Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yes, I'm writing a blog about pizza.

Because it was damn good. And homemade! I was in the mood for pizza the other night but I'm so tired of either spending $30 for a "gourmet" pizza or spending $5 for a crappy one. The solution was simple and easy, pre-made dough from Trader Joe's and a few simple ingredients and viola! a homemade gourmet pizza and salad.

The pizza:
Mozzarella, roasted red bell peppers, spinach, roasted garlic and olive oil.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Ahhh, finally the Thanksgiving madness has ended and I have time to write about the Friendsgiving we hosted last week. Sadly though, looking through my pictures I didn't take as many thought out ones has I should have, a really just ended up with a batch of blurry photos, but hey, it was a bit of a blurry evening after all.

All in all thought, the Friendsgiving was a success, filled with two deep fried turkeys, mac-n-cheese, will's squash stuffing, jalapeno cornbread and my roasted garlic mashed potatoes. I'm always amazed how 22 people can come together and actually sit down and eat a meal together and have it work so seamlessly. It was the largest Friendsgiving to date and I was more than happy to host them....but maybe not again for another year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Followed Blogs

I have slightly engulfed myself in a few blogs that I can't keep my eyes off of and so I thought I would share them. The first is from a woman in San Francisco who's style I absolutely adore. She honestly makes me want to fly to San Francisco just to ransack her apartment... just kidding. kind of. The blog, which is sub-titled "bohemian modern style form a San Francisco girl" says it all, it has everything from interior design to photography to crafts and recipes. Honestly, I'm a bit jealous and hope to be half as cool some day... You can check it out at, and I strongly recommend you do.

The second blog which I adore is one that my lovely friend (and roommate!) Camille showed me, is design sponge, another one of those inspirational blogs which makes you want to completely redecorate your whole house. The section which is by far my favorite thought is the "before and after" which is of course was the source of inspiration for my lamps. Again, if you're feeling like you need a change in your interior, or just want inspiration I encourage you to check it out.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ugly Bookcases???

So I'm working from home today because my lovely car decided it wasn't in the mood to sit in traffic this morning. That said I'm on my couch with my coffee table/desk half working and half par-oozing design sites...

Last week I was re-arranging the dining room and cramming as many books as possible into my built-in book case, when I started thinking about the art of bookcases. I was trying to figure out why the bookcases crammed with books in, say, the Ikea catalogue are so pretty and mine just looked crammed with books. I suddenly realized it's because Ikea is cheating! All the books are the same color!

I don't know about you, but I generally buy books for their content, not their spine color. So what to do as a normal consumer who has books in every color? Well today I found something kind of cool, maybe a little over the top OCD, but I think it's pretty sweet, book jackets! FInally a away to make your books uniformly beautiful as they sit on your shelf, like a piece of art! Sure, you can't figure out which book is which on your shelf, but in the name of art, a lot of things don't make any sense, but they look nice.

All of these awesome jackets can be seen/purchased at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Before and After: Lamps from Value Village




So I finally finished a project which I started weeks ago, giving some sweet lamps I found at Value Village an update. I found these god-awful gold lamps for $7.99 each and envisioned the perfect before/after project. Needless to say I have been following which has so many projects on it, it makes me want to repaint/cover everything in my house. In fact, I have been surfing Craig's List like a nut looking for anything with potential. Sadly nothing has come out of that yet, but I'm sure I'll find something. In the mean time, I would have to say my first little make over project went well, and I'm pretty happy with the results. The total cost was about $35 including new lamp shades from Target, craft paper from Paper Zone and a half gallon of paint which I used about a quarter of. Not bad eh?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mom's Pesto

I finally got around to making my mom's pesto recipe, something which I've been meaning to make for a long time. She has always told me how simple it was to make, but I honestly didn't believe her. Needless to say, I had two huge basil plants and the night off so I decided to give it a whirl. The first thing to recognize when making pesto is it's going to take you about 5 times the basil that you think it will. Our plants were about 2 feet high and are now reduced to stumps after the pesto phenomena.

What I love about getting recipes from my mom thought is how much guessing is involved. Nothing is ever measured in cups and teaspoons, but instead is given in measurements of "a ton", "a little" or "you know, just taste it". As frustrating as that may seem, I actually enjoy it. It teaches to not just read a recipe, but to really figure it out on your own. In this case, the "recipe" is simple and the end result is amazing.

