmill.

But one of my absolute favorite things is to go to shows and discover new favorite bands/artists.  I went to a show at the Ruby Room in Hillcrest a few weekends ago, where The Hundred Days was playing.  They are a four-man (despite the Myspace photos, which led me to believe a small army would be on the stage) rock band with super-infectious songs and memorable lyrics.  Equally impressive, they were totally cool – non-douchey, friendly people at the merchandise table, and had great t-shirts.  I picked up a CD at the show, and have had it on constant rotation in my car ever since.

Below is their video for the acoustic version of “Out of Nowhere.”  (And yes, the anal-retentive attorney in me got permission to post this.)  Listen to it, and thank me later when these guys are huge and you can say you liked them before it was cool to do so 🙂



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Oy.  The week of rain and cold weather (including getting locked out of my apartment last Monday night in the freezing rain) caught up with me, and I found myself disgustingly sick this weekend.  I literally feel like I have the Black Lung, not unlike Derek Zoolander.

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, it’s as if the entire world is ending, and the only thing I want to do is crawl into bed and collapse in on myself like a dying star.  Unfortunately, my schedule had other plans.  I went for SD Restaurant Week (see previous post) on Friday to Tom Ham’s Lighthouse.  Saturday was spent slightly hungover at the SD Master Chorale’s winter retreat.  FYI, choirs use the term “retreat” as a term of art.  There were no trust falls, no ropes courses, or spa treatments.  Instead, a more accurate term would have been “super-long rehearsal.”  Sunday brought two church services, some lip synching, and a whole lot of coughing.  Thankfully, the Kleenex, anti-bac, and hot water were plentiful, or I don’t think I would have made it.

So what did I do when I finally got home?

My sick essentials =

1.  My laptop.  I made the switch from my HP to a Macbook last October, and couldn’t be happier.  Sure, some things took getting used to, like the lack of a right-click button, but it’s so light, the battery life is amazing, and it’s pretty and silver!

2.  Hot tea (in my “Small World” mug.)  Not only is that one of my favorite rides at Disneyland (I mean, who doesn’t love the subtle racism?), but it also makes for a really cute mug.  This weekend’s cold settled in my sinuses and my throat, so hot liquid sounds particularly awesome.  I think I’ve gone through half a box of Wild Berry tea this weekend.

3.  Lip balm.  I’m normally a Burt’s Bees girl, but I’m weird in that I don’t like to use the same stuff when I’m sick as when I am healthy; I guess I don’t like having any reminders of feeling crappy.  Also, sinus infection = stuffy nose = mouth-breathing = chapped lips.  My “sick” lip balm is this L’Occitane balm with shea butter.  I like it because it doesn’t have a gross flavor (full disclosure: the only flavor/scent of lip balm I enjoy is mint; fruity/sweet flavors make me feel barfy) and it coats without feeling oily.

4.  Tissues.  I found some Puffs with Vick’s Vapo Rub at the CVS in Horton Plaza.  They are amazing.

5.  My planner.  This is quite possibly my favorite planner I’ve ever had, thanks to my sister.  It’s by Smythson, and is bright pink and pretty, and, most importantly, helps keep my mind off of being sick by reminding me of all of the fun things I have coming up!

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It’s Restaurant Week here in San Diego, which means getting to eat 3-course meals at places for the price of an entree!  Even though it’s been raining buckets and gusting wind (so much that they issued tornado warnings for LA, Orange, and San Diego counties), my friend and I braved the elements in the name of trying a new restaurant.

We went to Whisknladle in La Jolla.  Being type-a(ish) attorneys, our plan for success was to leave work promptly at 5:00, park at the bar, and have a drink or two before our reservation time.  However, by the time we both finally navigated the rainy roads and arrived inside, our table was ready anyway, so we didn’t get the chance to try out their happy hour.

Usually for Restaurant Week, local restaurants offer a prix fixe menu with 2 or 3 choices for each course, but Whisknladle had their entire menu up for grabs.  Well, almost their entire menu.  Noticeably missing from the dessert choices were the sweet potato donuts, which made me ridiculously sad.  A glass of Malbec cured that, though.  So what did we have?  (Full disclosure:  no pictures-I’m still working on remembering to put my camera in my purse when I go out.)

Before I start, the first thing we noticed was that the water had…a flavor?  After some guessing (and a lengthy discourse about the glory that was Bath & Body Works’ Cucumber Melon lotion) the server told us it was cucumber and lemon.  Interesting.  Not my favorite part of the meal, but a nice thought.

First Course

Crispy Sweetbreads with maple glaze, lentils, brussels sprouts, and house smoked bacon – I’ve never tried sweetbreads (warning: not for the faint of heart) but after hearing rave reviews about them for the past 6 seasons of Top Chef, I figured I should give them a try, especially since there were two more courses to come.  They were really good!  I wasn’t expecting them to be encased in as much batter as they were, but it wasn’t overwhelming.  If I had to choose a negative, it would be that the bacon was kind of superfluous (sacrilege, I know)  in the context of the dish, and the portion was a little too big for a first course.

