Things I Hate

I know we're in that time of the year where people share what they're grateful for, but today I want to share what I hate the most (at the moment).  You ready?

Daylight Savings.  Sure, that extra hour of sleep is wonderful when I fall back, but it's not worth it being pitch black by 5 p.m.  I miss the long days of summer.  It might be time for me to move somewhere where it's sunnier a little bit longer every day.

And on that note, just because it's dark out, doesn't mean stores should close at 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.  I am definitely not a fan of that.

Perhaps the thing I hate most right now? When companies turn Christmas rhymes and songs into advertisements.  I heard two on the radio yesterday and it made me so mad! I don't want to think of the California lottery or whatever kind of satellite TV you are selling when I hear 'Twas the Night Before Christmas or Here Comes Santa Clause. I love Christmas and all it entails, so stop taking the best parts of it and making it awful.

Packing for the return leg of a trip.  I LOVE an organized suitcase.  Seriously.  I would pack everyone for every trip if I could just so I could organized everyone's suitcases, but I hate packing at the end of a trip.  Half of your clothes are dirty and you have to be careful not to mix them, but really you'll wash them all when you get home because you hate that suitcase smell that permeates clothes no matter what (okay, maybe that's just me).  Plus there's always more than when you began your trip, whether a shopping trip occurred or not.  I just hate it.  That's all.

Getting to the airport super early.  I made it through security this morning with an hour and twenty minutes to spare.  Sure, it's a little stressful when you hear "last call for Emily James" blaring over the speakers and you've just barely walked through the metal detector, but aren't those anxiety-inducing moments what we should live for?  Running to the gate with jewelry, belt, and coat in hand? Being personally greeted by the gate agents impatiently waiting for you - a forced smile on their faces because they wish you hadn't made your flight so you would have learned a lesson to arrive just a tiny bit early the next time? (Let's be honest.  I'm a smart enough traveller to not wear jewelry or a belt that I have to remove.  So really it's just that coat in hand that I'm running with). Thank goodness LGB and SLC have free wireless for those times I do get there early.  SFO - more than 45 minutes would be appreciated.  Remember how I said I arrived at my gate an hour and 20 minutes early? Well you're not encouraging passengers to adhere to TSA's recommended 90 minutes early arrival on domestic flights when you're limiting their wireless access.

Getting out of bed when it's cold outside.  There is nothing worse, except maybe the commercialized Christmas songs.


This weekend I'm looking forward to:

-an overnight in Pacific Grove. Thank you United Airlines for making it possible to fly there from SFO.
-spending time with my favorite nephew and the rest of the family
-the annual Thanksgiving Eve Crab Fest
-doing the dish with the fam on Thanksgiving morning
-quality time with neighbors
-Thanksgiving dinner with wonderful family that I just don't see often enough.
-attending a weekend showing of Topper (starring my most favorite actor - Cary Grant) at the Stanford Theater with the organist
-lunching with all the girls who are back in town
-lying in bed and catching up on my ridiculously long Hulu queue
-an afternoon of movie hopping (Love and Other Drugs, Harry Potter, The Next Three Days, Megamind, Fair Game, The Social Network, Red, and probably so many others - can you tell I'm way behind in my movie watching?)
-some soccer games with Palo Alto friends
-shopping for a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving
-officially beginning to listen to Christmas music
-a day trip to SF to soak in my favorite city

I guess it's a good thing I haven't purchased my return ticket to Huntington yet! Now I can just stay until I get everything done that I want to do!


My Current Obsessions

My Hulu queue is getting quite full (27 episodes back in my favorite shows, just waiting to be watched) due to my new obsession - How I Met Your Mother. Seasons 1-4 are graciously on loan from a friend. After having watched all of these episodes on DVDs, it has made me hate the ads on Hulu.
{image via thenextreporter.com}

Now that it's starting to cool off a little bit in Huntington, I'm having fun dressing in bulky sweaters and ponchos. Ever since Ugly Betty, I've had trouble wearing ponchos.  I guess I've just always felt a little bit hideous in them, like I threw a blanket over my head and am hiding underneath. But over the past few days I've discovered some really cute ones that are sewn up the side, ones with kangaroo pockets ... basically just ones that don't make me feel quite so much like I am under that blanket (but that still allow me to curl up under them like I kind of am under a blanket - a cute one).