Start with a "ton" of basil, chop as finely as possible, mix with a "good amount" of chopped almonds (much cheaper than pine nuts and just as good), a "shit load" of garlic, a "good amount" of olive oil, a "good amount" of salt, and a "little bit" of pepper. Then honestly, taste it, see what more is needs, and blend it on chop mode for a few minutes to get everything blended together a bit better (something my mom doesn't believe in, but hey), and mix in a parmesan cheese.

Seriously, the easiest and most delicious pesto ever. Serve with a salad, bread and wine (or Rainier if you prefer) and you have a "damn good" dinner.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1200 Miles Later

This weekend Will and I finally got our mini-road trip which we fought so hard for. I nearly got fired for getting work off, but in the end am on good terms with the Kabul family and so we headed out on Saturday morning for out short trip covering big ground. I had never been on the 101, and hadn't been to the Oregon coast sense I was about 12 with my mom and sister. While most of the towns are nothing to get too excited about, a sneeze and you've already driven through it, a few of the beach towns are actually quite charming. We stopped at Cannon Beach on the way down and played in the sand, and Will took Moe into the surf to test the waters. Needless to say Moe learned about undertow and Will couldn't feel his toes afterwards. We camped that night at a place a few minutes walk form the beach, where we attempted a romantic fire but failed miserably due to wind and wet fire wood, but succeeded a few nights later when we wised up and bought a duraflame. Still quite a challenge I might note though, the wind on the coast gets pretty brutal after the sun sets and we had to find a log to hide behind. We actually ended up cheating in the camping department and slept in a hotel on the second night, mostly due to poor planning and much to much driving, but I must say I did appreciate the shower.

The third and final night though we spent in Long Beach on the Washington coast, and it was really picturesque. We had the beach to ourselves and Moe could run around without a leash and play in the surf, the sun was out, the weather was warm, and we could drive right onto the beach and down to the water. I had my Polaroid camera which I was ridiculously excited about and was able to snap away all afternoon.

That night we did however realize the sad reality of camping in touristy places. If you want to camp legitimately you have to do it at an RV Park, where everyone surrounding you it watching HBO and sleeping on a sleep-number bed. We realized the easiest way to forget about the fact that you can't simply pitch a tent on the beach without getting harassed was to spend the entire evening on the beach with a bottle of wine, and trek back at night to simply sleep the RV Park away.

All in all though we had a great time and I look forward to going to the coast more often, next time hopefully with my newly restored bus...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friday Harbor

My sister and I went to Friday Harbor to visit my dad about a month ago, and I'm of course just not getting around to posting a few pictures. As cliche as the post card Roche Harbor pictures are, I love them. We we went at just the right time, with the gardens in full bloom. Sadly I think everything is beginning to die now that fall is in the air. sign. Then again fall brings many great photo opportunities as so I look forward to it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Photos from Thong Nai Pan, Thailand

I've been playing with photoshop to get a vintage effect to my photos from random travels...

Fremont Sunday Market

I had heard of the Fremont market from several people and finally got a chance to go a yesterday. Of course it was raining, but we didn't let that hold us back! We are some great tacos and wandered around the flea market section, which is actually underground, so we were safe from the drizzle. I of course could of spent hours paroozing the isles for antiques, but decided for Will's sake to keep it short. I did find some awesome antique silverware though, and all for a dollar each! The old school "Kitchen Aid" ice cream scoop is my favorite, it immediately reminded me of my sister, who has an ice cream scoop collection. There was a ton of prints and old signs I loved as well, but don't really have a space for them. I really wanted this awesome old teal typewriter but knew it was probably unnecessary. Even if I only walked away with silverware, flea markets and quickly becoming a love of mine, and I'm sure I'll be back in the following weeks finding more treasures...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Double Exposed

I recently developed a roll of film I had found and had no idea what to expect. Apparently I had snagged an old roll from my mom's house and mistook it for a new one and loaded it back into my camera. Most of the prints didn't turn out well but a few actually looked a bit interesting..

