Monday, November 30, 2009

Everyone else is doing one...

One of my favorite things about December is all the holiday gift guides in the magazines and on the blogs. I really enjoy shopping for gifts for family and friends, when I have the time and money and can really get something suiting and thoughtful and fun. Usually the whole money thing gets in the way though so don't get your hopes up with this guide. None of you are getting these things from me. You're getting handmade crap.

All these gems come from one of my favorite online stores, The MoMA Design Store. Now that I'm a tea drinker, I've had an eye for tea accesories. This Tea stick infuser ($24) looks like James Bonds' tea infuser. These are awesome for the paranoid. I obsessively shred all credit card applications and those stupid checks our credit cards always send us hoping we'll do a balance transfer with them at the low low rate of only 26%! These Shredder scissors ($18) would take care of them well.
Ooh so pretty! I love nesting bowls. And the colors of these are so nice. A gorgeous gift for anyone I'd think. Pebble bowls ($95).
This thing just makes me smile. It's a Pig cooking lid ($18)! Steam comes out of his little snout! I think he's brilliant.

Another tea accessory! We lose on average one travel mug a week. I have a feeling there is a moldy travel mug cemetary in the backseat of the Tacoma. In addition to losing them, we never have good ones that fit nicely in my cupholders. I've seen these I am not a paper cup ($20) at Paper Source and they have a really nice matte ceramic finish and cool silicone lids. The MoMA store also sells additional lids in black and white, I guess if the one that comes with it ever ends up in the backseat of the Tacoma. Is it ridiculous to have a leather kangaroo cell phone holder ($38) for your desk? No.
This Oskar humidifier ($150) would be for my sniffly sneezy allergic Jeffy. Well, and me. Jeff would buy a Spongebob Squarepants humidifier from Target if it were left up to him. I would steer him towards this modern minimilistic non-humidifier looking gem.

When we go and visit my grampa in San Mateo, he makes us super strong espresso and it always inspires me to go home and make it for my guests. And then I remember that I don't know how to use my espresso maker yet and I make coffee. But how sassy to come out of the kitchen with this Espresso set ($45)?
I would give these elephant bookends ($30) to anyone but I think they'd be especially cute for a baby's room. It could also be a great doorstop.

These Chemex coffeemakers ($120) are in every mid-century modern home and with good reason. Smart functional design.

This was fun! Thanks for the suggestion Lynne! I'm going to do more gift guides. Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Sanksgeeving!

Best... Birthday... EVER! When else do you get a huge vegetarian feast, a keg of great beer, a ton of friends, and a Siamese cat head cake for your birthday?? On Thanksgiving of course!! It was a great party, and I was very thankful for it. We had 13 people over for dinner potluck style, and everyone came through with the gourmet goodies. I aspire to one day have a table that looks like it came from the pages of Gourmet magazine, with pretty centerpieces and salt cellars at each place setting, but this works for us too. We're casual with our dinner parties and it definitely cuts down on the stress level. The keg also helped with cutting down the stress level! On to pictures!

Jeff is into craft projects and one of his two for the day were these Indian feather caps he made for everyone. He worked on the feathers all day long and then Heidi and Mandy helped with the newspaper caps to put them in. What's a party without party hats?

I had mine at a jaunty angle.
Check out that spread! Our wedding gifts definitely came in handy for this party. Jan and Dave dominated the grown-up version of mac n' mad cheddar that I made, Zach and Erika's pomegranate and apple relish and veggie stuffing were huge hits with everyone, and Mandy's green bean casserole was a highlight. Seth's tofurkey not as much. But we had to do it. I made some leek and broccoli empanadas to celebrate my Latina heritage. Just kidding. But really, they were tasty. I'm going to have to make those again.
Ready to be jealous? This was one of my birthday gifts from Jeff- a cake made by the lovely and talented Jana of Jana's Fun Cakes. It was above and beyond my expectations. I screamed when they brought it out. I thought they would carve it out of a sheet cake- 2D style, but they really went all out. It was a vanilla sponge cake with a white chocolate ganache and raspberry filling. Deelish. It took me a couple hours to work up the courage to carve it. :(
Spitting image!
The ears and muzzle were made out of frosted rice krispie treats for stability and were devoured as soon as they were ripped off.
I know my mom is going to object to the pool of raspberry sauce beneath the severed cat head. I object as well and it was not my choice. Bad Jana!
Kitty with no ears.
They made me take this picture.
Kitty with no ears or muzzle. :(
This was Jeff's 2nd craft project, to try to drum up donations for our keg of fancy beer. You stick money in the cat's bum. That's Jeff...

Heidi and Kurt brought Mandy and Seth's new puppy from Delaware all the way to California for them! It's the sweetest and cutest 5 month old fawn French Bulldog. Jan was quite taken with him and Crum was quite taken with Jan.
He got tuckered out easily. Good thing Mandy brought his bed.
Me jumping for joy in my new birthday outfit (thanks Mom and Dad and Grammie!!).

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I made it! I properly mourned the loss of my twenties last night around 11:10 by trying to stay up until midnight but then falling asleep like an old person. It was the excitement for today that tuckered me out. Jeff is doing 30 nice things for me this weekend as his gift (best... idea... EVER!) and he's currently working on #26 (we're counting down from 30 so he's got a ways to go) and making me tea and hash browns while I type in bed.