{image via campuskitchens.org}
Yams and spaghetti squash. One of my favorite things about the new seasons is the produce. I'm loving the yams, spaghetti squash, pumpkin and butternut squash.  I had some "autumn harvest" from the Whole Foods salad bar last week. It was made up of mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin and butternut squash - heaven! Oh, and the winter pomegranates and grapefruit that are sneaking in just make it all the better!


The 13 Days of Room Cleaning

After moving home from NYC, I spent a significant amount of time cleaning out my room.  I had boxes stored with middle school photographs, high school papers, and college everything.  I figured it was time (a.k.a. my dad ordered me) to clean everything out and get rid of most of the stuff.  I did.  It took months, literally months, but I finished and love having everything organized/cleaned through.  The reason this project took so long was because every single thing was significant in some sort of way and I had to stop and pause for a moment to remember and relive it, before the item was sent to the landfill, or maybe to be recycled.

13 journals. 
12 journals with only one or two entries. That's right.  I suck at consistently writing in journals.
11 pairs of nail clippers.
10 million CDs.  Seriously.  I counted them all.  Then I got really jealous of today's mp3-only youth (I no longer count myself among them) who don't have their favorite songs on CD, or even tape, and therefore don't have to find space in their room for said CDs and/or tapes.
9 dried roses of all different sizes and colors.  What they were from that I felt they were significant enough to dry? I'm still not sure.
8 Book of Mormons (or is it Books of Mormon? I can never remember. You'd think I would remember from my Deseret News days).
7 dozen extra buttons of cards with thread on them.  Since organizing them, two have already come in handy.  My yellow coat and tan shorts are now wearable.
6 different kinds of PETA stickers from my vegetarian days.
Spanish (or English-Spanish) dictionaries.
4 unopened cross-stitching projects. If anyone needs a baby bib with a little airplane, followed by the name Joshua written in clouds, I'd be happy to cross-stitch that up for you.  I have no clue who Joshua is/was and I can't recall any babies named Joshua, let alone any I was close enough to to consider learning to cross-stitch for.
3 checks from 2001 that I never cashed. My bad.
2 $2 bills
1 California relief map made of salt and flour dough from 4th grade (sadly, I finally parted ways with the map, but photographed so I could always remember it).


An Identity Crisis of the Seasons

It's been in the high-90s this week, and I am loving it!  But I'm a little bit confused. Doesn't October start on Friday? And didn't Fall officially begin last week? 

So shouldn't I be eating pumpkin everything and wearing my new fall skirts and tops, paired off with tights and boots? Instead I'm wearing swimsuits at the pool by day, and sundresses and sandals by night. 

Instead of eating my favorite pumpkin treats (pie, bread, muffins, and of course Reese's shaped like pumpkins), I'm eating fresh berries on pound cake.
I made this for something my mom had to go to last night and she brought home a slice for me for dessert.

And instead of playing with my favorite nephew in the
autumn leaves, we've been playing in the sprinklers.

Like I said, I'm loving this weather, but eventually I'm going to need the weather to cool down so I can wear my fair share of plaid, burnt orange sweaters and saffron skirts before winter comes and I transition to all black (with an occasional splash of gray).


Political Preference

As my mom and I were watching the Desperate Housewives season premiere tonight, a commercial for "Jerry Brown for Governor" came on.  The following conversation occurred:

Me: I really like Jerry Brown's voice.  I think I may vote for him based on that. 

My mom: *head shake*

Me: Is that silly? (I don't know why I used the word silly, but lately I've been using some silly words that I would not normally use.)

My mom: Yes. He's a Democrat.

I love her logic. And I love what motivates me to vote for certain people. Don't worry - I'll probably give my vote for California Governor a little more thought than just the sound of his voice. Probably.


I want to ride my bicycle ...

... I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like. 
Blair and I took our bikes out for the first time since I have been home (my first time - he rides everywhere). It was such a nice night and it was so great to go for a ride around Barron Park! 

The best part? 

The bicycle basket my sister and brother-in-law got me for my birthday from Nantucket Bike Basket Co.
It's the best!  It's super deep so I never have to worry about anything bouncing out of it.

I've loved bike baskets forever. I even have this photograph hanging up in my room.
I met the photographer, Dennis Barloga, at the Los Altos Art and Wine Festival a few years back.  He has amazing pictures from everywhere, but his favorite places are in France and Italy.  It's been so fun to visit so many of the places he has been and see what he has captured, in person!