Documenting the garden on film

Although we were a bit late in planing this summer, Will and I have managed to grow quite a variety of plant and vegetables. I only wish we could extend summer 6 more moths and keep going. But until I figure that out, I am quite happy with the variety. We have a ton of basil, lettuce, mint, oregano, parsley, cilantro and supposedly peppers, although they haven't done much. I was out in the yard yesterday, transplanting the peppers in the front of the house when I realized in a matter of weekend we turned our house from the eyesore of the neighborhood, to the eyesore with a maintained yard. Funny what cutting the grass and planting a few grasses can do.

Then of course I felt I had to take a few pictures of the beauty we had created and decided to dust off my old film camera. There is something so nostalgic about film cameras, I'm remembering how much I love them. My mom gave me the Nikon N70 which I used to spend hours and countless rolls of film with before the digital age exploded. Bringing it back out and taking shots around the house proved to be exhilarating, and I forgot about how exciting it is to get film developed. Sure, half of my pictures were underexposed or blurry, but the keepers have a quality to them you just can't get with a digital camera.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Joy of Cooking

I have realized since I've been home that there really is, a joy in cooking. Although I have always know I enjoy it, it took this last trip and coming home to realize just home much joy it brings me. Not being able to cook for yourself and having to rely on others for three meals a day is just not as fulfilling as making it yourself. I believe the joy for me comes in many shapes. Much is found in using family recipes and trying to recreate that dish from your childhood you loved. Much is trying something new and spending time to look up recipes in your grandmother's cook books. Most of it for me though, is of course, the end result, and sharing that with others. I'm currently simmering a pot of tripe, short ribs and spices on the oven in attempt to make menudo, which is a soup I could eat every day for the rest of my life. Others however are sometime thrown off by the idea of tripe, and have a hard time getting around it, so we shall see. Until then I have some stirring to do...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Goodbye Thailand!

It's about midnight now and I'm desperately trying to kill time by spending my last few pennies on the internet. Our flight leaves at 5:30 am so we're attempting to stay up the whole time, which is proving to be much more difficult than expected. We did get a hotel room though so I'm not lugging around my bag and have a place to relax. Today was fun though, and I finally got to see Wat Pho, which holds the great reclining gold Buddha. It was way bigger than I ever imagined and was a great little last day tourist trip. We were going to try and go to the Grand Palace but it was 350 baht to get in, (about $10) and the lines were insane. I don't think we missed much though, it was so packed we could barley walk around just in the entrance, while Wat Pho wasn't busy at all.

Afterwards we of course gorged ourselves on as much street food as we could. There really isn't anything better than Phad Thai for around a dollar and chicken skewers and sticky rice for about 75 cents. I only have about 6 dollars left at this point, but I might be able to squeeze in one more cheap meal before we leave.

Finally, we relaxed at our roof top pool. Oh yes, our $10 a night hotel has a pool on the roof, so we were able to get some last minute bronzing in. Followed by of course, one last 6 dollar massage. The woman at the massage place we go to remembers me from last year, and is one of the sweetest women I have ever met. She showed us pictures of her family who live in Northern Thailand, and told us about her 10 year old son who has just become a monk. She gave me a picture of her and her other son to take home and wrote down her information so I can contact her if I ever some back. I'm not sure if she'll be in Bangkok if I return but she said I was welcome to stay with her family in her home town anytime. It's people like that that make me love this place as much as I do. Not many people in the states would leave you their information and offer a place to stay if you're ever in town again.

Overall the trip has been great and it's always bittersweet to be leaving. I of course miss home but wish I had another month to see all the places I didn't have a chance to on this trip. I imagine I'll find myself back here again one day though, with more time to explore and not quite as tight of a schedule to keep. But for now, I'm counting down the hours until my 18 hour journey home. I must admit Thai food is getting a bit old and I'm looking forward to some variety on meals. I love traveling, but there really isn't anything better than coming home.

So goodbye Thailand! it's been real!

Oh and Will...

see you soon :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away...