I'm really looking forward to tonight. We have so many fun things to cook and our friends are bringing a lot of yummy things to eat. A warm house filled with friends, a vegetarian feast, and a siamese cat cake await, and I can't think of a better way to usher in my new decade. I of course wish the rest of my family was here, but there will be plenty more time for celebrating when they come down to see the new house (hopefully soon!!).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Art Basel

With the looming house purchase, we couldn't afford to send Jeffy to Miami this year for Art Basel (his time and money!) so he just sent his pieces instead. They'll be shown in several shows so fingers crossed they get a lot of attention!

Here are his two new pieces:

The Mountain Dew original and the original painting he did for the Mike Tyson documentary website also went out:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jana's Fun Cakes!

Our good friend Jana Groller loves baking and just started a hobby cake business called Jana's Fun Cakes! She's all set up with a blog, which Jeff just showed me tonight. I knew how talented she was but that skirt cake blew me away! I called her right up and booked her for my birthday cake! Of what else? A siamese cat! I know, I'm obsessed. Here's my inspiration pic for her:

I can't wait to see what she does with it!!

Oh yes. One for the Thanksgiving menu.

Roasted Radicchio with Blackberry Vinaigrette
serves 4

2 heads of radicchio, quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
salt and pepper to taste
extra blackberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange radicchio on a baking sheet and drizzle with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast, turning once until radicchio is wilted about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse blackberries, balsamic vinegar and honey until smooth. Add remaining olive oil and process until blended. Strain vinaigrette through a fine mesh strainer, discard solids and set aside.

Arrange a layer of red leaf lettuce on a platter, then roasted radicchio. Drizzle with blackberry vinaigrette, garnish with blackberries.

From The Jewels of New York

The only Be@rbrick I'd call my own

How awesome are these wood be@rbricks? Of course they're like $800 so we could never get one, but they sure are pretty to look at. These ones are in Joe Hahn's collection. I'm pretty sure when Jeff goes up there to "paint", he's just rolling around in Joe's pile of Be@rbricks squealing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's turning into birthday month...

Another bonus to going up to San Jose a few weeks before Thanksgiving, is that my birthday gets celebrated early! I was showered in birthday wishes and fun gifts all weekend long.I got a spending spree from my wonderful parents from which I bought this super comfy top from Banana...
... these sassy wool cropped pleated pants from J Crew....
... this super cute polka dotted cardigan also from J Crew...
... these faux-suede heels I've been looking everywhere for from Urban Outfitters...
... and these cute patent mary jane flats by Marais USA also from U.O! The last four I ordered online so hopefully they'll come soon!
Sue gifted me these gorgeous books which I spent the car ride down reading. The one on the left has SO many good recipes, I think I'll make a few for the party next week. The gardening book is so informative and is really getting me jazzed up about starting our garden. We'll have Sue to thank for our huge bounty of produce and beautiful flowers next year!
How cute is this?? Grammie was so sweet (with a little hinting from Sue!) to get me an Anthropologie gift card. And look at the cute little sewn monster it came in! I love him. I can't wait to spend it!
My sister-in-law Jennifer made this for me, isn't it crazy?? It cracks me up every time I look at it. If my status as crazy cat lady hasn't been solidified yet, this will surely do it.
Thank you so much for spoiling me so! I love you all for giving me such a happy and fun birthday month. :)

Happy 90th Abuelo!

Our trip up north this past weekend was great. Jan cruised us up and down in his borrowed Honda Odyssey (I snuggled up in the very last row of seats and stretched out and read most of the trip while Jeff was up front with Jan) and we got a lot of family time in. My aunt Margarita and cousin Diana came out from Miami and it was so nice to spend time with them. We also hung out with Sue and Grammie, Max and Kate, Matthew and Kellycopter, and Jeff's friends in Campbell. We packed quite a bit into our trip as usual, but came back early enough on Sunday so as not to feel completely spent. It was a great trade-off doing this trip instead of the drive over Thanksgiving, and might be a tradition we'll continue.

We celebrated my grampa's 90th birthday in San Mateo at a favorite restaurant, La Fonda. I always think of Lafawnda from Napoleon Dynamite when I hear it but they couldn't be more different if they tried. The food was deelish and the company even better. Here are some pics:
The whole group at La Fonda's. That's Abuelo at the end playing the role of Jesus in this Last Supper-looking photo we took.
Jan and I with Abuelo.
Oh Mom. I'm starting to think she does this on purpose.
My cousin Diana and I with Abuelo at his home.
The family out shopping at Santana Row.
This was Jeff''s gift to Abuelo. A painting of a German Shepherd with a painting of Willy Mays on the flip side. My gramps is into dogs and baseball.

Hope you had a happy birthday Abuelo! We love you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I have Veteran's Day off today (thanks University!) so I'm curled up with my laptop drinking a cup of tea and browsing through my Google Reader. I came across the lovelydesign blog and Sharilyn posted that her address files were now available again in walnut. I've been coveting these suckers since I first saw them and was dying for one but they sell out faster than she can make them. Everything is handmade. The wood holders used to be made by her dad and now she locally sources them, and all of the address cards are cut by her from found and collected papers. The dividers are letterpressed and you can tell the amount of time and care put into each one. I think they're a steal at $65, considering that you can use it for life (more than you can say about an address book where you can't pull out entries), and the level of craftsmanship that go into them. I'm such a stationary dork too, anything to do with papers and wax seals and labels and I get giddy. My parents are giving me some fun monies to play with for my birthday so I'm pre-spending, and hoping it will arrive before that holiday weekend so I can spend it transferring addresses in time for Christmas cards. *Soooo happy*....