I came across this blog - The Bottom of the Ironing Basket - and have loved looking back through the archives.  Check out some of her favorite bicycles in her Bicycle Beauties post from last fall.  I loved this one!

It makes me wonder why we all don't ride bicycles everywhere with beautiful things in the baskets!


Happy 4th of July!!

I LOVE the 4th of July!

No, seriously. I love it enough to have just colored that sentence to be more festive.  Aside from Christmas, it's my favorite holiday to celebrate on the actual day. Like, I love the festivities leading up to Halloween, but I don't love actual Halloween as much as the 4th of July!

So this year for the 4th, I made my way down to Washington, D.C.  Yes, I say down because up until yesterday I was living in New York City while I spent some time at Newsweek Magazine.  And yes, I am the worst blogger ever and a lot has happened since I posted last (in November) and people get on my case to post more often and I always say I will and I never do so now I am living up to my word and posting more and I'm starting with the 4th of July because it was recent and I love it!

My wonderful cousin (technically my mom's cousin's daughter), Lani, is living in D.C. for the summer and hosted me and showed me everything wonderful in D.C. (Georgetown Cupcake, shopping on M Street, Sunday brunch, Good Stuff Eatery and a whole bunch of other fine things D.C. has to offer).

But the best part about the weekend was that I wore red, white and blue every day I was there! Yes, I did type "white" in a grayish-white color so as to be consistent with my color-coding the holiday words.

I wore these colors at a Washington Nationals game ... it was ridiculously hot ...

... I wore them to get Nielsen's Frozen Yogurt in an attempt to cool down from the insanely hot weather ...

... and to Sunday brunch on the 4th (you can't see the red heels, but they're there) ...

... and to the Capitol to watch the fireworks ...

... and we jazzed it up even more in our tent made of sheets, again because of the insanely hot weather, while waiting for fireworks to start four hours later.

Dear East Coast,
Your humidity and heat waves are crazy!

... and then the fireworks did start.  And they were redwhite and blue too. And I felt patriotic.  And I loved it.


Happy in Hanford

My weekend was amazing!  I relaxed, played with James, baked and cooked to my heart's desire, caught up on TV shows and slept almost twelve hours every night.

Oh! And I got to baby-sit James while these two went to a fancy formal.

I documented everything I ate because I hadn't eaten this good in a long time.  Prepare to be jealous.

Belgian Waffles for Breakfast on Friday

Twice Baked Potatoes from 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks' for Dinner on Friday

Sour Cream Pancakes from 'The Pioneer Woman Cooks' for Breakfast on Saturday

Filet Mignon from The Harris Ranch (just down the road) and Mashed Potatoes for Dinner on Saturday

Chicken Chili from 'The Barefoot Contessa' for Lunch on Sunday

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book

It's probably time for me to go to the gym now.  And to exercise for nine hours every day to work this weekend off.

The only things I didn't do in Hanford were buy surprises at Target (didn't really have time to look the one day we were there ... although they DID just put in the HUGEST Forever 21 I have ever seen!) and drink root beer at the root beer place.  They were closed for renovation :(  But I did find out that Hanford has not ONE, but TWO Starbucks ... in the same parking lot.


The Retreat

So the last time I was here in Hanford, I thought I might have been scarred for life. I was working on the impossible - a wedding cake for 200. Might I mention, this was the first time I had ever attempted anything but a classic 9" x 13" cake. Needless to say, what was supposed to be a relaxing few days turned into whirlwind of baking cakes 24 hours a day.

I didn't rest.  I think I wore the same clothes the entire time.  My mom even gave me this apron afterwards because I was so attached to it.
(It had been a birthday gift to her from a friend a month earlier).

But the finished product brought relief.  Relief that it was finished.  Relief that it didn't fall apart.  Relief that it looked presentable.  Relief that I was still alive.

I definitely would not have survived what was supposed to be a low-key girls weekend without the help of my mom and sister.

But enough about the cake I am so proud of.  The truth is, I'm not actually scarred.  I came back to Hanford and I relaxed.  And I baked too!  Well, actually I cooked.  The baking is happening this afternoon.  I'll share my masterpieces with you later.  And yes, I have tried two of The Pioneer Woman's recipes.  And yes, I loved them both.  More to come in a later post ...