So after a few days of doing nothing but strategically placing chairs in the water to read, para-sailing slightly intoxicated, and eating more thai food than I thought possible, we decided to move to Koh Chang, the next island. Damn. We arrived and raced a rain cloud to our bungalow, where we have been trying to avoid the short bursts of rain ever sense. It actually hasn't been all that bad as the rain let up today and we went exploring the small town of "Lonely Beach". That of course meaning we ate sticky rice and pork and got a massage. Peering out the window of this Internet cafe however I can see sun trying to break through the clouds so I might have to get out there in my bathing suit as a last ditch effort to come home a bronzed goddess, if you will. Yes, I am going to be that girl, laying out on the sun trying to keep my hair out of my face and my book pages from turning in the violent wind.

ps. i was going to post pictures but this stupid computer isn't letting me. Also nobody likes pictures of a rainy beach right?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last Thoughts on Indonesia

Throughout my time here, granted it hasn't been long, there have been several occurrences which after a short amount of time begin to seem perfectly normal. I realized that although I may have mentioned them, a few deserve further description, because they really are quite bazaar. For starters, the Gili Islands and run by the mafia. Yes, there is an Indonesian mafia. The islands have no police force of any kind, with exception to the random checks officers perform by showing up and "making sure everything is ok". What does this mean you might ask, well it doesn't mean there are rebellions running the street burning down bamboo shacks, but it does mean you can buy "magic mushroom shakes" at about every corner, as well as a plethora of other drugs. In fact, you could actually sit at a bar and smoke a joint as you would a cigarette and nobody would look twice at you. The island is a small community thought and you get the feeling everyone is watching out for one another and after taking to people who had lived there for some time, it sounds like it all somehow works.

The people on the Gilis are very different from anywhere else I have been in South East Asia as well. The women, who in other countries are usually pretty forward, trying to sell you things to give you a massage, were very quiet and reserved. The men however seemed to over compensate, as they called out to you every time you walked by, either also trying to sell you something, or as far as grabbing your arm and telling you they love you. Or in Camille's case, trying to kiss you on the cheek. At first I found it so annoying I could hardly believe it, but after time you realize it's much easier to simply pretend you didn't hear them, and they generally don't harass you quite as much. In fact, it gets worse on Kuta, the popular beach in Bali because the men are not only trying to get your attention, they're trying to get hired. The "Kuta Cowboys" as they are known cruise the streets for women to wine and dine, and bill. Glorified male prostitutes are really what they are, and knowing they exist makes you a it hesitant to talk to a local for more than 5 minutes. One positive thing I can say however, is just about every man who we told we were from the US promptly replied with "Obama!". I realized this is the first time I have traveled and not been tempted to sew a Canadian flag on my backpack.

The food on the Gilis is also interesting as it's way easier to find pizza or a burrito than it is Indonesian cuisine. After getting to know some locals however, we found the local eateries where the food was 10 times better than the anything on the beach. The spot specifically, where we visited a few times, you didn't really order anything other than chicken or beef and a friendly woman with little to no English scooped rice, veggie, meat, tofu, some sort of broth, and on other thing which I think had nuts in it into a bowl and handed it over with a smile. A large meal which really feels you up, and only for $1.50.

Lastly, an incident which I cannot believe I forgot to write about, its amazing what a $400 bribe can get you. In this case, it got my friend Aaron through customs. He arrived at the airport in Bali from Thailand and was out of pages in his passport for the enormous sticker Indonesia has which takes up a whole page. The girls and I, not knowing what was happening and why he had been taken into a back room, waited for about twenty minutes when Aaron emerged looking, for lack of a better word, pissed. He informed us that because of his full passport they were intending on sending him back to Thailand (at his expense I assume), where he would have to have more pages added at the American Embassy in Bangkok. Luckily for Aaron he had a good amount of cash on him was able to bribe the customs agent to put the sticker on the back page, which specifically states that it must remain blank. Needless to say it was a shaky start to our time here, but as most bad situations usually prove, it made for a good story.

I have had an amazing time here though and found it incredibly hard to step onto the boat and away for the Gilis this afternoon. Now back in Kuta we leave in the morning for Bangkok. I'm not sure when, but I will definitely be back.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gili Trawangan

The only mode of transportation on the island
Dana took this about 5 minutes ago
The boat we take out to dive