I had a bite of my friend’s Butternut Squash Ravioli with brown butter, sage, and parmigano reggiano.  It was good–not too heavy on the brown butter, and there was a good ratio of filling to pasta, which places usually mess up, so that was refreshing.

Second Course

Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank with swiss chard and the largest brick of au gratin potatoes I have ever seen.  The waiter brought a knife, but the lamb literally fell off the bone.  The chard and the potatoes were serviceable, but nothing life-changing.  The portion again was huge, so I took some home for the next day’s lunch.

Third Course

I ordered the Asian Pear and Huckleberry Crisp with kumquat ice cream (which is actually not listed on their website.)  I love Asian pears, and was hoping for a dessert that wasn’t sickeningly sweet, and this certainly delivered.  The oatmeal topping was nice and crispy, and the kumquat ice cream was a little cold, a little sweet, and slightly tart, which balanced the sugars in the topping nicely.  The one miss with this dessert was that they left the pears still crunchy, whereas I prefer the insides of my crisps to be really soft.  The huckleberries and pears were a nice combination though.

My friend ordered the Butterscotch Budino (pudding) with fleur de sel carmel, creme fraiche, and pine nut cornmeal cookies.  The budino was incredibly sweet and with the creme fraiche and salted caramel, it made for an incredibly rich dessert.  The cookies evened things out.  They had a nice texture – I’ve never had cornmeal in cookies before, but I’m definitely going to check out some recipes for the future!

Overall, the place gets a B+.  Points off for the unimaginative entrees (although that might have been due to my ordering), the bait-and-switch re: sweet potato donuts, and too-big portions.  Extra credit for it actually being warm inside, the herb butter that came out with the bread, and the attentive waitstaff.  No joke, our candle went out partway during the night, and someone swooped in and replaced it–yessss.

With the La Jolla location and the new American bistro-y feel, I fear there’s a potential for this place to deteriorate into Douche-ville, but hopefully you prove me wrong, Whisknladle!

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ruffle headband

I am obsessed with Rachel’s blog, Heart of Light, particularly with her ruffle headband tutorial.  I am also obsessed with headbands, handmade things, and saving money where I can, especially in preparation for San Diego’s Restaurant Week, where I intend to eat and drink like a champion.

In a fit of bravery, I decided to try making the ruffle headband.  I googled “Joanne Fabrics,” plugged the address into my new GPS (thanks Mom and Dad!) and spent about 40 minutes staring at fabric and fancying myself a competitor on “Project Runway” only minus Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, and the ability to conceptualize and create anything more complicated than a headband.  Here’s the progression of events:

Step 1:  Choose materials.  The tutorial featured a really pretty cotton/linen blend.  I couldn’t find anything comparable, so I settled for a quasi-“linen” and tulle, just because.   The downside is I unwisely chose white, which tends to make this look a little bridal, but on the upside, if I ever have that shotgun wedding in Vegas, my headpiece is all set to go.

Step 2:  Cut fabric into into 2-ish inch squares.  Commence freaking out when my squares look nothing like Rachel’s.

Step 3:  Pinch squares into “blooms.”  Feel slightly better about self, because it actually looks like a flower!  Receive incredulous stare from cat.

Step 4:  Wrap tulle layer around linen layer.  Decide that if all of the flowers include tulle, I will most certainly look like a bride/ballerina instead of teetering on the precipice between pretty, quirky accessory and crazy woman-child.

Step 5:  Repeat Steps 3-4 about 10 times.  Sew blooms onto ribbon.  Success!  However, upon closer inspection, (i.e., trying to tie the headband into my hair) I realized that I was unhappy with the width of the ribbon, so here’s bonus Step 6!  Also, I am well-aware that this shot makes the headband look not unlike a garter.  I guess one could add more flowers, use stretchy material, and call it a garter.  But that’s a little bit beyond my needs.

(Bonus) Step 6:  Pin ribbon, iron crease, sew edges together.  Realize I somehow managed to tie a knot in the back of my ribbon.  Bust out new seam-ripper.  Re-sew edges.  Success!  For my first foray into the handmade, I’m pretty proud of how this turned out.  I now feel ready to take on the world!

P.S.  Sorry I’m not wearing makeup, but it’s Sunday night 🙂  And yes, that’s my bathroom in the background.

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inspiration

Welcome!  I love the smell (or look) of a brand-new blog.  My last few attempts at blogging were limited to snarky comments and complaining, but now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) I’m going to give this another shot.

Lately, I’ve been really inspired by food and craft blogs.  I’m no expert; in fact, I’m not even particularly artistic or creative, but I’m willing to give anything a try, especially when it comes to things I want but don’t want to spend tons of money on.  (Hello, feather headbands.)  I can’t promise that I’ll come up with anything original or groundbreaking, but I can promise to document every attempt at a new recipe/project, regardless of how tragic and/or hilarious it turns out.

Without further ado, here are some of my current favorite things:

Cats

Feathers & Tulle

Pho

French-pressed coffee

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