The beach at sunset

For the last few days we've been on Gili Trawangan, one of three Gili islands just off Lombok, the island next to Bali. These islands are commonly describes as "no cars, no dogs, no worries" and I couldn't agree more. It really is a little piece of paradise and just as I read, I really don't want to leave. I wish we had another week here at least. The beaches are white, the water is clear and the diving is amazing. You can sit on the beach all day, each cheap local food (or expensive American) and there is always a reggae band to be found at a local bar in the evenings.
I went on my first dive in 3 years yesterday and it was quite a jolt back into it. Everyone is so laid back here though, they didn't make me take a refresher course, so I just watched everyone and slowly remembered what I was doing. Once we were in the water though it all came back to me, and there was so much to see it was really amazing. I saw a turtle that was about 4 feet long and about a billion tropical fish. The only thing that really proved difficult was the current. The dive was a drift dive so you really don't have much control, and sort of swim where the current takes you. Today however, I went on another dive which was much calmer and it was easier to swim around and get a better look. It was actually quite an exciting dive as we dove 30 meters (about 100 feet) and it was the deepest I've been. Now that I've completed the dive and the test they give you at the bottom I'm qualified to dive at that depth anywhere in the world, so that's pretty sweet. The test by the way, is quite a trip. My instructor gave me a grid with the numbers 1-30 on it, all mixed up and I had to point to the even numbers in order on land, and the odd numbers in order at 30 meters. Needless to say it took me twice as long underwater, but I did finish it. It was a bazaar feeling looking for a number, knowing it's there, and not being able to find it. It's a bit like being drunk to be honest, except underwater.
I have one more dive tomorrow, and I think I might be able to do some underwater photography, which I'm really excited about. I'm sort of a tag along in a group much more advanced than I am, but I'm sure they'll let me snag the camera for a few shots. After my last dive tomorrow we head back to Bali to catch a flight in the morning back to Bangkok. It's been a great experience here though I'm really glad we made it down here despite how much it cost. If anyone is considering going to Indonesia I would highly recommend it, and especially the Gilis, they're really something.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Notice Camille and I crashing into each other...

We've been in Bali for 5 days now and are heading out to the Gili Islands in the morning. We arrived here late, and after Aaron had to bribe the customs agent with $400 to get into the country, due to a lack of space in his passport, we we're all a bit frazzled. We decided to change our original plan of going to a less touristy area and took a cab to Kuta, where we knew we could find a place late. The only way I can think to describe Kuta is the Cancun of Indonesia. It's literally lined with souvenir shops and bars, and the company isn't exactly ideal. None the less, the surfing is amazing, so we decided to give it a go. Camille, Aaron and I rented boards and headed out on our own (I've been surfing once mind you, 5 years ago) and attempted the waves. After much saltwater swallowed and a few spills we came to shore where the guy who rented us the boards promptly informed us we "should probably take lesson".

The next day we went to the airport to pick up Sarah only to discover she wasn't on the flight. After a few hours though we got hold of her (she was in Japan) and picked her up the next day. Once she got in it was back out to attempt surfing again, without a lesson mind you. We actually didn't do horrible, and I managed to stand up long enough to snap a picture. Sarah even got out there after all her jet-lag and gave it a go, doing quite well for her first time and with my instruction.

Today however, we decided it was time to get out of Kuta for a while so we headed inland to Ubud. I'm really glad we made it there and would love to go back if we had more time, but the one day was a good taste. I of course have been wanting to visit this "Traditional Balinese Healer" which I read about it Eat Pray Love (I know, I know, but it sounded really cool). We road down these small windy alley roads until arriving in front of a small shop with herbs growing out front. We sat down and promptly ordered the "Vitamin Lunch" which promises to revitalize. I can honestly say I've never had anything like it, and it was by far the best meal I have had here. It began with turmeric lime and honey juice which was made right at our table and followed with a spread of red rice, tofu, bean sprouts, spinach, seaweed, stuffed tomatoes, and fried coconut. It was absolutely amazing and each dish came with a tag telling out not only what was in the dish but which vitamins, and what part of your body it helped. Of course I felt slightly ridiculous as the woman (Wayan) who owns the place immediately asked if we had read "the book" and introduced herself as the one and only star. She also informed us that they're making a movie after the book, staring Julia Roberts. All that aside though, I'm really glad we went there, the food and hospitality were amazing and it cost us each only $10.

After the lunch we visited a monkey sanctuary which was quite a trip. The monkeys weren't afraid to literally scale tourists to get the banana in their hand. Needless to say we didn't have any bananas, so we didn't have to worry about that.

Now we're off to the Gilis tomorrow for some relaxation on the beach, I'm sure I'll take way to many pictures and post them as soon as I can.